Maximum Security to Miss Pennsylvania Derby Due to Colic

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Maximum Security, shown above shipping from Monmouth Park to Parx Racing Sept. 16, will miss a planned start in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby with a colon issue. (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Two-time Grade 1 winner Maximum Security is out of the Sept. 21, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing because of a large colon nephrosplenic entrapment that developed shortly after the colt returned from a morning gallop on Monday, trainer Jason Servis said Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Servis said that an issue developed with his star 3-year-old late Monday afternoon, and that Maximum Security was rushed to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic in Ringoes, N.J., where the diagnosis was made by Dr. Janik Gasiorowski.

According to the New England Medical and Surgical Center, nephrosplenic entrapment, also known as left dorsal displacement, is a type of colic that occurs when the left large colon gets entrapped over the nephrosplenic ligament. The nephrosplenic ligament connects the left kidney to the spleen in the horse.

Jason Servis feeds Maximum Security carrots in this file photo. (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

“Maximum Security went through a severe, acute bout of colic,” Gasiorowski said in a statement. “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.

“From a physiologic standpoint the horse is going to be recovered in a short period of time. We’re talking a couple of weeks and he will be fine. From a racing, training, and athletic standpoint he needs a little bit of time off. He went through a big episode and he is going to need some time to recover.

“As far as his career goes, there are zero long-term ramifications from what he just went through.”

The medical issue is not considered career-threatening for the son of New Year’s Day, who won this year’s Xpressbet Florida Derby and TVG.com Haskell Invitational Stakes and crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve but was disqualified to 17th for interference on the far turn.

“I’ve spoken to [owners Gary and Mary West] 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.”

Maximum Security had gone a one-mile lick at Parx Monday morning without incident, with Servis saying he was summoned to his barn around 3:30 p.m. because something was amiss with the horse.

“He was doing great,” Servis said. “But as soon I saw him, I could tell he was in trouble so we got him right on the van and sent him to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic.”

Servis does not have a timeframe for a possible racing return for Maximum Security, holding out hope, he said, for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships “or something else that might be out there.”

Maximum Security is currently out of the equine clinic and back in Servis’ barn at Monmouth Park.

“The reason horses going through this survive is because of the rapid response of the veterinary team at the track, the trainer’s involvement, and the fact that Gary and Mary West were willing to act immediately by doing what is in the horse’s best interests,” Gasiorowski said. “They’ve chosen not to race and I think that is a wise decision that puts the horse first.”

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