Sidelines with John Clay

Owner says Maximum Security will not run in Belmont Stakes

There will not be a War of Will versus Maximum Security rematch in the Belmont.

Gary West, owner of Maximum Security along with his wife, Mary, e-mailed Bill Finley of Thoroughbred Daily News on Sunday saying that the horse who crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby will not run in the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

“We are not looking at the Belmont because the trainer thinks he needs more time to recover from the Derby and, with us, the horse comes first,” West wrote. “Maximum Security will tell us when he is ready to run.”

Trained by Jason Servis, Maximum Security was disqualified and placed 17th in the Derby after he impeded War of Will in the turn for home at Churchill Downs. Country House, who finished second, was declared the winner. Neither Maximum Security nor Country House ran in last Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, won by War of Will.

Mark Casse, the trainer of War of Will, said Sunday that the plan is to run his horse in the Belmont, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown.

“There are only three Triple Crown races and they’re pretty important,” said Casse, who picked up his first classic win on Saturday. “I think if you can do it, you should do it.”

Casse also said he received a congratulatory e-mail from West, who had previously issued a $5 million challenge to each horse (War of Will, Country House, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress) Maximum Security was judged to have affected in the Kentucky Derby. West said he would bet the owner of each horse $5 million that his horse would finish in front of the opposing horse in their next head-to-head meeting.

Country House’s trainer Bill Mott has already said that his horse will not run in the Belmont. Country House developed a cough after the Kentucky Derby and spent time at Rood and Riddle veterinary hospital in Lexington. He recently returned to Churchill Downs.

Mott has indicated that Tacitus, who finished third in Kentucky Derby after winning the Wood Memorial, is being prepped for the Belmont.

Belmont Stakes

When: June 8

Where: Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.


Purse: $1.5 million

Distance: 1 1/2 miles

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