08/12/2002 12:00AM

Sunday Silence remains in grips of laminitis


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sunday Silence, Japan's leading sire and the 1989 Horse of the Year in North America, remains in poor condition as he fights a life-threatening case of laminitis.

A 16-year-old Halo stallion, Sunday Silence stands at the Yoshida family's Shadai Stallion Farm in Hokkaido, Japan, he developed the hoof disease after undergoing three surgeries since to combat an infection in his right front leg.

"Sunday Silence's condition is not good," a Shadai spokeswoman said on Monday morning. "It is the same. But his appetite has not decreased, which is incredible, and he is standing up in his box. I think he has a very strong mentality. He is hanging on, but it is not looking as if he is getting any better."

The spokeswoman, who declined to be identified, said that syndicate members met last weekend and agreed to send a formal letter of notification to all shareholders regarding Sunday Silence's situation. But she said that shareholders at the meeting did not make any decision about possible euthanization.

The 1989 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic winner, Sunday Silence has had three operations to treat a bacterial infection in a right front tendon. The laminitis occurred in his left foreleg as a result of his having shifted weight off of his injured right foreleg. In addition to the laminitis, he has been showing signs of hindquarter stiffness believed to be related to his attempts to keep pressure off his front legs.