News and STORIES

Maximum Security Takes San Diego Handicap

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Monday July 27, 2020
Maximum Security continues to win no matter who he has as a trainer, whether it be Jason Servis or now Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

In his first start for Baffert, Maximum Security won the July 25, $150,000 San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar by a nose. Baffert picked up training duties in the spring following the indictment of Servis on doping-related charges.

Last year's champion 3-year-old male beat Midcourt for the victory, which became his ninth in 11 starts. His achievements as a 3-year-old include the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1), Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1), and Cigar Mile Handicap (G1). 

Maximum Security also took the Feb. 29 Saudi Cup last time out, but the $20 million purse is under investigation by The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia due to Servis's indictment.

Maximum Security's Victory

The colt held the lead entering the first two turns in the one 1/16-mile San Diego, but he was quickly pressured by Midcourt, who was being pushed forward by rider Victor Espinoza.

Abel Cedillo was aboard Maximum Security and eased his mount back, but Flavien Prat and Higher Power also pushed forward, leaving Maximum Security sitting in third early on the backstretch.

Midcourt set the tempo with splits of :23.74, :46.87, and 1:11.40 while Maximum Security was taken to the outside. Cedillo increasingly urged the colt and eventually passed up Higher Power while approaching the leader. He collared Midcourt in midstretch and was able to maintain a slight lead.

"When we turned for home, I had to get to work," Cedillo said. "I knew I was going to do that. He's the kind of horse you have to ride all the way. You have to keep working on him. We got it done. I thought I'd won the photo, but you can never be sure about those things. But it came outright."

The 4-year-old son of New Year's Day finished at 1:44.54 and paid out $2.80 as the favorite.

The San Diego was one of three victories for Cedillo on the day, including the fourth race with Secret Keeper and the San Clemente Stakes (G2T) with Laura's Light.

Rest of the Field

Higher Power finished third, 6 1/4 lengths behind the top two runners. Ax Man and Combatant closed out the field of five. The latter had a bad start and was not able to recover.

Sharp Samurai was scratched after his connections opted to run him in the July 26 Eddie Read Stakes (G2T) at Del Mar. 

Maximum Security is owned by his breeders, Gary and Mary West, and Coolmore Stud-affiliated Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith. Back in mid-December, Coolmore purchased 50% of the colt. 

He carried 127 pounds in the race, spotting his rivals five to nine pounds, and he was one of the three grade 1 winners present in the event, along with Higher Power and Combatant.

The San Diego for the Aug. 22, $500,000 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) at Del Mar. 

Baffert's Second San Diego

Baffert captured his second San Diego win with Maximum Security. He won back in 2014 with Fed Biz. 

The trainer has also won the Pacific Classic five times, with the most recent being in 2017 with Collected. He has 134 stakes wins at the track, putting him way ahead of any other trainer in the track's history.

That was crazy," Baffert said of the San Diego. "I knew I didn't have him drummed up for this race, and we were going to use this to get ready for the next one. But we're learning about the horse. He won today when he had every reason to get beat. He showed what a great horse he is today. He's such a fighter. I'm glad we got this over with