Azeff Continues to Improve; May Return to Ward Stable

Azeff Continues to Improve; May Return to Ward Stable
Photo: AP/Gail Burton
Yvonne Azeff, with Monarchos prior to the 2001 Preakness Stakes.
Trainer John Ward said his assistant, Yvonne Azeff, continues to make progress from a brain injury she sustained during a training accident in Florida in January.

Azeff, who was in a coma after being thrown from a pony, is living in Louisville, Ky. and receiving therapy. Ward said he has visited his farm in Lexington the past few weekends.

"She has been politicing to come up here," he said.

If she receives permission from her doctors,Ward said Azeff may be able to travel to Saratoga in a few weeks.

"Mentally, she talks a little slower, but she's got a very good thought process," Ward said. "She can sit there at the rail and pick out every horse that she knew last year. The horses that's she never seen before she's able to pick out the very unsoundnesses, stuff like that, she wouldn't know anything about."

Azeff walks with a cane and gets around quite well, Ward said, but is still having a bit of trouble with balance. He said he expects her to resume her duties with his stable.

"I don't know if she'll ever be able to get back on horses, but, yeah, she'll be able to come back," he said. "She's at a point right now where she could function in her job of running the barn. It's just the mobility issue."

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