Belmont S. Winner Sarava Dies At Old Friends

Belmont S. winner Sarava at Old Friends | Courtesy of Old Friends

2002 GI Belmont S. winner Sarava (Wild Again) has died at Old Friends. According to the preliminary report from Dr. Colton Thacker at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, he was euthanized due to complications from a leg fracture at the age of 24.

The dark bay was the first Classic winner to be retired to the farm Sept. 29, 2012, thanks to his owners, Gary Drake, and Paul and Susan Roy of Great Britain.

He upset the field of the 2002 GI Belmont S. at odds of 70-1, defeating Medaglia d'Oro (El Prado {Ire}) and Triple Crown contender War Emblem (Our Emblem).

Sarava concluded his racing career with a record of 17-3-3-0 and $773,832 in earnings and began his stud career in 2005 at Florida's division of Cloverleaf Farms before moving to the Kentucky division in 2007. In 2008, he returned to Florida to Bridlewood Farm where he remained for the rest of his stud career.

Pensioned in 2012, the then 13-year old stallion was donated to Old Friends and arrived at the farm Sept. 29, 2012.

“It's a sad day for our family and friends,” said owner Gary Drake when he heard the news. “We've all been Sarava fans since we met him in 2001. When you get into horse racing, you hope to have the opportunity to be involved with a horse like this. I mean it's cliche, but people say it all the time, they (the horses) take you places you would never go otherwise, and certainly Sarava did that for us.”

“Sarava attracted so many fans to Old Friends,” added Michael Blowen, President and founder of Old Friends. “Most recently, a horse player said he bought a condo in Ft. Myers with his winnings from that race. But, to us, he was a lot more than the longest shot in the history of the Belmont Stakes who defeated fellow Old Friends retiree, War Emblem. He was proud, independent and, in his way, very lovable. And you can't buy that… even at $142.50. We thank owner Gary Drake and friend Tom Bozarth for allowing us to care for Sarava for more than a decade.”

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