Sarava, in his Belmont victory.

Sarava, in his Belmont victory.


Sarava Improving: 'Not Out of the Woods Yet'

The condition of 2002 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Sarava was improving on Monday, one day after he underwent emergency colic surgery, but trainer Bob Baffert said New Phoenix Stable's Wild Again colt was "not out of the woods yet."

"He's improved," Baffert said at midday Monday. "The veterinarians said his blood work looked much better, and (principal owner) Gary Drake said his demeanor was getting better, too. But he's not out of the woods yet."

Sarava was sent to the San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in Bonsall, Calif., Saturday night, hours after finishing sixth in an allowance/optional claiming race that was his first start since his upset in last year's Belmont Stakes. The colt cooled out fine after the race, according to Baffert, then began to show symptoms of colic. He was diagnosed with a twisted colon, and Dr. Joe Cannon performed the surgery that did not require any of the colt's intestines to be removed.

"They think it could have happened when he stumbled coming out of the gate," Baffert said. "It might have really jarred him."

Sarava was transferred to Baffert's barn last winter while recuperating from a cannon bone fracture. He was previously trained by Ken McPeek.