News and STORIES

Maximum Security Set To Return In Bold Ruler

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Thursday October 24, 2019
Gary West's two multiple grade 1-winning 3-year-olds, Maximum Security and Game Winner, were supposed to be finishing up their training in preparation for the $6 million Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), but it has been a tough few months for the pair. 

Maximum Security is now ready to make a return in the $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) on Saturday at Belmont Park. He will run in the seven-furlong test as some of New York's best racehorses go out west for the Nov. 1-2 World Championships in California. The Bold Ruler will be a lead-up race to major grade 1 stakes that will come in the next few months. 

Rough Year for the Wests

It has been a rough few months for owners Mary and Gary West. Game Winner, the 2-year-old champion male of last year, has not been able to race since July. He is not expected to race again for trainer Bob Baffert until 2020. 

The homebred Maximum Security was one of the most talked-about horses after an unprecedented Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). He was the first horse to be disqualified from first in the race, as he was moved down to 17th. 

Since the Kentucky Derby, it has been uneven for the Wests and trainer Jason Servis. Maximum Security failed in the Pegasus Stakes, but he went on to win the $1 million Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park despite the high temperatures. 

Missing the Breeders' Cup

Maximum Security was then set to run in the Sept. 21 Pennsylvania Derby (G1), but he suffered from colic just five days before the race. That led to him being knocked out of the Parx Racing Stakes and the Breeders' Club Classic. 

West will now miss the Breeders' Cup after having two of the favorites. He will be watching the 1 1/4-mile test at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2. 

"Absolutely, it's disappointing to miss the Breeders' Cup," Gary West said. "Anyone who wouldn't be disappointed to have two horses who were among the best 3-year-olds in May and not get either of them to run in the Breeders' Cup would have to be lying to tell you it isn't disappointing. Is it the worst thing in the world? No. I've had much bigger disappointments in life than that. But it is disappointing."

West acknowledged the difficulty of returning after such a long time on the sideline. 

"Obviously, I have some concerns about a long layoff and running seven-eighths of a mile. It's probably not his best distance, but having said that, it's a great race to get him started again," he said.

In the one-mile Kelso Handicap (G2) at Belmont on Sept. 21, Maximum Security went up against older horses for the first time. The field included Prince Lucky, True Timber, and Tale of Silence, the second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers, respectively. 

West is confident that Maximum Security's health issues have passed. 

"We would not run this horse under any circumstances if he was not 100 percent. Jason says he's doing as well as ever," said West, who added that he has yet to receive any news or update from the U.S. District Court in Kentucky about the lawsuit he filed in May over the stewards' decision to disqualify his 3-year-old in the Run for the Roses. "Jason and I use an abundance of caution. If a doctor tells us to give a horse a week off, I say give him two weeks off to make sure he's fully recovered."

West said that if everything goes smoothly on Saturday, some possible next starts are the Clark Handicap (G1) Nov. 29 at Churchill Downs or the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) Dec. 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The big hope is for Maximum Security to kick off his 4-year-old season with the $9 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25.