By Richard Rosenblatt
Maximum Security is out of Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby after it was revealed he is suffering from a colon ailment that is not considered life-threatening.
The announcement was made Tuesday in a news release issued by Monmouth Park.
Maximum Security, who finished first in the Kentucky Derby but was disqualified for interference in the stretch, had a final breeze Monday morning at Parx Racing, site of Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby.
Trainer Jason Servis said that an issue developed later Monday, and that his 3-year-old colt was rushed to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic in Ringoes, New Jersey, where the diagnosis was made by Dr. Janik Gasiorowski.
Maximum Security, winner of the Florida Derby and most recently the Haskell Invitational (G1), had been training well, according to Servis.
“He was doing great,” said Servis. “But I soon as 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.”
The ailment is called a large colon nephrosplenic entrapment. According to The Horse, a guide to equine health care, “Nephrosplenic entrapment occurs when the large colon migrates between the spleen and the abdominal wall and becomes trapped over the nephrosplenic ligament (which attaches the spleen to the left kidney). Affected horses generally display mild to moderate colic signs, and veterinarians diagnose NSE using rectal palpation, abdominal ultrasound, laparoscopy, or celiotomy (exploratory colic surgery).”
“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,” said Servis. “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 is back at Servis’ barn at Monmouth Park. The trainer says he’s uncertain when the horse might return, but he’s holding out hope for the Breeders’ Cup, “or something else that might be out there.”
The development leaves the Pennsylvania Derby with a six-horse field, including Preakness (G1) winner War of Will and Improbable, winner of the Shared Belief Stakes in his most recent start.
Maximum Security was made the 8-5 morning-line favorite before the ailment was announced, with Improbable the 3-1 second-choice. Updated odds are likely to be issued later Tuesday.
Here’s the field in post-position order (horse, trainer, jockey)
- Math Wizard (Saffie Joseph, Jr., Edgard Zayas)
- Improbable (Bob Baffert, Mike Smith)
- Shanghai Superfly (Marcos Zulueta, Frankie Pennington)
- War of Will (Mark Casse, Tyler Gaffalione)
- Spun to Run (Juan Carlos Guerrero, Paco Lopez)
- Mr. Money (Bret Calhoun, Gabriel Saez)