Multiple grade I winner Dullahan was euthanized this morning after undergoing emergency surgery for colic during the night, less than a week after being retired from racing.
Bob Hogan, a partner owner Donegal Racing for the past three years and Houston, Tex., resident was informed early this morning about Dullahan and tweeted the following:
It's w/extreme sadness to report @DullahanHorse suffered severe colic last nite & despite emergency surgery had to be euthanized. #RIPDully
Retired Oct. 14 due to a tendon injury sustained in the colt's last start in the Aug. 25 TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I), 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," said Jerry Crawford, Donegal's managing partner. "The manager immediately arranged to get him to the clinic."
At the clinic of Hagyard-Davidson-McGee the workup on Dullhan "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."
Dullahan was attended to through the night by Drs. Robert Hunt and Nathan Slovis. Conor Foley, Donegal's chief operating officer, was alerted by WinStar and was there through the night. Dullhan was euthanized at about 4:45 a.m.
"We are all just stunned," Foley said. "The staffs at WinStar and Hagyard-Davidson-McGee were both outstanding. They did everything they could for him and we are very, very grateful for all of their efforts."
"He was in the very best care from start to finish," added Crawford. "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.
"In particular, in the Pacific Classic last year when (track announcer) Trever Denman said 'and bounding down the center of the track it's Dullahan!...and he's got him!' " Crawford said, recalling the colt's win over older horses in the grade I race. "So every phone call I have we bounce back and forth between teary and joyous and that's the way this business is, the mixed emotions of the highs and lows."
Dale Romans trained the colt in all his starts to his record of 3-2 4 for earnings of more than $1.7 million. Today, the 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 soooo 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—all the way to Dubai—Hogan 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."