Owner Gary West had some good news and bad news about Maximum Security and Game Winner, the 3-year-old stable stars he owns in partnership with his wife, Mary.
Maximum Security, the pro-tem leader of the North American 3-year-old male division and the likely favorite in Saturday's Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing, is expected to remain in training as a 4-year-old in 2020, said West. Game Winner, however, who won the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and an Eclipse Award as outstanding 2-year-old male of 2018, is finished for the year and may be retired.
“Our intention is to race Maximum Security as a 4-year-old,” West said of the Jason Servis-trained homebred colt by New Year's Day. “There are several farms interested in the horse but I have told them all that now is just the wrong time to talk about Maximum Security going to the breeding shed. I would personally like to see him race next year.”
Maximum Security is the only 3-year-old male to win more than one G1 dirt race in 2019, sandwiching victories in the Florida Derby and Haskell Invitational around a disqualification from first place in the G1 Kentucky Derby.
Winner of four of six starts this year, with a second in the Pegasus at Monmouth Park and being unplaced for interference in the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security drew the outside post in a field of seven for the Pennsylvania Derby and faces, among others, G1 Preakness winner War of Will, beaten Kentucky Derby and Preakness favorite Improbable and multiple graded stakes winner Mr. Money.
Maximum Security breezed three furlongs on Monday morning at Parx, going the distance in a typically slow 41.77 seconds.
West said Game Winner lost weight after being placed fifth in the Kentucky Derby and was doing well going into his comeback race, the G3 Los Alamitos Derby, which he won by five lengths as a heavy favorite on July 13. He had three subsequent breezes for trainer Bob Baffert, the most recent on Aug. 13, but has since been sidelined.
“He got a virus and has been slow to come around,” said West. “Baffert says he will need 60 days to fully recover so there is no chance to make the BC (Breeders' Cup on Nov. 2) and maybe not even the Pegasus (at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25, 2020).
“Therefore, I am in active discussions with several high quality stallion farms about standing Game Winner,” West said. “A decision to race or not race Game Winner next year will be made soon as will a decision as to where he will stand when his racing career is over. In any event, Game Winner will not run again in 2019.”
A 3-year-old by Candy Ride bred by Summer Wind Equine, was 4-for-4 in 2018 but the Los Alamitos Derby is his only victory in four starts this year that include seconds in the G2 Rebel at Oaklawn and G1 Santa Anita Derby.
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