The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia Takes Steps to Disqualify Maximum Security

Maximum Security | Horsephotos

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Nearly four years after Maximum Security (New Year's Day) crossed the wire first in the inaugural Saudi Cup and six months after his trainer Jason Servis was given a four-year prison sentence for doping horses under his care, the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) announced Tuesday that it has concluded its own investigation into the matter and will recommend to a Stewards Committee that it should sanction Servis and disqualify Maximum Security.

The final decision will be made by the Stewards Committee, but in the press release it issued Tuesday the JCSA made a strong case that Maximum Security should be disqualified and Servis should be sanctioned. At stake is the $10 million that is paid out to the winner of the $20-million race. Should Maximum Security be disqualified, Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) would presumably be declared the winner.

Maximum Security did not test positive for a prohibited substance before or after the Saudi Cup, but Servis was caught on wiretapped phone calls bragging that he gave the banned substance SGF-1000 to nearly every horse in his barn. Racing officials from JCSA have maintained that it is within their power to strip Maximum Security of the win if it was proven that Servis had been illegally drugging Maximum Security in the months surrounding the race.

The statement from the JCSA read, in part: “Following the conclusion of that investigation and pursuant to the Racing Rules of the JCSA (Rules) [2] and the Horseman's Guide (Guide) [3], the JCSA has now authorised charges to be brought against Jason Servis, the former trainer of the horse Maximum Security.

“The Charges allege substantial breaches of the Rules and the Guide and relate to the administration of Prohibited Substances to Maximum Security and failures to comply with the entry requirements for the Race.

“The JCSA will contend that the Stewards Committee should sanction Jason Servis and disqualify Maximum Security.”

The statement said that the inquiry to be held by the Stewards Committee will take place “in due course.”

The inquiry will be held in private and members of the media will not be permitted to attend. The decision of the Stewards Committee will be published at the conclusion of the inquiry. Until the Stewards Committee has made its final decision, the JCSA will issue no further statements.

At deadline for this story, Jeff Bloom, who heads the syndicate that campaigned Midnight Bisou, was unavailable for comment.

Gary West, who owned Maximum Security with his wife Mary, also could not be reached for comment. However, in December, 2022, West issued a statement saying he would be supportive of a decision to disqualify Maximum Security and redistribute the purse money.

“We believe in the justice system and have patiently waited for the legal prosecution to take its course,” West said. “Now that Jason Servis has entered a guilty plea, we want to make it clear that if the Saudi Cup decides to redistribute the purse, we would support that decision. Hopefully, that action will prevent future conduct of this nature. We believe the decision to take the Saudi Cup purse from Maximum Security and redistribute it is the correct one.”

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