Luis Saez celebrates with the trophy along with trainer Jason Servis (far left) and his son Garrett.
The $20 million Saudi Cup, run for the first time this year, takes over the title of the world's richest horse race. A full field of 14 older horses contested this 1800 meter (about 1 1/8 mile) trip around one turn of the 1 1/4 mile dirt track at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh. Conditions were excellent on racenight, with clear skies and temperatures in the high 70's with the main track rated fast. Maximum Security was sent off as the 6-5 favorite off wins in the Haskell (G1), Bold Ruler (G3), and Cigar Mile Handicap (G1). In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice McKinzie, second in the Awesome Again (G1) and Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), and 6-1 third choice Mucho Gusto, winner of the Pegasus World Cup (G1).
Maximum Security leads down the center with Midnight Bisou on the rail in the stretch
This win catapulted Maximum Security to number six on the all time earnings list.
8th RACE King Abdulaziz - The Saudi Cup 7 Maximum Security 4.40 3.40 2.80 14 Midnight Bisou 8.00 4.00 1 Benbatl 9.00 Running time - 1:50.58 $1.00 EXACTA 7-14 22.40 $1.00 TRIFECTA 7-14-1 241.90 $1.00 SUPERFECTA 7-14-1-10 1,247.70
for the race from Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia which includes a link to the video replay.
Maximum Security returns after the race. Winning trainer Jason Servis said, "You know, I was a little upset with Irad Ortiz (aboard Mucho Gusto) who kept me tearing me out down the backside and who carried me out in the turn and when Max dropped inside he came down on me, but that is a story for another day. Really, that horse has got a lot of heart, he is some horse, he is amazing. It's got to be some vindication. He ran hard, I thought he was creased up in behind. He was really doing good. I am a bit superstitious and didn't want to over-talk him but the last three days, when he breezed the mile and one (1800m), he just ran and came off the track there was just a presence about him and I tried to stay calm, but I was really feeling good the last few days."
Right: The trophy presentation for the inaugural Saudi Cup.
Maximum Security in the walking ring.
Right: Maximum Security in the post parade. Note that jockey Luis Saez is wearing the silks of new co-owners Coolmore rather than the pink silks of original owners Gary and Mary West. M.V. Magnier of Coolmore said, "All I can is that we are very lucky people that Gary and Mary West let us into the horse and all I can say, it is an absolute credit to the two gentlemen on my left, the job they have done with this horse, it's quite incredible. There were a couple of flutters all right, but Jason was very confident beforehand. The best man was riding. He gave him a fantastic ride."
Maximum Security at the test barn after the race. Servis added, "Seven (post position) in the Florida Derby, seven in the Kentucky Derby, seven in the Haskell, he drew the seven in the Pennsylvania Derby and that is when he ended up in the clinic, and then when he drew the seven for this race, I was a little apprehensive about sending Garrett (son and work-rider) up to the stage because I was thinking if he draws 13 or 14 he will feel bad. When he pulled out the seven I texted Mary West and she is like 'you are kidding, right?' It's a good story. I have a great team with Coolmore and the Wests and they have great managers. We will have a conference call tomorrow morning and take it from there."
Winning jockey Luis Saez said, "Oh my god, this is amazing, to win the race, to be here, to travel from far away and to have a victory for United States, for Panama, for all my people, this is something I don't have words for. This is the true Kentucky Derby winner. I'm so glad to be on the horse. This is a big deal. I would like to thank god, the owners for letting me ride the horse and I would like to thank my brother. I know you are watching me, I love you."
Left: Second place finisher Midnight Bisou in the post parade. Jockey Mike Smith said, "She ran so well and I am so proud of her. She ran awesome. I did everything but we didn't come first, but she won, do you know what I am saying? Amazing weekend." On Sunday, the Saudi Jockey Club stewards suspended Smith for 9 days for excessive use of the whip and fined him $210,000 (60% of the prize money earned).
Right: Midnight Bisou at the test barn after the race.
Left: Third place finisher Benbatl returns after the race. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said, "I'm proud of him. Maximum Security is a very good horse. Now we'll take him back to Dubai and make a decision on the next race. Maybe he'd be better over 2000m, so we will think about the big race."
Right: Benbatl crosses the finish line with fourth place finisher Mucho Gusto. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "I don't know what happened. (Mucho Gusto) broke like a shot and he just got tired. Those are good horses. (With regard to the pace), it looked like he was doing it easy. Turning for home I thought it was going to be like Gulfstream Park (where he came from behind to win the Pegasus) but he just got outrun." Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was suspended 10 days, 8 for a race during the Jockey Challenge and 2 for his ride aboard Mucho Gusto, plus a fine of 10% of his prize money.
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