Just about everyone was prepared to either love or hate the performance of Maximum Security (New Year's Day) in the GII San Diego H. Saturday at Del Mar. Either he would come back and dominate or he would struggle in his first performance outside of the notorious Jason Servis barn. There didn't appear to be much room for a gray area.
But that's where things have landed. He was good enough to win but not so good that he proved beyond any doubt that he is the same horse as he was throughout last year and when winning the $20-million Saudi Cup in February.
The optimist can point to a strangely run race in which Maximum Security set the early pace, was taken back by substitute jockey Abel Cedillo and dropped back to third. That's not exactly the easiest way to win a race, but Maximum Security had a second run in him and just nipped Midcourt (Midnight Lute) by a nose. He showed a lot of determination. Plus, it was his first race in nearly five months and new trainer Bob Baffert admitted Sunday that he didn't have Maximum Security fully cranked up.
WAY IN BERNARD BARUCH UPSET
Somelikeithotbrown, a sneaky-good third after setting a fast pace last out, was left alone on a much easier lead in Sunday=s GII Bernard Baruch S. at Saratoga and parlayed it to an upset victory, leading home a one-two finish for trainer Mike Maker.
Drifting up to over twice his 4-1 morning-line quote, the bay figured to take pressure from second choice Halladay (War Front) to his outside, but instead got loose under Tyler Gaffalione and walked the dog through pedestrian fractions of :24.79 and :49.08. Halladay started to turn up the heat nearing the lane and it briefly appeared as though the frontrunner would get swallowed up, but Somelikeithotbrown re-broke outside the furlong grounds and was always doing enough to hold stablemate Mr Dumas at bay. Cont. p5