West's $5 million Maximum Security challenge still on

June 19, 2019 10:18am
Gary West, who bred and campaigns Maximum Security along with his wife, Mary, confirmed the leading 3-year-old exited Sunday's Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park in good order. Next on the schedule is the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 20 in New Jersey.

Maximum Security stumbled from the gate in the Pegasus, regained his footing and went on to set the pace. But to his outside, the Todd Pletcher-trained King for a Day ran up close, wearing down the 1-20 favorite for a shocking one-length upset.

Those two could meet again in the Haskell, but West also confirmed his more lucrative offer -- a $5 million challenge to Kentucky Derby rivals caught up in interference leaving the far turn at Churchill Downs -- remains on the table.

West told Horse Racing Nation he has not received any interest "thus far" in the challenge thus far from the connections of 
BodexpressLong Range Toddy or War of Will. The fourth horse eligible, Country House, is not expected to run again in 2019, trainer Bill Mott said over the weekend.

The terms of West's challenge are simple: In the next race when Maximum Security meets any of 
Bodexpress, Long Range Toddy and War of Will, connections can wager an extra $5 million -- or $1.86 million, the amount of the Derby-winning purse -- in a head to head play.

It applies whether Maximum Security meets those foes in the same race, or separate races, before the end of the year.

West will donate any of his winnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund. If no other owners accept his challenge, West will still donate 10% of Maximum Security's future career earnings to the PDJF.

Mark Casse, who trains War of Will, last week on the Horse Racing Talk podcast called West's challenge "a cute idea."

"It got some attention," Casse added. "But the reality of it happening — it’s not going to happen.

“...There’s not a lot of people who want to bet $5 million, and I can’t blame them.”

That's not to say Preakness Stakes winner War of Will couldn't match up with Maximum Security, first across in the wire before a controversial and historic disqualification dropped him to 17th in the final running order.

“War of Will’s had a long, strong campaign so far," Casse said, with Gary Barber's colt the only horse to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown series. "But we’re not going to sit around long. He’ll be ready to go again. I would say if there’s any chance of a renewal of those two, it would probably end up being in the Travers or something like that. We’re not going to end up having any special races.”

Saratoga's Travers Stakes (G1) runs Aug. 24.

Long Range Toddy is entered to run in Saturday's Ohio Derby (G3). Bodexpress, who threw jockey John Velazquez at the Preakness starting gate, has not worked since then. War of Will could prep for the Travers in the July 27 Jim Dandy (G2), also at Saratoga.


 

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