Saratoga County Ill; Racing Future Uncertain

Saratoga County Ill; Racing Future Uncertain
Photo: Associated Press
Saratoga County, winning the Dubai Golden Shaheen, faces an uncertain future.
Millionaire sprinter Saratoga County, who captured the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE- I) March 26, is currently ill and in the care of an undisclosed Saratoga Springs, N.Y., veterinary clinic according to the horse's co-owner Richard Pollard.

Pollard, who owns the horse in partnership with his wife Evelyn, said the 4-year-old son of Valid Expectations became ill after being treated by a local veterinarian. Pollard said the horse was being pointed toward the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) in the fall but is currently battling colic symptoms and his racing future remains in question.

"It's tricky (to make an announcement) when there are so many people involved," said Pollard, who also said he is awaiting a clearer picture of the illness. "You have the lawyers, the insurance company, and Vinery (where Saratoga County was to move to stud duty in 2006) to consider, so we can't make any official announcements."

Pollard, who keeps a home in Saratoga Springs, said the horse is faring better than rumors that placed his health in critical condition.

"He's eating, he's (up and) around," Pollard said. "He's not in pain at this point. Evelyn is over there with him twice a day. This horse has had more carrots and apples since he went under the weather--if carrots can cure him he's going to be cured."

Named for the area and stabled in the barn of trainer George Weaver at the famed racetrack, Saratoga County has not posted a recorded workout since his return from Dubai. Prior to winning the $2 million Golden Shaheen--the richest race in the world for sprinters--Saratoga County earned three consecutive wins, including a 2 1/2-length defeat of Limehouse in the Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park in January, and a nose win over Don Six in the General George Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park in February.

"This is such a good horse," said Pollard. "He never really got the recognition and respect he deserved. He had to go out and beat every body to get the respect. It was always Pico Central, Don Six, Limehouse before each race--the only thing he did was win."

The bay colt was bred in Kentucky by Richard Nip and Omar Trevino. He was consigned by the Taylor Made Sales Agency, as agent, to the 2002 Keeneland September yearling sale where he was purchased by pinhookers Tony Bowling and Bobby Dodd for $67,000. Bowling and Dodd, as agents, resold Saratoga County to Evelyn Pollard for $100,000 at the 2003 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s February 2-year-olds in training sale.

Out of the Grub mare Grubs Dancer, Saratoga County has earned the Pollards $1,646,590 in 17 starts.

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