Midcourt

‘Max’ Back On Big Stage in Pacific Classic

The last time Maximum Security (New Year's Day) traveled 10 furlongs, he crossed the wire first before the disqualification heard around the world in the GI Kentucky Derby. A ton has happened with the colt in the year-and-change since then: an Eclipse championship, a buy-in from Coolmore, a trip across the world to win the G1 Saudi Cup, doping allegations, a barn switch. Through it all, the horse who controversy seems to follow like a shadow will return to 1 1/4 miles and Grade I company with questions to answer...

[ Read More ]
This Side Up: Maximum Respect for Security ‘Measures’

It's not his fault. But the fact is that Maximum Security (New Year's Day) has become one of the most chronicled, most contentious Thoroughbreds of recent times. From a lawsuit over his disqualification at Churchill, to the scandal engulfing his former trainer, to his frozen Arabian treasures, to the merit (or otherwise) of his debut for a new barn, one way or another, this extraordinary creature cannot keep out of the headlines. If feeling mischievous, indeed, one might almost say that he will not be the only polarizing incumbent facing...

[ Read More ]
Maximum Security Exits San Diego in Good Order; Pacific Classic or Woodward Next

Champion Maximum Security (New Year's Day) was "good" Sunday morning following an all-out effort for a nose victory in Saturday's GII San Diego H. at Del Mar, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert told the Del Mar notes team. "I actually thought he was pretty good right after the race being that I only had him about 80%," Baffert said. "I didn't think he'd have to do a stop-and-go movement [during the race] but he showed what a great horse he is." Making his first start for Baffert, first in...

[ Read More ]
Maximum Security Just Gets Up in Dramatic San Diego Return

It's never easy being the hunted. Making his first start since the federal indictment of his former trainer Jason Servis and sent out for the first time by trainer Bob Baffert, Eclipse Award winner Maximum Security (New Year's Day) looked destined for defeat in Saturday's GII San Diego H. But the 4-year-old, last seen winning the $20-million Saudi Cup nearly five months ago, overcame some aggressive race riding and perhaps some ring-rustiness to grab Midcourt (Midnight Lute) to take it by a nostril. Given a positive ride from the gates...

[ Read More ]
This Side Up: Man of Honor Out to Catch a Rising Tide

In a landscape where so many fixed points have suddenly melted into a mirage--Saturday, remember, was supposed to be the final leg of the Triple Crown--trainers are perhaps better qualified than most to navigate a way forward. For the unchanging cycles of the backstretch, feeding horses and breezing them and hosing them down and walking the shedrow, must be constantly adapted to the flesh-and-blood unpredictability of the Thoroughbred. In normal times, at least, races are like the high tide: consult the handbook, and you'll know post-time to the minute. Then...

[ Read More ]
Six Go for Gold

The late-blooming 5-year-old Midcourt (Midnight Lute) will look to record his first win at the highest level in Saturday's GI Hollywood Gold Cup. The authoritative 2019 GIII Native Diver S. and 2020 GII San Pasqual S. winner was a close third as the 3-5 favorite when last seen going this same 1 1/4-mile distance in the GI Santa Anita H. Mar. 7. Trainer John Shirreffs takes off the blinkers for this. Higher Power (Medaglia d'Oro), fifth in this race last year, broke through in a big way with a dominating...

[ Read More ]
Strength and Honor

As Honor A. P. (Honor Code) was gearing up for his career debut at Del Mar last summer, owner Lee Searing had some fun with trainer John Shirreffs while inquiring about a potential rider for his stunning $850,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling acquisition. "I asked John, it wasn't like I didn't know, and said, 'Who are you going to be putting on this big horse,'" Searing said of the veteran conditioner widely known for playing his cards close to his vest. "He said, 'Well, I don't know Lee.' As we got...

[ Read More ]
Roadster Kicks Off 2020 in San Pasqual

Speedway Stable's Roadster (Quality Road) looks to kick off 2020 on the right hoof Saturday in the GII San Pasqual S. at Santa Anita. The 'TDN Rising Star' has not visited the winner's circle since denying champion stablemate Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the track-and-trip GI Santa Anita Derby last April. Second behind fellow Baffert trainee and recent GI Pegasus World Cup romper Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man) in the GIII Affirmed S. in Arcadia in June, the gray was given the rest of the summer off and came...

[ Read More ]
Three Added to Pegasus

Graded-stakes winners Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC's Tenfold (Curlin) and C R K Stable's Midcourt (Midnight Lute) and Grade 1-placed Bodexpress (Bodemeister), campaigned by Top Racing LLC, Global Thoroughbreds LLC and GDS Racing Stable, were added Sunday to the formal list of invitees to the Jan. 25 GI Pegasus World Cup World Cup at Gulfstream Park. Winner of the GII Jim Dandy S. at three, Tenfold added a victory in the GIII Pimlico Special last season. In 2019, Midcourt reeled off four consecutive victories, including the GIII Native Diver S. at Santa...

[ Read More ]