News and STORIES

Maximum Security 8-5 Favorite for Haskell

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Thursday July 18, 2019

Maximum Security, who finished first in the Kentucky Derby before being the first horse in the 145-year race history to be disqualified for bumping, is the 8-5 favorite for Haskell after horses were drawn on Wednesday. The 3-year-old horse will break from post 7 at the 52nd, Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational.

It’s worth noting that the owners of Maximum Security, Gary and Mary West, are currently disputing the results of the Kentucky Derby. They have filed a motion in the U.S. District Court in Kentucky against the Horse Racing Commission and race stewards. They are attempting to reverse the disqualification and get their share of the purse money.

The 1 1/8-mile race will be Maximum Security’s second start since the Kentucky Derby. He is trained by Jason Servis, and the rider will be Luis Saez on top.

The Rest of the Field

Maximum Security will face impressive opponents such as Hall of Famer Bob Baffert-trained Mucho Gusto, the two-time, Grade 3, stakes winner.

Bob Baffert has the Haskell training record with eight wins. Mucho Gusto, the three-time Grade 3 winner, is drawing excitement as the 2-1 second betting choice. He will break from post 5 under rider Joe Talamo, Mucho Gusto’s rider for all of the horse’s career starts.

Talamo has ridden at Monmouth Park a total of four times, and they were all when the 2007 Breeders’ Cup was at the track. He has never made it to the winner’s circle there.

Baffert is excited about the outlook at Monmouth Park.

“It’s a great draw for Mucho Gusto. Maximum Security is definitely the best horse in the race, but I like where we drew. From there, Joe can play the break and keep him in the clear. My horse has speed.”

Also running in the race will be King for a Day, the horse that defeated Maximum Security by a length in the Pegasus Stakes last month. He has been training at Todd Pletcher’s Saratoga Race Course headquarters and is looking for his first graded stakes and Grade 1 victory. He will be with rider John Velazquez.

Pletcher spoke on the race and King for a Day.

“This is a big step up from the Pegasus, but he’s an enthusiastically training colt. He’s had three solid works, and I couldn’t be more delighted with the way he’s coming into the race,”

Joevia will also be running after finishing third in the Belmont Stakes. The second-place finisher in the Preakness, Everfast, will also join the race alongside Bethlehem Road and Spun to Run.

The Haskell will provide the opportunity for a horse to qualify for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic with an all-expenses-paid spot. It is part of the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge series.

This race is the most anticipated of Monmouth Park’s 64-stakes race schedule. It kicks off the second half of the racing season, and it plays a role in finding the Horse of the Year as well as determining the divisional champion.

Jason Servis, trainer of Maximum Security, spoke about the importance of the race.

“This race is really important in the campaign for the 3-year-old champion. The Haskell could be critical.”

The field with their jockeys and odds, in post-position, consists of King for a Day, John Velazquez, 5-2; Joevia, Jose Lezcano, 10-1; Spun to Run, Paco Lopez, 15-1; Bethlehem Road, Luis A. Rodriguez Castro, 20-1; Mucho Gusto, Joe Talamo, 2-1; Everfast, Julien Leparoux, 10-1; Maximum Security, Luis Saez, 8-5.

Post time at Haskell will be 5:47 p.m. It is the 12th race out of 14 on the day.