Maximum Security Continues Classic March
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
Five Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In races take place at Santa Anita Park this Saturday, headed by the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) as a prep for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. Despite a short field of five, the race has proven to be a clash of titans with stablemates Maximum Security and Improbable facing some legitimate challengers.
Maximum Security is the headliner in the 1 1/8-mile race. The four-year-old son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day has crossed the finish line first in 11 of 12 starts, but was famously disqualified in the 2019 Kentucky Derby for interference. Since then he has won Grade 1 events in the Haskell, Cigar Mile, Saudi Cup, and Pacific Classic. Conditioner Bob Baffert took over training duties in the spring, and Maximum Security is since unbeaten in two tries. The $12 million earner is reunited with jockey Luis Saez for this.
Stablemate Improbable is riding a two-race win streak, both major Grade 1 events. The 2018 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) winner had a star-crossed sophomore season, winning just once in the Shared Belief Stakes but going favored in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Improbable made his 2020 debut running second in the Oaklawn Mile behind top older horse Tom’s d’Etat, then annexed both the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) and Whitney (G1) over horses like Higher Power and By My Standards. He has earned over $1.5 million and will have Drayden Van Dyke aboard.
Shipping in from the East Coast is popular gray Sleepy Eyes Todd. The son of Paddy O’Prado is coming off a smashing win the in Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, and earlier this year was a stakes winner at Fonner Park. He has won half his 12 starts and picks up Umberto Rispoli for this spot.
Midcourt nearly bested Maximum Security two back when second by just a nose in the San Diego (G2) at Del Mar. The John Shirreffs-trainee was a Grade 2 winner over this trip in February, and has since been Grade 1 placed twice. The son of Midnight Lute will have Victor Espinoza aboard again, and clearly likes the track as he has been top three in six of eight tries here.
Take the One O One rounds out the field. Although undoubtedly a longshot in this spot, the son of Acclamation is coming off a sharp one-mile allowance win last out, and does have two victories over the track. Brian Koriner trains for the Jay Em Ess Stable. Take the One O One was Grade 1 placed here as a juvenile.
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