09/29/2003 11:00PM

Azeri suffering from an infection


A thorough, post-race checkup of Azeri on Tuesday revealed a high white cell count in her blood, indicative of an infection, which may have caused Azeri's lethargic performance in Sunday's Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, according to her trainer, Laura de Seroux.

"It shows there's something brewing," said de Seroux, who had Azeri examined by Dr. Joe Cannon at the San Luis Rey Equine Clinic, adjacent to San Luis Rey Downs.

"She probably bled in the race as the result of her effort while not feeling well. She wasn't feeling well, she bled, she was giving away 10 to 20 pounds, and she only got beat 2 1/4 lengths. Amazing."

De Seroux said it would probably be "nip and tuck" as to whether Azeri would be ready to race in the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting on Oct. 25, but she said she was "optimistic we can clear this up."

"It's going to be a day-to-day thing, but it's all very treatable," de Seroux said. "It's good to know what was the most likely cause of her bleeding incident."

Azeri's loss in the Lady's Secret ended an 11-race winning streak.