11/29/2013 2:58PM

St. Nicholas Abbey battling laminitis in recovery from injury

Barbara D. Livingston
Breeders' Cup Turf winner St Nicholas Abbey suffered a setback in his months-long recovery from injury when he developed laminitis in his left front foot.

Breeders' Cup Turf winner St. Nicholas Abbey, who suffered a career-ending injury in late July, is battling what has been termed as a "life-threatening" case of laminitis.

Owner Coolmore Stud deemed the next few weeks "critical" for the 6-year-old Montjeu horse, who suffered a broken right front pastern while training in late July at Ballydoyle in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. He underwent surgery to repair the break the following day at nearby Fethard Equine Hospital. Later that week, St. Nicholas Abbey underwent emergency colic surgery following a shutdown of the cecum, and has since faced a series of complications in his recovery, with the most recent and most serious the development of laminitis in his left front foot.

"This is indeed life threatening and is the single biggest complication he has faced since his initial lifesaving surgery," Coolmore said in a release Thursday. "The worry is that if the condition progresses and further sinking of the pedal bone takes place it may prolapse through the sole of his foot."

"In spite of this St Nicholas Abbey is very comfortable, being just a little ‘ouchy’ when walking in his first steps and better thereafter, his appetite and demeanor remain incredibly good," Coolmore continued. "His intensive veterinary treatment continues and includes maggot therapy for the slight discharge at the toe of the laminitic foot and a daily session on a vibrating plate."

St Nicholas Abbey won six Grade 1 or Group 1 races, among them the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf. He also was the first horse to capture three runnings of England’s Group 1 Coronation Cup. At the time of his injury, he had won nine of 21 lifetime starts, bankrolling $7,863,492.