Maximum Security extended his unbeaten record to four out of four in today’s Gr. 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, the first major lead-up race towards the Kentucky Derby on May 5.
Starting in a lowly maiden claiming race on December 20, Maximum Security won his first three starts by a combined margin of more than 24 lengths. He stepped up to stakes level for the first time today and delivered another dominant performance.
Ridden by Luis Saez for trainer Jason Servis, Maximum Security went straight to the lead and never looked back. He opened up by five lengths at the top of the straight, and he still had a margin of three and a half lengths up his sleeve at the finish line.
“I guess I’ll have to postpone my fishing trip in May,” Servis said.
“He wasn’t beating anything (in his previous starts), he really wasn’t, but he was three-for-three at the track. I was like, ‘What’s the downside (running in the Florida Derby)?’”
Maximum Security is raced by his breeders, Gary and Mary West, who also have last season’s champion two-year-old Game Winner pointing towards the Kentucky Derby.
“I’ll leave it to Team West,” Servis said. “They’ve got some really good managers and we’ll see what they think they want to do. They’ve got that horse Game Winner, so I don’t know what we’ll decide.”
Maximum Security is by the Street Cry stallion New Year’s Day, who won the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for the Wests before his career was cut short by injury. After beginning his career in Kentucky on a US$12,500 service fee, he relocated to Brazil in 2018.
The colt’s dam, Lil Indy, is a half-sister to the multiple Grade One winner Flat Out.
The Florida Derby has the strongest record of any Kentucky Derby lead-up race, with no fewer than 24 winners going on to win at Churchill Downs. There have been six in the last 18 years alone, most recently Always Dreaming in 2017.