03/14/2003 1:00AM

Badge of Silver surgery OK

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NEW ORLEANS - Badge of Silver's minor throat surgery went successfully on Thursday afternoon, and the colt will return to training in the next two days.

One of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby after a 10-length win in the Risen Star Stakes, Badge of Silver faded to sixth after taking the lead in the stretch in last Sunday's Louisiana Derby. His connections believe Badge of Silver displaced his soft palate in the race, causing him to lose his air in the stretch run. To keep Badge of Silver from displacing his palate in another race, Dr. Jay Addison performed a myectomy, a relatively straightforward surgery that was performed while Badge of Silver stood in his stall.

Trainer Ronny Werner wanted to train Badge of Silver on Saturday, but Addison told him to wait until Sunday.

"He told me two days, but I'd like to train him tomorrow," Werner said on Friday afternoon. "He's walked too many days, and he's ready to go. I almost had to [tranquilize] him this morning."

Werner said the effectiveness of a myectomy can't really be judged until a horse actually starts in a race. "You can't really tell in the morning, when they're not out there against other horses," Werner said. "We really won't know if it worked until he runs again."