OCEANPORT – Maximum Security came walking through the tunnel at Monmouth Park on Saturday, moving into the paddock like royalty alongside a group of $10,000 claimers set to go postward in the fifth race.
Two weeks after he appeared to win the Kentucky Derby, only to be disqualified and placed 17th for interfering with other horses, he was again the star of the show, as the Preakness Day crowd gatherd around the oval to get a glimpse of the horse many believe is the best 3-year-old in training.
“It’s great to see this. Like I’ve told a few people, it eases the pain a little bit,’’ Servis said.
“I never wished I did social media, and I don’t. But I kind of wish now I did because everyone is telling me there are a lot of people supporting him. I guess it’s because he ran for $16,000 and he’s a Cinderella story. He’s 5-for-5 in my eyes.’’
Fans who frequent a Facebook page titled Monmouth Park Memories collected money and presented Servis with a massive horseshoe of red and white roses as Maximum Security paraded. The winner of the Kentucky Derby is draped with a blanket of roses.
“ The locals have really rallied around this horse,’’ said Bobby Bulger, who runs the Facebook page along with his wife, Lisa.
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“Everybody is so loving,’’ Lisa Bulger said. “Within 24 hours of posting what we were doing I had to start turning people away we had so many who wanted to help.’’
Maximum Security arrived at Monmouth Park on May 7, settling into Servis’ barn on the backstretch, and made his way to the track on Thursday morning.
“It’s great to see him out here for the fans,’’ said Dennis Drazin, the chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park.
Drazin is hopeful Maximum Security will run in the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Invitational on July 20 at Monmouth Park, although Servis indicated no decision has been made about his next race.
“He’s coming back. I’ll probably do something with him next week as far as a breeze (timed workout),’’ said Servis, who gave the horse 10 days off after the Kentucky Derby.
“I think he’s coming around.’’
Stephen Edelson is an Asbury Park Press sports columnist who has been covering athletics at the Jersey Shore for nearly 35 years. He’s passionate about the area’s rich sports history, and the history being made today. Contact him at: @SteveEdelsonAPP; firstname.lastname@example.org.