Sunday Silence dies after battling laminitis

April 23, 2015

Sunday Silence at stud in Japan.

Sunday Silence at stud in Japan.


Sunday Silence, winner of the 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, died Aug. 19, 2002, after battling laminitis for 14 weeks. He was 16.

The stallion died of heart failure at about 11 a.m. at Japan’s Shadai Stallion Station Hayakita, Hokkaido, where he had stood since 1991.

Sunday Silence underwent surgery July 18, 2002, for an infection in his right front leg, the third operation trying to treat the leg. The infection failed to heal, and he carried more wight on his other legs, with laminitis developing first in the left front and then in the hind legs.

During his final three days, he remained standing due to his discomfort, and he was given heavy doses of painkillers. He finally lied down hours before his heart stopped even as his owners were discussing whether to put him down.

He was Japan’s top sire from 1994 to 2000, producing 43 stakes winners.

Sunday Silence was horse of the year in 1989 after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He won nine races in 14 starts for $4,968,554.

His battles with Easy Goer during his Triple Crown campaign stirred memories of Affirmed’s duels with Alydar 10 years earlier. Sunday Silence was ridden by jockey Pat Valenzuela and trained by Charlie Whittingham.

The black horse had a white sock on his right hind leg and a stripe.

He was born March 25, 1986. Sunday Silence was by Halo out of Wishing Well (by Understanding).

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