02/27/2002 1:00AM

Seattle Slew to have surgery

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Seattle Slew, the 1977 Triple Crown winner and influential sire, will undergo surgery this week to correct arthritic changes in his vertebrae.

This will be the second such operation for the 28-year-old Seattle Slew, who underwent the same procedure in April 2000, after vertebral changes created pressure on his spinal cord that led to a lack of coordination.

Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky., withdrew Seattle Slew from stud duty on Monday, and on Tuesday Dr. Barrie Grant of California's San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, who led the 2000 surgical team, performed a neurological examination at Three Chimneys. The farm then shipped Seattle Slew to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., for additional diagnostic procedures.

According to a statement that Dan Roseberg, president of Three Chimneys, sent to the stallion's shareholders on Tuesday, Grant's examination of the 2000 surgical site showed that surgery to be "quite successful." Grant recommended that the same procedure, which fused two vertebrae, be done again on the new area of compression.

The shareholder letter said the surgery will be performed "in the next few days" at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital.

Grant has told farm officials that Seattle Slew will need a minimum six- to eight-week weeks to recover.

Seattle Slew, sire of seven champions, including A. P. Indy, stood for a private fee this year, but no-guarantee seasons to him have sold at auction for $150,000. He has covered eight mares so far this season.