May 21, 2006

Barbaro out of surgery for leg fracture

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - The life of Kentucky Derby champion
Barbaro hung in the balance after a delicate operation Sunday
to repair a life-threatening leg fracture suffered in the
Preakness Stakes.

The colt survived the surgery at the University of
Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center for Large Animals in Kennett
Square, Pa., and was in his stall, officials said.

Barbaro sustained the devastating career-ending and
life-threatening injury during the first quarter-mile of the
Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore Saturday.

The colt was in the middle of the pack but quickly fell
back to last place when the fracture occurred, eliciting an
audible gasp from the record Preakness crowd of 118,402.

Jockey Edgar Prado jumped off Barbaro when he realized
there was a problem with the colt's right hind leg and tried to
calm the horse down while the race continued.

Barbaro suffered three fractures, one in the cannon bone
above the ankle joint, a second in the long pastern bone below
the ankle joint and the third within the ankle joint.

Dean Richardson, the facility's chief of surgery, said he
does not normally see injuries so severe because the horse
would generally be euthanized at the track.

"It is very unusual to have three catastrophic injuries all
together," he said. "I've never seen this exact fracture."

Barbaro entered the Preakness unbeaten in six career starts
and was expected by many to become the first Triple Crown
winner since Affirmed in 1978.

The race went to 12-1 longshot Bernardini, owned by Dubai's
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.