01/14/2014 11:09AM

St Nicholas Abbey euthanized during colic surgery

Barbara D. Livingston
St Nicholas Abbey, winner of the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf, was euthanized on Tuesday during colic surgery in Ireland.

Nearly six months after suffering a career-ending injury while training in Ireland, multiple Grade/Group 1 winner St Nicholas Abbey's long battle against various complications ended when he was euthanized Tuesday morning during colic surgery.

The 7-year-old Montjeu horse had resided at Fethard Equine Hospital in Co. Tipperary, Ireland, since fracturing his right front pastern during a morning gallop at Ballydoyle, trainer Aidan O'Brien's base, last July. Initial surgery to fuse the pastern and stabilize the injury was successful, but just days later, St Nicholas Abbey underwent emergency colic surgery.

A month later, a weight-bearing steel pin in his injured leg broke, necessitating its removal. He then developed what was termed a "life-threatening" case of laminitis in his left front foot in November. However, in recent weeks, attending veterinarians had expressed optimism in the horse's recovery, before the latest, and ultimately fatal, setback.

"Regretfully, St Nicholas Abbey has lost his brave battle after suffering a colic this morning," Coolmore Stud announced in a statement. "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," the statement continued. "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."

St Nicholas Abbey, owned in partnership by the Coolmore-affiliated team of Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor, captured the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs and last year became the first three-time winner of England’s Group 1 Coronation Cup. He also won the 2013 Dubai Sheema Classic and the 2009 Racing Post Trophy for a total of six Grade or Group 1 victories. His multiple Grade/Group 1 placings included a second to Cirrus des Aigles in the 2012 Sheema Classic, a third behind Little Mike and Point of Entry in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and consecutive thirds in the 2011 and 2012 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. In total, he won 9 of 21 lifetime starts for earnings of $7,863,492.

St Nicholas Abbey was bred in Ireland by Barton Bloodstock and Villiers Syndicate.