LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 23, 2020) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that Maximum Security’s historic disqualification in the 145th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve has been voted the 2019 NTRA Moment of the Year based on the results of 1,072 votes cast via Twitter and an online poll.

The winning moment occurred on May 4, 2019 at 7:15 p.m. ET following a near 22-minute deliberation by the stewards. Maximum Security crossed the wire in front by 1 ¾ lengths but was subsequently disqualified and demoted to 17th in the classic due to interference near the five-sixteenths pole which impacted War of Will, Long Range Toddy, and Bodexpress. Country House, the initial second-place finisher, was elevated to the victory when Maximum Security became the first horse disqualified from a Kentucky Derby win due to interference.

The ruling resonated on several fronts, from giving Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first win in the Run for the Roses to the legal wrangling which ensued in the aftermath. Although Maximum Security had the prestigious triumph denied, the son of New Year’s Day ended up bringing stability to the parity-laden sophomore ranks by ending his season with three straight graded stakes wins, including two Grade 1 triumphs.

The Moment of the Year will be recognized and memorialized at Thursday evening’s 49th Annual Runhappy Eclipse Awards Presented by Daily Racing Form, Breeders’ Cup and The Stronach Group at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla. Maximum Security will vie for two honors on the evening as he is a finalist for both Champion Three-Year-Old Male and 2019 Runhappy Horse of the Year.

The Eclipse Awards will air live on TVG at 8 p.m. ET. TVG is available in more than 45 million homes nationwide and the ceremony also will be available via DirecTV Now, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

The Racetrack Television Network (RTN) also will make the Eclipse Awards available across all of its platforms, including Roku.

A livestream of the ceremony will be available online at Eclipse Awards partner websites DRF.com, XBTV.com, and GulfstreamPark.com and will be presented commercial free.

NTRA Moment of the Year voters chose from 14 occurrences illustrating a range of human emotions as well as outstanding displays of equine athleticism. Finishing second was Belvoir Bay (GB)’s triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, a victory that came two years after she survived the Lilac Fire that decimated San Luis Rey Training Center.

Represented on Twitter by the hashtag #MaximumSecurityDQ, the winning moment garnered 390 votes. Belvoir Bay’s Breeders’ Cup win, #BelvoirBayBC, earned 129 votes. The riderless Preakness jaunt by Bodexpress, #BodexpressRun, was third with 121 votes. 

Past Moments of the Year

The first-ever “NTRA Moment of the Year” was the touching scene between Charismatic and jockey Chris Antley following the 1999 Belmont Stakes. The next year’s winner was the stretch run of the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic, which saw Tiznow hold on for a dramatic victory against Giant’s Causeway. Tiznow won again the following year as fans selected his stirring repeat victory in the Classic over Sakhee. In 2002, fans cited the passing of the last living Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew. In 2003, the popular Kentucky Derby win by Funny Cide was selected. Birdstone’s upset win in the Belmont Stakes over Smarty Jones took down top honors for 2004. In 2005, fans selected Afleet Alex’s spectacular victory in the 2005 Preakness Stakes.

Voters in 2006 chose Barbaro’s gallant struggle to recover from his Preakness injury while at the New Bolton Center. The 2007 Moment of the Year was a historic victory by the filly Rags to Riches over Curlin in the Belmont Stakes. In 2008, it was Zenyatta’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. Zenyatta “repeated” in 2009 as fans selected her triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

In 2010, fans selected Blame‘s narrow Breeders’ Cup Classic victory over Zenyatta. Drosselmeyer’s hard-fought win over Game on Dude in the Breeders’ Cup Classic was the public’s choice for 2011. For 2012, the recovery of Paynter from near-deadly battles with laminitis and colitis captured the hearts of voters like no other story. In 2013, fans recognized Mucho Macho Man‘s nose victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic for his popular connections. The 2014 award went to California Chrome’s dominant win in Kentucky Derby 140. In 2015 there was a landslide vote in favor of American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown-clinching Belmont Stakes win. In 2016, California Chrome was again part of the winning moment – a dramatic Dubai World Cup victory that came as Victor Espinoza’s saddle slipped out from underneath him.

In 2017, the tragic fire at San Luis Rey and the industry’s response led the way among the votes cast while Justify’s sweep of the Classics to become just the 13th Triple Crown winner was the clear pick last year.

Official Partners of the Eclipse Awards include The Stronach Group, Breeders’ Cup, Daily Racing Form, Keeneland, Florida HBPA, Red Brand, Racetrack Television Network, Dean Dorton, Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Hallway Feeds, Clear Span, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, New York Racing Association, Jackson Family Wines, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Racing Expressions, Big Ass Fans, and Indianos Tequila. The official charity of the Eclipse Awards is the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).

About the NTRA

The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; NTRA.com; the Eclipse Awards; the National Horseplayers Championship; NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and Horse PAC®, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).  

About The Eclipse Awards

Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon the Thoroughbred horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective divisions. The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-Century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.