In his first start since winning the Saudi Cup on Feb. 29th, Maximum Security has made a successful return to racing winning the San Diego Handicap by a nose. The colt has been under scrutiny for his past wins, after his previous trainer, Jason Servis, was arrested on federal criminal charges stemming from an FBI investigation into doping of racehorses. The purse from the Saudi Cup is still on hold was put on hold pending further investigation.
It’s important to note that Maximum Security has never tested positive for an illegal substance — not that all illegal substances test — but speculation has been rife about whether his previous trainer had found a way to juice him. Now trained by Bob Baffert, the 4-year old colt struggled up the stretch to catch Midcourt (who ran with 122 pounds, compared to Max’s 127).
In an interview after the race, Baffert said,
“I actually thought he was pretty good right after the race being that I only had him about 80 percent,” Baffert said. “I didn’t think he’d have to do a stop-and-go movement (during the race) but he showed what a great horse he is.”Paulick Report
Whether this was a foundational race for the new team, remains to be seen. Maximum Security was running against a lesser class of horse in the San Diego Handicap, although Midcourt is a horse that has continued to improve. Certainly the colt showed a lot of fighting spirit chasing down Midcourt — he overcame a stumble at the beginning, was checked down the backstretch and he ran wide around the far turn. Maybe with a better ride he would have surged ahead. I hope he has the chance to reclaim his reputation, which has been sullied by his trainer at his expense.