After being disqualified at the Churchill Downs in 2019, Luis Saez stood as the jockey for the favourite horse – Essential Quality – in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. However, Essential Quality came fourth on Saturday.
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The Panama jockey had crossed the line first aboard Maximum Security in 2019 but the result was challenged and he was eventually suspended for 15 racing days. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission said that he failed to control his mount and make the proper effort to maintain a straight course thereby causing interference with several rivals.
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Two years later, it is the first Saturday of May and Luis Saez rode the favourite horse at Churchill Downs. Essential Goods opened with odds showing a 2-1 probability. 2021 was expected to be a redemption year for the 28-year-old.
Talking about Saez coming back at Kentucky, riding on favourable odds, Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens said, “Getting your number taken down in the Kentucky Derby, I can’t imagine what it would feel like. I’ve been taken down in million-dollar races and a Breeders’ Cup race that was $2 million, and I was sick to my stomach.”
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“It’s one of those things where Luis has confidence in him [and] we have confidence in Luis. We kind of feel like he’s going to put him where he needs to be, where he’s comfortable, and hopefully he can get in position, turn for home and be there at the wire,” Essential Quality trainer Brad Cox told Washington Post.