Freakish Accident Causes Saint Liam's Death

Horse of the Year Saint Liam, who was euthanized Aug. 22 after suffering a fracture of his left hind leg, had no chance for survival because of the severity of the injury. The 6-year-old son of Saint Ballado was taken to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington following the accident.

"It was just one of those horrible things that seldom happens, but sometimes does, " said William S. Farish, who stood Saint Liam on behalf of a syndicate at his Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky. "He was in great hands and was being led to his paddock by a man with 25 years experience.

"He didn't rear up. On the path on the way to the paddock, he got a little stirred up and pulled backwards, and in the process lost his footing and fell. His leg went under him in such a way that he ended up falling with all that weight coming down on the top part of the leg. It just shattered everything."

"We had great hopes for him as a sire," Farish added. "We supported him with Lane's End mares, and he had other mares from the best breeders in the world. He was extremely fertile and got 115 mares in foal from about 124 mares (bred to him)."

Dr. Larry Bramlage, who examined Saint Liam at Rood & Riddle, knew recovery was bleak.

"A horse is better off if he goes over on his side, and both legs stick out, but he didn't do that," he said. "The thigh of the horse is attached to the side of the abdomen, and it's made so it can only move forward and back as opposed to our thighs, which are freely mobile. We (people) go side to side, but horses can't go very far side to side. When that force bent his leg to the side, the tibia broke. His tibia was so big and so strong that when it broke, it shattered into about 20 pieces. Those pieces went from the middle of the tibia all the way into the hock joint. So it left nothing to anchor plates and screws to. In the lower leg, you might use something that involves a cast, but you can't get above the fracture in this case, so you can't cast it. There wasn't any option."

Saint Liam, who was produced from the Quiet American mare Quiet Dance, raced for William K. Warren and his wife, Suzanne. This year was his first season at stud.