Three days after finishing off the board for only the second time in his career, Maximum Security retired from racing. The Eclipse Award 3-year-old Champion of 2019 heads to Coolmore America’s Ashford Stud, where he’ll begin his stud career in 2021 standing for $20,000.
The move comes after Maximum Security finished a well-beaten fifth in Saturday’s 10-horse Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. He went off at 9/2, but in the pre-race analysis leading into the race, many handicappers didn’t have him atop their tickets. That, despite what looked like an overlay, given Maximum Security’s speed figures. Much of the fade sentiments came because of the way stablemate Improbable ran past him in September’s Awesome Again Stakes.
It also closes the book on one of the most tempestuous Thoroughbred careers in recent memory. Maximum Security officially retires with more than $12.4 million in earnings from 10 victories and two runner-up finishes in 14 career starts. But that only scratches the soil on his roller-coaster career.
After he won his only juvenile start by 9 ¾ lengths, Maximum Security crossed the finish line first in all four of his 3-year-old races. However, Kentucky Derby stewards stripped him of his Derby title after disqualifying him for interference with War of Will at the top of the stretch.
One Inquiry Loss, One Inquiry Win
Maximum Security passed the other two Triple Crown races that year as his owners – Gary and Mary West – pursued legal avenues to restore his Derby title. Nine weeks after the Derby, the son of New Year’s Day survived another steward’s inquiry en route to winning the Haskell Invitational. In what was one of his most impressive victories, he added the Cigar Mile title in December.
That sent Maximum Security into his 4-year-old campaign as the Champion 3-year-old of 2019. He wasted little time adding another title – the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup – where he beat eight other Grade/Group 1 winners. Less than two weeks later, his trainer, Jason Servis, was indicted on numerous drug charges.
With that, the Wests moved Maximum Security to Bob Baffert, whose rigorous training methods were 180 degrees from Servis’. Maximum Security returned to the races with a gritty victory in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap and a more-resounding victory in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic a month later.
Keeneland’s Rail Bias Didn’t Help Maximum Security
That turned out to be his 10th and final victory. He was second to Improbable in the Awesome Again, then never got untracked in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. A disciple of front-running speed, Maximum Security never owned the lead at any call, chasing stablemate and eventual winner Authentic before ducking back inside on the far turn. Not even the ground-saving rail – displaying a clear rail bias all day at Keeneland – helped.
“It was a good trip. He was right there. We came to the stretch and the winner was rolling,” jockey Luis Saez said afterward.
Now, Maximum Security heads into retirement a day after Authentic. With runner-up Improbable and 7-year-old Tom’s d’Etat soon to follow, don’t expect seeing too many of these Breeders’ Cup Classic alums in next year’s Classic at Del Mar.
“Maximum Security was an exceptional racehorse and I have no doubt that he will prove very popular with breeders once they see him,” said Ashford’s Director of Sales, Charlie O’Connor, in a release. He’s an extremely impressive looking individual.”