Maximum Security and Covfefe Win 3yo Eclipse Awards

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Maximum Security | Sarah Andrew

Maximum Security (New Year’s Day)’s sophomore season had plenty of ups and downs, but, in the end, he proved he truly was the best of his generation. Dangled for a $16,000 tag when winning his debut in December of 2018, the homebred kicked off 2019 with a pair of dominant starter optional claiming scores at Gulfstream

Jan. 24 and Feb. 20, respectively. The bay jumped right to the top of the class ladder after that and showed that he belonged there with a 3 1/2-length victory in the GI Xpressbet.com Florida Derby Mar. 30, stamping his ticket for the First Saturday in May.

Maximum Security crossed the line first, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of longshot Country House (Lookin at Lucky), in the GI Kentucky Derby, but was controversially disqualified and placed 17th for interference in the stretch. Trainer Jason Servis elected to bypass the rest of the Triple Crown trail after that and pointed his charge to the GI TVG Haskell Invitational S. at his Monmouth Park homebase. Prepping for that event with a second in the Pegasus S. June 16, Maximum Security returned to winning ways with a facile score in the Haskell July 20. He was scheduled to make his next start in the GI Pennsylvania Derby, but had to miss that race due to a bout of colic and was rerouted to the GIII Bold Ruler H. at Aqueduct Oct. 26, which he won in front-running fashion. The West runner clinched the Eclipse trophy with a dominant victory in that venue’s GI Cigar Mile H. Dec. 7.

Coolmore purchased a half-interest in Maximum Security on New Year’s Day and he is currently being pointed at the $20-million Saudi Cup Feb. 29. Sold to Korean interests for $11,000 carrying a full-sibling to Maximum Security at the 2018 Keeneland November Sale, his dam Lil Indy and weanling full-sister were privately purchased by SF Bloodstock and returned to America, where they were re-offered at Keeneland November. This time around Lil Indy summoned $1.85 million from Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Equine while carrying a foal by Quality Road.

Accepting the Award…

“It is an honor and a privilege for Mary and I to be here tonight to accept this award on behalf of Team Maximum Security. Team Maximum Security is comprised of trainer Jason Servis, assistant Henry Argueta, grooms Milton Hernandez and Tedoro Caderez, Garrett Servis and, most of all, his rider Luis Saez. Jason has an uncanny ability of knowing when to rest a horse and he knows when to run a horse when a horse is doing good. As an owner, you can’t ask for any more than that. I wish more owners would be considerate of their trainers opinions of what they do. Thank you very much.” —Gary West, co-owner & co-breeder

Early Impressions…

“I bought his sire and I bought his dam and did the mating. At that point in time, when I was looking at him [as weanling and yearling], the New Year’s Days were not running up to par. it was kind of tough to be excited about at that time, but now I am excited after New Year’s Day became a pretty good sire. We took him down to Ocala and broke him and sent him to Jason [Servis]. We had him in the sale, but he started training pretty good so we took him out. We always liked him, but I can’t say he was a superstar. He was always a laid back colt. The other yearlings would come running to the fence and he would stay laying down. He didn’t get excited about anything. He was the same way when he was training, but we saw enough to send him to the East Coast. He wasn’t lazy. He was just a laid back colt who was fine with whatever he was doing.” —Ben Glass, longtime racing manager and bloodstock agent for the Wests

Covfefe (Into Mischief) flashed her brilliance during her dominant debut win in 2018, but proved to be a forced to reckoned with on the female sprinter circuit in 2019, as well as the best 3-year-old filly of the year. Opening her sophomore account with a facile optional claimer score at Keeneland in April, the flashy bay set a new track record when romping by 8 1/2 lengths in Pimlico’s GIII Adena Springs Miss Preakness S. May 17. Third behind Grade I winner Mia Mischief (Into Mischief) when facing her elders in the Roxelana S. at Churchill Downs June 22, the $250,000 KEESEP buy rebounded with a gutsy defeat of GI Kentucky Oaks victress Serengeti Empress (Alternation) in Saratoga’s GI Longines Test S. Aug. 3. Making a mockery of the Dogwood S. field with an effortless eight-length victory Sept. 21, Covfefe ran to the money in the GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Sprint, holding off a late run from fellow sophomore Bellafina (Quality Road) to win by 3/4 of a length. It was another 7 3/4 lengths back to the third-place finisher.

Covfefe, who is famously named after a Donald Trump tweet, was given a brief freshening following her win at the World Championships. She returned to trainer Brad Cox at his Fair Grounds winter base last week to prepare for her 4-year-old campaign.

Accepting the Award (Champion 3-Year-Old Filly)…

“I just want to thank everyone who voted for Covfefe. It’s the first time a champion sprinter has won champion 3-year-old, so it’s a historic moment. None of this could be possible without our trainer Brad Cox and his entire barn. I want to say that Brad and our bloodstock agents [Alex Solis and Jason Litt] came up with a campaign for her in 2019 and they executed it to perfection. Brad never lost confidence in this filly and that means a lot. I want to thank all of our jockeys–Shaun Bridgmohan, Javier Castellano and Joel Rosario–for giving her incredible rides that got her to the winner’s circle. To the McKathan Brothers who broke her as a 2-year-old and told us to go to Fasig-Tipton [Gulfstream] and sell her–thank God we didn’t. And to Helen Alexander who bred an amazing double champion–it’s been a pleasure to get to know her and spend some time with her. To our amazing team–Madison Scott, Jason Litt and Alex Solis–they are superstars and in seven years they’ve gotten us onto this stage with two champions and I couldn’t be more thankful. To my parents, who believed in the dream I had, and to my wife, who deals with a crazy horse owner now, I love you.” —Jaime Roth of LNJ Foxwoods

Early Impressions…

“She was in Book 2 and she had a great walk, really athletic, a good-bodied filly, on the smaller side. Originally we bought her with the idea of pinhooking her if she grew and she looks the way she did then. She’s just grown a little bit.

She was actually entered in the Fasig Gulfstream sale and we went down there and looked at her and said, ‘We’re going to keep this one.’ So we scratched her from the sale. And from the beginning, she was always straightforward. Brad [Cox] got her at Keeneland and [assistant] Tessa [Bisha] had her and she said, ‘This filly is awesome.’ From the beginning, everyone who had her told us this filly was very impressive.” —Alex Solis II, bloodstock advisor for LNJ Foxwoods with partner Jason Litt

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