Kentucky Derby

NBC Sports Philadelphia betting expert Brad Feinberg gives perspective on unprecedented 2019 Kentucky Derby ending

USA Today Images/Jamie Rhodes

NBC Sports Philadelphia betting expert Brad Feinberg gives perspective on unprecedented 2019 Kentucky Derby ending

If you bet on Maximum Security, a 9/2 favorite, to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby on Saturday night, you were feeling pretty good about yourself.

But soon, things shifted drastically.

After a riders' complaint, the race was reviewed and Maximum Security was ruled to have impeded other horses' progress. 65/1 long shot Country House was named the winner. It was the first time in the Derby's 145-year history that the horse who finished first was disqualified. 

NBC Sports Philadelphia's betting expert Brad Feinberg gave some insight into the unusual race and the devastating emotions for those who bet significant money on Maximum Security. 

"It's the worst feeling in the world," Feinberg said in a phone conversation Saturday night. "It can feel like a borderline death in the family."

Feinberg thought the race would likely put many bettors on "tilt," or more likely to make an unwise bet to get back the money back they believed they'd won. 

He also raised the question of bettors who may have ripped up their tickets for Country Horse immediately after the conclusion of the race.

"I guarantee there were some," he said. 

Though the ending of the 2019 Derby was unprecedented, Feinberg recalled a number of similar instances across sports. 

He remembered the highly controversial Gold Medal Game for men's basketball at the 1972 Munich Olympics, when it twice appeared the United States had beaten the Soviet Union. The game was ultimately decided after an official protest by the United States, with FIBA ruling 3-2 against the Americans.

Other comparable events that came to mind for Feinberg were incorrect scorecards changing the apparent fate of major golf tournaments. Instead of entering a playoff, Roberto De Vicenzo lost the 1968 Masters by one stroke. 

Feinberg also recalled "The Bluegrass Miracle," a 2002 college football game between Kentucky and LSU. Kentucky looked like the winners — head coach Guy Moriss had already received a Gatorade bath. Then LSU won on a 75-yard Hail Mary from quarterback Marcus Randall to wide receiver Devery Henderson.

"You feel like you were cheated," Feinberg said. "It seems like everyone is against you."

Flyers mascot Gritty is all about the Kentucky Derby

Gritty's official Twitter account

Flyers mascot Gritty is all about the Kentucky Derby

When the Kentucky Derby rolls around, we all show our excitement in different ways.

Some head to the track, some place wagers, some gather with friends at a local establishment.

Gritty expressed his excitement ... in his own special way.

After all, this is the orange fella's first Derby. Accompanied by one of his secret service agents, Gritty hit the farm and did things. The guy is a grinder, just puts in the work until the job is done.

The 2019 Kentucky Derby coverage begins Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

We know Gritty will be watching somewhere — the Wells Fargo Center, the farm, somewhere.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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Always Dreaming wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

Always Dreaming wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A trainer and jockey accustomed to success. A headstrong horse with a mind of its own. Together, they harnessed their collective talents to win the Kentucky Derby.

Always Dreaming splashed through the slop for a 2 3/4-length victory on Saturday, giving Todd Pletcher and rider John Velazquez their second victories in the race but their first together.

The New York-based duo has teamed up often over the years and is the sport's leading money winners. On their own, they were a combined 2 for 63 coming into America's greatest race.

Joining forces, they were unbeatable on a cool and rainy day at Churchill Downs.

"We have had a great relationship for a long time now, and we have won a lot of races together," Pletcher said. "This is the one we wanted to win together."

Sent off at 9-2 odds, Always Dreaming made it the fifth straight year that a Derby favorite has won, the longest such stretch since the 1970s.

He was followed across the finish line by a pair of longshots: 33-1 Lookin At Lee and 40-1 Battle of Midway.

Always Dreaming ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.59 and paid $11.40, $7.20 and $5.80.

"This is the best horse Todd and I have ever come to the Kentucky Derby with," Velazquez said. "Being behind me for 24 years together, a long time for him to still trust in me and give me the opportunity, it's not very often it happens in this business."

Lookin At Lee returned $26.60 and $18.20, while Battle of Midway was another five lengths back in third and paid $20.80 to show.

Pletcher won his first Derby in 2010 with Super Saver; Velazquez won the following year with Animal Kingdom.

Rarely one to show his emotions, Pletcher admitted being teary-eyed behind his sunglasses.

Going into his 17th Derby, Pletcher saddled the post-time favorite for the first time. Much had been made of his 1 for 45 Derby record.

"It's becoming a little more respectable now," said Pletcher, whose 48 starters tied D. Wayne Lukas for the most in Derby history. "It felt like I really needed that second one."

Velazquez used his colt's speed out of the gate to get good position early in a chaotic start that saw several horses, including McCraken and Classic Empire, banged around. He steered Always Dreaming into an ideal trip behind pacesetter State of Honor, with mud flying in all directions on a surface that resembled creamy peanut butter.

"We got wiped out at the start. McCraken came and nearly knocked us," said Mark Casse, who trains Classic Empire. "The track is impossible."

On the final turn, Always Dreaming took command as State of Honor faded. Despite chasing a quick early pace, Always Dreaming was still full of run. No other horses threatened him down the stretch and Velazquez furiously pumped his right arm as they crossed the finish line.

"I got a good position with him early and then he relaxed," Velazquez said. "When we hit the quarter pole, I asked him and he responded. He did it himself from there."

Pletcher had his hands full in the days leading up to the Derby when the colt's behavior was less than a dream.

He was fractious in the morning, refusing to relax.

"I was nervous watching him gallop," the trainer said.

Turns out the dark brown colt knew best.

He channeled his aggression into a determined effort on a track turned into goo by on and off rain before the race.

"I think he really came in here and knew it was game time, and he was ready to go," Pletcher said. "The most important thing to do is bring the best horse to the Derby, and that's what we were able to do."

Always Dreaming earned his fourth straight victory, proving that his five-length win in the Florida Derby was no fluke.

By winning the Derby, he accomplished something his sire Bodemeister couldn't do. Bodemeister finished second in the 2012 race.

The victory was worth $1,635,800.

Always Dreaming's primary ownership is comprised of Brooklyn Boyz Stables and Teresa Viola, whose Brooklyn-born husband Vincent owns the NHL's Florida Panthers.

"There's no feeling like this," Vincent Viola said.

Classic Empire finished fourth, followed by Practical Joke, Tapwrit, Gunnevera, McCraken, Gormley and Irish War Cry. Hence was 11th, followed by Untrapped, Girvin, one-eyed Patch, J Boys Echo, Sonneteer, Fast And Accurate, Irap, and State of Honor.

Pletcher also trains Tapwrit and Patch.

Thunder Snow, the Dubai-based entry, didn't finish. He broke poorly out of the starting gate and began bucking. He was caught by the outrider and walked back to the barn on his own.