Francesa: 'This Horse Put Other Horses, Jockeys In Severe Danger'

LISTEN: Mike Reacts To Kentucky Derby DQ

Mike's On
May 06, 2019 - 3:21 pm


Saturday's Kentucky Derby had more controversy than any other Derby in its history. It was the first time in Kentucky Derby history that had a winner disqualified. Country House ended up winning due to the DQ of Maximum Security. 

WFAN's Mike Francesa knows horse racing as well as anybody and opened Monday's show reacting to the controversial decision, but the right one. 

"If you go to the track a lot, if you have sat through a lot of races as I have obviously...then what you saw is only different for two reasons," Francesa said in Monday's opening monologue. "One - it's a 19-horse field which we never see, expect in the Derby. Number two - you're racing for immortality, you're racing for enormous amounts of money and prestige. That is why it's very different. That race, that outcome...we have seen 100s and 100s and 100s of times at race tracks across America. We have all been DQ'ed out of wins. We have all been DQ'ed that we weren't happy with. We have all been put up and lucky enough to win a DQ. I've never as an owner been elevated on a DQ. I was taken down on a DQ. As someone wagering on a race, obviously I have been both put up and taken down on numerous times."

Francesa believed that it was pretty clear there was going to be discussion after the race about a potential disqualification.

"We have seen that time and time and time again. I can tell you right now...a lot of people who have watched races many times knew that was a race that you were wondering when the race ended whether or not: A) there would be an inquiry, which there wasn't or B) there would be an objection because the winner was all over the track," Francesa said. "I actually thought because I settled on Shug's horse the 13, he came inside with Johnny Velazquez. I turned to my wife and said there's going to be some post-race action here. There's going to be claims or is there's going to be conversation because that was a nasty run through the stretch. That winner was all over the track. Clearly, I saw him clobber a lot of horses. I thought he trapped the 13, which he really didn't. There's two things that make this unusual - number one, the horse that benefited, the 20, who finished second, really was not interfered with. He was going to claim because he finished second and he was bumped into a little, so there's no reason not to claim. He would not have stood up and got the foul. He wasn't the one that was hurt or hit. Two horses that were really destroyed were the 1 and the 18. The 1 was almost taken to the ground." 

While many people may have lost money who bet on Maximum Security, it seemed to be the right call. Those who bet Country House on 65-1 odds had themselves a pretty big pay day. 

"The track did what it was supposed to do. It protected the jockeys. It protected the horses because this horse was out of control," Francesa said. "You hear people say stupid things about the horse doesn't know. This is too important a decision to make stupid remarks about. If you don't know what you're talking about, be quiet. The bottom line is the track did exactly what it should have done. I haven't met one person or talked to one person in racing who has thought that horse should have stayed up, not one. I thought Bill Mott handled it absolutely perfectly that day. He's a very classy man. You heard him on this show Friday. He was interviewed Saturday and he said 'hey, I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.' And they said 'well do you want to be put up?' And he said 'listen, I understand how hard this is, but if this were a Wednesday at a regular race track, we all know that this wouldn't even take two minutes.' This horse put other horses and jockeys in severe danger. What Bill said is 100% true. If that's a Wednesday at Belmont in a maiden special, that horse comes down in two minutes. There's not even a question and we have all seen it happen. We have seen the stewards make decisions we don't agree with. There's some real tough calls just like there is in other sports. There's some real tough calls sometimes. It's usually between the winner and the second place finisher. This wasn't."

You can hear Francesa's entire open on the Kentucky Derby in the audio player above.