Putting this horse down would be a crime.
Barbaro's Condition Still Cautious as Colt Flirts With Mares
May 22 (Bloomberg) -- Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, spending his first day in a cast to protect his shattered ankle, was alert and flirting with the mares around his hospital stall, the chief surgeon said.
``He's doing all the things a horse should do, including eating and nickering at the mares near him,'' Dean Richardson said in a statement from the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital.
Barbaro, whose racing career ended seconds after the Preakness Stakes favorite jumped out of the starting gate at Pimlico Race Course two days ago, jogged to his stall last night after a four-hour operation in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, to repair three broken bones in the right hind ankle, Richardson said.
A plate and 23 screws were implanted to stabilize the leg as the ankle fuses in place during the next several months, the veterinarian said, adding Barbaro was putting weight on the injured foot.
``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 aftereffects of the surgery,'' Richardson said.
Laminitis is a painful inflammation of the hoof that might occur if the colt shifts all his weight away from the injured leg to the good hind leg. Horses need all four legs to balance, Richardson said.
Richardson will evaluate Barbaro in a week to 10 days to determine if the colt can undergo anesthesia again to change the cast that encases the hoof and covers the leg up the hock.
Barbaro, who scored a 6 1/2-length victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 6, prematurely jumped through the gate before the start of the Preakness, the second event in racing's Triple Crown. A Maryland Racing Commission veterinarian, David Zipf, pronounced the colt sound as jockey Edgar Prado maneuvered back to the start.
``He didn't see any lacerations or abrasions and Barbaro was trotting sound,'' said Larry Bramlage, an equine surgeon at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, who was at the Baltimore track as a representative of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. ``He only brushed the gate.''
Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, live in West Grove, Pennsylvania, 10 miles from the animal hospital.