Derby stunner prompts comparisons to 2016 election, 'La La Land' Oscars flub

After Country House was declared the winner, social media was quick to compare the race horse to Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote in 2016 but won the presidency.
Image: 145th Kentucky Derby
Jockey Flavien Prat celebrates atop of Country House after winning the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Kentucky.Andy Lyons / Getty Images

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By Dennis Romero

Shock, dismay and laughter. That was the response on social media after the initial Kentucky Derby winner, Maximum Security, was disqualified for interference during the race.

After stewards determined that the horse dangerously impeded the paths of others, Country House was declared the winner. It was the first time in the Derby's 145-year history a horse was disqualified for action during the competition. (The initial 1968 winner was later disqualified over a drug test).

Reaction on social media generally fell under three themes: Displeasure with the ruling, comparisons to other famous flip-flops and references to the 2016 presidential election, in which a victorious Donald Trump lost the popular vote but won the presidency.

Among those expressing dismay was Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Tom Fitzgerald, who spoke for many when he tweeted, "Maximum Security wuz robbed!"

NFL's New Orleans Saints, subject of some controversial calls on the gridiron, tweeted an emoji.

The switch in winners from Maximum Security to Country House inspired memes based on other famous instances in which announced victors were soon replaced. Steve Harvey's mistaken announcement of a winner in the 2015 Miss Universe was used as a basis for Derby memes.

Another meme was based on the 2017 Academy Awards' fiasco in which "La La Land" was mistakenly announced as winner of Best Picture.

Many folks, however, seemed to think the most obvious analogy was to the 2016 presidential election, where Trump emerged victorious in the Electoral College even as he lost the popular vote.

"This is the 2016 election of Kentucky Derby’s," tweeted Bay Area podcaster and sports reporter Ray Woodson.

"Man we are letting the second place finisher win everything these days," tweeted Mike Maccoby, former speechwriter for Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder.