Maximum Security forced out of Pennsylvania Derby with colon issue

Maximum Security
Maximum Security

OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) — Maximum Security, the colt who crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby only to be disqualified for interference, won't run in the US$1 million Pennsylvania Derby this weekend because of a colon issue.

Trainer Jason Servis said Tuesday that the Haskell Invitational and Florida Derby winner developed the problem shortly after a workout a day earlier. The 3-year-old colt was taken to a clinic in Ringoes, New Jersey, where the issue was diagnosed as a large colon nephrosplenic entrapment. It's not considered career-threatening.

"Maximum Security went through a severe, acute bout of colic," said Dr. Janik Gasiorowski of the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic. "He got his colon displaced, which is actually very common in thoroughbred racehorses. He just got his displaced tightly enough that it was extremely painful. He was sent to our clinic immediately and we managed to get him to correct without doing surgery."

Gasiorowski said the colt should be fine in a couple weeks but will need more time to recover from "a big episode."

Maximum Security was the 9-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's race. It was supposed to be the first meeting between Maximum Security and War of Will, the horse that Maximum Security was penalized for interfering with near the top of the stretch. War of Will went on to win the Preakness and finish ninth in the Belmont. Maximum Security didn't run in the last two legs of the Triple Crown.

Nephrosplenic entrapment occurs when the large colon migrates between the spleen and the abdominal wall and becomes trapped over a ligament that attaches the spleen to the left kidney.

"I've spoken to the Wests (owners Gary and Mary) and they understand that it's all about the horse. That's first and foremost," Servis said. "There's nothing that anyone could have done to prevent it. It's one of those things that just happens. It's unfortunate and the timing is terrible but that's horse racing."

Servis said Maximum Security completed a one-mile workout Monday at Parx Racing outside Philadelphia without incident, but the trainer was called back to the barn in the afternoon when something was amiss with the colt.

"He was doing great," Servis said. "But I soon as I saw him I could tell he was in trouble, so we got him right on the van."

After his exam, Maximum Security returned to his base at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

Servis said there's no time frame for a possible return to racing for Maximum Security, although he's holding out hope for the Breeders' Cup in early November at Santa Anita.


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