March 21, 2023

Maximum Security fires big off layoff in Bold Ruler

Coglianese Photos/Joe Labozzetta

Maximum Security showed no signs of rust Saturday in the $200,600 Bold Ruler H. (G3), passing his first test against older horses with flying colors in the seven-furlong dash at Belmont Park.

Unraced since taking the Haskell Invitational (G1) on July 20, Maximum Security broke alertly from post 1 to take the lead, withstood pressure through splits of :22.90 and :45.22, and drew off in upper stretch to win in comfortable fashion by 1 3/4 lengths under Luis Saez. The final time over a fast track was a stakes-record 1:20.76.

A homebred campaigned by Gary and Mary West and trained by Jason Servis, Maximum Security paid $3.20 as the 3-5 favorite. Tale of Silence, the 23-1 longest shot, rallied up the inside for second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of True Timber.

“It was really gratifying,” an emotional Servis said. “He’s not a hundred percent, he ran against a bias I thought on the rail. He’s a special horse.”

Only the third three-year-old to win the Bold Ruler since the race’s inauguration in 1976, Maximum Security and his connections have endured a roller coaster season.

The $16,000 maiden claiming graduate won the Florida Derby (G1) by 3 1/2 lengths off two emphatic wins against starter allowance company to start the term, but controversially became the first horse in the history of the Kentucky Derby (G1) to be disqualified from first due to an on-the-track infraction.

Regrouping over the summer at Monmouth Park from that official 17th-place finish, Maximum Security was upset at odds of 1-20 in the $150,000 Pegasus, but rebounded to take the Haskell, which was run in oppressive heat. However, various ailments, including an attack of colic last month, forced Maximum Security to forfeit runs in the Travers (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G1).

Maximum Security remains in the hunt for champion three-year-old male honors. Although not readied in time to compete in next week’s Breeders’ Cup, the colt could vie for more Grade 1 laurels in either the Clark H. (G1) at Churchill Downs on November 29 or the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct on December 7.

By New Year’s Day and out of Lil Indy, an Anasheed half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Flat Out, the Kentucky-bred Maximum Security has now earned $1,389,400.