Owner/breeders Rick Bremer and Cheryl Sprick got the call a few days after their mare, Thigh High Boots and her foal by Midshipman, arrived in Kentucky to be bred.
“The foal was in trouble,” said Bremer. “I had fifteen minutes to decide whether to put her down or open her up to try and correct her colic issue.”
Colic surgery is no guarantee and isn’t always successful. One thing it always is, though, is expensive. But with no guarantees and a large bill ahead of them, Sprick and Bremer didn’t hesitate.
“I told them to go ahead with the surgery,” said Bremer. “The mare is the best horse we’ve ever owned and we wanted to save her baby.”
“Hr intestine was completely twisted around,” explained Sprick. “They opened her up and were able to immediately untwist her and it pinked right up. They closed her up and we hoped for the best.”
The best has been terrific.
In her career debut at Prairie Meadows, Shipmate went gate to wire in a maiden special weight at 6-1, but no one slept on her in the $69,000 Iowa Stallion Futurity. Sent off at 3/5, she didn’t get the first call, but she got every other on to a hard fought neck victory.
Coming “home” to Minnesota, Shipmate, under Scott Stevens ($14), was sent off at 6-1 in the $85,000 Northern Lights Debutante and once again wired the field in victory. While the final margin was 3/4 of a length, she was geared down a bit late in the lane while Pinup Girl ($8.40) charged hard to close the margin from 4 1/2 lengths. Line of Grace ($3.80) was third.
Shipmate went the first quarter in :21.96 but Stevens was able to give her a breather, getting the half in :46.71 before finishing the six furlongs in 1:11.75.
“I was a little bit worried,” admitted Bremer after seeing the swift first quarter mile. “I told Scott that she would be comfortable on the front end and she’s just so game.”
“She wasn’t expected to live,” said Sprick. “She was very determined and she showed that today.”