In this image provided by Benoit Photo, Maximum Security, outside, with Abel Cedillo aboard, overpowers Midcourt, inside, with Victor Espinoza aboard, to win the Grade II, $150,000 San Diego Handicap horse race Saturday, July 25, 2020, at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)
Maximum Security (closer to camera) overpowers Midcourt to win San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Maximum Security, the currently suspended winner of the $20 million Saudi Cup in February, continued his new life in the care of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert with a compelling three-length victory in the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

With the Pacific Classic being part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” programme, he earned an automatic qualification for Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 7 at Keeneland.

Maximum Security was clocked at 2:01.24 for the 2,000 metre trip under Abel Cedillo, the fastest time in the Pacific Classic since Collected ran 2:00.70 in 2017.

“He just galloped around the track,” Cedillo told Bloodhorse. “I was a little surprised that (Sharp Samurai) was with us early and he stuck around. He ran big, but whenever he would get close, my horse would pull away on his own. He still had a little left at the end.:

Previously trained by Jason Servis, Maximum Security’s win in the Saudi Cup is being investigated by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia as federal prosecutors in the United States look into charges of Servis secretly doping horses. The JCSA has withheld Maxium’s Security prize money of $10 million until their complete their own investigations into the matter.

Saturday’s victory gave Baffert a record-tying sixth Pacific Classic, equalling the late Frankel. Baffert began training Maximum Security this spring.

“He’s a top horse. People need to know he is the real deal,” Baffert told TVG. “It’s a shame what he’s gone through. It’s not his fault, but he is a great horse.

“I felt a lot of pressure because I didn’t want to be the one to slow him down. But I got a healthy horse from the Wests. He just galloped around out there.

“He’s just built like a powerful horse, and he’s light on his feet. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him because I’ve been chasing him. We were expecting something like this.”