St Nicholas Abbey lost his brave battle after suffering colic Tuesday morning, Coolmore announced. Surgery revealed a severe strangulating colon torsion that was unviable and he had to be euthanized on humane grounds. The setback was 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.
On July 23, the English and Irish highweight sustained a complex fracture to the right fore pastern during an exercise for trainer Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle.
As soon as both Dr. Ger Kelly and Dr. Tom O'Brien of Fethard Equine Hospital evaluated the fracture they immediately contacted one of the leading experts in the world on fracture repair in horses, Dr. Dean Richardson of New Bolton Equine Center in Pennsylvania. The morning following his injury, St Nicholas Abbey was placed under general anesthesia and his fractured leg prepared for surgery in an effort to save his life.
During the surgery it was found that some of the smaller bone fragments had lost their blood supply and had to be removed leaving a gap in the bone. For this reason a bone graft was taken from St Nicholas Abbey's right hip to replace the damaged bone in an effort to speed up the healing process. It was a complex procedure due to multiple fractures of both the proximal and middle phalange of the right front limb which involved both the fetlock and proximal interphalangeal joints.
Following the successful operation to fuse his fractured pastern, St Nicholas Abbey sustained a "major setback" in his recovery. The 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf winner suffered a bout of colic overnight a few days later and underwent emergency surgery.
He made positive progress after the emergency colic surgery and surgeons were pleased with his pastern reconstruction and the fact that he was taking weight on the injured leg.
St Nicholas Abbey was an unbeaten champion two-year-old who missed nearly all of his classic campaign due to injury. The son of Montjeu made up for lost time, however, as an older horse.
St Nicholas Abbey was last seen scoring an unprecedented three-peat in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on June 1. In his 2013 premiere, the six-year-old defeated Japanese Horse of the Year Gentildonna in the Dubai Sheema Classic. His other Group 1 laurel came in the 2009 Racing Post Trophy as a juvenile. After capturing the Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, he also finished third in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.
The six-time Group/Grade 1 winner compiled a record of 21-9-2-7 while bankrolling more than $7.8 million.
Coolmore praised the surgeons, international experts and all the staff at Fethard Equine Hospital who provided St Nicholas Abbey with excellent care 24/7. They also thank the multitude of well-wishers for all the cards and messages of support for St Nicholas Abbey.
St Nicholas Abbey will be buried in the graveyard at Coolmore.