12/05/2001 1:00AM

Conquistador Cielo surgery


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Claiborne Farm stallion Conquistador Cielo, 1982 Horse of the Year and sire of more than 60 stakes winners, underwent colic surgery Wednesday morning and is recovering at Lexington's Hagyard Davidson McGee clinic.

Gus Koch, manager of Claiborne, said Conquistador Cielo began showing signs of colic at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. Claiborne officials shipped Conquistador Cielo, a 22-year-old Mr. Prospector stallion, to Hagyard Davidson McGee, where Dr. Michael Spirito performed a one-hour procedure at 5 a.m. to remove about six feet of the horse's small intestine and resection the bowel.

Koch said that Spirito found a lipoma - fatty tumor - that part of the small intestine had wrapped around and strangulated, a condition that constricts blood flow to tissue.

"The surgery was uneventful, or as uneventful as a bowel resection can be," said Koch.

Conquistador Cielo, whom Koch said had never been troubled before by colic, was recovering at the clinic's medicine unit on Wednesday afternoon.

This is the second bowel resection for a Claiborne stallion since September, when the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Unbridled underwent two colic surgeries. He ultimately was euthanized on Oct. 19.

Woody Stephens trained Conquistador Cielo for Henryk deKwiatkowski. As a racehorse, Conquistador Cielo is best known for winning the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and Belmont Stakes in the same week.

Conquistador Cielo's offspring include Grade 1 winners Marquetry, Wagon Limit, Norquestor, and Conquistarose.