Rachel Alexandra, 2009 Horse of the Year and perhaps the reigning darling of Thoroughbred horse breeding, is recovering under close observation from colon surgery performed shortly after the birth of her second foal. The mare apparently woke up early on the morning of February 14, coming out of the surgical anesthesia, and was standing up before long. Veterinarians have followed up the surgery with antibiotics and abdominal lavage to combat internal infection.
Stonestreet Farms, owner of the mare and her offspring, posted this Valentine's Day update on Twitter. “Thank you for [the] outpouring of support for Rachel. She is in the best hands @roodandriddle. We will update as soon as we have more news.”
The lovely bay mare and Medaglia d'Oro daughter was rushed to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, when she developed complications one day after birthing a 140-pound filly at 2:30 a.m. on February 12. Rachel’s baby arrived five days before her projected due date.
Rood and Riddle veterinarians classified Rachel Alexandra’s condition as serious and her prognosis uncertain, according to a February 13 statement from Stonestreet Farms.
“We are solely focused on making sure Rachel is as comfortable as possible, said Rachel Alexandra’s owner, Barbara Banke. “She is showing the same strength and courage now that she demonstrated on the track. Our hearts are broken by this of events, and I can only ask that you send your thoughts and prayers to Rachel now.”
Brett Woodie, D.V.M., operated on the much-loved seven-year-old mare to remove a section of the celebrated equine's small intestine, repairing a bruise and intestinal damage likely sustained during the birth of her extra-large foal. Horses are encouraged to stand soon after such surgeries, as reclining too long can lead to serious repercussions. Colon bruising, scarring, blockages, or other intestinal injuries are particularly dangerous for horses. In fact, veterinarians tag colic as the number-one killer of horses.
The Bernardini filly is the largest born this year at Stonestreet. Healthy and thriving, Rachel’s filly has returned to Stonestreet, also in Lexington, where a nurse mare is caring for her.
In 2012, Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d'Oro x Lotta Kim by El Prado) delivered a 125-pound colt, sired by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, also owned by Stonestreet. The colt, now a yearling, was named Jess’ Dream to honor Jess Jackson, the late owner of Stonestreet. The mare was hospitalized for three days, also at Rood and Riddle, for pain management after the birth of her first offspring.
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