Maximum Security overcomes inquiry to win Haskell 2019

July 05, 2019 08:28pm
Maximum Security overcomes inquiry to win Haskell 2019
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

For the sixth time in seven career starts, Maximum Security crossed the wire first Saturday.

And for the fifth of those six times, he went on to the winner’s circle – but not before he and jockey Luis Saez survived an inquiry.

The 3-year-old New Year’s Day colt – infamously disqualified May 4 in the Kentucky Derby – won a stretch duel vs. Mucho Gusto at Monmouth Park to claim the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational.

Stewards raised an inquiry as to whether or not Maximum Security interfered with rival King for a Day in the far turn. They quickly upheld the Jason Servis trainee’s victory.

Maximum Security crossed in 1:47.56 over nine furlongs on Monmouth’s main track and paid $3.60 to win. Spun to Run ran third, well behind runner-up Mucho Gusto in the six-horse field.

Maximum Security, who has typically set the pace in his victories, rated this time behind pace-setting Bethlehem Road behind an opening quarter-mile in 22.92 seconds.

King for a Day, who beat Maximum Security last out June 16 in Monmouth’s listed Pegasus Stakes, passed the early leader to go a half-mile in :46.71.

Then it became a three-wide battle into the far turn between Todd Pletcher trainee King for a Day, Bob Baffert-conditioned Mucho Gusto and Maximum Security.

King for a Day slowed in the far turn, and jockey John Velazquez felt Maximum Security took away his path on the inside.

Saez, who was suspended after Maximum Security drifted up the track in the far turn of the Kentucky Derby, didn’t see it that way.

“When I saw the inquiry, I thought, ‘There was nothing wrong,’ ” Saez said.

Running on his home track, Maximum Security battled West Coast shipper Mucho Gusto down the stretch and kicked on to a victory.

“We had a perfect trip," Mucho Gusto jockey Joe Talamo said. "Just really proud of my horse. It was a tough beat. But he gave it all and I was really proud of him."

Saturday’s Haskell went off after 8 p.m. EDT, more than two hours after it was supposed to run.

Heat forced the cancellation of all but two of Monmouth’s non-stakes races Saturday. The stakes began at 6 p.m., leading up to the Haskell, a Breeders’ Cup Classic “Win and You’re In” event.

Maximum Security also won the Florida Derby in March and is the first 3-year-old colt in 2019 to score two Grade 1 wins this season.

That’s of course not counting his Kentucky Derby performance, where he crossed first but was dropped to 17
th following an objection.

The Gary and Mary West homebred can solidify his status as division leader with another victory Aug. 24 in Saratoga’s $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1).

Servis said he’ll send Maximum Security up to the Spa for training with eyes on entering the Travers, another Breeders' Cup Classic qualifier.

“It’ll be three races in 72 days, but Saratoga has a way of making everybody feel good,” Servis said. “I’ll send him up and if he starts to blossom, then he’ll probably go.”


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