by Gulfstream Park Press Release
December 21, 2017
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jockey Luis Saez rode six winners on Wednesday’s 10-race program at Gulfstream Park, continuing a blistering start for the 2017-2018 Championship Meet.
The 25-year-old jockey, who captured the 2016-2017 title with 102 wins, currently sits atop the standings with 23 victories, nine more than Tyler Gaffalione.
“We keep working so hard every day. Thank God the trainers and the owners give me the opportunity to ride their horses,” Saez said.
Saez got off to good starts Wednesday, scoring aboard Adios Little Ed ($5.20) in the first race. He also visited the winner’s circle aboard Life Time Citizen ($13.20) in the third, Classic Rock ($5) in the fourth, Benefactor ($4.40) in the sixth, Devilish Romance ($8.40) in the ninth, and Nonsuch ($7.60) in the 10th.
“It’s amazing. I just came here like a normal day,” Saez said. “When I see the horses run good and win, I feel so glad.”
The record for most wins on a program is seven, shared by Jerry Bailey (1995) and Gaffalione (July 4). Saez won six races in a day twice at Calder in 2009 and 2012 and he won five races in a day at Belmont in 2013.
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security exited his dominating triumph in Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park in good order Sunday morning. The 3-year-old son of New Year’s Day continued his unlikely ascension from $16,000 claimer to serious Kentucky Derby (G1) candidate in the 68th Florida Derby, in which he won his fourth race in as many career starts, all during the 2018-2019 Championship Meet, with an unpressured front-running victory by 3 ½ lengths under Luis Saez. Servis watched Maximum Security’s fourth straight victory on a TV in the saddling area. “I watched on the TV over by the jock’s room because I watched the 11th race on that TV and my horse [Restoring Hope] won. So, I said, ‘Yeah, I’m going back to that TV,” Servis said. “When he broke and Luis decided to go and it looked like he was going to get the lead by himself. I said, ‘That’s good.’ Then, I saw 24 [seconds] and I said, ‘Well, that’s good.’ Then, I saw his ears up and I saw the 48.8 or something, I said, ‘This is good,’ because I know he’s going kick. I said, ‘This is really good.’ “Luis walked the dog. He backed them up. I have to give him credit. I think it had a lot to do with it,” he added. “I’m not downgrading the horse, but Luis did a great job.” Maximum Security ($11.60) ran 1 1/8-miles in 1:48.86 to prevail over Bodexpress, a Gustavo Delgado-trained maiden who was sent to post at 70-1. Code of Honor, the March 2 Fountain of Youth (G2) winner, finished third, another 3 ¼ length back and three-quarters of a length ahead of Fountain of Youth runner-up Bourbon War. Hidden Scroll, the 9-5 favorite, finished fifth. Servis plans to continue to campaign his stable at Gulfstream through April while preparing Maximum Security at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training center in Palm Beach County, for a likely run in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs May 4. Maximum Security launched his career with a 9 ¾-length romp in a $16,000 maiden claiming race at Gulfstream Dec. 20 before capturing back-to-back starter optional claiming allowance races by a combined 24 ¾ lengths “Candidly, if you read between the lines, there had to be a reason why I ran him for $16,000. Am I glad I didn’t lose him? Hell, yeah,” Servis said. “Is he training good and sound? Yes. But there was a reason why I ran him for $16,000.” Servis said he didn’t consider Maximum Security as an “attractive” claim at the time. “I claim a lot of horses. If I’m claiming and I see a homebred, I figure they got what they were dealt. It wasn’t like he was an $180,000 yearling,” he said. “I was taking a shot. I didn’t think he would be claimed.” The Florida Derby was a Kentucky Derby qualifying stakes awarding 100 points to Maximum Security, 40 points to Bodexpress, 20 points to Code of Honor and 10 to Bourbon War. The first four finishers rank third, 13th, fourth and 15th, respectively. Code of Honor, who raced well off the slow pace during the early going of the Florida Derby before closing to finish third, came out of the race fine, said trainer Shug McGaughey. “I thought he ran fine. That’s not the type of race he needs with one horse on the lead and everybody taking back. We were kind of in between horses. He had half a racetrack on him. I thought it was pretty game what he did considering the circumstances,” McGaughey said. McGaughey hasn’t firmed up plans for Code of Honor, who is currently stabled at Payson Park. Trainer Mark Hennig reported Fountain of Youth runner-up Bourbon War was “bright, very happy and sound” Sunday morning following his fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby. The late-running Bourbon War trailed all but two horses through a half-mile while racing wide and passed horses late to wind up beaten 7 ½ lengths, three-quarters of a length behind Code of Honor in third. “He’s doing great,” Hennig said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt [the pace] had a large impact on us at least not being third, for sure. I’m not saying we were going to win the race or anything, but I’d like to think with a little pace we could have been a little closer. And a little better trip, too, [instead of] having to go around the whole way. If you look at his trip versus Code of Honor’s, I think that made a big difference.” Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War currently stands 15th with 31 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, pending the outcome of April 6 preps in California, Kentucky and New York. Hennig said the Tapit colt will be pointed to the first Saturday in May. “We’d love to be able to get into the Kentucky Derby on points. If we [have enough] points we’d be confident going forward because he’s a horse you’d like to think leaving here would be good for him to get off a track where it’s hard to close,” Hennig said. “Right now we don’t know what that status is,” he added. “It doesn’t look great, but we’re just going to stand pat and watch how the races run next weekend in the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass and Wood and see where the points stand after that. I think it’ll help indicate to us a little more about where we are.”
Winning Time: 1:48.86 Winning Margins: 3 ½, 3 ¼, ¾ Winning Payoff: $11.60 Order of finish: Maximum Security, Bodexpress, Code of Honor, Bourbon War, Current, Hidden Scroll, Union’s Destiny, Harvey Wallbanger, Everfast, Garter and Tie, Hard Belle. Betting favorite: Hidden Scroll, 9-5 TRAINER QUOTES Jason Servis (Maximum Security, 1st): “The plan was not to go to the lead. I talked to Luis about it. I didn’t want to overread the race. Luis agreed that there was going to be a couple speed horses that might not be as good as a Derby horse, so we were really thinking that we were goin to be laying third. At the end of the day I told Luis, ‘Look, he’s yours. He breaks, and you ride him however you want.’ I worked in the jock’s room for 20 years, and if I heard anything I heard jockeys say, ‘If this guy would have left me alone I could have won this race for him.’ I just wanted to stay out of Luis’ way. It was his decision 100 percent. They went slow early, and the rest is history.” “He wasn’t beating anything, he really wasn’t, but he was three-for-three at the track and I had Luis Saez. I was like, ‘Hello, what’s the downside?’ I’ll leave it to Team West. They’ve got some really good managers and we’ll see what they think they want to do. They’ve got that horse Game Winner, so I don’t know what we’ll decide. I guess I have to cancel my fishing trip in May.” Shug McGaughey (Code of Honor, 3rd): “I thought we were done in the turn and he kind of kept going. I think he tried to get him going early because he could see what was going on. It just didn't work out. I'm not overly disappointed with the way he ran. We’ll have to see how he comes out of it and go from there.” Bill Mott (Hidden Scroll, 6th): “I know the pace wasn’t that fast; we were close enough to the pace. If (Maximum Security) had beat us a head or neck, you say, ‘Well, maybe it would have been nice to take him on earlier.’ He was having a good trip, he was right in behind them. [Jockey Javier Castellano] said he rated beautifully, said he’s push-button, but when he really needed him they kind of opened up on him on the turn and he came up empty. We probably bit off a little more than we could chew at this point. We’ll back off and kind of start over with him.” JOCKEY QUOTES Luis Saez (Maximum Security, 1st): “It was beautiful. He broke so perfect and I just took it. He was traveling beautiful, and when he came to the half-mile pole and you feel the pressure I knew I had a lot of horse and in the stretch he just took off. My plan was if [Hidden Scroll] or somebody else took the lead I’m going to sit because I don’t want to make the race for somebody else. He took it so easy, so I just went with it.” Nik Juarez (Bodexpress, 2nd): “It was a huge effort. I really liked him going into the race and he impressed me the way he ran last time. He’s a young horse that can take dirt and when he finishes, he gives it all he has. Today he did the same exact thing, we just didn’t have enough pace – it was just me and Luis. He wasn’t difficult going into the gate last time out as he was today, but you never know with big days like this, with the weather too and his first time being in front of the crowd he got a little nervous. You can see he’s a very talented horse despite what kind of energy he puts out first.” Javier Castellano (Code of Honor, 3rd): “I didn’t have it today. I think he got tired and it started to catch up with him. We asked a little bit more of him than he’s used to but that’s the game. We start developing these horses and start pointing them to the Kentucky Derby and I think it caught up with him at the wrong time.”