Barbaro Updates: 174 – 191

Barbaro, with Messaging, at Fair Hill Training Center

Update 191: ESPN’s tentative schedule for today. Jeannine Edwards sent me an e-mail which included the following:

right now i am going live on espn news around 4pm, live on sportscenter somewhere between 6-7pm, and then a taped report for the 11 and overnight shows.

Update 190: I am starting to look through some of the articles posted today, the Baltimore Sun (which continues to provide great Barbaro coverage) has an article: Barbaro’s infection ‘potentially serious’ (thanks Anne) includes a quote from Michael Matz:

Yesterday evening Barbaro’s trainer Michael Matz said the horse appears to be doing well.

“He looks fine,” Matz said by phone as he left the facility. “He’s on all four legs and, hopefully, that’s the way he will stay. Everything was going very smoothly and it’s always a setback when he has to go through something like this.

“Dean wasn’t happy with how comfortable he was and it has really been a very long, trying week for Barbaro and for Dean.”

I would add, a long trying week for Michael too! The above quote is similar to the feedback Peter Brette provided us last night (update 187 end).

It seems ESPN is going to provide some coverage today, Jeannine Edwards left a comment that included:

I am heading up to New Bolton this afternoon to do an update for SportsCenter. Let’s all hope this is just a bump in the road for Barbaro. Keep up the fantastic work, and thanks for keeping us informed!

Update 189: There has been quite a lot of media coverage as a result of the surgery late saturday night (and New Bolton’s press release re: the same.) Rather than rehash that content I wanted to highlight this article: New hope for Barbaro fans in ‘kid brother’? (thanks Barbara) that provides some insights into the Jackson’s breeding operation and Barbaro’s brothers. The following are a couple of excerpts:

Call him Kid Barbaro. Well, actually, the dark bay foal doesn’t have a name yet. These days, he tags alongside his mother, La Ville Rouge, at Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Born in mid-March, the colt was sired by Dynaformer. That makes him a full-brother to Barbaro. Could there be another Kentucky Derby champ in those genes?

“He’s very confident and thinks he’s special, just like Barbaro did when he was here,” said Headley Bell, the bloodstock agent for Roy and Gretchen Jackson. “You’re never quite sure where that comes from. He has good size, maybe not quite as leggy as Barbaro, but he’s close.”

That’s the guy (and his mum) that we have pictures of, and

While it will be two years before Barbaro’s kid brother hits the track, his half-brother, Man in Havana, is gearing up for his racing career. His mother is La Ville Rouge. The colt is working out at the Fair Hill Training Center under the tutelage of Michael Matz and is slated to make his debut this fall.

Man In Havana and his sire, Quiet American, are named after books written by British author Graham Greene, a favorite of Gretchen Jackson’s father.

“He’s a big horse with a lovely shoulder,” Gretchen Jackson said. “Unlike Barbaro, he might take some time to show what he has. But that’s true with all of Quiet American’s foals.”

OK, now back to ride a few more horses. Wanted to thank Jen Duffy (she took plenty of the pictures of Barbaro that are on this site, prior to the Preakness), she sometimes substitutes for me re: providing the early updates (I call them in!)

Update 188: Just spoke to Peter Brette this morning on the horse path…all things considered, it seems like Barbaro had a decent night last night (sunday night). Peter is planning to visit after work this morning so I’ll try to get more details later today. Keep all your positive energy coming for Barbaro today; he will surely need it.
updated monday 7:10am

Update 187: New Bolton Center’s press release: Veterinarians treat Barbaro for infection, replace plate and screws in injured leg that discusses events over the previous 24 hours:

Late Saturday, July 8, Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery, replaced the plate and many of the screws that had been inserted into Barbaro’s injured hind leg on May 21. “Barbaro had developed some discomfort and a consistently elevated temperature so we believed it was in his best interest to remove the hardware and thoroughly clean the site of the infection,” said Dr. Richardson. “We also applied a longer cast on that leg for additional support.”

While the main fracture is healing well, the pastern joint that doctors are attempting to fuse continues to be the area of concern. This joint was stabilized with new implants and a fresh bone graft.

“The recovery process from anesthesia took longer with this surgery, but Barbaro is now back in his stall in the Intensive Care Unit,” said Dr. Richardson. “He is receiving pain medication, antibiotics and other supportive care.”

Barbaro continues to be monitored closely in the Intensive Care Unit of the George D. Widener Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. Dr. Richardson emphasized that the complications are potentially serious. Both Barbaro’s owners and trainer continue to visit him at least twice daily.

Peter Brette had just left me a voice mail (I was on a work call) to let me know that Michael Matz had just called him (I gather Michael is almost living there lately), and Bobby was doing a little better, was brighter, standing on both hind legs, and looking for something to eat. These next few days will remain very critical for Bobby I am sure.

Update 186: No new news yet. But as we all hope for better news, I thought I should highlight the original “fan media” sent by Debra Lopez: Our Prayer for Barbaro. You might also enjoy Barbaro’s best moment: Kentucky Derby 132. As Lisa noted in the comments:

“..And here comes Barbaro! The undefeated Barbaro comes up on the outside and he takes the lead as the field turns for home in the Kentucky Derby and Barbaro turns it on and his stablemate Showing up is second, Bluegrass Cat is third, Brother Derek putting in a late run for the outside, Steppenwolfer is fifth and Sweet Northern Saint six by the rail, but there coming to the finish and it’s all Barbaro in a sublime performance!

Update 185: Peter Brette just called (sunday 1pm). Barbaro is not doing as well as he had been yesterday. Peter had not visited Bobby, but had been talking to others. He did not have any details, but I could just tell in his voice he was pretty concerned (it was a short conversation). Peter may call later if he hears more, but now is the time to channel all positive energy for Bobby. If I hear more I will post.

Update 184: No update yet today (sunday). Will try to learn something and post before the day is over. I think Peter may be visiting again today. Keep thinking positive thoughts for Bobby!

Update 183: Spoke to Peter Brette who visited Barbaro later today (saturday). He was happy with Bobby, and expressed some encouragement that he was doing well (relative to the last few days). Bobby received a massage today, and subsequent to the massage slept for a couple of hours. While we need to remain very cautious, Peter’s “visit report” was a little encouraging.

Update 182: Barbaro’s condition today is similar to yesterday, which as we know was improved from wednesday and thursday. I asked Michael Matz this morning, and he had just heard from Dean Richardson. Peter Brette, who again will be tied to the barn all day, is hopefully planning to visit after work which would be late afternoon / evening. I will try to catch up with Peter later to get another status check. As we know, these next few days are very important.

I asked Michelle (Matz) how her father was holding up under the constant “worry” of Barbaro. Michael does visit everyday (along with his wife I believe). She said he was handling everything as he normally does. He is a true hands-on horseman and clearly an integral part of Barbaro’s “recovery team”. I noted to Michelle how fortunate we were that we were based so close to New Bolton which allowed Michael to play an important role in the process.

We had more visitors to Fair Hill today. I believe it was a group associated with the local fire company (or at least that is what their trucks indicated). It is nice to see people interested in coming out to visit. Better Talk Now (Graham Motion) runs later today in the United Nations, of course so does Shake The Bank. Gus (Brown, Shake The Bank’s exercise rider) is convinced he will win. Of course he says that everytime he runs!

Update 181: New York Times article: Barbaro Has Two Screws Replaced (thanks Gloria):

For the first time in a remarkably smooth recovery, Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner, has had a minor setback. Two screws were replaced in his shattered right hind leg this week, and his cast was changed twice.

He also has a minor abscess in his left hind leg that is being treated by a topical cream, according to veterinarians at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals in Kennett Square, Pa.

Dr. Corinne Sweeney, the director of the hospital, said the surgeon Dean Richardson was “very pleased” with how Barbaro’s ankle, which was severely injured in the opening yards of the Preakness Stakes on May 21, was healing.

“The radiographs were terrific; his healing is very good,” she said. “Still, Dr. Richardson saw Barbaro was a little uncomfortable, and he decided to change the cast again.”

Barbaro has a supporting shoe on the left leg to help protect against laminitis, a sometimes-fatal foot disease brought on by uneven weight distribution. Sweeney said it was merely a precaution. She also said the replacement of the two screws was expected.

A total of 27 screws were inserted in an effort to fuse Barbaro’s back leg so he could live a pain-free life and perhaps become a commercial stallion. “It is the reason he put that many in, because he anticipated having to make adjustments,” Sweeney said of Richardson.

Richardson has cautioned that it will be months before Barbaro’s prognosis is known, and that his is vulnerable to infection. Still, Sweeney characterized this week as one of activity rather than of concern.

“These are things that we have anticipated, and he’s doing very well,” Sweeney said.

Update 180: Kathy Anderson just called and had just finished visiting with Barbaro (8:00 pm friday). Her assessment is that these are pretty critical days for Bobby. Clearly he has improved today (as we know) and his attitude is quite good, but he is not as comfortable as he was a couple of weeks ago (as we know). He is rallying, keep your positive thoughts for Bobby. Today was a better day.

Update 179: Spoke to Peter Brette. While he was at the barn all day (Fair Hill) he had heard from Michael (Matz) that Barbaro continued to have a better day today (than the previous couple of days). Still hoping to hear from Kathy, but if not, I think we can be happy to know that Bobby continued to be a little more comfortable today than the last couple of days.

Update 178: No update yet but I will try to get another update before the end of the day. I spoke to Kathy Anderson who was planning to visit. She is still at Fair Hill (working) but hopes to go over later. Mike Rea seems to be progressing well and it seems help has arrived from the The Delaware Horsemen’s Assistance Fund. Peter Alexander, the president, is a Fair Hill regular.

A couple of articles surfaced today as a result of New Bolton’s press release yesterday. Barbaro Experiencing Discomfort (thanks Lisa) includes the following:

If only horses could talk. In recent days, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro has been having some problems with his right hind leg, shattered in the May 20 Preakness and then surgically repaired the next day. According to the colt’s owner, Gretchen Jackson, Barbaro is “feeling some discomfort and they can’t figure it out. Blood tests are good. Temperature is good. So they’re just trying to figure what is causing the discomfort.”

According to Jackson, the doctors don’t think the discomfort is anything major, but, with these fragile horses – especially one with such a significant injury as Barbaro – every little thing has to be taken very seriously. Barbaro continues to be in intensive care at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square.


That the colt is experiencing discomfort at this stage is no great shock. They just wish they knew exactly why.

“It’s not anything to be scared about,” Gretchen Jackson said.

I do know that the Jackson’s had planned an Africa trip, I think starting this week. They have cancelled.

The second article: Barbaro still not out of the woods (thanks Lynnette) simply asks us to have a kind thought for Barbaro as we watch racing this weekend. We surely will.

Update 177: It is good to hear the news this morning has be received so well. I do want to caution I used the phrase “a little more comfortable”, so keep the positive energy coming, he still has a way to go to get to where he was comfort-wise a week or so ago I think. Michael did mention that this could also change quite quickly, but anyway, this morning is great news and a relief for those close to him, but we need to remain very cautious at this stage. To demonstrate the change in mood this news brought, Michael chatted for about five minutes with Judge (one of the trainers I ride for) and was being very open about the current Barbaro situation. Anne Kelly (one of Michael Matz’s longtime exercise riders and contributor to this site) thanked me this morning for yesterday’s updates. (i.e. there really was no chatting yesterday amongst anyone about Bobby’s condition).

A couple of people have mentioned the ESPY awards, details here: Velazquez, Gomez, Prado Compete for ESPY Award. Voting ends midnight July 9. Each of these jockeys is fantastic. Here are my three reasons to support Edgar Prado (in case you were wondering who to vote for):

1. He is considered the best. I think many people would simply agree with that.

2. He may well have been a significant factor is helping get Barbaro to where he is today. He alertly pulled Bobby up and did what he could to limit damage. No doubt there was catastrophic damage, but it could have been much worse.

3. He has paid two visits to see Barbaro since the horrific accident (that we know of). A cynic (sp ?) might suggest the first visit was for the media attention (although looking at the pictures you could dismiss this quickly.) The second visit, with his family, was completely without media coverage (and media knowledge). In fact to the best of my knowledge only this site reported on the visit (Peter Brette told us the next morning) and Bobby mentioned it himself in an exclusive interview with ESPN!

Finally I did want to mention that Miraculous Miss visited the starting gate for the second time since her horrific gate incident in the Acorn in New York. As a result of that incident she is considered on the “starter’s list” which means she has to be approved by the gate crew (at Fair Hill) before she can run again. I convinced Judge (trainer I ride for and noted earlier) that we should send our last horse to the gate so I could ask the gate crew how Miraculous Miss did today. Judge obliged. Miraculous Miss was great. She walked in, stood, they played around with her etc. Brian (in charge, the “crew” comes from Philadelphia Park) said she has to come back one more time, but she should be fine. Coming to the gate three times is a standard requirement for a horse on the “starter’s list”. The horse I was on, a nice rangy 2 year old filly, galloped out of the gate very well, which was pretty cool because the last time she was a little slower to get going.

And finally again, it seems Better Talk Now will get to run tomorrow: Last-minute diplomacy saves U.N.. I asked Lisa, his exercise rider, if he would win. Of course she said “Yes”. Win lose or draw, this looks like it is shaping to an awesome horserace! Good luck Graham et al!

Update 176: Barbaro is a little more comfortable this morning! Just saw Michael Matz (who offered to pony me as I was stuggling to get a new horse on to the track)…Michael had already received a call from Dr. Richardson this morning giving the good report.
updated friday 7:10am

Update 175: New Bolton’s press release confirms much of what we know: Barbaro receives third cast (thanks Lisa, I had been checking ALL day) and its copied below:

On Wednesday, July 5, Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery, replaced the cast on Barbaro that he had received on Monday, July 3. “Barbaro was not comfortable with the second cast, so we decided it would be best to replace it sooner rather than later,” said Dr. Richardson. “His appetite is healthy, and we are continuing to monitor him closely for an elevated temperature or other signs of discomfort.”

New Bolton Center continues to receive requests for additional information on Barbaro’s condition. Below are some of the most recent questions asked with responses from his medical team.

Q. Why was Barbaro’s cast changed again?
A. For several days before the second cast change, Barbaro showed a slight elevation in body temperature and his hind legs appeared uncomfortable, which led to Dr. Dean Richardson’s decision to reassess the leg and then change the cast. He was still not as comfortable as he had been so a new cast was applied on Wednesday.

Q. Why were two screws replaced and three new ones added?
A. Two previously implanted screws that cross the pastern joint were bent, so Dr. Richardson, who had predicted that bent screws in that area were likely, replaced them and added three new screws for additional support. Barbaro has been very active on his cast, and the repairs were needed as a result of force and motion in the affected area. The screws are bridging the pastern joint. They are not part of the repair of the primary fractures. The pastern joint needed to be fused because the proximal phalanx (long pastern bone) was so badly broken that the middle phalanx (short pastern bone) was needed to anchor the distal (lowest) part of the plate.

Q. What do the radiographs show about how well Barbaro is healing?
A. Barbaro’s new radiographs show excellent progressive bone healing, a very positive sign.

Q. Were the repairs considered major surgery?
A. Barbaro was put under general anesthesia for the procedure. The repairs themselves were made under fluoroscopic control, which gives surgeons a live-X-ray view of the patient. This means that small one-centimeter incisions were made rather than any large incision.

Q. Did Barbaro have an abscess on his foot?
A. During the examination, doctors found a small infection on the sole of Barbaro’s uninjured left hind hoof near the frog, a V-shaped cushiony growth that helps absorb shock. Dr. Richardson is treating the infection topically; in addition, Barbaro is on systemic antibiotics, which is common post-surgical practice. He also has a new protective shoe.

Q. What is laminitis and what are you doing to prevent it in Barbaro?
A. Laminitis is a painful condition in horses that can be the result of a number of causes, including excessive weight bearing in one limb. It occurs when laminae, the strong connecting tissues that attach the pedal bone and the inner hoof wall, are inflamed. Laminitis is very serious and can result in severe consequences. To reduce this risk, we applied a supportive shoe to Barbaro’s left hind foot immediately following the surgery for the fracture of his right hind leg.

Q. How long will Barbaro have to stay in a cast?
A. Barbaro will remain in a cast until we believe that the fracture and joint fusions have developed adequate strength.

Q. How long will Barbaro remain in Intensive Care?
A. Barbaro will remain in the Intensive Care Unit at the George D. Widener Hospital as long as necessary. Even though he is progressing well and has not had major complications, he is not out of danger. Even if things progressed perfectly from this point forward, it is likely that he would be here two more months.

Update 174: Just spoke to Peter Brette who visited Bobby today. It does appear his level of discomfort has improved a little, but there is still some discomfort for which they are trying to determine the cause. I asked Peter how he looked physically, and he said he looked well, was eating etc. so that is good. Peter also reiterated that the bone-healing process is as good as they could possibly expect, if not better. Please keep thinking your positive thoughts for Barbaro.

I have updated the content for each of Tim’s horses, Tim was around this afternoon. I am also going to get a picture of Tim added to the site. Tim had a pretty quick start to the year, but things have been quieter lately. We are hoping for a good summer with Redaspen, Randy’s Bullet and Gator Nation (unraced) getting close to running, Something Wild getting back to his earlier form and Kielbasa Queen moving on from her debut.

Finally as I was jogging back on the main track with Tim today we passed the clocker’s stand where Graham Motion was supervising his string. I asked Graham if he knew whether they would be racing in New Jersey this weekend, and of course he did not. There was no racing thursday. He has Better Talk Now in the United Nations (Grade 1 $750,000 race). This is a race he won last year (I think), and a race he has targeted for Better Talk Now for this year. His training program has been designed to have Better Talk Now in prime condition for saturday. Clearly Graham was not anticipating the potential for this race not running. It is hard enough mapping out a campaign for a grade one horse, but when a race does not run, its not so simple to regroup and run the horse in another race the next week! Lets hope they can resolve this odd situation very quickly and Fair Hill’s Breeders Cup winner gets a chance to do what he does best, run them down in the stretch