Rachel Alexandra: Racing's Greatest Filly Battling for Life After Giving Foal

Alan HorvathCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2013

Super Filly Rachel Alexandra after winning the Mother Goose Stakes
Super Filly Rachel Alexandra after winning the Mother Goose Stakes

Rachel Alexandra, winner of the 2009 Horse of the Year award, finds herself in the most challenging battle of her life. After foaling a filly by Bernardini, she is in "Serious" condition as reported by Forbes.

Surgery was performed due to a bruised portion of her small colon on Wednesday night, a complication that resulted from the birth of her filly. The damaged portion of her colon was successfully removed by Dr. Brett Woodie. A prognosis is yet to be determined.

Current owner Barbara Banke stated:

We are solely focused on making sure Rachel is as comfortable as possible. 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.

On January 22, 2012, Rachel Alexandra had her first foal, a colt sired by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (2007/2008). The colt was named Jess's Dream, for the late Jess Jackson who had owned both Rachel and Curlin.

For her career, Rachel Alexandra won 13-of-19 races and amassed earnings of $3,506,730.

With her first jockey Brian Hernandez, Rachel produced a record of two wins, two seconds, and a sixth place finish.

When Calvin Borel became her regular jockey in the Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs on November 29, 2008, magic was born. They won not only that race, but also their first nine races together. Overall, the combo won 11-of-14 races while finishing second in the other three.

The highlights of Rachel's career include defeating her male competitors in the 2009 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, following her record 2014-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks.

Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Borel rode Rachel in the Preakness instead of his Derby winner Mine That Bird. She became the first filly to win the Preakness in 85 years.

Rachel went on to win the 2009 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park, the 2009 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, and the 2009 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga.

That marked five straight Grade 1 victories for the fabulous filly, with three of them coming against males. Her Saratoga victory in the Woodward Stakes was the first by a filly against older males in that contest since 1887.

In winning the 2009 Horse of the Year award, Rachel Alexandra had an undefeated campaign (8-0), with five Grade 1 victories and two Grade 2s.