A Maximum Effort in Inaugural Saudi Cup

Maximum Security

Maximum Security won the inaugural running of the $20 million Saudi Cup on Saturday night. (Photo credit: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Doug DeFelice).

The Jason Servis trained Maximum Security stamped himself the best dirt horse in the world with an impressive win in the $20 million Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack Saturday night.

The victory was worth a record $10 million for the winner, who has now gone from breaking his maiden for a paltry $16,000 in December of 2018 to winning the world’s richest race just 14 months later.

There has been plenty of drama in between, including becoming the first horse in history to be disqualified from the Kentucky Derby (G1) for interference.

The colt has now won eight of his 10 starts, with King for a Day the only runner to ever cross the wire in front of him. That was in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park, a prep for the Haskell Invitational (G1) that Maximum Security won by 1 ¼ lengths.

On Saturday night in Saudi Arabia with Luis Saez aboard, the colt came with a good late rally and had to pass a wandering Mucho Gusto with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard in the stretch. He then held off the hard charging Midnight Bisou who came up the rail to run a solid second.

2020 Saudi Cup Replay

“You know, I was a little upset with Irad Ortiz who kept me tearing me out down the backside and who carried me out in the turn and when Max dropped inside he came down on me, but that is a story for another day,” Servis said after the race.  “Really, that horse has got a lot of heart, he is some horse, he is amazing. It’s got to be some vindication.”

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The colt is now sixth on the al-time career earnings list with $11,801,900.

So, what’s next?

The $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) is just four weeks away. It appears runner up Midnight Bisou and third place finisher Benbati are headed in that direction.

It is not Servis’ style to bring a runner back in four weeks, so it will be interesting to see if the connections are tempted by another large purse.

Baffert Duo Disapoints

The Bob Baffert trained Mucho Gusto, who won the Pegasus World Cup (G1) in his previous start looked like the winner when they turned for home. However, the colt wandered all over the track while tiring and finished fourth.

Baffert’s other runner was a real disappointment. McKinzie, making his first start since his runner up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) failed to threaten and finished 11th.

“McKinzie just left there flat footed. He just never (gave any run). When I saw him back there I knew,” Baffert said. “I don’t know what happened. Mucho Gusto broke like a shot and he just got tired. Those are good horses. It looked like was doing it easy. Turning for home I thought it was going to be like Gulfstream Park but he just got outrun.”


NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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