The champ? Maximum Security smokes them in Cigar Mile

December 07, 2019 04:25pm
The champ? Maximum Security smokes them in Cigar Mile
Photo: Courtesy of NYRA

Maximum Security put forth a potential championship-winning effort Saturday at Aqueduct, where he made a slow track look relatively fast in winning the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile.

Locked in a battle off the track for the Eclipse Award for top 3-year-old male, Maximum Security’s third Grade 1 victory of the season on it may prove enough to top Code of Honor for the recognition once votes are tallied after the new year.

"Well, if he's not the 3-year-old Eclipse Award winner, I don't know who ought to be," said Gary West, who campaigns the homebred son of New Year's Day with his wife, Mary. "Early on in the race, they went so fast. Honestly, I was very concerned, but the horse kept on going, and he was widening at the end. This is a pretty impressive race."

Maximum Security took pressure throughout the one-turn trip with Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Spun to Run drawn just to his outside. But after an opening half mile in 46.17 seconds, Maximum Security put that rival away, then galloped under the wire going the distance in 1:1.03.

Behind Spun to Run, who was 3 1/2 lengths back, True Timber ran third and Looking At Bikinis fourth.

Maximum Security has now crossed the wire first in eight of nine career starts, the only exception being Monmouth Park’s Pegasus Stakes one start after he was disqualified from a victory in the Kentucky Derby. The Cigar Mile extended Maximum Security’s winning streak to three races, also including the Haskell Invitational (G1) and Bold Ruler Handicap (G3).

Between those races, Maximum Security survived a critical bout of colic and missed the Breeders’ Cup.

"I was so emotional. I don't have much to say," Servis said. "It's sentimental. I went through a lot. Everybody did, and it was good to see that he's getting what he deserves."

Maximum Security continued to be well-backed at the windows, scoring Saturday at 6-5.

Servis said it "would be hard not to go" to the Jan. 25 Pegasus World Cup (G1) next with Maximum Security, who has also been discussed in connection to other big-money races such as the new $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29.


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