Racehorse Dullahan Euthanized Due to Colic

Racehorse Dullahan Euthanized Due to Colic

Dullahan was euthanized yesterday morning after veterinarians determined his colon had ruptured.

Photo: Mallory Haigh/The Horse

Multiple grade I winner Dullahan was euthanized yesterday morning (Oct. 20) after undergoing emergency colic surgery during the night, less than a week after being retired from racing.

Retired Oct. 14 due to a tendon injury sustained in the 4-year-old colt's last start on Aug. 25, definitive plans for his stud career had yet been announced. The colt was at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., on the night of Oct. 19 when the onset of colic occurred.

"At about 1 a.m. this morning the night watchman (at WinStar Farm) noticed that (Dullahan) was sweating profusely and he called in the manager," Jerry Crawford, managing partner of Donegal Racing, said Oct. 20. "The manager immediately arranged to get him to the clinic."

Upon arrival at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, in Lexington, Ky., veterinarians "determined he needed surgery," Crawford said. "The surgery revealed that his colon had burst and as a result of that there had been a significant contamination internally and there was really nothing they could do to save him."

Robert Hunt, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, and Nathan Slovis, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, CHT, attended to Dullahan through the night, and Conor Foley, Donegal's chief operating officer, also stayed by the colt's side through the night. Dullhan was euthanized at about 4:45 a.m. yesterday.

"We are all just stunned," Foley said. "The staffs at WinStar and Hagyard were both outstanding. They did everything they could for him and we are very, very grateful for all of their efforts."

Added Crawford, "He was in the very best care from start to finish. They did everything they could but it just wasn't enough."

Dullahan—bred in in Kentucky by Phil Needham, Judy Needham, and Bena Halecky—was one of Donegal Racing's top performers and held a special place among the partners.

"I've been talking to my partners and we sort of float back and forth from the sadness that we're not going to get to see baby Dullahans all over the countryside growing up to be racehorses, to the joy he gave us all that we can't forget," Crawford said.

Dale Romans trained the colt in all his starts to his record of 3-2 4 for earnings of more than $1.7 million. Yesterday, Romans Racing Stable posted the following on their Facebook page:

Thank you so much for your thoughts of sympathy for Dullahan. He was an incredible horse—so full of personality and talent.

It will take awhile for the realization to sink in that he has passed. He was such an important member of our stable. We will miss him so much.

We are also sending our deepest sympathy to Jerry Crawford and Donegal Racing for their loss.

Love you, Dullahan—our thoughts and prayers are with you, buddy!!

Having traveled the world following Dullahan—including when the horse shipped to to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to contest the Dubai World Cup in March—Bob Hogan, a partner owner Donegal Racing for the past three years also set up a Twitter account for the horse.

"He had a great following, and over a thousand followers on Twitter," Hogan said. "His fan base has been phenomenal...all of the thoughts and comments have been touching to read. It's been overwhelming."

Originally published on BloodHorse.com.

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Melaina Phipps

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