07/17/2005 11:00PM

Saratoga County ill, may never race again


Saratoga County, who won the Dubai Golden Shaheen in March, has been at a veterinary clinic for the past three weeks in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., suffering from a serious illness that may prevent him from racing again, according to Richard Pollard, the husband of the horse's owner, Evelyn Pollard.

Pollard said on Monday that Saratoga County had an adverse reaction after being treated by a local veterinarian. Pollard said the reaction was "like a colic situation."

"He may recover from it, he may not," Pollard said. "We haven't made any official announcement yet regarding retirement because we want a clearer picture, and there are a lot of medical and legal issues involved. Once you get an insurance company involved, it's tricky what you can announce and not announce.

"There's a lot of parties involved, including The Vinery," Pollard said, referring to the Kentucky farm where Saratoga County is scheduled to begin stud duty, in 2006.

Saratoga County, 4, had been at Saratoga Race Course with trainer George Weaver since returning from Dubai last spring. He has not had a published workout since then. Weaver, who was attending the yearling sales at Fasig-Tipton on Monday, said he could not comment on the situation.

"I hate to be that way with the press, but it's the wishes of the owners and a lawyer," Weaver said. "I can say this - he's alive and well, but I don't know if he's going to race again."

The $2 million Golden Shaheen, at six furlongs, is the richest sprint race in the world. Javier Castellano rode Saratoga County to victory over an international field that included Vosburgh Stakes winner Pico Central.

Saratoga County was scheduled to return to the races this summer, with his late-season goal the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont Park. The Pollards have a home in Saratoga Springs.

"We realize that whether he's in the Breeders' Cup Sprint or not is going to affect how people plan for it," Pollard said. "All things considered, the horse is in pretty good humor right now."