08/11/2002 11:00PM

Left Bank recovering from surgery

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Left Bank on Monday was recovering well following emergency colic surgery on Saturday, but is unlikely to race again, his connections indicated.

"The surgery was a success," trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning. "He's come out of the surgery well. He's in good shape this morning. The doctors were pleased with everything that's happened so far. But, as with any surgery, there can be complications, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes as smoothly as it has so far."

Dr. Carl Kirker-Head, head of surgery at the New England Veterinary Medical Center Hospital for Large Animals at Tufts University in Grafton, Mass., on Monday said Left Bank was doing well, though he will remain in intensive care for at least one more week.

"He had a comfortable evening, his general disposition is good," said Kirker-Head, who performed the surgery. "His progress is as we might anticipate at this somewhat early phase."

Left Bank was to remain at the hospital for seven to 10 days. Thereafter, he would need 60 to 90 days of inactivity, which would mean he couldn't make the World Thoroughbred Championships. As a 5-year-old who has won Grade 1 races at seven furlongs, a mile, and nine furlongs, it would seem likely that he would be retired.

"That would be my guess," said Pletcher, who said he has not spoken to owner Michael Tabor about Left Bank's future.

On Monday, a spokesman for Tabor said it would be premature to make any announcement on Left Bank's future for a few days.

Left Bank has won 14 of 24 starts and earned $1,402,806 million.

Left Bank was rushed to the clinic Saturday morning after the horse showed symptoms of colic and did not respond adequately to treatment.

Kirker-Head would not provide details of the surgery, but Pletcher provided some insight as to what Kirker-Head told him.

"Essentially there's a part of the lining to the stomach that had some holes in it, and his bowels dropped through there and when that happened that caused the discomfort," Pletcher said. "They removed that part of it. He said to me it's one of those things that's outdated, that the horse doesn't really need it, but it's there, it caused the complication."