10/08/2002 12:00AM

Left Bank dead after colic surgeries

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Multiple Grade 1 winner Left Bank died Monday in Lexington after suffering complications from colic surgery, trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed Tuesday.

Left Bank first showed signs of colic trouble at Saratoga in August. Pletcher sent the colt from Saratoga to the equine hospital at Tufts University in Massachusetts, where he underwent abdominal surgery on Aug. 10. The surgery occurred seven days after Left Bank's victory in the Whitney Handicap, in which he equaled the track record of 1:47.00 for 1 1/8 miles.

Pletcher said Tuesday that the colt later shipped to Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., and had undergone a couple of surgeries since then.

"He was a very special horse to me, because he was such a good horse and because he had a lot of personality," Pletcher said, adding that the only other time Left Bank had been out of his care for a lengthy time was when he had colic surgery as a 2-year-old. "He had 12 feet of small intestine removed, and we were lucky he came out of that and accomplished as much as he did."

Ashford Stud, where Left Bank, a 5-year-old French Deputy horse, had been recovering from surgery, did not return calls Tuesday.

Michael Tabor, a major client of Ashford's owner Coolmore Stud, campaigned Left Bank. Tabor purchased Left Bank in 1999 for $600,000 at Fasig-Tipton's February 2-year-old sale at Calder Race Course.

Left Bank, a son of the stakes-placed Dr. Blum mare Marshesseaux, won 14 of his 24 starts. His three Grade 1 victories came in the 2002 Whitney, the 2001 Cigar Mile Handicap, and Vosburgh Stakes. Left Bank also set a seven-furlong track record of 1:20.00 earlier this year at Belmont when he won the Grade 2 Tom Fool. Left Bank raced for four seasons and won at least one race in each of those years.

At his death, Left Bank's career record stood at 24-14-2-0 and he had total purse earnings of $1,402,805. Left Bank was the best foal to date for his dam.

Left Bank's colic was the first in a grim series of events for Pletcher. Two days after Left Bank departed for his initial surgery, Padua Stables' graded stakes winner Freedom's Daughter succumbed to a case of the intestinal disease colitis X. Nine days after that, the Grade 3-placed colt Warners died after developing laminitis; Pletcher had shipped Warners to a Saratoga clinic when the colt showed signs of intestinal problems similar to those exhibited by Freedom's Daughter.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman