Eclipse Award winner Princess Rooney has been diagnosed with equine protozoal myeloencephalitis and is being treated at Gentry Brothers Farm near Lexington. The 28-year-old pensioned mare was diagnosed with the disease at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington.
“We found her lame in her right hind leg,” said farm manager Matt Howard. “She couldn’t really walk; she was just standing there. After we ran tests on her at the farm, we took her Friday (Aug. 1) to Rood & Riddle, where she was diagnosed with EPM. We have her back here with us, and she’s on medication and is actually improving.”
Princess Rooney was given a clean bill of health about three weeks before the discovery of EPM. “This kind of just hit,” Howard said. “We had a physical and blood work done on her and everything looked great. It’s been a tough blow, and we hope she can recuperate. She’ll be undergoing treatment for 30 days.”
EPM affects a horse’s central nervous system and can be fatal.
Princess Rooney, who filled the role of babysitter of the yearling fillies at Gentry Brothers, has resided at the farm since November 1995.
By Verbatim, Princess Rooney scored her big win in 1984 in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Hollywood Park for Paula Tucker the year she was champion older female. She captured four other grade I stakes and is a member of the Racing Hall of Fame.
Princess Rooney produced her last foal, House of Words, in 2004. House of Words is a winner this year.
Two of Princess Rooney’s daughters, Rooneys Princess and Rose Tiara, are broodmares at Gentry Brothers, and each has a yearling consigned to the Keeneland September sale. Rooneys Princess’ yearling is a Tale of the Cat colt, Rosa Tiara’s yearling is a Lion Heart filly.