06/11/2001 11:00PM

Flame Thrower OK after surgery

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Flame Thrower, who fractured his left front cannon bone in Saturday's Riva Ridge Stakes at Belmont Park, had surgery Monday in California and "came out of the operation pretty good," his owner, Gary Garber, said Tuesday.

"I guess you'd say we're guardedly optimistic," Garber said. "The break went back together perfect." The surgery was performed by Dr. Wayne McIlwraith.

Garber said Flame Thrower will recuperate at The Thoroughbred Corporation's farm in Bradbury, Calif., not far from Santa Anita. He said no decision will be made on whether Flame Thrower will race again for at least two months. Garber said he already had "seven or eight" calls from farms in Kentucky and Florida inquiring about standing Flame Thrower at stud next year.

Flame Thrower, a 3-year-old colt by Saint Ballado, was one of the nation's leading 2-year-olds last year. His victories included the Del Mar Futurity and Norfolk Stakes. Flame Thrower underwent knee surgery last fall and ran just twice this year, finishing second both times. He has won four times in seven starts.