Kentucky Derby Make the Case: Maximum Security and Spinoff

April 23rd, 2019

Because 20 horses enter into the Kentucky Derby starting gate, there’s a chance that many runners will offer overlay odds. Two of those horses offering overlay odds on May 4 should be the Todd Pletcher trained Spinoff and the Florida Derby winner, Maximum Security.

Both are quality three-year-olds who deserve to be in the starting gate. But, questions surround both, which is why to get a real idea of whether either has a shot at Derby glory, it’s best to take a closer look at both.

The Derby Case For & Against Maximum Security and Spinoff

Derby Case for and against Maximum Security

For some horseplayers, it’s difficult to make the Kentucky Derby case for the Florida Derby winner. He doesn’t look like a horse that can win on the first Saturday in May. Maximum Security isn’t overly impressive physically, and he’s not a great work horse, but every time he’s run, he’s won.

His first victory was in a $16,000 maiden claimer. He beat that field by 9 ¾ quarter lengths. Immediately after the win, Jason Servis must have let out a sigh of relief because nobody had claimed him. In his next race, a $50,000 optional claimer, he dominated his foes by 6 ½. He won his third race, another $50,000 optional claimer, by 18 lengths before winning the Florida Derby by 3 ½.

Sure, the maiden claimer stands out, but Servis didn’t know what he had while the slow works are by design. Jason Servis said he’s training him at a mile, not 4 furlongs. The work tab says 4 furlongs.

That’s the thing. Servis doesn’t have to train him for speed. Maximum Security has natural speed that he can use pretty much whenever he wants. Even more important than that? He runs relaxed, which means he probably doesn’t need the lead to win. Stamina? His grandsire is Street Cry while his broodmare is Justwhistlindixie, who won races from 6 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.

Those are the positives. There’s really a single negative. Nobody can argue that he didn’t get away with an easy, a phenomenally easy, lead in the Florida Derby. Nobody pressed him. So, there’s no telling what he might do if he doesn’t get the lead on May 4. Then again, any horse that does press him too hard early, even Omaha Beach, will be in for a fight.

Derby Case for and against Spinoff

Making the Kentucky Derby case for Spinoff isn’t as hard as it looks. This Todd Pletcher trained Hard Spun runner might be coming up to a huge race. He broke his maiden back in June and then finished third in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. Pletcher put him in an allowance race at Tampa Bay that he won. He ran excellent in the Louisiana Derby even though he didn’t win, losing to By My Standards by three-quarters of a length.

The Louisiana Derby is the race that gives him a shot. Spinoff had to go 4-wide to get the lead. Once he did, he looked like a winner until By My Standards ran by him on the inside. If not having to go wide, he might have held off By My Standards. He also suffered a bump after the break. A lot happened to Spinoff in the Louisiana Derby and he still managed to accelerate in the lane and keep every other horse at bay save for By My Standards.

Pletcher training is most definitely a positive while he’s very well bred. Also, Spinoff’s Brisnet speed rating in the Louisiana Derby is on par with what Maximum Security got after his Florida Derby win. The 102 is a point less than Tacitus’ 103.

Are there any knocks? He did seem to hang when By My Standards confronted him in the stretch. He also gets a new jockey in Manuel Franco because John Velasquez will ride Code of Honor in the Derby. Franco can ride. The jockey change shouldn’t be a big deal.

There is a chance Spinoff peaks in the Derby. One thing to note, his Brisnet speed ratings have climbed with each and every race. Spinoff is a long shot with a real chance of wearing the garland of roses while Maximum Security might end up my Derby pick. Both horses have real shots of winning the Run for the Roses.