News and STORIES

Maximum Security Dealt Defeat at Monmouth

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Tuesday June 18, 2019

The fact that Maximum Security at odds of 1-9 lost in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park came as a shock to many. For those who follow the game closely, the fact that the defeat came at the hands of a progeny of Uncle Mo, one of America’s best sires, is anything but. Todd Pletcher-trained King for a Day wore down the heavily favored Jason Servis horse, matching him hoofprint for hoofprint around the Monmouth dirt oval, eventually crossing the wire first.

“It stinks getting beat, but it’s horse racing,” Servis told Monmouth publicity in the aftermath.
Maximum Security stumbled at the start, but still grabbed the lead along the rail in the 1 1/16-mile stakes, with King for a Day about a half-length behind him, through six furlongs in fractions of :23.58, :46.82 and 1:10.57.

Maximum Security led by a half-length at the eighth pole but could not withstand a final surge from King for a Day, who was coming off a win in the May 18 Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico Race Course for trainer Todd Pletcher in his 2019 debut.

“I think the stumble cost me the race,” said Servis, who did not make a final decision to run Maximum Security until shortly before the June 14 post position draw. “I think his next race will be better.”

The July 20 Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park has been targeted as Maximum Security’s next start.

“He hasn’t run for a while, so he was a little desperate in the gate,” jockey Luis Saez said about Maximum Security. “He wanted to break, so he broke so fast he stumbled. He was all right after that, but I sensed he was getting a little tired in the final half-mile. When we came to the half-mile pole, I asked for a little more, but he got a little tired when I asked him to keep going. In the end, he was a little tired. I’m not disappointed. Definitely not. He will be OK.”

For owner Steve Brunetti of Red Oak Stable, the Father’s Day victory was highly emotional as it came about 15 months after his father, longtime Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti, passed away.

“Todd was extremely confident, and it seems every move we’ve made with Todd throughout the years in a big race has proven to be very satisfactory. I just put my trust in him,” Brunetti told Monmouth publicity about the victory by his homebred son of Uncle Mo. “It’s Monmouth Park, it’s Father’s Day, and I thought maybe in some strange way it was meant to be. It was. I’m very humbled. This means so much. I just wish my dad was here to enjoy horses like King for a Day and (grade 1 winner) Mind Control.”

“I got lucky. I bred a few mares to Uncle Mo when he was $20-25,000 (stud fee),” he said. “I’m reaping the rewards now.”

King for a Day, ridden by Joe Bravo, paid $13.80 to win as the second choice in the field of six.
“I liked how his paper looked,” Bravo, a perennial top rider on the Jersey Shore told. “The horse has been coming into his own. I texted Todd Pletcher this week, and he called me back in two seconds to tell me how high he was on this horse. He was in full control the whole race. Maximum Security stumbled the first couple of jumps, and I am sure that hurt him a little bit, and he was playing catch-up the rest of the time—even though he was in front until we got to him late. I just tried to keep my horse relaxed and ride my horse. He was good when he needed to be.”