Rachel Alexandra

Rachel Alexandra

Anne M. Eberhardt

Rachel Alexandra Remains in Serious Condition

Mare resting after surgery for foaling complications at Rood and Riddle late Feb. 13.

Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year who foaled a Bernardini  filly Feb. 12, remained in serious condition Feb. 14 after undergoing surgery the previous day.

The surgery was performed at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington to repair an area in her small colon that was injured during foaling, owner Barbara Banke announced late Feb. 13.

In an update on the mare's condition, Rood and Riddle said in a statement Feb. 14 that Rachel Alexandra is currently receiving IV antibiotics, IV fluids, anti-inflammatory agents, IV nutrition, and medications to counteract the effects of bacterial toxins. Medications are also being administered to aid in the prevention of scar tissue in the abdominal cavity. A standing abdominal lavage using abdominal drains placed at surgery is also being performed several times a day.

Her condition is very serious but it is too early to give an accurate prognosis, the statement said.

Dr. Brett Woodie, the attending surgeon on the case, said in a Feb. 14 press conference that the mare is doing "the best that can be expected."

"We are solely focused on making sure Rachel is as comfortable as possible," Banke said in her late-night Feb. 13 statement. "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."

After foaling, Rachel Alexandra was closely monitored by Stonestreet Farm employees as well as Rood and Riddle veterinarians. On the afternoon of Feb. 13 around 2:30 p.m. EST a change in her demeanor was noted and she was immediately rushed to Rood and Riddle to undergo exploratory abdominal surgery. The surgery was to determine the cause of excess fluid in her abdominal cavity, denoting an infection.

Surgery identified the cause of the infection as a section of the small colon that had lost its blood supply due to an injury during foaling, causing bacteria to be released into the abdomen. The damaged section of intestine was removed and extensive abdominal lavage was performed to remove inflammatory cells and bacteria. Due to the nature and the extent of the problem the surgery was long and technically demanding but recovery from anesthesia was uncomplicated.

Rachel Alexandra's filly, who weighed 140 pounds at birth, is healthy and has returned to Banke's Stonestreet Farm where she will be placed on a nurse mare.

In January 2012, Rachel Alexandra spent three days at Rood and Riddle as a precautionary measure for pain management related to the foaling of her first foal, a colt by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin . Fans later participated in a contest to select the colt's eventual name, Jess's Dream.

Rachel Alexandra, a 7-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro , is out of the Roar mare Lotta Kim.