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Barbaro's Injuries Catastrophic

Updated

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I love horse racing. It's a beautiful and amazing sport. When I saw Barbaro break down at the beginning of yesterday's race, I had a feeling something very bad had happened.

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was in surgery Sunday fighting for his life a day after breaking his right rear leg in three places at the Preakness, and the colt's surgeon said he's never worked on so many catastrophic injuries to one horse.


Dr. Dean Richardson was operating at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center for Large Animals and said the procedure could take several hours.

Corinne Sweeney, a veterinarian and the executive hospital director, said the horse was still in surgery about five hours after it began but that the procedure was near completion. She didn't give any other details on the horse's condition.

It is very hard for a horse to recover from just one broken bone, let alone three.

"You do not see this severe injury frequently because the fact is most horses that suffer this typically are put down on the race track," said Richardson, the chief of surgery for the center. "This is rare


"It's about as bad as it could be," he added. "The main thing going for the horse is a report that his skin was not broken at the time of injury. It's a testament to the care given to the team of doctors on the track and (jockey) Mr. Prado on the racetrack."

With no word on Barbaro's condition nearly four hours after surgery began, the normally empty New Bolton Center was swarming with media awaiting an update. There had been no sightings of trainer Michael Matz or owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson, though the Jacksons reportedly were at the center for the start of surgery before leaving.

The Jacksons live less than 10 miles away on their farm in West Grove, outside Philadelphia in the horse country of Chester County. Now the fate of their horse could be determined down the road.

Richardson outlined Barbaro's medical problems: a broken cannon bone above the ankle, a broken sesamoid bone behind the ankle and a broken long pastern bone below the ankle. The fetlock joint _ the ankle _ was dislocated.

"The aspects of the surgery will be dictated slightly by what we find," Richardson said. "But the bottom line is we will attempt to perform a fusion of that joint and to stabilize it and make it comfortable enough for him to walk on."

This is a great loss to horse racing.

Update: Good news. The surgery went well and Barbaro is recovering:

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. - Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro underwent more than five hours of surgery Sunday to repair three broken bones in his right rear leg and afterward "practically jogged back to the stall," the colt's surgeon said.


At this moment "he is extremely comfortable in the leg," said Dr. Dean Richardson, who stressed before the marathon procedure that he's never worked on so many catastrophic injuries to one horse.

Barbaro sustained "life-threatening injuries" Saturday when he broke bones above and below his right rear ankle at the start of the Preakness Stakes. His surgery began around 1 p.m. Sunday at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center for Large Animals.

Although the operation was successful, Richardson warned that Barbaro was far from home free. He said it was still "a coin toss" that the strapping 3-year-old colt would be able to survive what had been termed catastrophic injuries.

Update II: Here's more information on Barbaro's recovery:

(CBS/AP) Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was "a far brighter horse" Monday morning, said the veterinarian who operated on him Sunday.


"He's acting much more like a thoroughbred colt should act. He's trying to bite people. He's moving around his stall vigorously right now," Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery at the New Bolton Center for Large Animals, said on CBS News' The Early Show. "And probably most importantly, there's several mares in the intensive care unit and he's very interested in them. That's an excellent sign."

[snip]

Barbaro sustained a broken cannon bone above the ankle, a broken sesamoid bone behind the ankle and a broken long pastern bone below the ankle. The fetlock joint -- the ankle -- was dislocated.

Richardson said the pastern bone was shattered in "20-plus pieces."

The bones were put in place to fuse the joint by inserting a plate and 23 screws to repair damage so severe that most horses would not be able to survive it.

"All of the injuries that Barbaro had are injuries that we deal with very commonly. It's just he had a combination of these injuries and that's what made it a little bit unusual," Richardson said. "He had an unusual combination of very severe injuries".

[snip]

Horses are often euthanized after serious leg injuries because circulation problems and deadly disease can arise if they are unable to distribute weight on all fours.

There is "absolutely no chance of this horse racing again. There's none," Richardson said on The Early Show. "We're salvaging him as a breeding animal. The idea is to try and make him comfortable enough that he could basically go to a stud farm and breed mares. That's what we're trying to accomplish."


Comments (26)

I wonder if he'll ever race... (Below threshold)
Retread:

I wonder if he'll ever race again. Seems unlikely, doesn't it? Best of luck to him.

Barbaro will never race aga... (Below threshold)
Kim:

Barbaro will never race again. The fact that he's even alive is amazing. If he doesn't suffer from deadly infections, he'll be put out to stud.

I saw on the news this morn... (Below threshold)
sofian ferchichi:

I saw on the news this morning that he got surgery on his leg. 34 screws and the dock says hes good to go. he will apparently be better in about 2 months.

he'll be put out t... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
he'll be put out to stud

Unless the injury was caused by something external (i.e. an extremely large hole in the track), then I can't imagine that any breeder would want Barbaro to stud. Sure he was fast, but no one wants offspring that might break down as he did.

I was sick when I saw the t... (Below threshold)
Rita Nelson:

I was sick when I saw the terrible accident happen with Barbaro. The doctor must be a marvelous surgeon to save this wonderful animal. I hope they will try to save more horses when this happens. The owners and handlers are in our thoughts.

He stumbled coming out of t... (Below threshold)
roux:

He stumbled coming out of the gates at the Kentucky Derby. I wonder if he injured it there in that race?

It's a horse.... (Below threshold)

It's a horse.

What a beautiful animal!! I... (Below threshold)
Cindy:

What a beautiful animal!! I was lucky enough to be in the paddock for the KY. Derby. I was 2 feet from him and he is amazing. I was sick to see what happened to him on saturday. I only pray that Barbaro comes out of this ok, and that he spends the rest of his life produceing more beautiful ponys that grow up to become Ky. Derby winners or triple crown winners. Good Luck to Barbaro & his team of Doctors & Staff.One question though, What does a Vet bill for a surgery & recovery like that run you?????

I was so sad to see Barbaro... (Below threshold)
Deborah:

I was so sad to see Barbaro injure himself. What a magnificent horse! I hope he recovers quickly and has a great life as a stud horse.

I think his surgery and aft... (Below threshold)
Debi:

I think his surgery and aftercare should be free of charge - look at the advertising the clinic and doctor are getting. Besides, I think it is unconscionable that they would not do everything possible to save any horse that is injured on the track. I think the owners owe it to their horses. I hate to hear he is being "salvaged" for stud. I would rather hear they are trying to save the life of a magnificant athlete.

Debi,The doctor wh... (Below threshold)
Kim:

Debi,

The doctor who performed the surgery on Barbaro clarified his statements this morning. He stated that the owners would have done everything possible to save Barbaro's life even if he were a gelding because they value his life regardless of the money he would bring in. In fact, they would have done this surgery on any of their horses, not just Barbaro.

I never really cared for ho... (Below threshold)
Sandra Flatt:

I never really cared for horse racing because I think they start these horses out way to young. I just happen to be watching this race and couldn't pull myself away. I cried like a baby when I saw this happen, as if he were mine. I have since been checking the internet for updates on his progress every day. I believe he will be OK because he has such a big heart. I down loaded a ton of pictures of him the afternoon it happened, he is just so handsome.
It is also good to hear that the owners are not doing this for the money but doing it for him.
I truly pray for his recovery and hope he can produce many little Barbaros.

Kim - I'm glad to hear of t... (Below threshold)
Debi:

Kim - I'm glad to hear of the clarification. The earlier statements just sounded so much like they were dealing with an inanimate object. I do hope Barbaro survives and has a comfortable life. It sounds like he has magnificent owners, and I wish them all well.

We've been breeders and own... (Below threshold)
Maddy:

We've been breeders and owners of horses for years and really emphathize with Barbaro's people. We wish Barbaro the very best and hope he lives to a ripe, old age pain free and that he has the opportunity to produce many, many champion offsprings. Our prayers are with you all.

Sincerely,
Maddy & Jay Winer

We've been breeders and own... (Below threshold)
Maddy:

We've been breeders and owners of horses for years and really emphathize with Barbaro's people. We wish Barbaro the very best and hope he lives to a ripe, old age pain free and that he has the opportunity to produce many, many champion offsprings. Our prayers are with you all.

Sincerely,
Maddy & Jay Winer

We've been breeders and own... (Below threshold)
Maddy:

We've been breeders and owners of horses for years and really emphathize with Barbaro's people. We wish Barbaro the very best and hope he lives to a ripe, old age pain free and that he has the opportunity to produce many, many champion offsprings. Our prayers are with you all.

Sincerely,
Maddy & Jay Winer

Because of the unselfish at... (Below threshold)
Thelma Ladson:

Because of the unselfish attitudes of Barbaro's owners, trainer, & jockey, I believe God will honor all of them by healing Barbaro beyond all human expectation with Dr Richardson's heartfelt care & others prayers & concerns.

Great Job !!! I belive you ... (Below threshold)
Dan Rutan:

Great Job !!! I belive you just created another Sea Bisket. What a Magnificent Animal.Special Thanks to; Edgar Prado,Dr Richardson, the trainers and Jackson family. Love and God Speed from Anchorage Alaska. Bart Rutan

I wonder if his breaking th... (Below threshold)
Don Schroth:

I wonder if his breaking through the
magnetic barrier in a false start did the
initial damage to Barbaro's leg. What was the
noise that triggered his false start caused by.
I have never read any article that referred to
the above items.

Posted by: Don Schroth

barbaro fight for life, as ... (Below threshold)
tony:

barbaro fight for life, as you fought for victory in the florida derby

barbaro fight for life, as ... (Below threshold)
tony:

barbaro fight for life, as you fought for victory in the florida derby

Sunday, July 9th, 2006<br /... (Below threshold)
Maggie St. John:

Sunday, July 9th, 2006
There was an item on TV Sports News Channel 9 that Barbaro was running a temperature of 5 degrees above normal, due to the suspicion that there is a serious infection in Barbaro's injured leg. Do you have a more recent or thorough diagnosis? Thank you.

You don't have to wonder wi... (Below threshold)
barb:

You don't have to wonder with a hind leg that was shattered like his there's no hope in hell he'll ever race and i don't think Jackson's would take that chance with him if he recovers. they just want him to be healthy and paddock sound so he can breed

he broke his leg in 3 places above and below his pastern and no matter what the leg will never be the same and will always be abit weaker then it was before a break

Kbiel you are WRONG look... (Below threshold)
barb:

Kbiel you are WRONG look at Charismatic he broke down and people breed to him shows how much yopu know

Yes they're getting publi... (Below threshold)
barb:

Yes they're getting publicity not that they need it and frankly the media can be in the way more then helpful .. but nothing's for free and there are many other animals that are in need of care not just Barbaro and vets pay for the medicines and anastesia and what ever else is used in his care if they didn't get paid they would go bankrupt.

starting gate door would'... (Below threshold)
barb:

starting gate door would've hit his front legs and chest and it's made to automatically release when certain amount of weight is pressed against it he never stumbled as he broke through the gate it was said that edgar flt him take a misstep and then he realized something was wrong and tried to pull him up as quickly as possible Kudos to Edgar for quick thinking cause it may have saved Barbaro from totally and erevokably shattering that hind leg and kudos to barbaro for not fighting Edgar




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