05/21/2001 11:00PM

Darshaan euthanized at 20

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Irish stallion Darshaan, a top European sire and French champion 3-year-old in 1984, was euthanized Monday in Ireland after exploratory surgery revealed he had ruptured part of his small intestine.

Darshaan, a 20-year-old son of Shirley Heights and the French mare Delsy (by Abdos), is best known for his progeny that raced in Europe, but his runners also enjoyed major successes in the United States. Foremost among them was Kotashaan, North America's Horse of the Year and champion turf horse in 1993.

Darshaan also is the sire of English Group 1 winner and Epsom Derby hopeful Dilshaan.

According to England's Racing Post, the 20-year-old stallion ruptured his duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. He was euthanized at Troytown Hospital in Ireland. Last year, the Shirley Heights horse stopped covering mares in March after colic surgery. So far this year, he had covered 66 mares at the Aga Khan's Gilltown Stud, with 47 pronounced in foal so far.

Darshaan is the sire of 14 crops to race so far and has nearly $20 million in progeny earnings. His most notable runners include English champions Mark of Esteem and Kithanga, Irish champions Key Change, Darnay, and Katiykha, and American graded stakes winners Cerulean Sky, Sayarshan, Truly a Dream, and Make No Mistake.

Darshaan recently scored a notable double at England's York May race meeting, where he was the sire of two group stakes winners who are pointing for classic races. Epsom Derby contender Dilshaan captured the Group 2 Dante Stakes, while Time Away, a possible starter in the Irish Oaks, won the Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York.