May 22, 2006

Barbaro doing well after surgery

By Jon Hurdle

KENNETT SQUARE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Kentucky Derby
champion Barbaro, who suffered a fractured leg in the Preakness
Stakes, is doing well after major surgery but veterinarians are
still cautious about whether he will survive.

Officials at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton
Center for Large Animals said on Monday that Barbaro was
behaving normally the day after more than four hours of
surgery, following his dramatic exit from Saturday's race.

"He's doing all the things a horse should do, including
eating and nickering at the mares near him," the center's chief
of surgery Dr Dean Richardson said in a statement.

"While we are optimistic, we remain cautious about his
prognosis and are watching for signs of infection at the
surgical site, laminitis and other possible after effects of
the surgery."

The three-year-old was unbeaten over six career races and
stormed to victory in the Kentucky Derby, raising hopes
throughout the racing world that he could become the first
winner of the coveted Triple Crown since 1978.

But he pulled up suddenly at the Preakness in Baltimore,
his right hind leg splaying out at an unnatural angle. Many
spectators were in tears at the sight of the dark bay colt.

Barbaro broke his ankle in three places, a series of
injuries that usually leads to a horse being euthanised at the

But Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, wanted him
saved if possible, and Richardson agreed to try.

Dr David Nunamaker, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at
the New Bolton Center, said the Jacksons had a clear financial
incentive to try to save Barbaro.

"It was an economic decision," he told reporters outside
the center. "This horse has great value as a breeding animal.

At the entrance to the center, amid the rolling hills of
south-eastern Pennsylvania, well-wishers had put up
hand-written posters including "We love you Barbaro," and "Be
Brave Barbaro."

Supporters have also sent flowers, carrots, apples and
money, said Corinne Sweeney, associate dean of the New Bolton

"We've had tremendous support," she said. "They are saying,
'We just want them to know that we care about the horse."'