Nearly four months from its initial announcement to withhold Saudi Cup purse money, the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia announced it will award prize money to the horses finishing second through 10th. That conspicuously excludes race winner Maximum Security.

Saudi Cup Finish
Maximum Security (7) edged Midnight Bisou to win February’s inaugural Saudi Cup. His $10 million winner’s purse remains frozen as Midnight Bisou and the other purse winners received their winnings this week. (Image: Edward Whitaker)

The JCSA said it will withhold prize money from Maximum Security until its investigation on that horse is complete. Maximum Security’s former trainer, Jason Servis, was indicted in March on allegations he administered performance-enhancing drugs to his horses, including Maximum Security.

Now in Bob Baffert’s barn, Maximum Security won $10 million in the inaugural race at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh. That’s half the purse from the Feb. 29, $20-million race, the richest horse race in the world. But the JCSA said in a release it made this decision based on “safeguarding the integrity of racing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The JCSA made clear it received no allegations or indications that Maximum Security was on PEDs prior to the race. In the wake of Servis’ indictment, however, the JCSA received an objection to Maximum Security’s participation. With that, the JCSA opened its own investigation in April.

Saudi Officials Waiting for US Authorities to Make Their Move

“That investigation remains ongoing, but has been hampered by the COVID-19 crisis and the fact that the JCSA is not a party to the ongoing legal proceedings in the USA,” the release stated. “Therefore, unless and until the evidence that supports the sealed indictment in the US Proceedings is placed in the public domain, that evidence is unavailable to the JCSA’s investigation and to any JCSA inquiry.”

In other words, the JCSA awaits evidence federal agents gathered against Servis and 28 others. Those allegations allege four separate cases of conspiracies to manufacture, distribute, and administer adulterated or misbranded performance-enhancing drugs to racehorses. Those indictments came down in March, barely a week after Maximum Security won the Saudi Cup.

“The JCSA is bound to reach a fair and reasonable decision on the objection and circumstances of Maximum Security’s running in the race, and it cannot do so without the consideration of relevant evidence that has been gathered by the prosecution authorities in the US Proceedings in respect of the sealed indictment,” the release said.

Maximum Security Keeps On Keeping On

While that swirls about, meanwhile, Maximum Security continues training toward his next race, the Grade 1 Pacific Classic on Aug. 22 at Del Mar. He won his first race for Baffert last month, capturing the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, which is considered a tune-up for the Pacific Classic.

Aside from Maximum Security, three other US-based horses finished in the top five. Midnight Bisou came in second, Mucho Gusto fourth, and Tacitus fifth.