The homebred 3-year-old crossed the finish line first May 4 in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, only to become a different kind of first. He was taken down by the stewards and placed 17th, making him the only horse disqualified from first for a racetrack incident in the 145-year history of the run for the roses.
There's a legal battle in the works over the decision by the Churchill Downs stewards, yet it will finally be back to business as usual June 16 on the racetrack for Maximum Security as he will make his first start since the Kentucky Derby, facing five 3-year-olds in the $150,000 TVG.com Pegasus Stakes at his summer base of Monmouth Park.
The decision to run in the 1 1/16-mile Pegasus proved to be a lengthy one to reach. Plans were not finalized until the morning of the June 13 draw, as trainer Jason Servis was concerned with the 3-year-old's weight and the spacing for a summer campaign that will include the July 20 TVG.com Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park and possibly the Aug. 24 Runhappy Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Bloodwork taken this week came back normal June 12, and Servis entered him the following day, the first step in what could prove to be three races in 69 days (34 to the Haskell, 35 to the Travers) for Maximum Security.
"Maybe I was overreading things a little too much, trying to be overly cautious," Servis said. "He's acting really good and training good, and his bloodwork came back good. So maybe I just overreacted a little bit."
Though he started his career in a $16,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream Park, Maximum Security has finished first in all five of his starts. The son of New Year's Day out of the Anasheed mare Lil Indy won that maiden race by 9 ¾ lengths and scored in his next two appearances in starter races by a combined 24 ¾ lengths before taking the Xpressbet Florida Derby in front-running fashion by 3 ½ lengths in his final start before the Kentucky Derby.
Ridden by Luis Saez, Maximum Security set a fast :22.31 opening quarter in the first leg of the Triple Crown and reached the wire 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Country House.
Several minutes later, an objection was lodged, and Maximum Security was ultimately placed 17th for bumping with War of Will and causing a chain reaction that prompted the stewards to take their unprecedented action.
Maximum Security will be an odds-on favorite in the Pegasus at a track where he has been stabled since May 7.
Servis entered another son of New Year's Day bred by the Wests—M and A Racing's Direct Order, who was given morning-line odds of 12-1. He is the winner of three of nine starts but has yet to finish better than fifth in a stakes.
Trainer Todd Pletcher also entered two starters, Red Oak Stable's homebred King for a Day, who took the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in his 3-year-old debut, and Mathis Stable and Madaket Stables' Last Judgment, who was ninth when he made his stakes debut in the Pat Day Mile Stakes Presented by LG&E and KU on the Kentucky Derby card at Churchill Downs.
The field for the Pegasus also includes Identifier and Caladan.