Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert answered the question racing fans asked throughout the spring when he announced Maximum Security returns to action July 18 at Del Mar.
Baffert told the Daily Racing Form 2019’s Champion 3-year-old male will run the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap. The 1 1/16-mile race serves as a prep for Del Mar’s signature race: the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. That 1 ¼-mile race is Aug. 22 and sits as Maximum Security’s likely next target.
Maximum Security will work out at Santa Anita Park this weekend as Baffert eases him back into form. The San Diego Handicap marks not only Maximum Security’s first race since he won the $20 million Saudi Cup Feb. 29, but since owners Gary and Mary West moved him to Baffert’s barn. That came in early March, after federal agents arrested and indicted Maximum Security’s former trainer – Jason Servis — for acquiring and using performance-enhancing drugs on his horses.
In April, Servis entered a not guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit drug adulteration and misbranding on his horses.
Saudi Cup Purse Remains Frozen
As a result, Maximum Security’s career earnings remain in flux. Counting the $10 million from his Saudi Cup victory, he banked nearly $12 million in earnings. But in mid-April, the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia froze the purse from that race pending its own investigation in the wake of Servis’ arrest. That investigation remains active.
That was the latest adventure surrounding one of the best horses in the world. The Saudi Cup victory gave Maximum Security his fourth consecutive victory and eighth in 10 starts. He won three consecutive races opening 2019, including the Florida Derby, and closed the year with three more wins, including the Grade 1 Haskell and Grade 1 Cigar Mile.
In between, however, Maximum Security secured immortality and notoriety when he was disqualified for interference in the Kentucky Derby. That cost him another Grade 1 win, when stewards dropped him from first to 17th. Officially, that remains the only time in 10 races Maximum Security failed to hit the board.
King for a Day Becomes Trivia Answer
Six weeks later, Maximum Security finished second as the 1/9 favorite behind aptly named King for a Day in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. King for a Day – who entered that race coming off a minor stakes win on the Preakness undercard — remains the only horse to beat Maximum Security across a finish line in his career.
Yet Maximum Security still registered a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in defeat. His 102 in the Haskell a month later gave him five triple-digit Beyers in a row. His 111 Beyer winning December’s Cigar Mile remains his career best.
Once Maximum Security’s racing career ends, the Coolmore Farms breeding shed awaits. He’s already signed and sealed to start his stud career there.