Throughout his controversial career, people may have said some different things about Maximum Security. But if you watched the 2020 edition of the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 25, there is one word that is no doubt applicable to this amazing athlete…Heart.

Always a hard-knocker, his 11 race career has seen some courageous performances. There has only been one occasion that he didn’t cross the finish line first (2019 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth) and despite the challenges, he has always found a way to the wire.

The San Diego was his first start for trainer Bob Baffert and the screws were not completely tight just yet. Facing an accomplished field, this “tune-up” was certainly no gimme. But here he was, ready to prove there was plenty of substance behind those heroic runs of the past.

The gates opened and the field immediately took it to Maximum Security. Surging to the lead under Victor Espinoza, Midcourt made it obvious this would be no cake walk. Stalking a moderate pace, Max was three lengths behind as they turned for home.

Under the urging of first time rider Abel Cedillo, Maximum Security drew even in deep stretch. As the wire drew ever closer, Midcourt refused to succumb. As these two masses of four-legged muscle were locked in battle, neither would give. Refusing to lose, Maximum Security dug deeply and found a way to get up be a nose at the finish.

When challenged Maximum Security responded. Displaying the heart of a real champion, this four-year old son of New Year’s Day showed us what he is made of.

Next up is likely the Pacific Classic, also run at Del Mar. Will we see more of that amazing heart…I think that’s a pretty safe bet.