Past the starting gates of the King Abdul Aziz Racetrack, jockey’s lined up for the most prized horse race in the world. In a breakneck race last Saturday in Jeddah, the American thoroughbred Maximum Security dethroned the champion clinching the record-breaking sum of $10 million.
Ridden by the Panamanian Luis Sanchez, they managed to take home the Saudi trophy after an unprecedented disqualification at the most important race in America last year. The controversial call of interference, for impeding the path of another horse, sparked an animated debate on how the sport is governed.
One year after this debacle, the dynamic duo came back stronger than ever.
An impressive prize purse
This inaugural event dethrones the Pegasus World Cup in Florida as the world’s most-prized race.
The total sum of $29.2 million was dispersed among eight races, however, most of the attention was turned towards the highly anticipated Saudi Cup, the last race, holding a whopping $20 million prize. The winner, Maximum Security pocketed $10 million while the rest of the field split the remaining $10 million.
“The introduction of the Saudi Cup as an international race is, without doubt, the most significant event in the history of horse racing in Saudi Arabia,” Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal announced in an official statement.
The second American runner Midnight Bisou dueled in the tight race earning silver in an impressive comeback from the back of the pack. Its jockey Mike Smith kept her on the rail and almost caught Maximum Security in the 1 1/8-mile race.
The top two horses are native to the United States while the British Benbatl, coming in third, trains between England and Dubai. His Emirati trainer Saeed bin Suroor rejoiced over the performance; which was only the third time the horse raced on dirt.
The win increased Maximum Security’s career earnings to $11,801,900, adding to victories in the Cigar Mile, Haskell Invitational and Florida Derby.