Barbaro Updates: 1227 – 1267

Barbaro, with Messaging, at Fair Hill Training Center

Posted December 31, 2006

Update 1267: Another lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. I remember one time, years ago, riding in the afternoon at Muirfield East Farm (Bob Levy’s in Chesapeake City) in a T shirt in January, and just thinking that was incredible. I am sure if I was riding this afternoon it would be about the same! First set I again took Hawty Creek outback across the fields. The ground was a little crunchy after a light frost, but it was still good enough. It was another lovely sunrise, and so peaceful jogging round the outside of the field I use (about 2 miles around) up and down the small inclines.

Tim’s Nonpariel again galloped very nicely on the dirt track. We went in company with Tim on Farouche. They galloped a mile and a half together. Nonpariel is really learning well when to switch leads and keep nicely balanced. The rest of the morning continued very pleasantly. Each of the young horses I ride just seem to be doing what they should be doing and learning how to become racehorses!

Update 1266: Barbaro remains comfortable. I had a short visit with Barbaro today. I had planned to pull his mane (shorten his mane). I started, but they were wanting to do some routine medical work with him. I did not want to interrupt so I just hung around for a while and then left. I hope I get to finish what I started, or his mane will really look odd. There were some cute baby goats in one of the “stalls” that I got a glimpse of on my way out. Very cool.

It looks like the Fog’s connections have another speedster: Vicarino Gets Third Career Win in Stinson Beach.

Update 1265: The Eclipse Award finalists are known: Eclipse Awards Finalists Dominated by Breeders’ Cup Winners. Barbaro, the Jackson’s (in two categories) and Edgar Prado are all in the running. Unfortunately Michael Matz was not selected for the trainer category.

ESPN has a great article on the woes of horse racing: I am horse racing. It includes the following two excerpts:

I will stop burying my head in the sand when it comes to the issue of horse slaughter. I have the clout and the money to put an end to this reprehensible practice. I am truly ashamed that I have allowed thousands of retired race horses to perish in this grisly manner each year and I will do something about it. For an industry that generates $14 billion a year in business, there shouldn’t be any problem coming up with the money to make this happen. I’m going to stop pretending this isn’t a serious problem.


I will order that every racetrack that has a slots room also have a mutuel window in that area, television screens showing the races and, whenever possible, an unobstructed view of the racetrack. I’ve had it with racino managements who do everything possible to keep the slot players from even knowing that horse racing is going on somewhere else on the premises.

Update 1264: A nice article on Barbaro’s journey: Going the Distance — Barbaro’s story was one of the year’s best. The article notes this web-site, and includes the following excerpt:

To me, 2006 will always be the Year of Barbaro. Barbaro is an athlete in every sense of the word, giving his all wherever needed. He never asked for money, never sought performance enhancing drugs, never turned down an autograph.

All he asked for were caring humans and lots of baby carrots. Here’s hoping he’ll have many more years to live and green pastures in which to roam.

This article highlights the benefits on the new synthetic surfaces that US racing surely needs: Race Pros Hope Synthetic Tracks Save Horses. The article does note a downside to the new surface, it makes it harder to handicap a race, and thus could effect the handle. While this may occur in the short term, I assume once we get used to racing on these new surfaces we will understand better how to handicap the races. The new surfaces are attracting bigger fields, which in turn attracts more wagering (according to a couple of people I know who love to bet).

The new surface at Fair Hill (Tapeta) is riding very well at the moment. I have been on it for one set for each of the last couple of days and you really do feel you are floating across it. I imagine it might also help us older riders out a little with the better concussion on our own joints!

Update 1263: Another gorgeous winter morning this morning at Fair Hill, although very spring-like for sure! Hawty Creek went outback first set. It was still pretty dark but you could pick out the deer grazing. We also saw a fox scampering out of the way, which actually spooked Hawty Creek and she bucked so hard I almost went into orbit. Anyway, I landed in the right spot. I took a few to the gate today, including Tim’s Nonpariel. She is doing everything right in her early training program. Behind the gate I caught up with Adrian Rolls, Graham Motion’s assistant. He noted that Better Talk Now (best distance turf horse in North America) has resumed training and will be in light exercise for a couple of weeks at Fair Hill before heading down to Florida. He jogged a little in the shedrow this morning. When I was leaving Fair Hill (I went via the tack shop to get a mane comb) I saw Better Talk Now out in his paddock in the lovely sunshine.

Update 1262: I just spoke to Tom, the Jackson’s farm manager. He visited today and Barbaro remains comfortable. I am planning on visiting Barbaro again tomorrow with Tom.

Update 1261: New Bolton’s Barbaro update: Barbaro’s status remains unchanged:

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro’s status is essentially the same. “The shoe on his right hind foot was further modified as his strength improved,” said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. “We are aware that there is some public concern about his abnormal motion on the right hind limb, however, this is not unexpected. His gait may be abnormal as he learns to adapt to having fusions of two major joints in his lower limb and to the special shoe. In addition, the fracture had some collapse on the medial (inside) part of the pastern region after he developed laminitis on the left hind foot. Although this is visually unattractive, the mechanics of the lower leg are not seriously affected because the pastern and fetlock joints are fused.”

Our goal was to give him a leg that would be functional and comfortable enough to live happily. “The right hind has healed well enough that we are optimistic about that possibility,” said Dr. Richardson. “However, Barbaro’s left hind foot, which had laminitis, remains a more formidable long-term challenge. The foot must grow much more for him to have a truly successful outcome.”

Barbaro, who has been in the Intensive Care Unit of the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals since his injuries at the Preakness on May 20, is eating well and has a bright eye and happy demeanor, according to his medical team.

The next update will be posted on Tuesday, January 16, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro’s condition.

And here is the most recent video of Barbaro without his cast.

Update 1260: NoBiz was back to work on New Year’s morning: Nobiz Like Shobiz gets back to work. It looks like it was a very easy work (half mile in 49 and change), and his first in a series of works designed to get him ready for the Holy Bull Stakes on February 3. The same race won by Barbaro last year in Barbaro’s first start on the dirt. Yesterday’s winner of the Tropical Park Derby may also point for the Holy Bull: Soldier’s Dancer victory stirs memory of Barbaro. If he does they may need to find a new jockey!

Update 1259: Another lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill, and somewhat quiet for me (five horses ridden). Hawty Creek shedrowed this morning, jogging for about ten minutes. While she came out of her work well I am just backing off her a little for the following couple of days so she can get her appetite back, she tends to back off her feed a little. When I was out grazing her later snow geese were flying overhead. They were cool to watch, I don’t remember the last time I saw snow geese. Nothing wrong with canada geese, but we seem to have plenty of them all the time.

I rode Tim’s Nonpariel who went very well. Tim reminded me that Chesapeake City Slew is coming back in the next day or so. He’s cool, so am looking forward to (hopefully) start getting back on him. Tim’s crew were busy washing down a few of the stalls, I guess in anticipation of a couple of new arrivals. All in all a relaxing morning.

The Barbaro update today will be late in the day. New Bolton are also scheduled to release an update. The discussion boards are currently down, this is a tech. issue, they should return soon.

Update 1258: Soldiers Dancer, the favorite, won the Tropical Park Derby. They were more than two seconds slower than Barbaro’s time last year (1:46 3/5). The Tropical Park Derby was Barbaro’s last race on the turf, and he won very easily. Many people actually think Barbaro was a better turf horse than dirt horse. What was brilliant about his racing career (and another reason he should be considered Horse of the Year) was he won on all surfaces in 2006, good dirt, slop, and turf.

Jazil is back in the entries: Jazil Entered in Aqueduct Allowance Race Friday.

Update 1257: Tom is still recovering from whatever derailed him yesterday so he asked me if I wanted to come over and help him with Barbaro this afternoon … Yes! We were to meet in the ICU at 1 pm. When I arrived Tom was already there. Anyway, while he felt better it made sense for me to groom Barbaro. That was all we were going to do today. I put on his halter, tied him up (Barbaro not …) and set to work. I started as usual by picking his front feet. I then gave him a good once over with the body brush. This again was followed up with a good currying and a wipe over with a cloth. I spongued out his eyes and nostrils. Once done Barbaro looked great. He really does have a very good coat and shines up brilliantly when he has been groomed. Once we were done Tom and I sat around chatting for a little while, while we fed Barbaro some carrots and apples. Tom had brought him his Lael grass, which he does really enjoy. All in all we were with Barbaro for about an hour, a lovely way to spend New Year’s day afternoon for sure. Nine visits and as of yet, Barbaro has not bitten me!

Update 1256: Another good year-end wrap article: ’06 was rich tapestry of triumph, tragedy. The article also includes the turf writer’s picks for eclipse awards. Tim and I were discussing (on the way back from the track yesterday after breezing The Kielbasa Queen and Hawty Creek) the momentum Barbaro seems to be gaining for end of year honors. The article above has Barbaro as horse of the year! Here are my picks (for fun of course):

Steeplechaser: McDynamo (by default, no competition)

Juvenile Colt: A close call between Street Sense and NoBiz like ShoBoz. My bias pick is for the latter.

Juvenile Filly: Dreaming of Anna

Three year old colt / gelding: Barbaro. While there may be a little bias I am convinced the award should go to the horse that does the most impressive thing on the racetrack. For me that is Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby. His other races were notable in as much as he won them all until the fateful day of the Preakness. Bernardini had a great year, but I just don’t see that he prooved he was better than Barbaro. Same with Discreet Cat.

Three year old filly: Pine Island. Wait a While was great on the turf, but Pine Island takes this one.

Older horse: Invasor. Aside from his early defeat in Dubai he was flawless. Great win in the Classic sealed this with ease.

Older female: No idea.

Sprinter: Thor’s Echo. Special mention for Lost in the Fog for winning a stake while suffering from cancer (obviously undetected at the time).

Turf male: Who knows, they all managed to beat each other. Better Talk Now showed he’s the best US based distance turf horse on Breeders’ Cup day, but if I pick him you will know I am just biased!

Turf female: Film Maker ? .. OK, Ouija Board!

Horse of the year: Barbaro (of course). He ran the best race, he is running his most important race, and he has done more for the sport of horse racing than any horse in the modern era. (Mind you, the sport needs much more help going forward).

Trainer: A toss up between Michael Matz and Kieran McLaughlin. They both won a triple crown race and a Breeders’ Cup race, with different horses. Since I don’t know Kieran personally, I’ll vote for Michael Matz.

Jockey: Edgar Prado. An elite horseman and human.

Apprentice: The french dude.

Owner: The Jackson’s. They campaigned two of the best five three year olds of the year.

Breeder: No idea. Perhaps the Jackson’s again.

Update 1255: Treat yourself to the sporting performance of 2006: And its all Barbaro, in a sublime performance …

Update 1254: January 1, an important date in the horse racing calendar, everyone is a year older! So Barbaro, happy birthday! The barn was quiet this morning at Fair Hill. I shedrowed a couple, and took care of Hawty Creek. She seems to have come out of her work yesterday well. She had today off and will do something light tomorrow. I took her out for a pick of grass (although it was raining) and walked her for a little while.

Today is the Tropical Park Derby: Tropical Park Derby kicks off 2007 Triple Crown watch. While it is a turf race, its significance is heightened as it was a race that Barbaro won last year on his way to his dominant Kentucky Derby win. While Michael Matz does not have a runner this year, Graham Motion and Steve Klesaris both do.

Update 1253: Another (short) visit. I called Tom (the Jackson’s farm manager) to get an update but Tom was sick and was unable to visit Barbaro today. I, of course, volunteered to run over and give him a quick groom (Barbaro, not Tom). I did. I spent about forty minutes with Barbaro, giving him a good grooming. He had just finished his dinner when I arrived. I put on his halter, tied him up and went to work. As usual, starting by picking his front feet. I then went over him with a body brush (with free hand on his halter and an eye out for him) and then a curry comb and a towel. I finished off just sponguing out his eyes and nostrils. He looked good. Before leaving I fed him some carrots and a couple of apples. His appetite appears strong, he would have kept eating if I had stayed to continue … but its New Year’s eve and I am off to dinner. Happy New Year!

Update 1252: Barbaro was ranked the number one sports story by the Wilmington News Journal readers: Barbaro’s competition left at the gate. Looking at the quotes from the article it appears you influenced this ranking. Perhaps we can have the same impact to determine ESPNs top story for 2006 (Barbaro is currently ranked number 18): Rank ‘Em: Which were the top stories of 2006?.

Update 1251: This morning Hawty Creek worked 5/8ths, with me on her, on the Tapeta track. We went in company with Tim on The Kielbasa Queen. It was a decent work, we ended up going in 1:03. I was on the outside on Hawty Creek and she did the work very comfortably, although I think she will also get a lot out of it. We started off a little on the slower side and picked it up throughout the work, finishing strongly down the lane. I had plenty of horse throughout the work, rating her early and just sitting on her and letting her run a little at the end.

I was discussing work times with someone last week, who relies on them for betting purposes. I always think work times are unreliable for a couple of reasons. Firstly you would not know who was riding the piece of work (I weigh considerably more than a jockey for instance); and nor would you know how easily the horse went in the work. Was the work full out with sticks up coming down the lane, or was it with considerable ease, without asking the horse to run (most of Bernardini’s works were not much quicker than our work this morning for example).

Anyway, our work was comfortable. Assuming Hawty Creek comes out of her work well, and she does not back off her feed (which she sometimes does, and is why I spaced out her last work) I will work her back on saturday, and try to get Jesus Bracho to work her. Jesus has just come back from a stint in the middle east, and it is good to have him back at Fair Hill. He can work her, and then hopefully ride her when she runs.

After the work Hawty Creek’s owner (Dave), who came to watch the work, cooled her out while I mucked her stall. We then went and grabbed breakfast, I then came back to Fair Hill to take Hawty Creek out for a pick of grass while currying her … and then grooming her more in her stall to just finish her off. She will be off tomorrow, New Year’s day!

Update 1250: Hall of Fame Trainer “Buddy” Delp died friday evening: Hall of Fame Trainer Bud Delp Dies. He will be best remembered as the trainer of Spectacular Bid, but was a dominant trainer in Maryland, and the surrounding racing jurisdictions for many years. His last runner in his name will actually be on monday, Crafty Bear, in the Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel.

Barbaro’s story was selected as one of the top ten sports stories by the Chicago Tribune for 2006: National: A run to make a father proud.

Edgar Prado’s quote: “If tears could heal a wound, Barbaro would be healed by now.” was selected as one of the best sports quotes of 2006: The Voices: Best quotes from 2006.

The Barbaro update will again be late in the day, after Tom’s visit.

Posted by Alex at 12:22 PM | Comments (50)
Barbaro Updates: 166
Posted December 25, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1249: I just spoke to Tom, the Jackson’s farm manager, and Barbaro remains comfortable.

Here is another year-end wrap up of racing in the US: Barbaro’s injury, racetrack safety dot memorable 2006.

Jay Hovdey wrote an nice article in the Daily Racing Form: Tough game still able to hit your soft spot. Unfortunately you need to be a paying member to read it. I read it as I paid for the hard copy version of course! He makes note of the horse slaughter bill and clearly comes out to support banning of horse slaughter in the US. Lets hope media coverage of this issue, a black mark on horse racing, continues as we move into the new year.

Update 1248: A nice article in the Wilmington News Journal on Mike Rea: Unbridled support gives Rea big lift. I had interviewed for this article a little while ago, so I am excited to see it published (thanks Cecily). Among other things the article focuses on Mercy Turano’s efforts to get ABC interested in Mike for its Extreme Makeover Show. Very cool!

Update 1247: A gorgeous morning at Fair Hill this morning, it makes you glad to be alive! I had a quiet morning (five ridden) and it was nice and relaxing. I took Tim’s Nonpariel to the gate. This was her second time for gate schooling. I walked her around the gate a few times, and then Michael led me through the gate four or five times. She was very good. Tim was with us on Medi Man. She was just standing in the gate. We chatted with Mike and Brian (the gate guys from Philadelphia Park) about the new slots they now have up there. My biggest concern is that horse racing simply becomes a legislative requirement and takes a backseat to the Casino’s. I can see that seems to have happened somewhat at Delaware Park, anyway, we will see.

I took Hawty Creek outback. Its great we can still go outback this time of year. She had a light day today in anticipation of a breeze she will do tomorrow. The plan is to breeze her in company with Tim’s Kielbasa Queen.

Tim had a few visitors this morning. A couple were here just to see Real Lace. She seems to be becoming a favourite of people. Tim is now giving her a little time off after her very nice fall campaign (two wins and two thirds). She is a nice prospect for next year I would think.

Of course I had to buy tomorrow’s Daily Racing Form to see the article on this site in print. It was very cool. Everyone in the barn was impressed, which included George (the carrot man). George visits once in a while and it is always fun to catch up with him.

The Barbaro update will again be late in the day, after Tom’s visit this afternoon.

Update 1246: A nice article on this site in the Daily Racing Form: Blog becomes the source for Barbaro. Thanks Glenye. Glenye called me up thursday evening to interview me for this over the phone. Very cool.

I also liked this end of year article from the Daily Racing Form: 2006: The Way It Was. A good summary / survey of everything that was for horse racing in the US for 2006. Barbaro is a big focus, and you will note other events which we covered here throughout the year.

Update 1245: I just spoke to Tom, the Jackson’s farm manager, who visited (as usual) this afternoon (friday). Barbaro remains comfortable.

Many of you have followed, and supported, the horses involved in the accident in Missouri, as they were on their way to slaughter. Here is an article about “Stan” with a happy ending: Detour in trip to slaughterhouse: ACCIDENT SAVES ONE RACEHORSE FROM FATE OF THOUSANDS.

Update 1244: Here is the current view of the fence line outside New Bolton: New Bolton Fence Line: Dec 28.

Another Fan of Barbaro has a letter published on horse slaughter: Letter: Horse slaughter ban good for beef farmers.

I thought this was a nice review of horse racing in 2006 in the US: Seasons of 2006.

Update 1243: Here is the video created by Penn that was sent to media outlets last week: Barbaro video walking: December 20th.

This morning was a little quieter (no loose horses I think, and one less to ride). I took Hawty Creek outback today, it was a lovely sunrise first thing as we jogged around the fields. For Tim I rode Nonpariel (going very well galloping a mile and a quarter on the dirt, learning and improving each day) and Gator Nation, the former’s older half brother. He jogged two miles and felt good. Real Lace looked good this morning after her creditable third yesterday at Laurel. Jaunty Gale, who won her first race, is now having a winter break, she left this morning to her owner’s farm in Camden, SC.

Update 1242: End of year honors will soon be known, here is another sports writer’s opinion: This Cat is Horse of Year. I think many of his picks are picks people here might agree with (3yo: Barbaro; 2yo NoBiz; Older female: Round Pond; Turf Male: Showing Up etc. etc.) His picks would give trainer Michael Matz two winners and the Jackson’s two winners, I would suspect that would make them trainer and owner winners too!

Jerry Green provides his Most memorable sports moments of 2006. Barbaro’s journey coming in at number two. Ironically his number one pick (Zidane in the World Cup final) took place during a low point in Barbaro’s journey.

Today’s Barbaro update will again likely be late in the day.

Update 1241: Barbaro remains comfortable (thursday afternoon). I know, I visited. It was an impromptu visit. I was planning to hang another poster on the outside fence line and meet Sabina Pierce, to get a couple of photographs of the fence line and have lunch. One thing led to another and I visited Barbaro briefly. It was the first time I had seen him with Dr. Richardson in attendance (as well as Tom, the Jackson’s farm manager). It was a short visit, but great nonetheless. I helped out a little with Tom, and then stayed and chatted with Beth, who I had seen before but not someone I had met. I am not sure what Beth’s official role / position is at New Bolton, but one of her tasks is to muck out Barbaro’s stall. This is not an easy task given how deeply bedded the stall is for Barbaro. It is also somewhat of a mix of straw and shavings. Anyway, it was fun to learn more about another of Barbaro’s care providers and fun to hang out with Barbaro, if only briefly. I did feed him some baby carrots and an apple or two.

Update 1240: Real Lace was third in her first race in her new condition (she moved up a condition after her last win). She ran a nice race and is cooling out well.

Update 1239: A lovely morning at Fair Hill this morning. It was quite crisp early, but soon warmed up. I rode seven, three of which were Tim’s (Gator Nation, Nonpariel and Medi Man). I had not ridden Medi Man for a while, and she went very nicely, on the synthetic track. I took three to the synthetic track and it seems to be riding very well recently. Hawty Creek is training well, and will likely do her next piece of work on sunday. There were a few loose horses this morning, I was relieved not to have exited any of them myself! Tim is now on his way to Laurel to saddle Real Lace, running in the fourth race. Winning her last race she now moves up a condition, and the races do get tougher. Hopefully she will continue to run well. The Barbaro update today (and going forward for a few days) will be late in the day.

Update 1238: Jack Ireland has written a nice article on Dr. Kathy Anderson: Vet’s link to Barbaro becomes more meaningful. It includes the following excerpt:

But watching as the colt recovered from a broken leg and then from a bout of a life-threatening hoof condition called laminitis affected Anderson personally.

“It has been totally humbling to me,” she said. “I now have a lot of confidence and have been impressed with the concern the American public has shown for Barbaro. Here’s this one horse, and there are so many people who don’t follow racing or know anything about horses and they have taken great interest in this equine hero.”

OK, off to Fair Hill (I was out of town yesterday).

Update 1237: Barbaro remains comfortable. I just spoke to Tom, the Jackson’s farm manager, who visited Barbaro this afternoon (wednesday afternoon). Tom groomed Barbaro and took him outside to graze and walk.

A nice article on Dr. Richardson: Barbaro’s doctor spent summer in the limelight. It includes the following excerpt:

Richardson lectures all over the world. Beyond orthopedics, his primary area of research is joint disease and the molecular biology of cartilage.

The surgeon has written 11 major textbooks that deal with equine-fracture repair. He has received the University of Pennsylvania’s Distinguished Teaching Award two years running.

“Students are scared to death of him,” said Liberty Getman, a third-year resident who assisted during Barbaro’s surgery. “He wants his students to be learning all the time. He can be tough on people, but it’s always well-intended. He’s not that scary once you get to know him.”

Update 1236: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). Lucy, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson’s daughter, just called to let us know after visiting Barbaro.
Tuesday 12:50pm

Update 1235: The Bloodhorse has a Barbaro photo gallery: Barbaro. I believe HRTV me be doing a piece on Barbaro during its Santa Anita coverage (that includes the Malibu Stakes and Brother Derek). The big race in the UK is the King George, won on more than one occasion by Desert Orchid.

Update 1234: My sixth visit to Barbaro: Christmas Day.
Today I was to help out with Barbaro in the absense of Tom, the Jackson’s farm manager. The plan was for me to go over, groom Barbaro and take him out to walk and graze. I had planned to arrive at 1 pm to do this, but surveying the clouds I decided to go a little earlier. I had also another poster to hang on the outside fence line (the first from overseas most likely) so I arrived at about 12:15 pm to hang the poster and go and see Barbaro.

When I entered the ICU I noticed a few people were there. It was Tom and Lucy (Mr. and Mrs. Jackson’s daughter) and their four children (the grandchildren who visit quite often). I had met Tom before, so it was nice to be able to meet their entire family who seem to be very nice people (no surprise there). On duty in the ICU was Kathleen, Ray was also helping out.

I entered Barbaro’s stall, put on his halter and tied him up in preparation for grooming. My idea was to give him a quick groom before he went out, and then a more thorough job once he had been outside. I set to work as I chatted away with Barbaro’s visitors. I started by picking his front feet, then I gave Barbaro a quick once over with a body brush. He seemed to really enjoy it as I was brushing his forlock, something I would not have entirely anticipated. Anyway, it did not take me long to get him ready. I put a blanket on him (not one of the new gifts), put a shank on him, and then led him outside. Barbaro’s visitors then left, and I was one-on-one with Barbaro for the first time while we were outside. It was very cool. He is so well behaved when he is outside, just very happy to be in the different environment. In his stall you better keep an eye on him, and make purposeful moves. Outside he is just much more relaxed. After grazing for five minutes it started a very light rain. I thought I would have to bring him in pretty quickly so I decided to have him do his walking, just to make sure he got that bit of exercise taken care of. He was so intent on his eating that it took me a little while to convince him to walk on, but once walking we did our five minutes pretty easily. By that time the drizzle had eased off and Barbaro went back to grazing. He was very happy. It was very peaceful. After about 45 minutes in total I decided to bring him in. The drizzle had returned and there was no need to get wet.

Once back in the stall and tied back up I went back to work grooming him. This time I used a curry comb and body brush. It was a time to be very careful with him, so I spent most of the brushing time with one hand on his halter, and my eyes locked on his eyes. Anyway, he cleaned up very well. I then picked out his feet again, finally attended to his head (light sponguing out of his nostrils and eyes followed by a wipe over with a wrag) and let him loose. Along the way I fed him a couple of carrots.

All in all another very pleasant visit. Chatted away with Kathleen and Ray a little. I left the ICU at 1:45 pm, so in all I spent about an hour and a half with Barbaro on christmas day. Not a bad way to get ready for a lovely (I hope) christmas dinner with Sue, Niall, Jayne and Mick, in about 20 minutes! It is now raining hard.

Update 1233: Barbaro remains comfortable on christmas day. I left him at 1:45 pm, report to follow.
update 3:15 pm, monday, december 25

Posted by Alex at 8:11 PM | Comments (183)
Barbaro Updates: 165
Posted December 23, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1232: Merry Christmas! My christmas begins by heading in to Fair Hill to ride Hawty Creek. A couple of nice Christmas articles:

Jack Ireland writes: Here’s hoping Barbaro is Horse of Year. Of course we would all like that here I think! Realistically its not too likely but I think he clearly performed most impressively on a single day (KY Derby) and is now capturing everyone’s imagination with his performance in his most important race.

Steve Haskin writes: Merry Christmas, Barbaro. It includes the following excerpt:

“Barbaro’s been receiving lot of Christmas cards and holiday cards,” said Jennifer Rench, New Bolton’s marketing and communication coordinator. “He received a beautiful winter blanket from Churchill Downs with his name and the Derby logo embroidered on it. And his fans sent a Christmas tree for Barbaro and for New Bolton Center with beautiful glass hand-painted ornaments on it. On each one is a fan’s name and where they’re from. The tree is in the lobby of the hospital.

“Gift baskets have been coming pretty much every day, filled with carrots, apples, peppermints, and horse treats for Barbaro, and for the other patients in the Intensive Care Unit. Barbaro loves peppermints. Last week, he received a gorgeous wreath made out of carrots. It was really incredible. Some people have also sent gift baskets for the staff, containing things like coffee and chocolate.”

Update 1231: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). Mrs. Jackson just called after her morning visit with Barbaro.
update 9:00 am, sunday, december 24

Update 1230: Japanese superstar Deep Impact is now retired after a facile win in his final start: DEEP MAKES LASTING IMPACT. Lets hope he can follow in his father’s footsteps and become a sensational stallion.

Update 1229: This is the article Mike Jensen was working on when I caught up with him at New Bolton last week: Barbaro could receive the best present of all. It includes the following excerpt:

Sweeney pointed to a peppermint wreath in the corner of her office, and Churchill Downs sent a winter blanket for the recovering Kentucky Derby winner.

Other fans have written Christmas carols for Barbaro and sent them to New Bolton. Someone delivered a wreath made of baby organic carrots and a Christmas tree of green apples.

He has also received a custom-made halter, an embroidered blanket, a Santa hat, and even his own stocking.

And what else do you get for the horse who has everything?

“There’s now a star named Barbaro and a star named New Bolton Center,” Sweeney said. Both are in Constellation Hercules, named and paid for by “Grandma Bea” in the Poconos.

When I was visiting Barbaro yesterday someone mentioned a lovely bouquet of yellow roses had recently been delivered. As I was getting ready to leave I saw another gift arrive (more edible).

Update 1228: My fifth visit with Barbaro.
Today I was to meet Tom (the Jackson’s farm manager) and make sure I am familiar with everything that needs to be done with Barbaro as the plan is for me to substitute for Tom on Christmas day. I got to New Bolton a little early so I could hang another poster on the outside fence. Once completed I went to the ICU. I was not sure if Tom was already inside so I put on the appropriate wear and went inside. Tom was not there yet, and Barbaro was fast asleep. I left him be and went back outside to wait.

Tom arrived shortly thereafter along with his wife Kathy. We had quick introductions and then went inside. Tom went to work with Barbaro, cleaning him up and getting him ready to go outside. Once he was ready I led Barbaro outside and we walked up to his grazing spot and he dropped his head to graze. Tom Kathy and I were chit chatting as Barbaro continued to graze (talking about Barbaro of course). I then led Barbaro around for about five minutes and then continued to let him graze. It was a nice bright afternoon with a bit of a breeze. Barbaro has a blanket on when he goes outside and is just very relaxed. We stayed out for about forty minutes in total, I then led him back inside to his stall.

Once inside I tied Barbaro back up and Tom went back to work tidying him up. Along the way I met a couple more of the staff working in the ICU, one of whom will also be there for christmas day. Another very pleasant visit with a very cool horse. We left Barbaro at about 2:45 pm (having arrived at just after 1 pm) and I am making this update from New Bolton before heading up to New York for the afternoon.

Gator Nation was fourth at Laurel today, only just beaten for third. Tim said he cooled out well after the race.

Update 1227: Mrs. Jackson called (11 am) after her morning visit with Barbaro. Barbaro remains comfortable. He was laying down when Mrs. Jackson arrived, he got up and enjoyed his Lael grass.
update 11:35 am, saturday, december 23