It’s not yet Halloween season. Still, at this year’s running of the Kentucky Derby, crowd noise spooked first-place finisher Maximum Security, who was disqualified for impeding other horses. That motivated sport’s media to trot-out some spooky pumpkin heads.

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, broke from the start of his piece thusly: ”By the letter of the rule, the decision might have been right. Technically, the race stewards might have been justified for what they did. It still stinks.” Cote’s commentary reflects today’s print media belief — clothed in gospel finery — that which is right may sometimes be wrong.

The Associated Press on May 6 reported that Maximum Security’s “victory was overturned 22 minutes later with a stunning decision by the stewards to disqualify the 9-2 second choice because of interference.” Arguably, that language contends that the stewards should not have followed technical track rules when disqualifying Maximum Security because the horse was heavily favored to win. Lesson of the day? Fold written rules into the form of a child’s airplane and aim it at the waste basket.

Here, the decision of the track stewards has been labeled shame, stain and disgrace — even when the decision is admittedly correct by rule. Why this chipping away at doing right?


John Benoit


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