Maximum Security has erased the pain of losing the Kentucky Derby with a fighting victory in the inaugural Saudi Cup.
The 1800m-race worth $20 million, came down to a fight between Maximum Security and fellow American Midnight Bisou with Benbatl third.
Twice a winner in Grade One company since his disqualification as the Kentucky Derby winner in May last year, the Jason Servis-trained Maximum Security now races in a partnership that includes Coolmore and his original owners Gary and Mary West.
Mucho Gusto stole a break on the field but Maximum Security was in for the fight as his rival weakened.
“He came here and showed he is the best. This is amazing, I can’t tell you how it feels. This is unbelievable, this is for Panama and America,” jockey Luis Saez said.
“This is the true Kentucky Derby winner. I’m so glad to be on the horse. This is a big deal.”
Trainer Jason Servis said he had grown in confidence in the days leading up to the race.
“I am a bit superstitious and didn’t want to over-talk him,” he said.
“I tried to stay calm, but I was really feeling good the last few days.
gave him a fantastic ride.”
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor was proud of Benbatl, a Group One winner in Australia in 2018.
The Cup was Benbatl’s second race on dirt.
“I’m proud of him,” he said.
“Maximum Security is a very good horse. Now we’ll take him back to Dubai and make a decision on the next race. Maybe he’d be better over 2000 metres so we will think about the big race (Dubai World Cup).”
British bookmakers have Maximum Security the 2-1 favourite for the Dubai World Cup on March 28, with Benbatl on the second line at 5-1 alongside Midnight Bisou.