Updated on 09/15/2011 2:07PM

Unbridled has second surgery


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Fashionable sire and 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, who underwent surgery on Sept. 21 to remove a three-foot section of diseased bowel, is being treated for peritonitis after undergoing a second surgery Thursday night.

Claiborne manager Gus Koch said Dr. Robert Hunt of the Hagyard Davidson McGee clinic operated on Unbridled for about 80 minutes Thursday night to repair a hole the size of a pencil eraser at the site of the original bowel resection. Attending veterinarians Dr. Doug Byars and Dr. Kim Sprayberry discovered late Wednesday afternoon that fluid was draining into Unbridled's abdomen, Koch said. Though the veterinarians drained the fluid and washed the area, the draining continued unabated, prompting the decision to operate.

"Where we are now, the area has to heal," Koch said. "Second, we're very worried about peritonitis, which he does have, and it is very serious. Third, we are concerned about laminitis, because of all the toxins in his system from the peritonitis. And, fourth, we're worried about adhesions to his colon, which could cause problems later; that's a long-term worry."

Peritonitis is an inflammation of the membrane that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity and encloses the intestines. Its causes can include bacterial infection, and it can occur as a secondary problem related to other abdominal problems.

Laminitis, a hoof disease that can be brought on by systemic stresses like infection, can be a life-threatening condition.

Although Koch said the condition of Unbridled, 14, is "very serious," the stallion was showing positive signs on Friday morning.

"This morning, he was bright and had an appetite and was as well as we could expect," Koch said.

The surgery took place at the Hagyard Davidson McGee clinic at approximately 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Unbridled has been at the clinic since his initial surgery. He appeared to be recovering well from that 70-minute operation. Tests on sections of the removed bowel showed no sign of cancer. Claiborne officials had been hopeful that Unbridled would return to the farm within a week of the first surgery.

The first indication of a continuing problem was a mild, intermittent fever the stallion showed on Wednesday. Koch said the horse's fever actually went down on Thursday, but fluid continued to drain into his abdomen, making the second surgery necessary.

Unbridled, the 1990 champion 3-year-old colt and winner of that year's Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic, is one of Claiborne's stars. Unbridled's fee for 2001 was private, but no-guarantee seasons to him sold this year for $225,000. A son of the Le Fabuleux mare Gana Facil, Unbridled is the sire of champions Banshee Breeze and Anees; classic winners Grindstone and Red Bullet; and other Grade 1 winners Exogenous, Unbridled's Song, Manistique, and Unshaded, among other stakes winners. Unbridled's progeny have earned more than $3.6 million this year.

At auction, 19 yearling fillies by Unbridled have averaged $315,526 while 13 yearling colts have brought an average price of $307,769.