Maximum Security lands first ever Saudi Cup

maximum security, saudi cup, first ever

Riyadh - Maximum Security light up the Saturday night sky by winning the inaugural running of the $20 million centerpiece.

By James Jose

Published: Sat 29 Feb 2020, 10:31 PM

Last updated: Sun 1 Mar 2020, 12:38 AM

As the pitch dark night sky hung over a well-illuminated King Abdulaziz Racetrack, it was indeed a starry affair.
Some of the world's best horses, superstars in their own right, had descended for the first ever million Saudi Cup.
And Maximum Security light up the Saturday night sky by winning the inaugural running of the $20 million centerpiece.
The four-year-old colt from New Year's Day, timed the 1800-metre affair to perfection to clinch the thrilling contest on dirt.
Saddled by Jason Servis and the mount of Luis Saez, Maximum Security won by three-fourths of a length over another American contender Midnight Bisou.
Godolphin's Benbatl, gave an ominous warning ahead of the 25th renewal of the Dubai World Cup, by challenging past Mucho Gusto, to finish third.
Maximum Security, who won the Florida Derby, Haskell Invitational, Bold Ruler Handicap and the Cigar Mile last year, pocketed a $10 million from the prize pool.
"Today (Saturday), it was a historic moment for me and the trainer and the owner and everyone. I'm so glad to be here riding this horse," winning-jockey Saez said after the race.
"We put on a very impressive show. The world was watching and we did it today," he added.
Saez said it was a tough and hard race with so many good and strong horses and paid a glowing tribute to Maximum Security, the grandson of Street Cry, winner of the Dubai World Cup in 2002.
"It was tough. He has an amazing and big heart and he's one of the toughest horses I've seen in my life.
To travel from far away and get victory for the USA and Panama, it's amazing," said the 27-year-old Panamanian.
Meanwhile, Maximum Security's conditioner Servis too echoed Saez in saying that the colt has a big heart.
"Really, that horse has a lot of heart," said Servis.
"He ran hard. He was doing good. Last three days he breezed a mile and he got off the ground well. He had that feeling about him," he added.
Mucho Gusto did the early running with Salem bin Ghadayer's Capezzano close to the rails, while Maximum Security and Benbatl, saddled by Emirati handler Saeed bin Suroor, hung in there within touching distance.
As the race headed towards the business end, Mucho Gusto, the charge of legendary trainer Bob Baffert seemed like he would take the winning post. But Maximum Security, Benbatl and five-year-old mare Midnight Bisou came into the picture.
Maximum Security got past Mucho Gusto and surged ahead while Midnight Bisou and Benbatl scrapped for second.
But Midnight Bisou, the mount of legendary jockey Mike Smith, who had won the stc International Jockeys Challenge, a day earlier, just about held on for second, ahead of Oisin Murphy's Benbatl.
Salem bin Ghadayer's Gronkowski and Capezzano finished 10th and 14th respectively, while Satish Seemar's North America was 13th.

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