Maximum Security's owner issues $20 million challenge to 4 Kentucky Derby rivals

Gary West just can’t get over what happened to Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby. The horse’s owner began by appealing Maximum Security’s disqualification, then he sued in federal court to have the win restored, and now he’s doing something even crazier.

In a statement released on Friday, West issued a $20 million challenge to four Kentucky Derby rivals: if Country House, War of Will, Long Range Toddy, or Bodexpress can beat Maximum Security in any race before January 1, 2020, he’ll pay the owner of that horse $5 million of his own money. There’s a catch, though. If one of the other owners takes West up on his challenge, they’ll have to wager $5 million of their own money to pay West if Maximum Security beats their horse.

The horses don’t have to all run in the same race to take on this challenge. It could be any race between now and January 1 — West didn’t set any specifications for the length of race or the type of surface. And the other horses wouldn’t even have to win the race, they would just have to beat Maximum Security.

In the statement West released about the challenge, he said that this contest has nothing to do with the Kentucky Derby disqualification of Maximum Security, but is instead about his belief in his horse’s athletic ability. Via the Louisville Courier Journal:

“Most experts agree that Maximum Security was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby. 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 3-year-old in the country and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”

It’s a little hard to believe that this $20 million Kentucky Derby rematch challenge has nothing to do with Maximum Security’s disqualification. But West also said that he hopes the challenge will lead to more interest in horse racing — presumably beyond the interest that’s come from West refusing to let go of Maximum Security’s DQ.

The statement also teased the possibility of a race between the five horses, saying it would “potentially create the most lucrative race in the world.” With all the hubbub surrounding Maximum Security’s disqualification and all the bets that would surely be placed on the race, West is probably right about that.

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145th running of the Kentucky Derby
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145th running of the Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Riders cross the finish line at the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Maximum Security ridden by jockey Luis Saez trots after the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Jockey Luis Saez of Maximum Security (7) reacts after the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Riders Bodexpress (21) ridden by Chris Landeros, Long Range Toddy (18) ridden by Jon Court and Maximum Security (7) ridden by Luis Saez battle for the lead early during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Riders Bodexpress (21) ridden by Chris Landeros, Long Range Toddy (18) ridden by Jon Court and Maximum Security (7) ridden by Luis Saez battle for an early lead during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Bodexpress ridden by Chris Landeros trots during the poll parade at the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Long Range Toddy ridden by Jon Court trots during the poll parade at the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Spinoff ridden by Manny Franco trots during the poll parade at the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Cutting Humor ridden by Mike Smith trots during the poll parade at the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4th, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Maximum Security is walked off the track after being disqualified for the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Flavien Prat rides Country House to the finish line during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. Country House was declared the winner after Maximum Security was disqualified following a review by race stewards. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
A woman arrives at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, before the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Jockey Flavien Prat reacts learning he won the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race when Maximum Security was disqualified at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Greg Payan)
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