Belmont day, June 8, 2002. Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. During the parade to the post, all eyes were on the nearly black colt. Parading with to post position 12 was another nearly black colt, but few paid him much attention. Sarava had won the Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness undercard and had run admirably since returning from the English turf as a two year old. Yet most regarded him as an afterthought entered by trainer Ken McPeek when favorite Harlan’s Holiday lost the Derby and Preakness, and the Kentucky-bred son of Wild Again went off at odds of 70-1.
The field broke from the gate. Prado placed Sarava in the colt’s favorite spot, stalking relaxed on the outside. War Emblem, who had stumbled at the start, gave way as suddenly star runner Medaglia d’Oro surged forward, and with him, splitting horses, the long shot Sarava. It was Sarava who grabbed the lead. The two dueled fiercely and Sarava leapt ahead by half a length to the wire. That Belmont day it was Sarava who went to the winner’s circle to receive the accolades for a race beautifully run. He had spoiled a potential Triple Crown, but he was the longest shot ever to win the Belmont, paying $142.50.
He competed against Funny Cide, Evening Attire, Perfect Drift and his other peers of the era until 2005 when with earnings of $773,832 in 17 starts he entered stud in Florida. Retired from stud, Sarava arrived at Old Friends September 29, 2012. “Sarava” is a Brazilian greeting that means “good luck” and we thank Gary Drake of Louisville and Paul and Susan Roy of Great Britain for our good luck, their donation of this great Belmont Stakes winner to Old Friends. —- Old Friends Press release 10/1/12 by Cindy Grisolia:
Sarava, winner of the 2002 Belmont Stakes, has been retired to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY. Co-owners Gary Drake of Louisville and Paul and Susan Roy of Great Britain donated the 13-year-old stallion to the organization.
Sarava arrived at Old Friends on Saturday, Sept. 29, from the Appleton family’s Bridlewood Farm near Ocala, FL, where he has stood stud since 2010.
Bred in Kentucky by Bill Entenmann’s Timber Bay Farms, Sarava was sired by 1984 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Wild Again and is out of the Deputy Minister mare Rhythm of Life. He career boasted three wins from 17 starts and earnings of $773,832.
Beginning his career on the turf in Europe, Sarava failed to break his maiden overseas. Returning to the U.S., a minor injury kept the budding three-year-old off the Derby trail in 2002, but he returned with a vengeance under conditioner Ken McPeek to demolished the field in the Sir Barton Stakes on Preakness Day at Pimlico.
Sarava’s greatest victory–and maybe one of the game’s biggest upsets–came three weeks later when, at 70-1, he ended War Emblem’s bid for the Triple Crown by capturing the 134th running of the Belmont Stakes.
Not only was Sarava the longest shot in Belmont Stakes history but his victory came before what was then the largest crowd ever assembled for the race: 103,000 in attendance.
“Sarava is the first Classic winner to retire at Old Friends,” said Old Friends founder, Michael Blowen. “We are thrilled that Gary would trust us with his great stallion and grateful for the generous endowment from him and the Roys.
“I also want to thank Midway Mayor and bloodstock agent, Tom Bozarth, for his assistance. I know Sarava’s fans will love to visit him,” continued Blowen. “To me, it’s like having Michael Jordan in my yard.”
“Sarava has been a special horse to the Roys and Drakes,” said Gary Drake. “He has done his job well on the track and in the breeding shed, and has earned a respectful retirement. We are pleased that Michael and the Old Friends’ staff will be caring for him,” added Drake. “They do a marvelous job with their retired stallions. Share sheet info – click here. Donate to sponsor Sarava. Receive a certificate and 8×10 photo
17 Starts: 3 - 3 - 0, $773,832
At 3: Won Belmont S. (G1,12F), Sir Barton S. (8.5F)
At stud at Cloverleaf Farms/FL in 2005; Cloverleaf Farms/KY in 2007; in Florida from 2008-2012. Donated to Old Friends in Kentucky in September 2012.
Joined Old Friends: