GEORGETOWN, Ky. — Sarava, the upset winner of the 2002 Belmont Stakes at 70-1 odds, died Monday at his retirement farm in Kentucky.
The 24-year-old horse was euthanized due to complications from a leg fracture, according to a preliminary veterinarian report from Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital. His death was announced by Old Friends farm in Georgetown.
The dark bay was the first winner of a Triple Crown race to be retired to the farm in September 2012 by his owners Gary Drake and Paul and Susan Roy.
“He was proud, independent, and in his way, very lovable,” said Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends.
Sarava, whose name is a Brazilian greeting that means good luck, gained his greatest fame with his upset in the Belmont. Ridden by Hall of Famer Edgar Prado, the colt battled Medaglia d'Oro throughout the 1 1/2-mile race and won by a half-length.
Trained by Ken McPeek, Sarava is the longest shot to ever win the Belmont. He paid $142.50 to win.
“He gave me one of the biggest thrills of my career,” said Prado, who recently visited Sarava at the farm. “In the last years of his life, he’s spent quality time among so many good people that showed him love, showed him respect and admiration for what he has done for horse racing.”
War Emblem, attempting to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, stumbled at the start and finished eighth. War Emblem also retired to Old Friends and died in 2020.
Sarava had three wins in 17 career starts and earnings of $773,832.