Horse of the Year finalist Maximum Security won’t be running in the 2020 Pegasus World Cup, according to Gulfstream Park, which hosts the $3 million, invitation-only race.
The announcement was made one week after the three-time Grade 1 stakes winner made the list of 12 horses (and five reserve horses) invited to run in the January 25 race. He is expected to run in the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup on February 29 instead.
The Jason Servis-trained horse crossed the wire first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby but then became the first horse ever to be disqualified from the Derby on the track after stewards ruled he impeded the forward motion of War of Will. The colt by New Year’s Day won the G1 Florida Derby to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, claimed the G1 Haskell in July and finished out the year with a win in the G1 Cigar Mile Handicap. His 2019 campaign was enough to make him a finalist in two Eclipse Awards categories: Horse of the Year and 3-Year-Old male. The Eclipse Awards will be presented on Thursday, January 23 at Gulfstream Park.
Three other horses—John Sadler‘s Gift Box, Bob Baffert‘s Roadster and reserve horse Bravazo—were also taken off the list of invitees, which opened up space for Diamond Oops, True Timber and War Story to move up from the reserve list.
Another three horses were then added to the reserve list: Steve Asmussen‘s Tenfold, California-based Midcourt and Bodexpress, who finished second behind Maximum Security in the G1 Florida Derby and went viral after throwing his jockey John Velazquez out of the gate at the Preakness Stakes (but running the race anyways).
Gulfstream Park also announced invitee changes to the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf. United and Starship Jubilee are out, as are reserve horses A Thread of Blue and Lucullan. This moves up Admission Office and Sacred Life (FRA) from the reserve lists and adds Synchrony, Tusk and American Tattoo (ARG) to the also-eligible pool.
Last month, the Stronach Group announced that the Pegasus World Cup will run entirely medication free for the first time in its four runnings. This comes as part of a growing effort across the industry to improve standards and safety in horse racing after Santa Anita, also owned by Stronach, saw 37 horses die in less than 12 months. All entry fees were entirely waived, and the purse of the marquee race dropped from $9 million to $3 million, while the turf purse went from $7 million to $1 million. Additionally, 2 percent of the purses, which are put up by Stronach, will go to caring for retired Thoroughbred racehorses.
Watch the Pegasus World Cup on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app on Saturday, January 25 from 4:30 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET.