Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year, returned to Stonestreet Farm March 26 to begin the next stage of her recuperation following abdominal surgery performed mid-February at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington.
The 7-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro was hospitalized one day after the Feb. 12 delivery of her second foal, a filly by Bernardini. The filly is healthy and has bonded well with a nurse mare while her multiple Grade 1-winning dam continues to recover.
According to a release, Stonestreet employees decorated her stall with cards from fans as they awaited her arrival, and a get-well banner from Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots stretched across the barn to welcome the hard-fighting champion home.
"Having Rachel home is a milestone in her recovery," said owner Barbara Banke. "I am deeply grateful to Drs. [Brett] Woodie, [Bonnie] Barr, [Steve] Reed and the entire Rood & Riddle team for the unparalleled care Rachel has received. A special thank you to Alex Riddle for keeping Rachel's fans updated on her progress and to Medicine Technician Brent Comer for his dedication to her care."
Stonestreet and Rood & Riddle medical technicians will join to monitor Rachel around the clock while Dr. Barr checks her progress with daily visits to the farm.
"This time of transition is a big step, as well as an added stress in her recovery from a very serious, life-threatening condition," said Dr. Barr. "We feel, however, that she is ready to take on this challenge, and in doing so, she takes the next step toward getting back to life on the farm."
Rachel Alexandra's first few days at home will focus on ensuring she is comfortable in her surroundings through hand grazing, said the release. She will then transition to a small, temporary round pen the size of her stall.
"As Rachel becomes comfortable and her team feels satisfied with her progress, panels will be inserted to gradually extend that round pen," the release read. "These slow, deliberate, day-to-day steps are designed to evolve into turnout in a regularly sized round pen followed ultimately by transition to a small paddock. While this process could take as little as a couple of weeks, Rachel and her team will set a cautious pace."
Regular updates on Rachel Alexandra are available on the Stonestreet Farm news page.