Luis Saez has filed an appeal of a 15-day suspension handed down by the stewards at Churchill Downs for his ride on Maximum Security during the May 4 Kentucky Derby, according to his attorney. Saez also filed a request for a stay of the suspension until his appeal can be heard.
The appeal, which was provided by attorney Ann Oldfather, states that the stewards did not determine that Saez failed to control Maximum Security “due to intent, carelessness, and/or incompetence,” and it asks for the suspension to be vacated. The appeal also calls the 15-day suspension “unduly harsh, and not supportable by facts and law, nor by customary practice.”
Saez was suspended by the stewards in an order released on Monday. Maximum Security became the first winner of the Kentucky Derby to be disqualified when stewards ruled that he impeded three other horses when veering out near the top of the stretch.
The appeal also contends that the Churchill stewards did not conduct a thorough examination of the incident and violated Saez’s due-process rights. It took 22 minutes for the stewards to render a decision on the incident.
Riders are typically granted stays when they file appeals of suspensions. Saez’s suspension includes racing dates from May 23-27, May 30, June 1-2, June 6-9, and June 13-14, all live racing days at Churchill Downs. Because racing jurisdictions honor suspensions handed down in other states, the suspension would keep Saez from riding in the Belmont Stakes on June 8 if a stay is not granted.
“Without a stay, Luis Saez will suffer the penalty imposed by the stewards regardless of whether the commission or the courts later determine that the stewards’ ruling should be reversed or vacated,” the request for the stay says.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.