Maximum Security toughed it out in Riyadh to win an epic first running of the Saudi Cup, the world’s most valuable race.
In doing so he once and for all erased the pain of losing the Kentucky Derby, having been the first horse ever to be disqualified from first place in the ‘Run for the Roses’ for causing interference.
Twice a winner in Grade One company since that day in May last year, the Jason Servis-trained colt has also subsequently been bought into by Coolmore, while his original owners Gary and Mary West remain involved.
Victory did not look likely for most of the nine-furlong contest at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack, however, as Pegasus World Cup hero Mucho Gusto travelled strongly into the lead and took a few lengths out of the field.
Maximum Security was gamely sticking to the task for Luis Saez, but did not seem to be catching the Bob Baffert-trained Mucho Gusto until he began to wander under Irad Ortiz Jr close home.
Another American runner, the mare Midnight Bisou, was making ground rapidly from the rear, while Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbatl was also in their pitching.
But it was Maximum Security and Saez who stayed on best of all to record a famous win. Midnight Bisou was a gallant second, with Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbatl running a huge race in third.
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