That rebuke came after Maximum Security owner Gary West vowed to challenge the race’s result in court and blamed War of Will jockey Tyler Gaffalione for causing the ruckus at the turn for home.
“I think when it’s all said and done and all the evidence is put on display, frame by frame in slow motion, you will find that the 1 horse [War of Will] actually caused the infraction, not our horse,” West said on Fox News. “And . . . I believe it will eventually show that if the 1 horse would have finished ahead of our horse, we would have had every right in the world to claim an objection against the 1 horse.”
Casse rejected that accusation and instead claimed Saez glanced over his shoulder while riding the rail heading into the far turn, allowing Maximum Security to block horses coming up on his outside.
“I tried to handle this in a nice, quiet way, and I didn’t think there was enough said about the trip our horse had,” Casse told the Courier Journal on Tuesday. “Now, given some of the recent comments, I’m p----- off.
“He carried everybody out intentionally, and then he dives in. It’s almost like following a drunk driver. You don’t know which direction he’s going to go. … People were taking shots at Tyler, saying he should have went inside or should have went outside. That really upset me. I went back and watched the entire race and noticed that we were bothered not just in the main event, but we were herded prior to that.”
Gaffalione posted frame-by-frame images of the race on his Twitter account to explain Maximum Security’s movement off the rail and in front of War of Will. Gaffalione steadied his horse and gave chase down the stretch, but War of Will faded at the final furlong.
“The video evidence irrefutably shows that [West’s] horse, Maximum Security, caused a major infraction that almost led to a catastrophe and in doing so, denied my horse and others of a better placing,” War of Will owner Gary Barber said in a statement. “The facts are Maximum Security is a great horse that crossed the line first in the Derby, but unfortunately committed a major infraction that denied him a Derby victory.
"I empathize with Mr. West on this fact and feel the pain of losing out, but Mr. West’s horse, and not mine nor my jockey Tyler Gaffalione, denied him the Derby victory and it is wrong for him to deflect blame anywhere else. I am very disappointed that War of Will was deprived of the opportunity to show his best because of Maximum Security, but I painfully accepted that as part of horse racing. Thankfully, I am glad both War of Will and Maximum Security survived the day unscathed and will be good to race another day!”
Saez has not spoken to the media since race day, but during the broadcast said Maximum Security “ducked out a little” after hearing the roar of the crowd, 150,000 strong, at the turn for home. Saez pulled him back in line, but the horse had already run in front of War of Will and the two clipped each others’ legs.