Maximum Security (New Year's Day) further strengthened his case for the top 3-year-old male title with yet another sensational victory in the prestigious GI Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Saturday. Taking up his preferred position at the head of affairs, the 6-5 chalk was pressed by fellow sophomore and GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile victor Spun to Run (Hard Spun) through early fractions of :22.80 and :46.17. The top two pulled clear of the field entering the turn for home, but Spun to Run could no longer run with his rival in the lane. Maximum Security instantly jumped clear and cruised home a decisive winner. Spun to Run held second over 32-1 shot True Timber (Mineshaft).
“We were concerned,” trainer Jason Servis said. “I didn't get up out of the chair until late stretch. This track was very slow today and it was hard to go fast and sustain that. I've got to hold back tears. He's special, that horse. It's just a shame because he was the best horse in the Derby.”
When asked if the GI Pegasus World Cup Jan. 25 would his charge's next target, the conditioner said, “I would think so. Gary's [West] been talking about it and he's undefeated at Gulfstream – 4-for-4. It would be hard not to go.”
“It's a big deal to win the Cigar Mile here,” said winning rider Luis Saez. “It means so much to me, Jason, Henry [Argueta, assistant trainer], the Wests and everyone involved. He's a fighting horse. I knew the other horse [Spun to Run] has a lot of speed. I knew we had to fight, so my attitude was let's see what happens. That's what we brought him here to do and we just battled. He felt amazing. When we hit the turn, I knew we had a lot of horse. He gave me everything and it showed.”
Dangled for a $16,000 tag in his Dec. 20 debut at Gulfstream, Maximum Security won that race and his next two in starter allowances by a combined 34 1/2 lengths. Making a big class jump in the Mar. 30 GI Florida Derby, he took the field from gate-to-wire for a 3 1/2-length success, stamping himself as a major player on the First Saturday in May. Crossing the line first in the GI Kentucky Derby, he was infamously disqualified for interference and placed 17th. Skipping the rest of the Triple Crown, the homebred was next seen at his Monmouth Park home base in the Pegasus S., where he stumbled at the start and was run down late, forced to settle for second. However, Maximum Security rebounded with another good-looking score in that venue's July 20 GI Haskell Invitational S., in which Spun to Run finished third. Forced to skip the GI Pennsylvania Derby in September due to a bout of colic, the bay followed suit with a win over his elders in Belmont's seven-panel GIII Bold Ruler H. Oct. 26, earning a gaudy 106 Beyer Speed Figure for that effort.
Maximum Security is the only Grade I winner for fellow West homebred New Year's Day, who now stands in Japan. The winner's dam, Lil Indy, a half-sister to three-time Grade I winner Flat Out (Flatter), was purchased by the Wests for $80,000 at the 2014 Keeneland January Sale in foal to Pioneerof the Nile. She returned to that auction for last year's November Sale, selling to a Korean entity for $11,000 carrying Maximum Security's full-sister. Lil Indy and her filly were purchased by SF Bloodstock and returned to the States this spring. She was bred to Quality Road and sent back through the ring at Keeneland November, selling to Jane Lyon's Summer Wind Farm for $1.85 million. Lil Indy also has a yearling colt by Flashback, who remained in Korea.
CIGAR MILE H.-GI, $750,000, Aqueduct, 12-7, 3yo/up, 1m, 1:36.46, ft.
1–MAXIMUM SECURITY, 122, c, 3, by New Year's Day
1st Dam: Lil Indy, by Anasheed
2nd Dam: Cresta Lil, by Cresta Rider
3rd Dam: Rugosa, by Double Jay
O-Gary & Mary West; B-Gary & Mary West Stables Inc. (KY);
T-Jason Servis; J-Luis Saez. $412,500. Lifetime Record: 9-7-1-0,
$1,801,900. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Spun to Run, 120, c, 3, Hard Spun–Yawkey Way, by Grand
Slam. ($64,000 2yo '18 EASMAY). O-Robert P. Donaldson;
B-Sabana Farm, LLC (KY); T-Juan Carlos Guerrero. $150,000.
3–True Timber, 116, h, 5, Mineshaft–Queen's Wood, by Tiznow.
($170,000 Wlg '14 KEENOV). O-Calumet Farm; B-Mr. & Mrs.
Marc C. Ferrell (KY); T-Kiaran P. McLaughlin. $90,000.
Margins: 3HF, 2, HF. Odds: 1.30, 2.25, 32.50.
Also Ran: Looking At Bikinis, Forewarned, Bal Harbour, Whitmore, Network Effect, Nicodemus, Pat On the Back, Tale of Silence. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.