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Maximum Security's owner throws down $20m challenge to Kentucky Derby rivals

The owner of disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security, Gary West, is so confident his horse will conquer those he interfered with at Churchill Downs last time that the combative owner is prepared to put up to $20 million of his money on the line to prove it.

Maximum Security was demoted to 17th for interference in the Kentucky Derby, and West is offering a series of $5m matches to the owners of elevated winner Country House, War Of Will (seventh), Bodexpress (13th) and Long Range Toddy (16th), with the matches potentially totalling $20m.

However, while West is willing to put the money up, he is also asking any accepting owners to put $5m up themselves for the match.

The offer applies to the next time any of them race against the colt before the end of the season. There are no restrictions as to the type of race, what racetrack it is held at, or the distance or track surface over which the race is contested.

The offer is valid only for the next time Maximum Security meets any of the aforementioned horses in a race, whether it is in the same race or in four separate races.

The news was announced before the second leg of the Triple Crown – the Preakness Stakes – which Maximum Security is not running in. 

In a press release sent to Bloodhorse.com, West said: "He [West] believes his offer of $5 million apiece to each of those four horses – simply for finishing ahead of Maximum Security – would result in record viewership and would generate worldwide interest. If all five horses meet in the same race, it would potentially create the most lucrative race in the world."

"The owners of any or all of the other four horses wishing to participate would be required to put their $5 million in an escrow account, as West will do immediately for up to $20 million."

West is currently suing to have the Kentucky Derby disqualification overturned via a federal lawsuit, filed May 14, with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Lexington Division.

He said his high stakes offer and the results of this 'match race within a race' has nothing to do with his horse's disqualification in the Kentucky Derby.

"He's willing to stipulate to that publicly, contending that the outcome of the Kentucky Derby is a completely separate issue and event," the release read. "West's intention with this opportunity and challenge is simply to generate additional interest in the sport."

West said: "I'm doing this because I think it would be good for racing and a unique opportunity to bring more people into racing because of the elevated interest this would bring to the sport."

According to the release, no horse has to win the race, the offer is simply based on the head-to-head result with Maximum Security. The release stated one possible race for the three-year-olds to converge again is the Haskell Invitational Stakes on July 20, at Monmouth Park where Maximum Security is currently stabled.

The release read: "West said if any of the other owners are not as confident in their horses as he is in Maximum Security, he would extend the same terms and conditions for the connections of Country House, War Of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy to put up $1.86 million instead."

That figure was the winner's share of the Kentucky Derby.

West will donate 100 per cent of Maximum Security's winnings from this challenge to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, but if no owners accept, West pledges to donate ten per cent of Maximum Security's future lifetime racing earnings to the charity.

"Most experts agree that Maximum Security was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby," West said. "I don't care to discuss the controversy surrounding the events of the race and the disqualification of my horse at this time, but I firmly believe I have the best three-year-old in the country and I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is."

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