Maximum Security Sidelined by Colitis for Pennsylvania Derby Saturday, Possibly Longer

Posted on: September 17, 2019, 07:42h. 

Last updated on: September 18, 2019, 12:37h.

Maximum Security, slated to run in Saturday’s Grade I Pennsylvania Derby, will now miss that race at Parx Racing, as a veterinarian diagnosed the two-time Grade I stakes winner with a bout of colic, his connections announced Tuesday.

Maximum Security (second to right) bumps into War of Will (second to left) during the Kentucky Derby earlier this year. While Maximum Security finished first, his bumping led to being disqualified and placed 17th by racing stewards. (Image: CNN)

The Jason Servis-trained colt worked out at a mile on the Bensalem, Pa., track Monday morning and appeared to be in good condition, Servis said in a statement. However, he was called to the barn later that afternoon.

But as 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,” Servis said.

According to Dr. Janik Gasiorowski, the colic caused Maximum Security’s colon to become displaced, which he said was common in thoroughbreds.

“He just got his displaced tightly enough that it was extremely painful,” Gasiorowski said. “He was sent to our clinic immediately and we managed to get him to correct without doing surgery.”

He called the decision not to race the horse a “wise” choice.

The Pennsylvania Derby post position draw took place on Monday, with the 1-1/8-mile race drawing a field of seven. Maximum Security drew the outside post and was the morning line favorite at 9-5.

Breeders’ Cup Now Questionable

While the issue is not considered life or career-threatening, it does pose a question of whether Maximum Security will be able to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. That race will take place on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park. Servis held out hope his colt could run in the championship race “or something else that might be out there.”

The veterinarian said Maximum Security should need little time to recover physically. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll be in racing shape by then.

“We’re talking a couple of weeks and he will be fine,” Gasiorowski said. “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.”

Improbable Now Favored

Maximum Security’s departure from the race means racing fans will miss out on a highly anticipated rematch between him and Grade I Preakness winner War of Will.

The horses last raced together in the Kentucky Derby. Maximum Security was leading into the final turn but veered into the path of the Mark Casse-trained colt, causing interference with other horses. While none of War of Will’s connections filed an inquiry, two jockeys did. More than 20 minutes after it appeared Maximum Security won the Kentucky Derby, stewards disqualified him in a historic ruling.

After being denied the Kentucky Derby, the Grade I Florida Derby winner would get his second Grade I victory of the year with a win in the Haskell Invitational.

Even without Maximum Security, War of Will won’t assume the role of morning line favorite. In fact, he’ll now be the third choice. Bob Baffert’s Improbable now assumes the favorite role at 3-1, followed by Mr. Money. The Bret Calhoun-trained colt won the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on Derby Day and followed it up with an impressive performance in winning the Indiana Derby. He’s currently at 4-1, with War of Will next at 5-1.