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Colt rejected by mother finds perfect match in dam who lost foal

Son of Animal Kingdom thriving with Seeking The Gold mare Maizelle

Maizelle with the Animal Kingdom colt enjoying the sunshine at Machmer Hall in Kentucky
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The highs and lows of the foaling season were encapsulated in a remarkable few days at Kentucky's Machmer Hall this week after an Animal Kingdom colt rejected by his own dam found a new mum in a mare who had suffered her own loss.

Machmer Hall, famed for breeding six-time Grade 1 heroine Tepin and run by husband and wife team Carrie and Craig Brogden, welcomed the son of the Kentucky Derby scorer out of A Taste Of Red on Sunday.

While things initially seemed positive, the mare began to exhibit some worrying signs and after she was found to have been kicking out at the colt when left alone in her stall, the Brogdens knew they had to take action.

"It was really bad and I've never seen a mare get like that very often," said Carrie Brogden. "A lot of the time you can work with young mares and after two or three days they come around to the foal but Craig went to hold him in the stall and she just got worse.

"He called me and said we've got to do something before this foal gets killed."


Faced with such circumstances, stud farms often have to look to other operations to find a suitable nurse mare but this time around, Craig already had the perfect mare in mind for the job.

Maizelle, a 15-year-old daughter of Seeking The Gold, had only a few days earlier lost a filly foal by Breeders' Cup Sprint hero Runhappy, an event that had left the Brogdens dumbfounded and heartbroken.

"It was a completely normal birth and we still don't really know what happened with the filly," Carrie explained. "She was struggling to breathe, we had oxygen and medication but in 17 years of foaling, it's something that I've never come across.

"Dealing with live animals, you can have the greatest high on Monday and the greatest low on Tuesday. Like most people, when Maizelle's foal died we left it in her stall with her for a fair bit."

In most cases a mare will smell the foal before realising it has passed away and accept the death but such was Maizelle's urge to continue to be a mother, Brogden called a local clinic in Kentucky to offer her as a nurse mare to other farms.

"She kept looking for a baby and that's why Craig prompted me to call the clinic," Carrie said. "With everything going on with A Taste Of Red, Craig said 'I think I'm going to get Maizelle'."

'Mothers are meant to be mothers'

Following such turmoil, what transpired was heartwarming as, within 20 seconds of being introduced to each other, Maizelle and the colt's bond was clear to see - showcased in a picture that Brogden shared to the world on social media.

Carrie said: "Craig took the picture that's on Facebook and he sent it to me while in the grocery store. There were waterworks! I was totally balling my eyes out and one of the people in the store asked if I was okay and I told them it was just allergies.

"She knew it was her baby and she was so happy - mothers are meant to be mothers I guess. I was so down in the dumps and feeling terrible about what had happened but when Craig sent me that picture I was overwhelmed."

Carrie's decision to share the remarkable events on social media stemmed from wanting to give those not involved in the thoroughbred industry an insight into a working stud and she added: "People tend to look at the racing and thoroughbred industry with a hardened view to what we do.

"Even in times of loss like this, people who aren't involved in it have been touched and realised that it's not about the money. It's so much more about the joy and success, there's a lot of roads that lead to sadness and there's a lot of roads that lead to happiness."

Both Maizelle and the Animal Kingdom colt are now doing well and enjoying time out in the paddocks.

"It's the best situation considering everything that's happened," said Brogden.

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Craig called me and said we've got to do something before this foal gets killed
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