The highly anticipated Kentucky Derby encore for Maximum Security is now set for Sunday at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey.

Monmouth Park
Maximum Security arriving at his summer headquarters at Monmouth Park on the New Jersey Shore. (Image: Julio Cortez/AP)

Maximum Security, the disqualified Kentucky Derby runner, first to the finish but set down to 17th position because of interference, is now part of the field for the 1 1/16 mile $150,000 Pegasus Stakes.

The Pegasus serves as a prep race for Monmouth Park’s three-year-old mainstay on July 20, the $1 million Haskell Stakes.

The Haskell is a 1 1/8 mile contest and a premier summer stop for the nation’s leading three-year-olds. Rock star trainer Bob Baffert has eight Haskell victories. One of his eight winners is American Pharoah, the 2015 Triple Crown hero. Baffert’s 2018 Triple Crown horse, Justify, was headed to the Haskell as well. However, he’s retired to lucrative stud duty after his Belmont Stakes triumph. Filling in his ankle precluded any further training and racing.

Baffert’s highly regarded Kentucky Derby entrant Roadster is also returning Sunday at Santa Anita in the $100,000 Affirmed Stakes. So are his stablemates Mucho Gusto and Kingly. Any or all three could be New Jersey bound to face Maximum Security off a solid outing in the Affirmed. That’s if, as anticipated, he’s in the Haskell protecting his home ground.

Baffert’s Mucho Gusto a Horse to Watch

Handicappers are noting that Mucho Gusto is posting an improving five-furlong workout pattern and will give the more accomplished Roadster all he can handle Sunday. That’s if both run.

Maximum Security owners Gary and Mary West also own Game Winner. So, their two-year-old champ is doubtful to be at the Jersey Shore for the Haskell to face Maximum Security. No plans are known for Improbable. He’s the third of Baffert’s three-horse Kentucky Derby contingent. Baffert, as usual with an abundance of riches, trains Game Winner.

Also down the road in racing’s second season after the Triple Crown races is the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga. That race is Aug. 24 at the Update New York racing spa. Preakness winner War of Will and Belmont winner Sir Winston are both pointing in that direction, says trainer Mark Casse who cares for both. Kentucky Derby winner Country House, sick after being put up as the official victor at Churchill, is just now resuming training, according to conditioner Bill Mott. Mott is. also the trainer of Tacitus, second in the Belmont, and also likely to be seen at Saratoga for the Travers.

Omaha Beach, the presumptive Kentucky Derby favorite, shockingly scratching days before the race because of breathing issues, is undergoing more tests. Trainer Richard Mandella told the Daily Racing Form he wants to make sure all is well with the horse. The Arkansas Derby winner is experiencing tissue swelling after May throat surgery.

Maximum Security: Rested and Ready

Maximum Security trainer Jason Servis ordered bloodwork this week to insure the horse was in tip-top condition. “He’s fit,” Servis said Wednesday after receiving the results.

Luis Saez will be aboard again on Sunday. His 15-day suspension for allowing Maximum Security to veer out in the Kentucky Derby is under appeal. The Wests’ legal battle in U.S. Federal Court to overturn the DQ on Derby Day is ongoing.

For the full field and connections for the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth, click here. Maximum Security is certain to be a heavy favorite.

For the full field and connections for the Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita, click here.

Those continuing to follow the top Thoroughbreds in the three-year-old class will also be paying attention to the $150,000 Matt Winn Stakes Saturday night at Churchill Downs. That’s where a number of horses that are hoping to move up in the division’s pecking order are contesting the 1 1/16 mile event.

Mr. Money for local trainer Bret Calhoun and California invader Nolo Contesto for John Sadler are heading the field.

For the full field and connections for the Matt Winn, click here.

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