The Sports Report: Congratulations to Maximum Security, no, Country House, oh just forget it

Flavien Prat celebrates after riding Country House to victory during the 145th running of the Kentuc
Flavien Prat celebrates winning the Kentucky Derby.
(John Minchillo / Associated Press)

Hello everyone. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I was going to lead this newsletter with the Alvarez-Jacobs fight, but I disqualified it and made the Kentucky Derby the winner.

Horse racing

So I’m watching the Kentucky Derby as Maximum Security dominates and wins relatively easily. Everyone was happy and excited on my television, and then suddenly, the cheering stopped. Maybe Maximum Security wasn’t the winner. So we waited, and waited, and waited. Then, we waited some more. The analysts on NBC replayed a key part of the race over and over and over. Then they replayed it some more. Would Maximum Security be disqualified? They showed the three stewards who were going to make the decision, who seemed to be in an old phone booth from the 1970s, watching the replay on three TV screens that looked like they were from about 2005. One TV screen kept cutting out. One of the stewards kept referring to a book.

Meanwhile, race fans on site were waiting to cash in their betting slips. People who bet on Maximum Security were mentally counting their money. NBC interviewed the appropriate jockeys and trainers, all of whom were rather circumspect. Then NBC cut back to the stewards’ room. It was empty. Where did everybody go? Did Thanos snap his fingers and turn them to dust? Did they decide to grab a cab and go home?


They cut to a shot of the crowd and you suddenly heard a low groan that kept building, along with a lot of Oooohs and Aaaaahs. Maximum Security was disqualified. Country House, who I keep wanting to call Country Horse, was the actual winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Wow, talk about a weird way to win. You don’t get to celebrate right after the race, which is what you dream of. You don’t get the shot on TV of the owners and trainer jumping up and down in glee. If you’re the jockey, you don’t get the on-track interview with the person who you can’t hear and you hope what you say generally answers her question.

My wife and youngest daughter were watching with me and they immediately detected that the jockey who had apparently won the race, Luis Saez, didn’t seem all that fired up after he won and immediately mentioned that his horse had gotten spooked by the crowd. It was as if he knew there could be a problem.

Let’s face it. Maximum Security was the best horse. It seems unlikely what he did really changed the outcome of the race, but the fact is that a foul is a foul. I’m glad I wasn’t one of the stewards though. It was a tough call.


But the best part was watching people dive to the ground for their “Country House” betting slip after the DQ was announced.

We had reporter John Cherwa at the track for the race, and you can read his recap of the madness by clicking here.

We also have a horse racing newsletter that you really ought to subscribe to. It has another opinion on whether the stewards made the right call. Read it by clicking here.

Finally, I want to hear from you. Did the stewards make the right call? Click here to vote in our poll. We will pick a random voter to get a free subscription to this newsletter. (Editor’s note: Don’t let him fool you. All subscriptions to the newsletter are free).


There was a big fight in Las Vegas on Saturday, with Canelo Alvarez adding a third middleweight belt to his collection by defeating Daniel Jacobs by scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 116-112.

“We knew he was going to be a difficult fighter, but thank God we did things the right way, what we were going to do,” said Alvarez, who already possessed the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Assn. belts and added Jacobs’ International Boxing Federation title. “It was just what we thought because of the style of [the] fight that brings. We just did our job.”

Alvarez (52-1-2) was especially sharp in piling up early rounds. Jacobs answered by shifting to a left-handed stance and landing heavier blows, but Alvarez didn’t wilt, leaning on his well-honed uppercuts and power to close the show.


“I feel accomplished,” Jacobs said. “He’s a tremendous champion and I tip my hat to him. I gave my all out there.”

Gennady Golovkin was there to watch the fight. When Alvarez was asked if he wanted to face the former champion a third time, after beating him by decision last year and fighting him to a draw in 2017, Alvarez said, “I’m just looking for the biggest challenge. That’s all I want. If the people want another [Golovkin] fight, we’ll do it again, and I’ll beat him again. That’s why I’m here. That’s what I was born for. To defend what’s mine. I’ll fight anyone.”

Times columnist Dylan Hernandez is in favor of a Golovkin-Alvarez rematch.

You can also visit our live blog to revisit the fight as it happened. Click here to see that.


LeBron James has finally spoken about Magic Johnson’s decision to resign from the Lakers last month.

“I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization, having a conversation with Magic and really kind of breaking it down and saying how we was gonna make this Showtime again, and I wanted to be part of that process,” James said during an episode of his HBO show “The Shop.”

“He explained to me Year One is going to be tough. …. But I was OK with the process. At Year 16 you ain’t really supposed to be worrying about no damn process, especially for me because I’m in championship mode all the time. So it was just weird for him to just be like ‘I’m out of here’ and not even have no like, ‘Hey Bron, kiss my ass. I’m out of here.’ I would’ve been OK with that. ‘Hey Bron, it’s Magic. Kiss my ass. I’m gone.’ Not even that.”


LeBron was also unhappy with the timing of Magic’s announcement, coming a little over an hour before tipoff of the final game of the season for the Lakers.

“No one had no idea,” James said. “We was like, ‘Damn. Right now?’ It was literally 70 minutes on the clock. I’m not playing but my team is still playing. And you kind of decided to do that right here. Right now. I feel like there’s a time and place for things, and I believe you knew you were going to make that decision, so why would you do that here? Why would you do that now?”

So, LeBron’s not happy. And it’s hard to blame him. Magic’s reputation took a big hit because of how he handled the whole situation.

But I’m sure he’s hard at work now getting that Dodgers’ TV situation resolved now.

NBA playoffs

Saturday’s NBA score

at Houston 126, Golden State 121, OT (Warriors lead series, 2-1. Read game story here.)

Today’s NBA schedule

All times Pacific

Toronto at Philadelphia, 12:30 p.m., ABC (76ers lead series, 2-1)

Denver at Portland, 4 p.m., ESPN (Trail Blazers lead series, 2-1)

NHL playoffs

Saturday’s NHL scores (Read game stories here)

at Boston 4, Columbus 3 (Bruins lead series, 3-2)

at San Jose 2, Colorado 1 (Sharks lead series, 3-2)

Today’s schedule

(All times Pacific)

St. Louis at Dallas, noon, NBC (Stars lead series, 3-2)

Odds and ends

Dodgers manage to walk out with a win against Padres…. Dodgers are avoiding World Series hangover despite setbacks and slumps…. Angels reliever Noe Ramirez gets a warm welcome from Mexico crowd in loss to Astros…. LAFC defense shines in draw with Chicago Fire…. Casey Patterson and Chase Budinger click quickly at Huntington Beach Open…. Long Beach State remains atop men’s volleyball world…. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a goal and assist but Galaxy’s unbeaten streak ends in 3-2 loss

Today’s local major sports schedule

(All times Pacific)

Dodgers at San Diego, 1 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, AM 570

Houston vs. Angels at Monterrey, Mexico, 1 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Born on this date

1970: NBA player LaPhonso Ellis

1971: NBA player Harold Miner

1972: NHL player Ziggy Palffy

And finally

Watch Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Click here to watch.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.