Servis runs down Maximum Security's options after colic scare

September 22, 2019 10:30am
Servis runs down Maximum Security's options after colic scare
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Trainer Jason Servis found himself quoting the late Charlie Whittingham on Saturday, likening horses to strawberries. As Whittingham would say, they both spoil quickly.

“Now I know what he’s talking about,” said Servis, who detailed in an interview with TVG’s Tom Cassidy what happened to Maximum Security that counted the colt out of the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) — and what it means for his immediate racing future.

Servis said he was around a happy, healthy Maximum Security at 9 a.m. last Monday, entry day for the Pennsylvania Derby. But by 3:30, his day watchman called concerned about the Gary and Mary West homebred son of New Year’s Day.

“When I got there, they were walking him, and he was trying to get down,” Servis said on TVG. “You could tell he was having signs of colic.”
Maximum Security was rushed to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic in Ringoes, N.J., where Servis said 17 liters of fluid was pumped from the horse’s stomach. It was unable to get to the rest of his digestive system due to a colon nephrosplenic entrapment.

“He got a lot of relief,” the trainer said. “I don’t know if it was the van ride to the hospital or just getting that off his stomach — the colon replaced, and immediately they said he was better.”

There was no surgery, and Maximum Security required just a one-night stay at the clinic before returning to his stall at Monmouth Park. But the Florida Derby (G1) and Haskell Invitational (G1) winner wouldn’t have been back in race shape by Saturday.

“Just being a trainer, I’m guessing by Wednesday, maybe, of next week he probably would be feeling good,” Servis said.

Having spoken to Gary West, Servis said the Breeders’ Cup hasn’t been ruled out. But that appears a longshot, as both owner and trainer agree “it would be hard to run against those horses in the Breeders’ Cup Classic without a prep from the Haskell,” Servis said.

There’s another especially intriguing option in the Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs, where Maximum Security was first across the wire in the Kentucky Derby before controversially disqualified from a win. The Wests’ lawsuit against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission remains open, with Maximum Security’s owners seeking to overturn the decision in court.

“He won over the track,” Servis said. “Maybe I could get a prep before that.”

“…We’re just trying to catch our breath with what happened. When he gets back to the track and all, we’ll figure out what we’ll try to do.”

The 1 1/8-mile Clark runs Nov. 29, the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Servis thanked Maximum Security’s fans during his time on TVG, saying their concern and well wishes were heard.

“I’m glad he’s doing OK,” the trainer added, “and we’ll live to fight another day.”


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