Six Weeks After Derby DQ, Maximum Security to Run Sunday in New Jersey Stakes Race

Posted on: June 15, 2019, 05:10h. 

Last updated on: June 15, 2019, 05:10h.

Maximum Security will race this weekend after all, with the apparent winner of the Kentucky Derby entering Sunday’s Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Maximum Security’s jockey Luis Saez celebrated his apparent victory in last month’s Kentucky Derby before the horse was disqualified. Saez will return to the saddle on Sunday in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. (Image: Darron Cummings/AP)

Earlier in the week, trainer Jason Servis wasn’t sure if his colt would enter the race that serves as a prep for Monmouth’s Haskell Invitational. However, after having blood work done on the colt and seeing Maximum Security work well, Servis decided to put him in the 1-1/16-mile race.

Maybe I was over-reading things a little too much, trying to be overly cautious,” Servis said. “He’s acting really good and training good and his bloodwork came back good.”

Monmouth oddsmaker Brad Thomas installed the colt as a 1-2 morning line favorite. He will start from the second gate.

While his owner has been making headlines over the last six weeks, Maximum Security has maintained a low profile at the New Jersey track since stewards ruled he interfered with horses in the final turn of the May 4 Grade I Kentucky Derby . That ruling dropped him from first to 17th.

Post time for the race is set for 5 pm ET.

The Competition

While Maximum Security has only appeared in two graded stakes races, he appears to be stepping down in class for this Haskell tune-up. Of the other five horses in the race, only two of them have run in a graded stakes race.

King for a Day, who will break from the third gate, looks to be Maximum Security’s top challenger in the race. He finished fourth in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last November, and in his three-year-old debut, he won the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico on May 18.

Last Judgement, who drew the inside post, ran ninth in the Grade III Pat Day Stakes on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. He’s run four times, with wins coming in a maiden race and an allowance claiming race.

King for a Day, whose morning line odds are 4-1, and Last Judgement, whose odds are 6-1, are both trained by Todd Pletcher.

Other horses in the race (listed by their starting position) include: Identifier (6-1), who has finished in the money in five of his six career starts, Direct Order (12-1), another Servis horse who has three wins in nine races, and Caladan (15-1), who has four wins and placed in the money in each of his six races. Both Direct Order and Caladan have only won maiden or allowance races.

Kentucky Derby Aftermath

Leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security won the first four races of his career, including the Grade I Florida Derby in March. In Louisville last month, he ended up being the second choice at 9-2 behind Improbable.

Much like his trip in the Florida Derby, Maximum Security took the lead early, controlled the pace and pulled away to beat Country House by 1-3/4 lengths to finish first at Churchill Downs. However, jockeys for Long Range Toddy and Country House objected, claiming Maximum Security veered wide coming out of the final turn and caused a pack of horses to bump into each other.

After reviewing the race and the objections for 22 minutes, stewards made the controversial and historic decision to take down Maximum Security from the winner’s spot.

That decision set forth a legal challenge from Gary and Mary West, Maximum Security’s owners. The couple filed a lawsuit against the state Horse Racing Commission in a Kentucky federal court seeking to overturn the stewards’ decision after the commission refused to hear an appeal.

Last week, the commission filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying the couple fails to state a valid claim and that the commission, which oversees the stewards and the state’s racing rules, has the authority to determine race winners.

Having the courts decide the winner is “a demand that threatens to transform the ‘most exciting two minutes in sports’ into tedious, protracted litigation,” Carmine Iaccarino, an attorney for the commission, wrote in the motion.

The Wests have also issued challenges to Country House as well as War of Will, Bodexpress, and Long Range Toddy – the horses stewards ruled were interfered – for a future race. So far, none of those horses connections have taken up the offer.