Bloodlines: Maximum Security Casts ‘Bold’ Reflection In Victory

The most notorious racer in America, Maximum Security, put his foot down in style at Belmont Park and won the seven-furlong Bold Ruler Stakes in quick time, 1:20.76. The bay son of New Year’s Day (by Street Cry) had missed a much-anticipated race in the Pennsylvania Derby due to an episode of colic but showed that he had recovered well in the Bold Ruler.

Leading throughout the race to win by 1 ¾ lengths, Maximum Security has now won six of his eight starts, losing only the Pegasus Stakes (prep for the Haskell) and the Kentucky Derby (on disqualification).

A Kentucky homebred for Gary and Mary West, Maximum Security is miles the best racer by his sire, who sired the Grade 1 winner while standing at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Kentucky but who had been sold to stand in Brazil at Stud Eternamente Rio prior to the colt’s successes. Following the top-class victories of Maximum Security, however, Shadai Stallion Station purchased the 8-year-old stallion and will stand him in Japan next year at its facility on Hokkaido.

Shadai is gambling that a stallion who can produce a racer with the ability of Maximum Security can do it again, and no doubt the stud operation would love to see the handsome bay win an Eclipse Award for divisional champion. In the meantime, however, Code of Honor (Noble Mission) and others have collected honors to make themselves viable candidates for leading 3-year-old.

It is interesting, then, that the great racer and sire for whom Maximum Security’s comeback race was named found himself in a similar situation 62 years ago.

After winning seven of his first eight races at 2, Bold Ruler (Nasrullah) was accepted as the divisional leader till he lost the 1956 Garden State Stakes to Calumet Farm’s Barbizon (Polynesian) and then was eased in the Remsen. Winner of the season’s richest race, Barbizon was named the champion 2-year-old colt.

The Calumet colt did not win a single important race at 3, but Bold Ruler did. Prior to starting favorite for the 1957 Kentucky Derby, the Wheatley Stable colt had won both the Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah and the Wood Memorial at Jamaica, plus he finished a fine second to Calumet’s best colt General Duke (Bull Lea) in the Florida Derby, run in record time.

Bold Ruler was fourth in the Derby, which was won by Iron Liege (Bull Lea) from Gallant Man (Migoli) and Round Table (Princequillo). Bold Ruler had defeated Iron Liege all over Florida through the spring, then Gallant Man in the Wood, and the son of Nasrullah bounced back to win the Preakness by two lengths from Iron Liege.

A loss to Gallant Man in the Belmont Stakes and a three-month layoff, however, put Bold Ruler in a very precarious position as divisional leader. So trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons plotted out an ambitious fall program for the Wheatley Stable colt. From early September through early November, Bold Ruler raced seven times, but most importantly, he won six of them.

Carrying 130 pounds, a victory in the Vosburgh Handicap at Belmont by 9 lengths was even a bit more impressive than one by 12 lengths in the Benjamin Franklin Handicap under 136 pounds at Garden State.

Fast as Bold Ruler surely was and impressive as his manner of victory, there was a lingering problem in that both Gallant Man and Round Table had likewise won important races.

Although not endowed with nearly as rich a purse as the Garden State Stakes, the Trenton Handicap at Garden State was proposed as a divisional showdown among the big three colts of 1957. The race made good copy for the racing papers of the day, particularly for the Racing Form and Daily Telegraph, but in the event, Bold Ruler made all the pace, led the entire 10 furlongs, and neither Gallant Man nor Round Table could catch him as the future sire of destiny won by 2 ¼ lengths in 2:01 3/5.

Settled on the racetrack, the issue of relative merit was considered fact, and Bold Ruler was named both divisional champion and Horse of the Year. A winner in 7 of 10 starts at 2 and in 11 of 16 starts at 3, Bold Ruler returned at 4 to win 5 of his 7 starts in a campaign that ended in July, winning the Carter with 135 and the Suburban with 134.

Retired to Claiborne Farm, Bold Ruler was expected to be a good sire, but he became a great one, siring such champions as Bold Lad, Bold Bidder, Successor, Gamely, Lamb Chop, Secretariat, and Wajima. His sons at stud sired champions such as Foolish Pleasure (champion 2-year-old colt, Kentucky Derby winner), Honest Pleasure (champion 2-year-old colt; Florida Derby and Travers), Spectacular Bid (champion at 2, 3, and 4; Kentucky Derby and Preakness; unbeaten at 4), Ruffian (champion at 2 and 3), Revidere (champion 3-year-old filly; Ruffian Stakes), Risen Star (champion 3-year-old colt; Preakness and Belmont Stakes), and Lady’s Secret (Horse of the Year; Whitney Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Distaff).

The lesson of history is that racing is the purpose of the Thoroughbred, and that victory is the toast of the very best.

Depending upon what happens at the Breeders’ Cup this weekend, might a follow-up race for the most important 3-year-old colts be just the thing to settle the questions of merit?

Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank’s lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.

The post Bloodlines: Maximum Security Casts ‘Bold’ Reflection In Victory appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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