Who Is Maximum Security? Everything You Need to Know About Saudi Cup Favorite

Maximum Security enters the inaugural Saudi Cup as the bookmakers' favorite to land the $10 million prize money reserved for the winner. The four-year-old has won six of his eight starts so far, including three Grade 1 events and is a 5/2 favorite to triumph in the most lucrative race in the sport.

Owned by Gary and Mary West, the colt won the Florida Derby, Haskell Invitational, Bold Ruler Handicap, and the Cigar Mile last year.

Maximum Security also crossed the line first in the Kentucky Derby, only to be disqualified for interference, the first horse in the history of the Churchill Downs event to be disqualified after finishing first.

Trainer Jason Servis remained philosophical over the demotion.

"People say to me the Kentucky Derby was terrible, and it was, but I don't dwell on it," he was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press. "We all know there is more important things in life—I have my health and my family and life goes on. I get up in the morning and get up on my stable pony. I watch the sun rise and watch the horses train—I'm living the dream."

Following the demotion, the Wests opted not enter Maximum Security in the Preakness Stake and the Belmont Stakes.

When he returned to the track in June, he went off as 1/20 favorite at the Pegasus Stake at Monmouth Park, New Jersey, only to fall short as he was beaten by a length by King for a Day.

The four-year-old will start from gate No. 7 on Saturday and Servis is optimistic ahead of the race, which is contested over nine furlongs (1.1 miles, 1,800 metres).

"It's thrilling to come over—the people have been great to put on this show," he added. "It's not about the money, I mean it is, but it's not. He's been exciting for us, to say the least. From the Derby to becoming three-year-old champion, it's been some year.

"I really thinking it was going to quieten down at the end of 2019, but here we are."

Maximum Security, who was sired by 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner New Year's Day, did not take part in the Pegasus World Cup last month, which was won by Mucho Gusto. The latter, one of the five American runners at the Saudi Cup, enters the race as a 6/1 third-favorite.

Servis explained the decision to skip the event in Florida was taken to allow Maximum Security to arrive in Saudi Arabia as fresh as possible.

"It wasn't an easy decision to come here. He's four from four at Gulfstream Park and could have run in the Pegasus World Cup, which is worth $3million, so it was tough.

"The problem was if we ran hard in the Pegasus, we didn't know if we could make here off a short rest, so we opted to skip the Pegasus."

Saudi Cup, Horse Racing
Maximum Security out on the track at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, February 26. Doug De Felice/Jockey Club of Royal Saudi Arabia

Correction 2/29/20, 3:30 a.m. ET: This article was corrected to state that the winner's prize is $10 million.