HRI EDITED RELEASE—The defection of Maximum Security leaves the Pennsylvania Derby, which will be televised on NBC from 5-6 p.m. EDT, with a field of six.
“That is horrible, you hate to see that,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who is sending Improbable from California to run in the Pennsylvania Derby. “As a trainer, you never wish anybody any bad luck. I just hope he is all right and it’s nothing serious. He was definitely the horse to beat.”
Improbable was the 3-1 second choice in the original morning line and now goes as the 8-5 favorite on the revised line released by Parx Racing oddsmaker John DaSilva Monday afternoon. The full field, with revised morning-line odds: Math Wizard (6-1), Improbable (8-5), Shanghai Superfly (30-1), War of Will (4-1), Spun to Run (8-1) and Mr. Money (2-1).
The Pennsylvania Derby would have been the first time Maximum Security and War of Will, the two horses at the center of the Kentucky Derby controversy, had met since that race. War of Will was trying to come off the rail approaching the top of the stretch in the Derby and was impeded by Maximum Security and jockey Luis Saez, who came out several paths.
“They are animals, not machines,” said Mark Casse, War of Will’s trainer. “Too many times, people believe they go out and just go around there. It doesn’t work that way. They get sick. They don’t feel good. Just like us.”
The Pennsylvania Derby is the centerpiece of Saturday’s 13-race card. The card also includes the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies, a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
“I mean, he’s the Derby winner … unofficially,” Baffert said. “People wanted to see a true race horse. It’s on TV. It’s a big deal. I never get excited until I put the saddle on them. I just feel real bad for the connections.”