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No Final Decision Yet on Maximum Security's Saudi Cup

First-place money held pending further investigation.

Maximum Security wins the Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack

Maximum Security wins the Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack

Katsumi Saiyo

The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia announced Aug. 10 it would award the prize money to the connections of horses placed second-10th in the Feb. 29 Saudi Cup, a $20 million race held at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, but continue to withhold the first-place money from Maximum Security pending its investigation.

Prize money of $10 million will continue to be withheld from first-place finisher Maximum Security, who then was trained in the United States by Jason Servis, until the JCSA is able to satisfactorily complete its investigation and any inquiry. Servis has been indicted on federal charges related to performance-enhancing drugs and the JCSA would like to see further information from those legal proceedings before making a final decision.

Maximum Security, a son of New Year's Day—Lil Indy, by Anasheed, was bred by Gary and Mary West and raced this year by the Wests and the Coolmore-related team of Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith. The Coolmore-affiliated connections bought into the colt in January.

Maximum Security was named champion 3-year-old male of 2019 based on wins in the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1), Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1), and Cigar Mile Handicap (G1). He finished first in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) but became the first horse in that classic to finish first and be disqualified for racing interference. Following the Saudi Cup he was transferred to the barn of trainer Bob Baffert in Southern California where he won the July 25 San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar.

In a release, the JCSA reported:

This decision has been taken in the interests of safeguarding the integrity of racing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and is based on the following considerations:

Following the running of the 2020 Saudi Cup Servis and others were indicted on charges in the U.S. The sealed indictment, which covers a period of time between 2018 up to February 2020, alleges that Servis administered performance enhancing drugs to horses in his care, including Maximum Security.

The administration of PEDs is prohibited under the JCSA rules and the horseman's guide to the Saudi Cup, to secure the integrity of racing and the welfare of racehorses. Prior to the race the JCSA received no allegation and no indication that Maximum Security had ever been administered PEDs.

However, as a result of the indictment the JCSA received an objection to the participation of Maximum Security in the race. As a result of that objection and the indictment, the JCSA commenced its own investigation into the allegations which was notified to all connections of runners in the race, and to the wider public.

That investigation remains ongoing but has been hampered by the COVID-19 crisis and the fact that the JCSA is not a party to the ongoing legal proceedings in the U.S. Therefore, unless and until the evidence that supports the sealed indictment in the U.S. proceedings is placed in the public domain, that evidence is unavailable to the JCSA's investigation and to any JCSA inquiry.

The JCSA is bound to reach a fair and reasonable decision on the objection and circumstances of Maximum Security's running in the race and it cannot do so without the consideration of relevant evidence that has been gathered by the prosecution authorities in the U.S. proceedings in respect of the sealed indictment.

Therefore, the JCSA cannot properly conclude its investigation and any inquiry by its stewards' committee cannot be commenced without consideration of all relevant evidence including that gathered by the prosecution authorities in the U.S.

The JCSA will make no further comment until the conclusion of the investigation.