08/15/2002 11:00PM

Sunday Silence still ailing

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Leading Japanese sire Sunday Silence remains in poor condition but is still standing and eating, according to a representative of the Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido, where the 16-year-old stallion stands.

Sunday Silence, Kentucky Derby winner and North American Horse of the Year in 1989, has undergone three operations since May to treat a bacterial infection in his right front leg. After the third surgery on July 18, he developed the painful hoof disease laminitis in his left front leg.

Sunday Silence is expected to undergo an insurance-related veterinary exam early this week, but the representative said that Shadai is not operating on a timetable to euthanize the horse.

"The vet is still treating him, and there has been no change," said the representative, who asked not to be identified. She denied reports that Sunday Silence has begun to show signs of laminitis in his hind legs but acknowledged that the horse is sore in his hindquarters and that hind-leg laminitis remains a concern.

"We are using magnets on his hind legs and hindquarters to help with blood circulation and ease the tension in the muscles," the farm representative said.