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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

St Nicholas Abbey Euthanized After Surgery for Severe Colic Today; Laminitis "Was Resolving"

St Nicholas Abbey won the Coronation Cup three times. He also won the Breeders Cup Turf. He was ridden by his trainer's teenage son, and his story is made for Hollywood. Joseph O'Brien was growing quickly, though, and his boots were never quite tall enough. He and the colt made an unforgettable team.

The news from Ireland this morning is tragic. The long-suffering but hard-fighting champion Thoroughbred colt St Nicholas Abbey has been euthanized following colic surgery.

A timeline of the colt's history including Grade I wins on multiple continents, including the Breeders Cup Turf, followed by a pastern fracture suffered during training at home at the Ballydoyle training center. Next came colic surgery soon after the fracture was repaired, followed by a broken pin in the fixation setup. Then the colt developed a form of what is probably support limb laminitis in his "good" foot. An international cast of consulting vets, surgeons and podiatrists helped St Nicholas Abbey in his various stages of recovery.

The most recent report from the Fethard Equine Hospital, where he remained a patient, showed the horse walking in foot casts. Reports of new hoof growth were a cause for celebration by his fans and followers.

But it was not to be. This morning Coolmore Stud shared this news report:

"Regretfully St Nicholas Abbey has lost his brave battle after suffering a colic this morning. Surgery revealed a severe strangulating colon torsion that was unviable and he had to be euthanized on humane grounds.

"This is extremely unfortunate as St Nicholas Abbey had been in terrific form, the laminitis was resolving very well and the fracture had healed better than expected.

"Coolmore would like to thank the surgeons, the international experts and all the staff at Fethard Equine Hospital who gave him such excellent care 24/7.

"We would also like to thank the multitude of well-wishers for all the cards and messages of support for St Nicholas Abbey. He will be buried in the graveyard here at Coolmore."

"Rest in peace" just doesn't seem to cover it as a way to say good-bye. St Nicholas Abbey deserves to be remembered as a horse who captivated our hearts on the track and in the hospital. His fight was inspirational. I hope his legend will live; his story is made for Hollywood, except for this tragically sad ending.

Thanks to everyone who helped him along the way, and to Coolmore for reporting conscientiously and honestly on his injuries and condition since the original fracture.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to  
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