Bramlage: ‘Nothing Seriously Wrong’ With Maximum Security But A Break Would Be Good

by | 03.21.2020 | 6:02pm
Maximum Security with groom Milton Hernandez

Maximum Security, one of the horses at the center of the recent federal horse doping indictments, was found to have no serious issues after an exam and series of images taken by Dr. Larry Bramlage this week. Owner Gary West sent the horse Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., after learning the colt may have received performance-enhancing drugs from former trainer Jason Servis.

Bramlage performed a complete set of radiographs, a nuclear scintigraphy scan, and a thorough soundness exam on Maximum Security. Bramlage's soundness exam protocol requires horses to jog in straight lines and in circles on a paved surface to more easily detect asymmetrical movement from right to left.

Bramlage's report indicated he found lameness at a grade of 1/5 on the standardized scale used by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. A rating of one corresponds with lameness that is “difficult to observe and is not consistently apparent.” Bramlage noted 1/5 lameness in both front legs on circles only — the horse looked perfectly sound jogging back and forth on straight lines. Bramlage then blocked the lower front cannons, meaning he administered a temporary numbing agent to those nerves to be sure he had localized the lameness correctly. Afterwards, he detected the same low-grade lameness in the hind legs, but similarly only when the horse was jogged in circles. In all cases, Maximum Security seemed to favor whichever leg was to the inside of the circle, which is typical for mild lameness impacting more than one leg.

Imaging later showed some subchondral bone bruising in all four limbs, localized to the lower cannon bones. This is considered typical wear and tear for a horse in training long-term, and not indicative of a permanent or serious injury. In most cases, a horse can heal this type of bruising with time.

Bramlage stated the horse's prognosis is favorable.

“I can find nothing seriously wrong with him,” he wrote. “If you were not going through him with a detailed exam you would not see any issues. He is starting to accumulate some subchondral bone inflammation/bruising on all four cannon bones, but that would not be surprising for a horse that has been in serious high level training for 18 months.

“The planned break from continuous training is a good plan to let him reverse the accumulating inflammation before he trains on.”

A complete blood chemistry panel came back normal. Bramlage was not tasked with finding the presence of illegal or performance-enhancing drugs in Maximum Security.

Several states have announced stand-down periods for all horses coming from the barns of indicted trainers while officials wait for any performance-enhancing drugs to clear their system.

West released the following statement alongside the report:

“Since Maximum Security raced in several jurisdictions, it was requested that the laboratory responsible for testing samples in each jurisdiction conduct the blood testing to determine the presence of any prohibited medications to include SFG-1000 during any of Maximum Securities previous races.

Additionally, all other horses previously in the care of Jason Servis either have already had samples drawn in the jurisdictions where they are located or will be tested by the Kentucky State veterinarian on Monday and all official results will be released when they are available.”

According to the federal indictment, there is no test available in the United States for SGF-1000 or the other drugs allegedly administered by Servis and others to horses in their care for the purpose of performance enhancement. Documents revealed conversations between Servis and others indicating that every horse in his barn received SGF-1000 as of March 2019.

See a copy of Bramlage's report and accompanying imaging here.

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