NEW YORK (July 18, 2019) – Maximum Security, who finished first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified, headlines a talented field of seven 3-year-olds in the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Invitational, which will be broadcast live from Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J this Saturday, July 20 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – Presented by America’s Best Racing.” Saturday’s show marks the fourth of 11 telecasts in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Win and You’re In Series – Presented by America’s Best Racing” on NBC and NBCSN from some of America’s most iconic racetracks. The series leads to the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 1-2 on NBC and NBCSN. Complete series TV schedule can be accessed here: http://www.breederscup.com/challenge-series The TVG.com Haskell winner will earn an automatic berth into the 1 ¼-mile, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
NBC Sports’ coverage of the Haskell will be hosted by Nick Luck, who will be joined by analysts Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, reporter Laffit Pincay III and reporter/handicapper Eddie Olczyk.
Maximum Security, owned by Gary and Mary West and trained by Jason Servis, crossed the wire first in the Kentucky Derby on May 4, but became the first horse in the history of the “Run for the Roses” to be disqualified for interference at the top of the stretch. The controversial finish was the first career defeat for the son of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day. Maximum Security won the Florida Derby in March prior to the Kentucky Derby.
“This race is really important in the campaign for the 3-year-old champion. The Haskell could be critical,” said Servis at Wednesday’s post-position draw, when Maximum Security drew the No. 7 post and was installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite.
In his first start since the Derby, Maximum Security finished second by a length to Red Oak Stable’s King for a Day in the 1 1/16-mile Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth on June 16. Trained by Todd Pletcher, King for a Day has won three of five starts, including a 2 ½-length score in the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day.
“This is a big step up from the Pegasus, but he’s an enthusiastically training colt. He’s had three solid works and I couldn’t be more delighted with the way he’s coming into the race,” said Pletcher, who has assigned Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez to ride King for a Day from post 1 the 5-2 third choice.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert holds the Haskell training record with eight wins, which includes the 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and become racing’s first Grand Slam winner.
For Saturday, Baffert ships in from his Southern California base Michael Peterson’s Mucho Gusto, a winner of 5 of 7 lifetime starts, and the 2-1 second choice. A chestnut son of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man, Mucho Gusto comes into the Haskell off consecutive wins at Santa Anita in the seven-furlong La Brea Stakes on May 18 and in the1 1/16-mile Affirmed Stakes on June 16.
“He shipped really well and he couldn’t be doing any better,” said Baffert. “After he won last out (in the Affirmed) I thought he was ready for this. He deserves his chance to take on Grade 1 company.”
Among the other challengers in the Haskell are Jeff and Michael Fazio’s Joevia, who finished third in the Belmont Stakes, and Calumet Farm’s Everfast, who finished second in the Preakness Stakes.
The Haskell field in post-position order with jockeys and morning line odds is as follows: King for a Day, John Velazquez, 5-2; Joevia, Jose Lezcano, 10-1; Spun to Run, Paco Lopez, 15-1; Bethlehem Road, Luis A. Rodriguez Castro, 20-1; Mucho Gusto, Joe Talamo, 2-1; Everfast, Julien Leparoux, 10-1; Maximum Security, Luis Saez, 8-5.
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 championship races (13 Grade 1 events and one Grade 2 race) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held on November 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Royal Ascot, and Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown. The 2019 Kentucky Derby posted a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 16.5 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms – up 10% from last year’s race (15.0 million) featuring eventual Triple Crown winner Justify and marking television’s largest Saturday audience since the NFL Divisional Playoffs (Jan. 12, 2019).