Updated on 02/16/2013 2:08PM

Rachel Alexandra has surgery for foaling complications

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Rachel Alexandra had surgery Wednesday at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. after delivering her second foal, a Bernardini filly, early the day before.

The condition of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra remained "serious" on Thursday morning following surgery the prior night related to foaling complications.

The 7-year-old Medaglia d'Oro mare delivered her second foal, a Bernardini filly weighing in at 140 pounds, at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday at Stonestreet Farm near Lexington, Ky. The mare developed complications late Wednesday and was taken to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington.

She underwent surgery to repair a bruised area in her small colon, which was injured during the birth. Surgeons removed the damaged section of the small colon and successfully re-attached the two remaining ends. 

Stonestreet Farm issued a release late Wednesday night stating that Rachel Alexandra was in recovery following the surgery, under the care of Dr. Bonnie Barr of Rood and Riddle.

"A full prognosis cannot be determined at this time, but her condition is serious," the release said.

The mare awakened from anesthesia at about 3 a.m. and was on her feet Thursday morning. 

“We are solely focused on making sure Rachel is as comfortable as possible," owner Barbara Banke said. "She is showing the same strength and courage now that she demonstrated on the track. Our hearts are broken by this turn of events and I can only ask that you send your thoughts and prayers to Rachel now.”

Rachel Alexandra's filly returned to Stonestreet on Wednesday. The filly was to be placed under the care of a nurse mare and is in good health.

"The foal is healthy and fine," said Alex Riddle, a media spokesman for Rood and Riddle. "The good news is that we're not worried about the foal at all."

Rachel Alexandra produced her first foal, a colt by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin now named Jess's Dream, in January 2012. Days following that birth, the mare made what was termed a "precautionary" trip to Rood and Riddle for pain management. The mare and colt returned home following a three-day stay at the facility.

Riddle said the mare's problems with the two births are not related.

"It's in no way related," Riddle said. "She was perfectly healthy for a year. It's just another unfortunate injury."

Holly Perini More than 1 year ago
Not all foals are killed. I adopted a draft horse baby that was a nurse mare baby and raised it with my orphan foal. My foal's mom died when he was 2 weeks old and I raised the two of them together. They were best friends. It is a little more work than having a nurse mare, but it worked out very well. They are both big strong horses today. I am very proud of both of them.
Darlene Cox More than 1 year ago
There are two sad turns of events here: 1) Rachel Alexandra's medical condition leaving her unable to care for her foal, and 2) the demise of the nurse mare's foal so she can take care of Rachel Alexandra's foal. The foals of nurse mares are most often killed so the mares can raise the offspring of Thoroughbreds. How sad that one foal should be killed just so someone can make money off of another.
W Kincannon Hervey More than 1 year ago
What a sad turn of events for Rachel. I indeed hope she gets better and heals up. Surgery on a horse is serious business. Come on Rachel, you can do this! My prayers go out to all involved here. God Speed :)
Honor Ramsey More than 1 year ago
Poor Rachel, she has problems with her births. There is a Curlin, colt and now a Bernardini. filly, leave her alone now, and let her rest. I know you love her like we do, or even more, because you own her. You will kill her if you don't. God speed to you Rachel,you will make it through this. And hopefully love for you will win this battle. Honor
Grits More than 1 year ago
May God Bless you Rachel Alexandra and keep on blessing you till you are back with your filly. I hope you recover and get back to the Farm. If she is to be retired please call Michael Blowen at Old Friends. If she cant be raced or bred anymore. Blessings to all involved. What an unfortunate thing to happen.
Darlene Cox More than 1 year ago
She will never be back with her filly. The foal is in the care of a nurse mare, whose own foal was most likely killed so the mare could raise Rachel's baby.
Arlene Frankeberger More than 1 year ago
God Bless Rachel Alexandra. I pray for a safe and speedy recovery for this,,, Great Race Horse.
jay More than 1 year ago
Very sad. Get well Rachel. This quote is from John Nerud after the Woodward Stakes. "I think she’s the best I’ve ever seen,” said 96-year-old racing legend John Nerud. “I don’t compare her to anyone. I’m not afraid to say she’s better than Ruffian, because she is. They sent two speed horses after her and made her go in :22 4/5, then they came after her one at a time and she put them all away. Those were tough older horses and they tried everything they could to get her beat and they couldn’t.”
Pom De Terre More than 1 year ago
jay i was there that day- and i guarantee those trainers were in a locked hotel room til well after midnite that friday. throw the cheap rabbit da tara at her, fry the pace, put the mid pack horses in, and then send the best closer down the stretch. and they still couldnt touch her. have lived here for 30 years and never heard as much noise as i did that day when she won. she rocked the house!
Craig More than 1 year ago
Everyone is pulling for you Rachel.This sport is can be just as dangerous in the breeding shed as it is on the track.
Monika Paulino More than 1 year ago
If she fights to be well like she fought to win, she'll be just fine. It is something to consider, though, since Rachel's dam had difficulty with foaling, as to whether her future as a broodmare should be evaluated. I'm sure her owners and veterinarians will make the decision that is best for Rachel. Keep fighting like a girl, Rachel.
Pom De Terre More than 1 year ago
even if she recovers fully, the likelihood that she would ever get in foal again is slim to none. the reports don't say it, but it's obviousb that one hoof from the foal tore her. the scar tissue will be hard to overcome. been there and my mare has been barren since then, 2010
Rachel Harding More than 1 year ago
due to her recovering and stitches i doubt she will be able to take care of her foal, hence the reason for the nurse mare. and since the nurse mare is currently taking care of the foal, the foal will inprint on that mare and it wouldnt be a good idea to take it back to RA. a good 90 days it could take RA to recover from this, she had part of her small colon removed, she will be in pain for a while, in no condition to have her foal back. so the best thing to do was to have the foal go to a nurse mare possibly permanently.
Karen Blankenship More than 1 year ago
How sad! Most important thing, of course, is for RA to recover, but it's so sad that she won't get to bond with her baby, especially after going through the birthing process! I feel so sorry for RA and the foal. RA is a large filly, but is there more to this story as to why the foal was so large? Are there hormones or dietary changes made that encourage larger than average foals?