Barbaro Updates: 1017 – 1072

Barbaro, with Messaging, at Fair Hill Training Center

Posted November 21, 2006

Update 1072: I just spoke to Peter (5:40 pm) and while he had not heard from Michael yet this afternoon he knows Michael was visiting Barbaro. Peter assumes all is well given that he had not heard anything.

Fleet Indian has undergone surgery: Fleet Indian Has Fetlock Fused, Injury Occurred in Breeders’ Cup and it is sad to report that Diesis has been euthanized: Champion and pensioned sire Diesis euthanized at age 26. Diesis was a great racehorse and sire.

Update 1071: A few links of interest. The first looks at the journey of Mike Rea. It provides much background of Mike’s life, and is within the broader context of the Barbaro connection: Beyond Brokenness…. The second contrasts Fair Hill and Philadelphia Park. And finally, here’s Barbaro’s Baby Brother (note: a couple of months old I guess).

Update 1070: I just spoke to Andy Durnin at Hollywood Park. He breezed a few horses this morning on the Cushion Track and was happy with the surface. Lets hope the woes of the weekend are behind them.

Alie from Kennett Florist left this comment (timestamp: 6:01 pm):

I just return from NBC. All was great. Everyone happy & excited to see treats for man & Horse. There was a stampede by the staff, for the carrot cake, and chocolates. Corrine & I served it up.
I talked to Mrs. Jackson as I was going in. What a wonderful lady. The weather is sunny but a little cool. I would think the big guy will get out today. Have a good day. God Bless.
We Believe

Update 1069: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was leaving the track from my first set. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. It was a chilly morning this morning for sure. Long johns are now required wear.

I caught up with Barclay Tagg by phone. Showing Up boarded a plane at 8:30 am this morning to head to California for the Hollywood Derby on sunday. He worked yesterday, I think in about 1: 02. A nice easy work to set him up for the weekend. NoBiz worked on sunday for his race on saturday (The Remsen). Barclay said it was a good work, he walked yesterday and galloped this morning.
update tuesday, november 21, 10:45 am

Ouiji Board is now in Japan getting ready for her race this sunday, the Japan Cup. Our final piece of stakes news for the weekend races, Red Aspen worked yesterday in preparation for the April Run Stakes at Laurel. She worked well (under Tim as usual). The April Run Stakes will likely be her biggest test to date.

Update 1068: A great article on synthetic tracks by Mike Jensen: Barbaro injury a ‘wake-up call’. Much of the article includes quotes from Fair Hill people Kathy Anderson, Michael Matz and Graham Motion. (Michael Dickinson used to train at Fair Hill and owns the tapeta surface which Fair Hill is putting in place.) Here are a couple of excerpts:

Asked about the possibility of local tracks such as Philadelphia Park and Delaware Park going to an all-weather artificial surface, Motion said, ” They’d be foolish not to jump on the bandwagon. Delaware has struggled with their entries all year. It changes it around. All of a sudden, if they get a Polytrack surface, they become the track that everybody wants to run at. It’s that simple, really.

“I can’t believe it wouldn’t be worthwhile for them to do it. They go from being a place that’s struggling to fill the entries to a place where everybody is going to want to be.”

“Bigger fields means bigger handles,” said Matz, who conditioned Round Pond to a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, becoming the first trainer since D. Wayne Lukas in 1999 to have a Kentucky Derby winner and a Breeders’ Cup winner in the same year. “Bigger handle means more people coming out to watch the races. And eventually, more people go to the casino. I just wish they would look at it that way.”


There are a lot of angles to consider – tracks in England tried a number of surfaces before hitting on the preferred one – but Motion said he sees one ultimate bottom line. He pointed to a newspaper on his desk at Fair Hill with a photograph of Pine Island off her feet rolling on her back during the Breeders’ Cup. It was an image used in newspapers all over the country.

“Look,” Motion said, “this is what we’re trying to get away from.”

The Barbaro update this morning may be delayed to after training hours, I am not sure yet. Please keep calling.

Posted by Alex at 9:45 AM | Comments (651)
Barbaro Updates: 137
Posted November 20, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1067: I spoke to Peter Brette earlier this evening who had heard from Michael who visited Barbaro this afternoon. Michael had Barbaro outside. It was another upbeat report.

Update 1066: A thorough article on the problems Hollywood Park is having with its Cushion Track :Track maintenance problems persist. It is refreshing to see how open they are about the problems they are having and how they believe the problems are attributed to their own efforts at maintaining the track, rather than the product itself. Lets hope they move up the steep learning curve quickly. I was told this morning the track was in good shape for training.

Update 1065: A wonderful article from the Baltimore Sun celebrating Barbaro’s six months of recovery: Still legging out life as long shot. It includes the following excerpts:

When the demands that come with owning Barbaro become too much, Gretchen Jackson simply goes to see her horse.

“I go there and just sit down in the bedding in his stall and talk to him,” she said last week. “He’s a very gentle stallion. He allows me to be able to do that, and I find it very relaxing. I look at those legs and think about what they were able to do, to think how they carried him to victory in the Kentucky Derby.”


“He bit me accidentally one day. I know it was an accident. He was as surprised by it as I was. He tried to put his head on my chest to say he’s sorry.”

McCafferty paused and smiled a little sheepishly.

“People say, ‘What is she talking about?’ But it was in his eyes. It was, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t mean it.’ … He’s just a cool horse with a unique personality.”


As for today, on the six-month anniversary of Barbaro’s arrival at New Bolton, Jackson said nothing special is planned.

“It’s the same as any other day,” she said. “We’re all just going to keep plugging along.”

…but of course Edgar surprised everyone with a visit!

Update 1064: Mrs. Jackson just called to thank everyone for your continued efforts to move the anti-slaughter bill forward.

I did ask her about Edgar’s visit. She mentioned that when she was with Edgar visiting Barbaro Barbaro was lying down, feet forward eating the grass Mrs. Jackson brought along. Edgar was able to sit down next to Barbaro and talk to him. In Mrs. Jackson’s words … he loves the horse, its a true relationship!

Update 1063: Its six months since the Preakness, six months of recovery, and Barbaro had a special visitor this morning … Edgar Prado. I believe this was Edgar’s fourth visit, and Edgar actually provided me with this morning’s update. Edgar noted Barbaro had put on a little weight (since his last visit), had a bright eye, and was actually trying to bite him a little! Edgar then waited around to meet with Mrs. Jackson, who visited Barbaro with cut grass etc. Barbaro was more tranquil during that visit (according to Edgar). I actually drove over to New Bolton to meet Edgar. He was with his wife Lillian and son Luis. He was very relaxed and happy to see Barbaro.

Update 1062: The early update is again from Michael’s visit last night (sunday 6 pm visit). Michael was again positive in his assessment of Barbaro when he visited. I saw Michael as I was finishing up my first set and coming off the track.

It is a nice crisp morning this morning. As I was coming out on my first set I noticed a heron wanting to share the pond, adjacent to the horsepath I use, with the many geese. Of course this created quite a lot of noise. Red Aspen is scheduled to work after the break. She is pointing for a stakes race at Laurel this coming weekend.

Update 1061: The Hollywood meet did race sunday after problems with the track were addressed saturday morning: Hollywood Races Sunday After Addressing Cushion Track Complaints. Lets hope this is a problem that is resolved. The Fair Hill Tapeta track should be in place within the next couple of weeks, especially if we have some dry weather.

Russell Baze is now only eleven winners shy of Laffitt Pincay’s all time mark of 9,530 winners: Baze Teams With Hollendorfer for Triple. Barring accidents I am guessing Baze will eclipse the record before I gallop my first horse on the Tapeta surface!

We had a Fair Hill visitor on saturday, although I confess she did not visit the barn. This is her report (posted in Barbaro Updates: 136 timestamp 5:10 am):

I spent a magical morning at Fair Hill Training Center Saturday. (Sally, the manager and Alex were both so patient and helpful with emailing me regarding a possible visit). As I was driving to the Center during a crimson sunrise, I drove past woodlands, ponds with geese, meadows, heard morning birdsong….and that was only the beginning. As I arrived and looked down the hill in the early morning light, I could see two horses and riders on the track for their morning workout. I walked down towards the track and found a nice spot to absorb the incredible privelege of this experience. This spot happened to be where each set entered the track from their barns. I was so close, I could look into the horses’ eyes as they walked within a foot of me, I could hear the horses breathing, their hooves hitting the plush deep cushion of dirt track and I even had the privelege of hearing the riders talk with their mounts. I was struck by the beauty of these magnificent creatures…their athleticism, unique personalities and amazing training. Each rider greeted me with ‘Good Morning’ despite their busy workday and it was easy to discern their proficiency and how incredibly tuned into their mount each rider was. It was like watching the horse and rider move smoothly as one. It was so amazing to be so welcomed and able to get so close to such incredibly talented horses and people. One trainer asked me if I was cold because it was a bit colder than it had been recently. My honest answer was “I am too awestruck to be cold”. I stayed until the track equipment came out to groom the track after the morning workouts were over and it seemed like I was there five minutes at most. I bet it sounds like I am totally enamored…I will simply have to go back again soon before I suffer withdrawl!

I was spotted on TV in Oklahoma (posted in Barbaro Updates: 136 timestamp 4:36 am):

Hey, Alex! Our local ABC affiliate just ran an anti-h/s story. They mentioned Barbaro, and you, Alex, were interviewed.

Afterwards, they ran the 2 OK senators’ numbers for people to contact. Fantastic!

I am not sure when the Barbaro update will be this morning, but hope it will be before 9 am.

Posted by Alex at 10:47 AM | Comments (524)
Barbaro Updates: 136
Posted November 18, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1060: Peter called, he visited Barbaro earlier this afternoon (sunday afternoon). Another upbeat report. Peter changed Barbaro’s bandages, took him out to graze and gave him a good grooming. Barbaro remains comfortable.

Update 1059: Another lovely tribute to Barbaro.

Update 1058: Trouble at Hollywood Park with its new Cushion Track: Hollywood track closed for training. It is apparently uneven in patches. A Todd Pletcher-trained horse broke down on the track this morning (it was open for training for the first hour, until about 7am). A grader is currently on the track (8:40 am California time). My understanding is the track was great up to the point the meet was opened, at which time it was rolled to get more speed.

Update 1057: I caught up with Michael Matz as I was grazing Hawty Creek. He confirmed Barbaro had another good day yesterday (saturday). I think it was a pretty good week all around for Barbaro. I am not sure when today’s update may appear, Dr. Richardson is still away. Of course as I was grazing Hawty Creek I spotted Round Pond getting turned out in the paddock. She sure does act like a champion, very full of herself!

This is the time of year that many of the racing outfits migrate south. Michael and Graham Motion are two outfits that set up stables at Palm Meadows, in Florida. Michael ships his entire stable down there, Graham leaves a barn of horses at Fair Hill (splits his stable). Vans have been leaving Fair Hill all week shipping horses down to Florida. Some of Michael’s help are also already down in Florida. I believe he will remain at Fair Hill for about another week and then all will be done at Fair Hill for Michael until the spring. Of course I will need to figure out a new means of getting Barbaro updates when they do finally leave, but anticipate getting a once a day update to not be a problem.

It is sad to report the fatal injury of Mountain General, who ran in the first race at Aqueduct yesterday (saturday). He had served racing well.

Tributes for Desert Orchid continue in Britain over this weekend.

Update 1056: Peter Brette just left a voice message that he did visit Barbaro today (saturday afternoon) and all was well. He took him out for a nice pick of grass. Basically, it was another upbeat message.

A nice day at Delaware Park this afternoon. Good to watch Ramon Dominguez ride three winners (one was an easy win for Michael Matz). I saw Ramon’s wife sharon and had a quick chat with her. Also saw and thanked Ramon for his support of the website. While I knew Sharon because she used to gallop for Graham Motion at Fair Hill, I had never met Ramon until today.

It was good to get to Delaware Park for the final weekend and got to say good-bye to people heading south for the winter. I am now in the Delaware Handicap Room (bar) where all the colors and names of the winners of the Delaware Handicap are displayed. This includes Blessing Angelica who won in 1971 and 1972. She is the grand dam (mother’s mother) of Hawty Creek.

Update 1055: No update from Peter Brette yet but he is planning to visit Barbaro sometime this afternoon. I’ll try to get a report later after Peter’s visit.

Update 1054: As suspected the rest of the morning (except Hawty Creek) were all works, and each horse actually worked pretty well. It is a lovely morning. I went to see Round Pond grazing in her paddock and Better Talk Now, as he was going out hacking. I believe this is the last time he will be ridden for a little while. I am now planning to go to Delaware Park, a friend has a runner in the stake, and it is Delaware Park’s closing weekend. I will also endevour to get a Barbaro update sometime either late morning or early afternoon.

Update 1053: I saw Michael Matz as I was going on to the track on Rocky, my second set. Michael said that when he saw Barbaro last night, he was in good order. So, another upbeat day to report yesterday. It’s a crisp, gorgeous morning…a little cooler but looks like it’s going to be a bright, sunny day. The dirt track has recovered nicely from all the rain and there are lots of horses out working this morning. When I saw Michael I was on my way to work Rocky from the gate. He broke out nice and sharp in company and then worked 3/8ths without breaking a sweat. A very nice work from the gate.
updated saturday 7:30am

Update 1052: This week we had the passing of a true champion, who was loved by a nation: Dessie in the famous five. Russell Baze also continues to close in on a remarkable record: Baze 15 From Pincay After Friday Night Win. I am still amazed he spoke to us about Lost in the Fog (LITF) on the night LITF was diagnosed with cancer and while Russell had just ridden seven consecutive winners without mentioning the feat.

It looks like Brother Derek is taking a liking to the turf: Turf seems to agree with Brother Derek. He is due to work on sunday in preparation for the Hollywood Derby, which will include the Jackson owned, and Barclay trained Showing Up (who we know loves the turf).

Here is the web version of my most memorable birthday gift, and again, the Barbaro update this morning will be a report from last evening.

Posted by Alex at 10:38 AM | Comments (463)
Barbaro Updates: 135
Posted November 17, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1051: I just spoke to Peter who had spoken to Michael, who visited Barbaro this afternoon. Barbaro remains comfortable and got to go out today and graze. Another good report.

Alie from Kennett Florist had this to report in the comments (timestamp: 6:30 pm):

NBC is a great place today. Everyone was in good moods. The cupcakes were a big hit. The weather today is soooo nice. You don’t even have to wear a coat. Barbaro & the donor horses got treats too.
Alex, have a great birthday- cheers.

Alie … I did! I spent most of the afternoon reading the many birthday cards I have received. Some very kind words, thanks.

Update 1050: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). I just spoke to Peter (12:05pm) to confirm.

Fondmort continues to improve: Fondmort up and on the mend. This short article includes a nice photograph of Fondmort, his trainer Nicky Henderson and the staff at the equine hospital. It remains a day-to-day situation.

Bernardini versus Barbaro for three year old of the year. The topic of conversation is heating up. Here is one vote for Barbaro (from someone who does not get to vote but …): Vote here is for Barbaro.

Update 1049: Dr. Richardson is at a conference for a couple of days so the morning update will be from Michael’s visit the evening before. I saw Michael coming off the track from my first set and he said Barbaro was well last night. Michael also got to see his left hind foot and expressed satisfactioon with what he saw. The rain seems to have cleared out and there is a nice cloudless sky this morning. Lets hope we have some dry weather now. I am about to get on Chappy.
update friday, 7 am

Update 1048: My birthday party was fantastic, what a great surprise last night, and your generosity appears unbounded! Included in the gifts was a lovely album which I am sure will take me a nice long time to read through, a Fred Stone print of Barbaro, and very generous cheques for Freedom Hills and Lost and Found Horse Rescue Foundation. The latter I am particularly psyched about given their recent needs noted here: Help needed now. I’ll need to call them this morning and alert them to your funding. Wendy took pictures.

As I noted yesterday, Graham Motion trained his 1,000th winner: Trainer Motion reaches 1,000-win milestone. Here is the quote from Graham:

“It was nice to have it happen here,” Motion said. “It is pretty nostalgic because this is where I started. I was actually driving around the backside earlier on and went by my old barn.

“It was nice to do it here with Adrian, who has been with me from the start,” Motion added. “It is not something you aim for but it is neat to do it. I have had backing of some tremendous owners throughout the years and the owners that got me started were right here in Maryland.”

I also wanted to note there is a charity auction this saturday being held to support the MO horses that many here have also been supporting. The following is some text that explains what is happening with the auction:

The St. Louis Horse Heroes Charity Benefit will be held Saturday November 18th at the Lakeside Cafe at the St. Louis Zoo. Doors open at 6:30pm with a live auction at 9:00pm. ALL proceeds from this special event will benefit the Humane Society of Missouri, Missouri Equine Response Service, and the Eureka Fire Department Mounted Search and Rescue Team. Call Dawn or Lori at Homestead Equine 636-451-4655 to RSVP, make a donation, or to bid on any of the donated items available. Charity dinner and auction event tickets are $65 per person.

On September 27th a double decker semi carrying 42 horses bound for slaughter over- turned in the median on I-44 near St. Clair, Missouri. The Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch was called and immediately dispatched a team of veterinarians and volunteer rescue workers from Missouri Emergency Response Services to help free the severely injured horses. Twenty six horses were rescued and all have experienced severe trauma, including cuts, lacerations of their legs, head trauma and partial paralysis. They are being medically cared for and rehabilitated so they will now have a second chance at life. St. Louis Horse Heroes is a non-profit organizations formed by a group of veterinary professional in the St. Louis area including Homestead Veterinary Hospital, Foxcreek Veterinary Hospital, Equine Medical Associates, and Mid-Rivers Equine.

Subsequent to receiving the above notice I am told that they are at capacity with the attendance of the event (great news). If you want to see a list of items and bid, contact Dawn or Lori at the above number.

Dawn had sent me a couple of Barbaro hats for Michael to sign, they will be auctioned off. I also contacted a friend of mine who works for Godolphin. They sent over a jacket (signed by Frankie Detorri), a pen and hat. I have bid on those gifts!

The Barbaro update should be before 9 am.

Posted by Alex at 10:29 AM | Comments (414)
Barbaro Updates: 134
Posted November 16, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1047: Wendy’s report from her visit to Fair Hill this morning. Make sure to check the photos.

Update 1046: I just spoke to Peter who had spoken to Michael who visited Barbaro earlier this afternoon. Peter said Barbaro remains comfortable. Peter was pretty upbeat.

Update 1045: When I was at Graham Motion’s this morning Sue noted Graham was two winners shy of the 1,000 mark. Well according to Sue’s News Graham has now reached 1,000 winners with two more winners today, Everyman and Lucky Bachelor. Both winners ridden by Ramon Dominguez. Congratulations to everyone at the Motion barn!

Update 1044: A quick update on the Fair Hill Breeders’ Cup horses. As I was grazing Hawty Creek, Round Pond was turned out in one of Michael’s paddocks. She looked very calm and happy with her head down grazing. All was peaceful … until someone came to catch her and bring her in. Then she started performing, I am guessing she just was not yet ready to return to the barn.

I went over to Graham Motion’s barn once I was done. Lisa was finishing tacking up Better Talk Now and took him out for a very light jog in the fields out back. I walked out to watch along with Sue, Graham’s office manager. He was very relaxed and happy, picking grass along the way as he was walking out and back from his short exercise. Sue actually maintains a news section on Graham’s site: Sue’s news. The november 14 entry includes pictures of the now retired Film Maker!

Update 1043: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was coming on to the track for my second set on Chappy. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. I was the first out this morning on the track just after six am and the moisture laying on top of the sealed track reflected the moon and a bit of the sunrise which in turn provided a nice source of light. I did also see Barclay Tagg as I was coming off the track on my first set. He is pleased with both Showing Up and NoBiz as they prepare for their respective stake races next weekend. Barclay said NoBiz is scheduled to fly to Hollywood Park on Tuesday.
updated thursday 7:15am

Update 1042: The weather will determine the timing of the Barbaro update this morning. While it does not appear to be raining this minute, it is forecast to do so. If training is not effected by the rain, the Barbaro update should be before 9 am.

Noting the weather impacting training, we are still awaiting the completion of our synthetic training track (Tapeta). It should be complete by the end of this month, but of course the weather may also impact the completion date. The surface has recently been introduced at the Godolphin training center in Dubai: Godolphin opens synthetic training track. I am really looking forward to not having to gallop on a sloppy hard dirt race track!

It is nice to see the traveling queen Ouija Board has been voted European Horse of the Year: Ouija Board Honored With Second Cartier Horse of the Year Award. She is now preparing for the Japan Cup, to run a week on sunday.

Keep calling!

Posted by Alex at 10:36 AM | Comments (578)
Barbaro Updates: 133
Posted November 15, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1041: No update this evening. I was out for dinner when I usually get an update. I did want to mention that Ramon Dominguez, who rode five winners from five rides on monday actually extended it to a seven race win streak early on tuesday. That was his record for consecutive winning rides, so congratulations to Ramon.

Update 1040: I caught up with Kathy Anderson this morning, who visited Barbaro yesterday. She also gave an upbeat assessment. She was present when they were changing his bandages (on his right hind) and thought Barbaro looked good. She also noted Barbaro has been moved to a new stall, a little larger, which he seems to appreciate. Michael also told me this morning that Barbaro did go out yesterday.

Update 1039: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I saw Michael Matz on my second set jogging Rocky. In fact, when I came on the track, Michael said he hadn’t heard yet. But as I completed my first turn, he was able to relay the positive news. I am now jogging my second mile on Rocky and watching Graham Motion’s horses gallop by. It’s a foggy, soupy day at Fair Hill.
updated wednesday 6:55am

Update 1038: Hard Spun won his second race at Delaware: Hard Spun’s victories get colt some attention. This will be his last start at Delaware, the meet is all but over. I had neglected to mention that Kentucky Derby favourite Sweetnorthernsaint also ran at Delaware a few days ago: Sweetnorthernsaint glides and again the field was short. I am sure Steve Klesaris did not expect to have to face the Derby favourite with Master of Disaster. Final piece of racing news, Brother Derek may try the turf, I assume they know who may be Showing Up for that race!

Hopefully the Barbaro update will be before 9 am again.
Keep calling.

Posted by Alex at 10:30 AM | Comments (899)
Barbaro Updates: 132
Posted November 14, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1037: I just spoke to Peter, who visited Barbaro this afternoon. He was upbeat (Peter). He gave Barbaro a good grooming, although he did not take him outside as it is still pretty damp around here.

Here is an update on Fleet Indian: Fleet Indian Continues Stall Rest. Ouija Board has now arrived in Japan as she now prepares for the Japan Cup, a week on sunday: Ouija arrives in Japan.

Update 1036: New Bolton’s Barbaro update: Barbaro doing well after cast-removal:

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro continues to improve following the removal of his right hind leg cast last week, according to his medical team. “Barbaro’s strength on the right hind limb has been gradually improving,” said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. “It is normal to be a bit stiff and weak after being in a cast for a long time; however, he is capable of bearing full weight on the previously fractured right hind leg even without the supporting soft bandage.”

Barbaro’s lower right hind leg had been in a cast since surgery at Penn’s George D. Widener Hospital following his accident at the Preakness on May 20.

Barbaro’s left hind foot, which had laminitis, continues to improve. “The left hind foot continues to slowly grow but still has a very long way to go,” said Dr. Richardson. “Barbaro’s attitude and appetite remain excellent, and he still takes short walks outside to graze each day if the weather permits.”

The next update will be posted on Tuesday, November 28, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro’s condition.

Update 1035: A quick update from Delaware Park. Ramon Dominguez had five rides yesterday, and five winners! The two year old Hard Spun is running today at about 3:30 pm. He is being touted as a horse to follow by the media, who will likely be in attendance today.

Update 1034: New Bolton will have a release out on Barbaro today. I just called to confirm.

Here is Desert Orchid’s 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup win, that was so lovingly described in update 1028 by Sue McMullen. It goes without saying that the media coverage he has been getting on the national news in the UK (and BBC America last night) is a strong signal this horse was loved by a nation.

Update 1033: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was coming out on Hawty Creek to take her out back as my third set. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson.

I caught up briefly with Graham Motion while on my second set jogging Chappy back before her gallop and while they haven’t made a final decision, it looks very unlikely that Better Talk Now will run again this year. It is more likely that he will take the winter off before beginning his campaign again next year.
updated tuesday 7:25am

Update 1032: Another lovely tribute to Pine Island: Pine Island, and her legacy will continue: Phipps Reinforces Commitment to Research Following Pine Island’s Injury.

Following Desert Orchid’s passing yesterday, he is in all the national newspapers in england this morning, making the front cover of a few. Here is a piece from the Daily Mail.

The Barbaro update should be before 9 am this morning. Keep calling.

Posted by Alex at 10:36 AM | Comments (571)
Barbaro Updates: 131
Posted November 13, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1031: I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael who visited Barbaro this afternoon. While he was not able to go outside (due to the dreary weather) he does remain comfortable.

Update 1030: Frank DeFord offers his vote for Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year: My Sportsmen: Roy & Gretchen Jackson, Michael Matz. The article ends:

But in saving Barbaro, the Jacksons and their trainer made so many people care — even people who never paid much never mind to horse racing. They embroidered their sport with goodness and nobility and made us all see that sometimes dreams can come true — even if it wasn’t the dream we first had in mind. Barbaro didn’t win the Triple Crown. Because of the people who loved him, he won life.

Update 1029: Barbara Livingston has created a Pine Island Album. She sent me the link along with this message:

This album was so tough to put together…

I’ll never forget photographing this large, kind lady. People who didn’t see the beauty in her face didn’t look closely. Her brilliant, large eyes were so trusting and content, reflecting the love she felt from those around her. Her actions were proud and comfortable, her manner quiet..and all wrapped in a most beautiful oversized package.

A girlfriend who worked with her called Pine Island “Big Moose” in the affectionate way possible. I thought of her as a gentle giant. Everyone at her barn adored her and showered her with affection – which she happily accepted. While her long ears swept forward for peppermints, they also pricked at any gesture of kindness.

It’s amazing to think of what she accomplished this year – and, to think, she was still learning about the game. She was such a shooting star.

We are heartsick for the Phipps’ family, Claiborne Farm’s staff and the McGaughey crew.

Update 1028: Britain will morn the sad lose of Desert Orchid who passed away at the age of twenty seven today. Sue McMullen sent this e-mail:

There will be tears shed today all over the UK and beyond with news of Desert Orchid’s death. Mercifully, he died peacefully in his sleep, aged 27 and wouldn’t have known anything about it. He leaves so many indelible images having made National Hunt racing in the UK his personal stage and since his retirement in 1991 he made numerous personal appearances, at racecourses that were the scene of his greatest triumphs and at charity events to raise money.

It would be impossible to do him justice in a few short paragraphs and there will be numerous tributes to him in the trade press outlining his versatility, the different distances he won over, his four King George chases and Cheltenham Gold Cup, Whitbreads, the weight he carried, his bravery and the following he had. So I thought I would share my own, favourite memory.

He lived a good life, doing what he loved to do, but I nevertheless feel very emotional today as he has been part of my life for so many years. I was at Cheltenham in 1989, the day he won his Gold Cup. I recall shaking with nerves beforehand as ‘Dessie’ always hated Cheltenham. His greatest victories, apart from that one, were at right-handed tracks and the big question was, how would he cope being there again? It was desperately cold and grey, with the snow-capped hills of Prestbury in the background providing a natural amphitheatre to the drama that was about to unfold on the course. It was so wet they had to inspect at noon to see if racing would go ahead, even the fire service had to pump water from the course. 50,000 people packed the stands, straining to see what the iconic grey horse could do but what a dilemma for his adoring owner Richard Burridge. This was no longer just about a course Dessie hated, but horrendous conditions that would make it even worse for him.

Those of us who were there that day will never forget it and I swear that when he jumped the last fence, upsides the mud-loving Yahoo, 50,000 people gave Desert Orchid wings and carried him up that gruelling, Cheltenham hill. Always flamboyant and a show-off over his fences, he responded to the greatest cheers and screams that Cheltenham racecourse has ever witnessed, before or since, and it was purely Dessie’s iron will, bravery and total inability to allow another horse to be ahead of him, even at home, that gave him the strength to dig deeper than he had ever had to and overcome his hated course and the mud. People who had backed Yahoo because of the desperate conditions and Dessie’s known dislike of the course, started screaming for Dessie in tribute to his brave attempt to do what so many thought impossible for him, hats were thrown in the air and afterwards, grown men were in tears. I have never experienced anything like it on a racecourse and suspect I never will.

Years later, when I became a trustee of a racehorse charity, Dessie came to stay with us before appearing at our open day, and I got to meet the ‘great one’ himself, the first of many such, highly cherished occasions. There were none tougher on the racecourse, none as competitive and nothing could leap like him at the penultimate fence at Kempton (where he knew the cameras were) and yet, put him next to a person in a wheelchair or out hacking accompanying a child on a pony, when he was retired, and he was a lamb. I truly believe there will never be another one like him.

A couple of articles from the media: DESERT ORCHID DIES AGED 27 and British Steeplechasing Star Desert Orchid Dies at Age 27.

Update 1027: Mrs. Jackson just called to thank everyone for their support today, and over the next few days, as we continue our efforts re: the anti horse-slaughter bill.

Update 1026: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). I saw Michael as I was coming on to the (very grotty) track on Chappy for my fourth set. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson.

It is raining in spots this morning, but enough to turn the track to a mess. Today was a mix of track, outback (Hawty Creek) and Shedrow.

Today is national call in day for anti-horse slaughter. Debra, WI (timestamp 1:27 pm) details the plan for the day.

Update 1025: I was curious to see how popular the Melbourne Cup is in Australia, when compared to the Breeders’ Cup in the US. The Breeders’ Cup attained a TV audience of about 770,000. The Melbourne Cup: 2.272 million. I guess if you did a percentage of total population viewing the difference would be much greater. The Melbourne Cup meet also broke attendance records: Melbourne Carnival Breaks Attendance Mark. So while racing in the US seems to be a waining sport at the present, with plenty of problems to fix, this is not the case elsewhere.

I did watch the ESPN broadcast yesterday (over a lovely sunday dinner). A few observations; Ouija Board is wonderful; Trevor Denman was not (and he usually is); Churchill Downs let Fleet Indian down desperately; Pine Island soooo sad; Edgar Prado looked so sad after his win; Fair Hill had a great day.

The Barbaro update this morning may be delayed, the weather looks grim, and if that is the case we will be in the shedrow and I’ll get the update after training hours. I say “if that is the case” as it may be clearing up.

Posted by Alex at 10:34 AM | Comments (561)
Barbaro Updates: 130
Posted November 11, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1024: No Barbaro update tonight. Peter decided not to visit (it is his day off). While Michael was planning to visit on his way back from the races, when I spoke to Peter it was a little early to have heard. I will wait until the morning report.

Update 1023: Indian Charlie’s final edition includes a piece on Barbaro: Indian Charlie: Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

The Daily Local has a nice article on Barbaro: Barbaro gets his cast off which effectively summarizes most of what we know. Nice to see quoted from Mr. Jackson:

“That’s great news, now isn’t it,” said Roy Jackson, the colt’s owner. “The cast was replaced by a padded-splinted bandage for support. He’s gained back the weight he lost this summer. Still, Barbaro’s day-to-day routine is going to be the same until the (left hind) hoof grows back.”


“Each horse is different,” Jackson explained. “It’s a slow process. The hoof grows, then it slows, then grows again. It’s guesswork.”

Barbaro will remain at New Bolton until the hoof is healed, Jackson said. He noted that they have been contacted by Kentucky breeding farms.
“They are mainly just checking in, seeing how he’s doing,” Jackson related. “It’s way too premature to have any type of discussions.”

Update 1022: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was grazing Hawty Creek adjacent to Michael’s barn. Peter told me last night he may go and visit Barbaro today, if he does I will try to catch up with him later.

Could Barbaro be named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year ? He’s certainly got the beating of at least of the athlete’s listed!
update 9:15 am, sunday, november 12

Update 1021: Barbaro’s morning update will be later in the morning, much as this first update is late (I just got up).

In the meantime, Daryl Smoliak wrote a letter to the editor to the Star Tribune: Letter of the day: Senate should put an end to horse slaughter. A very concise argument against horse slaughter. Very well done.

Update 1020: I spoke to Peter Brette who had spoken with Michael who had visited today. Barbaro remains well as he is getting used to his new legware. Michael had not taken him out to graze, but I believe was planning to on his return visit later today.

Kathy Anderson also called, and had visited yesterday and a couple of times over the last week. She noted that when she visited yesterday evening Barbaro was munching away and had a good eye. Barbaro is in a phase of adjustment to his splint (he has been laying down a little bit more lately), but that is to be expected as he gets used to putting a little more weight on his uncasted leg.

Update 1019: A couple of quick articles.

Barbaro gets plenty of support while recovering. Well we know that! The article notes that Penn’s message boards had received more than 50,000 messages by early August. Impressive. I thought it was worth adding that this site has received over 74,000 comments to date (we might have had 4 comments pre-Barbaro), and the discussion boards have had over 33,000 messages posted. Barbaro is having an effect!

I am sure I mentioned this in one of my Breeders’ Cup updates, but here it is all official: Derby Winner Giacomo Retired to Adena Springs. I am grateful to Steve Willard for not only providing us updates on Giacomo throughout the late summer and leading up to the Breeders’ Cup, but also allowing me to visit with Giacomo right after his final race. He’s a dude (Giacomo … and Steve).

Update 1018: Congratulations to Michael Golden on the win of Kielbasa Queen (Queenie). Here is the chart. I just spoke to Tim, he is very happy. Queenie also cooled out well. I did ask Tim the other day how many wins this year he would need to consider it a good year. Well eight was the answer, and we now stand at eight.

Tim told me a nice story this morning which I will cut very short. A couple of days ago, when he was at Laurel, he caught up with Larry King a guy we used to know many years ago from Fair Hill. Anyway, Larry now works on a farm, I think essentially as a private trainer. His boss ended up with a horse I used to own, and gave away (to someone else) on the promise she would receive a good home, for life. Well for whatever reason the owner I gave her to was unable to keep her. Larry’s boss ended up with her (they were neighbours). Jilladella is now 24, and living a lovely life somewhere in Maryland (I think) with her own personal paddock, coming in everyday after 2 – 3 hours of being outside. I was very happy to hear.

Update 1017: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was coming off the track for my third set. He had heard from Dr. Richardson.

It is another beautiful morning this morning at Fair Hill. A gorgeous sunrise with very mild temperatures. For my first set I was coming away from the barn to go to the track, and the Canada geese that have been sitting on the pond to the right of the horsepath started making a big noise (there must be 500 of them) and my horse weeled to the left. Naturally I grabbed for the neckstrap … it was not there! Note to self, check tack more thoroughly before going to the track. Fortunately I did not fall off.
update 8:35 am, saturday morning, november 11