Updated on 09/16/2011 8:01AM

Pletcher barn hit again: Filly dies


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The bad news coming from Todd Pletcher's barn was not confined to Left Bank's colic surgery.

The Pletcher-trained Freedom's Daughter, who won the Grade 2 Schuylerville Stakes here on opening day, died suddenly Monday morning due to what is believed to be colitis X, a disease that renders a horse's lower intestinal tract dysfunctional and makes it susceptible to bacteria. An autopsy was to be performed to further narrow down the cause of death.

Purchased by Satish Sanan's Padua Stable for $525,000 at the 2001 Keeneland July sale, Freedom's Daughter, a daughter of Saint Ballado, had won both of her starts and earned $119,200.

At roughly the same time Saturday that Left Bank was undergoing emergency colic surgery in a Massachusetts equine clinic, Freedom's Daughter began to develop a temperature in her Saratoga stall. By 8:30 p.m., her temperature was 105 degrees, about 5 degrees higher than normal.

Dr. James Hunt treated Freedom's Daughter, and she initially seemed to respond, as her temperature returned to normal. By noon Sunday, however, Freedom's Daughter's temperature was on the rise and her white blood cell count was low. She was vanned to Bill Barnes's Equine Clinic just off the track grounds, and less than a mile from Pletcher's barn.

At 6 p.m. Sunday, all indications were that Freedom's Daughter was improving. But at 2 a.m. Monday, Freedom's Daughter began having projectile diarrhea and she had to be put down.

"It's been an emotional couple of days," Pletcher said Wednesday morning from Belmont Park. "Not only to have one horse very sick that ends up dying, but to have another with a life-threatening case of colic. It's been very taxing and draining."

Pletcher said that Left Bank continues to make good progress from his colic surgery. Pletcher said Dr. Carl Kirker-Head, head of surgery at the New England Veterinary Medical Center Hospital for Large Animals at Tufts University, told him "every day is better than the previous one."

Left Bank will most likely remain at the clinic until the middle of next week.