By Sue Finley
War of Will (War Front)’s owner Gary Barber issued a press release Tuesday night in response to what he says are claims Gary West made on Fox News accusing War of Will of causing the interference in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby that led to Maximum Security (New Year’s Day)’s disqualification. West repeated those claims to the Blood-Horse Tuesday, which quoted him as saying, “(War of Will) did things to us that could have endangered the entire field. Everybody is saying we endangered all these people, which is bullshit. My reputation is worth something and so is the reputation of (jockey) Luis Saez and the horse and (trainer) Jason Servis. This is beyond winning the Kentucky Derby. It is a reputational matter. It would be that way to anyone.”
West made his claims after watching a video posted by Horse Racing Nation with graphics making the case that the interference was caused by War of Will and not Maximum Security.
In response, Barber issued the following statement:
“It has recently been brought to my attention that Mr. Gary West stated on Fox News that my horse War of Will caused the infraction in the Derby. I categorically deny this false accusation. The video evidence irrefutably shows that his horse, Maximum Security, caused a major infraction that almost led to a catastrophe and in doing so, denied my horse and others of a better placing.
“The facts are Maximum Security is a great horse that crossed the line first in the Derby, but unfortunately committed a major infraction that denied him a Derby victory. I empathize with Mr. West on this fact and feel the pain of losing out, but Mr. West’s horse, and not mine nor my jockey Tyler Gaffalione, denied him the Derby victory and it is wrong for him to deflect blame anywhere else.
“I am very disappointed that War of Will was deprived of the opportunity to show his best because of Maximum Security, but I painfully accepted that as part of horse racing. Thankfully, I am glad both War of Will and Maximum Security survived the day unscathed and will be good to race another day!”