07/27/2003 11:00PM

Sarava undergoes colon surgery


DEL MAR, Calif. - The hard-luck comeback story of Sarava just got a whole lot harder, and he's going to need a whole lot more luck. Just hours after finishing sixth of nine in an allowance race on Saturday at Del Mar, in his first start since winning the 2002 Belmont Stakes, Sarava underwent emergency surgery for a twisted colon at the San Luis Rey Equine Clinic.

As of Monday morning, Sarava was doing better, according to his trainer, Bob Baffert. But Baffert cautioned that Sarava is "not out of the woods."

"Any time you put a horse under the knife, it's a concern," Baffert said. "You worry about getting colitis or laminitis. To run and then have that happen, it's a lot of stress on the horse."

Sarava won the 2002 Belmont Stakes as a 70-1 longshot. He was trained at the time by Ken McPeek, but last fall Sarava was transferred to Baffert by Gary Drake, whose New Phoenix Stable is the majority owner of Sarava.

"The poor little horse. It's 14 months between races, and then that," Baffert said.

Baffert said the surgery was performed by Dr. Joe Cannon, a noted surgeon who trained during the 1980's for owners Aaron and Marie Jones. According to Baffert, the colon was twisted and needed to be "flipped back over." He said none of Sarava's intestines needed to be removed. Sarava is still at the clinic.

"He was fine right after the race, but later in his stall he started feeling bad," Baffert said. "I've never had one with a twisted colon before. I've had a lot of things happen, but that was a first. He's still in danger. The next week will mean a lot."

Bluesthestandard is quite fine

About 15 minutes after Saturday's Bing Crosby Handicap, track commentator Trevor Denman made an announcement for trainer Ted H. West to contact the receiving barn immediately. Because Bluesthestandard had just run third in the Bing Crosby, and such announcements usually signal a crisis, there was concern throughout the track that something had happened to Bluesthestandard.

The explanation, though, was far more innocent.

"The groom forgot to take him to the test barn and was taking him straight back to our barn," Ted West, who trains with his son, Ted. H., said Monday morning. "My son had to chase after him."

The senior West said Bluesthestandard would come back in Del Mar's other top sprint race, the Grade 2, $150,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap at seven furlongs Aug. 17.

"He's such a tough, tough guy," West said. "He cleaned up right after the race. You'd think a race like that would take something out of him, because he ran hard all the way, but it didn't happen."

Arlington rematch next month

The first four finishers in Saturday's thrilling John C. Mabee Handicap - Megahertz, Dublino, Golden Apples, and Tates Creek - all are expected to meet again next month in Arlington Park's Beverly D. Handicap, which Golden Apples won last year. With the top finishers from Saturday's Diana Handicap at Saratoga also expected to run, the Beverly D. should be one of the highlights of the summer.

Golden Apples was "not blowing hard" after the race, according to trainer Ben Cecil, who is eager for Golden Apples to defend her Beverly D. title. Golden Apples was making her first start of the year in the Mabee.

"She was probably a little fresh and aggressive, and she couldn't get covered up, and that probably took away from some of her punch at the end," Cecil said. "I was disappointed right after the race, but I'm not as disappointed now. She only got beat a half-length."

Krone fined $500

Julie Krone, who was tied for the lead with Pat Valenzuela atop the jockeys' standings with five winners following Sunday's races, was fined $500 by Del Mar's stewards for "acting in an unprofessional manner" after Friday's fourth race.

Krone, a Hall of Famer, and jockey Matt Garcia got into a shouting match near the scale where the riders were weighed following the race, a six-furlong race for $16,000 claimers. Only Krone was fined.

"I'm totally responsible for my actions," she said. "All I want to do is stay healthy and give my horses a chance without somebody being reckless. It's not fair to the owners I ride for. That's why I was so upset.

"I went into the turn screaming at Matt Garcia not to come over, and he dropped over on me and Luis Jauregui. After the race I was really upset. Instead of saying something like, 'I'm sorry,' Matt said something like 'Shut up' and 'I don't care.' He threatened me. That's when I kicked the water bucket, and started saying curse words."

Stevens in demand

Gary Stevens, who has his first acting role in the movie "Seabiscuit," said he had a number of fans stop him for autographs over the weekend at the track.

And it wasn't the usual raceplayers, either.

"They said they had been to see the movie, and then wanted to come to the races," Stevens said.

The movie opened on Friday, including at a pair of theaters just furlongs from the track on Via de la Valle.

- Got Koko, who swept the La Canada Series at Santa Anita this year, worked seven furlongs in 1:26 on Monday morning for trainer Bruce Headley in preparation for a showdown with Azeri in the Clement Hirsch Handicap on Aug. 10.

- Storming Home, who won the Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park and is pointing for next month's Arlington Million, worked a sharp six furlongs on turf in 1:12.60 around dogs on Sunday morning for trainer Neil Drysdale. Also working Sunday was Miss Houdini, the winner of last year's Del Mar Debutante, who zipped six furlongs on the main track in 1:11.60, the best time of 13 at the distance. Miss Houdini is trained by Warren Stute.

- Bear Witness, a longshot in Wednesday's eighth race, is by a Horse of the Year (Skip Away) and out of a Horse of the Year (Lady's Secret), but is not having a Horse of the Year career. In three starts so far, he has beaten just three rivals while losing by a total of 92 3/4 lengths.