Barbaro Updates: 339 – 354

Barbaro, with Messaging, at Fair Hill Training Center

Posted July 31, 2006

Update 354: As we wait for the press release from New Bolton I thought I would highlight some more content from the comments. Mike C has composed race calls in honour of Bobby, this is the latest (3:20 pm post time):

MORE OF THE CALL…And the horses thunder down the backstretch,Barbaro still has a lot of work to do”, says Durkin. “He’s back in the race, but he’s not in his usual up close stalking position after the 2 disasterous mishaps in this race”.As the leaders begin to hit the far turn Durkin is calling the positions of the horses in the race using names and colors to describe them in his adjective littered call.As he gazes thru his binocs and he gets to BARBARO, now in mid pack we pick up his call.” And now BARBARO IS BACK,here in mid pack an unlikely spot in both a bad and good way, he’s usually close to the pace but with what happened today its already an amazing comeback.Edgar pulls down a pair of goggles and he almost seems to be smiling now, WHY COULD HE BE SMILING??.DID WE NOT SEE THE BEST OF BARBARO ALREADY TODAY??.Edgar still has a handful of reins ladies and gentleman meaning he still has a ton of horse under him”..This could be a comeback of TITANIC proportions, Edgar is smiling like a guy holding 5 aces, he knows he’s on a time bomb here waiting to explode, but after all the hardships thrown BARBAROS’ way just how much is lift in the tank???.But by the look on Edgar’s face, and determination in BARBAROS eyes I’m not willing to bet against the miracle we may just see here today”…..The crowds roar heightens with every stride of the horses,you can now hear cries of “C’MON BARBARO,LETS GO BOY” becoming more evident above the thunderous roars of the thousands anticipating the tremendous finish that lies ahead…..

Bobby left this poem (1:36 pm):

Barbaro In The Hospital

I hear the cottonwoods
whisperin’ above
Barbaro, Barbaro
horse that we love

the breeze from the paddock
keeps murmuring low
Barbaro, Barbaro
we love you so

Does he really know
through his trials we go
with him each day
our hearts beat so painfully
when in his swing
he sways

But in time we know
our Barbaro
will always prevail
He’s never lost
no mind the costs
his spirit will not fail

So in miracles
we never doubt
and will love him each day

until he’s healed
and it is time
Mighty Barbaro will
proudly walk away

Update 353: This site was featured in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer today: To check up on Barbaro, check out his blog. I wanted to thank Mike Jensen for the great story, and Michael Bryant for the cool pictures (they are in the real paper, page 5 of the sports section). The paper actually has a more complete story than the online version. I see the online version is also available via mercurynews etc. I really appreciate the coverage! As I am sure people are aware, this site would not be possible without the support of many, I am going to name some, but no doubt will forget others who are important: Michael Matz, Peter Brette, Kathy Anderson, Tim Woolley, Eliza, Jen, Annie etc. Mike and Michael, thanks for coming down to Fair Hill.

Update 352: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). Michael Matz gave me the update as I was heading out to the track on my third set this morning. It was good to see Michael back at Fair Hill.
Kathy Anderson visited Bobby yesterday evening and also reported that he was doing well. He was in good spirits and looking for a good rub which he of course received, in the form of a massage from Kathy!
updated Tuesday morning 7:35 am

Update 351: As we wait for an update this morning we have an article and a new poem. The Vet: Barbaro’s smarts aiding his recovery, is a nice article on the intelligence of Barbaro, and how he has adapted to his current situation, it quotes both Peter Brette and Kathy Anderson. The following is an excerpt:

“Barbaro is not aggressive, but he is very confident,” Anderson said.

“He has always been in charge of his space, and he continues to assert that at the hospital. He’s become known as a sneak biter. When people turn their back on him, he tries to bite them. They turn around and he’s like, ‘Who did that, butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth.’ I think that’s pretty clever.”

Anderson added: “He’s adapted to the sling. I like to think he understands that if I shift my weight this way, I feel better. I’d say that’s not typical of racehorses. They’re so competitive, they just react, rather than having a planned action.”

Bernell Kress could not sleep, so wrote this for us (Posted by: Bernel Kress at August 1, 2006 05:00 AM):

You are the wings beneath our wings,
But, no longer will you fly.
You’ve captured the hearts of all with a soul,
And we are content with gazing in your eyes.

You are our hero, don’t you know?
With courage and fight deep in your soul.
No one can say what you think in your mind,
You’re an old sould, Barbaro, perhaps that’s what keeps you ever so kind.

Intelligence far beyond your years,
Your eyes reduce us all to tears.
If we could take your pain, it would be gone,
And you would once again be flying along.

Your perils have brought so many close,
We light your candles from coast to coast.
Sweet Barbaro, please have no fear,
Cause all that love you are so near.

So rest and heal, oh ancient one,
You’ve been here before and you’re not done.
You are teh wind beneath our wings,
And when you fly again, your world will sing.

Update 350: Barbaro had another comfortable day (monday). I just spoke to Peter Brette, who had spoken to Michael.

It turns out the winner of the Mike Rea Mustang is a presenter for HRTV! Congrats Becky!

We are planning our second vigil for saturday. While Bobby has been maintaining his comfort and has shown some positive medical signs, we know there is a very long road ahead, the vigil should help us stay focused on his well being and progress. 7pm saturday, whereever you are, whatever you are doing, think of Bobby.

I mentioned to Peter while we were chatting this evening about the interview I conducted with Tom Albertrani (update 348). Peter of course knows Tom as Peter also used to work in Dubai. He only had good things to say about Tom.

Finally, another beautiful poem, thanks TLC (from updates 23 10:44 pm):

Work is slowing down a bit now and I just wrote this sitting here at my desk:


Brought into this world,
learned to walk then to run,
admiration of beauty
racings devine son.

He ran with such grace,
superior to all,
until tradgedy struck,
will we watch the son fall?

No, his owners and trainers agreed.
This son is too special,
he has more heart than speed.

And the world embraced him,
prayers and good thoughts passed his way,
A nation of believers,
thankful for each and every day.

So when life gets you down,
and things seem a “no go”,
Believe in Miracles
Believe in Barbaro

Posted by Alex at 11:39 PM | Comments (634)
Barbaro Updates: 28
Posted July 30, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 349: Just returned from Delaware Park, where Mike’s family and friends were present for the raffle drawing. It was great to meet Mike’s sisters and see Rochelle (his wife). Sheila Barndollar did a fantastic job putting everything together, they sold all four hundred tickets. Rebecca Witzman won, so congratulations to Rebecca! Mike is progressing well. His sisters have lost internet access, hence why no updates for the lcast couple of days. They feel really badly about that. I will try to update their blog to alert people, but it may take a little time.

Jake posted a nice response to my interview with Tom Albertrani (update 348) (comment at 4:35 pm) copied below:

You had only to look at Tom Albertrani’s face that day at the Preakness to know a real horseman. Here his own horse is burning up the track, but I saw the double-take he gave when Michael Matz left the stands. He looked stunned, and saddened.

I feel for him, being unable to enjoy that incredible victory, and I know he would have loved to see Barbaro and Bernardini in the home stretch.

The true measure of a horseman isn’t the exultation with which he wins, but the depth of feeling he has for the horses, without which there would be no sport.

I’ve seen that a lot with true horsemen; the face of Trudy McCaffrey when Freehouse won the Swaps but Hello broke down. She could barely keep her mind on the win—all she thought of was Hello.

And Marylou Whitney and Edgar Prado practically in tears when their Birdstone beat Smarty and denied him the Triple Crown.

And you want to talk about horsemen (and women) -you can’t beat Roy and Gretchen Jackson, or Michael Matz, or Peter Brette, or all of the people who have been touched by Barbaro.

I mentioned to Tim today about the interview, and that I might try to contact Dan Hendricks for the same (Brother Derek’s trainer). Tim reminded me that Dan was asked by the media shortly after the race how his horse was, his response was pretty much, who cares, how is Bobby! (OK, not quite like that, but that was the sentiment.)

Linda Lee wrote a nice poem in the comments (5:14 pm):

I have been looking for months now of all the pictures of Barbaro. I have written below what I see. After you read take a look again at your favorite picture of this GREAT horse.

Just Look in His Face!
(In Honor of Barbaro)

Just look, old souls you see,
Has he been on earth many times before?
Oh, what wisdom you see.

Just look deep, old souls you see,
His eyes? always are waiting for what is next.
Always remembering from the last race what he needs for the next.

Just look deeper; don’t you want to watch those old souls too?
He is watching, grazing, running, healing, and pleasing.
Did you look for that old soul hiding there?

Just look, make it quick, don’t miss those old souls resting there,
See an old soul asking to be set free
You want to be inside of that old soul too.

Just look
Just look deep
Just look deeper
Just look, make it quick

Linda Lee Smith (I usually sign just Linda Lee)
Boonsboro, Maryland


Update 348: I just did a telephone interview with Tom Albertrani, trainer of Bernadini. I wanted to get his perspective on a couple of things, including obviously his thoughts re: Bobby. Here is the interview:

Me: I asked Tom about the mood after winning the Preakness.
Tom: While happy to win a triple crown race, there was a bad feeling. It was very upsetting to see such a great horse being put in the horse ambulance. No one wants to experience what Michael (and his team) had to experience. It definitely took away from the excitement of the victory. The day after the race, the mood was a little better, we could focus a little on the win, but we wished dearly for a great horse race. After Bernadini’s win saturday in the Jim Dandy, Michael Matz was one of the first to congratulate me. Later in the evening I caught up with Michael again. He gave me an update on Barbaro, we are all really rooting for him.

Me: I asked Tom about his experience with Godolphin:
Tom: I had worked for Bill Mott for nine great years. The Godolphin opportunity came along and it was an opportunity of a lifetime. It was an incredible experience. I got to travel all around the world, Ireland, France, Italy, Australia. I worked with some fantastic horses: Dubai Millenium, Fantastic Light, Street Cry, Swain, Halling … we had an incredible 85 group one winners in seven years. Sheikh Mohammed is a great horseman (Sheikh Mohammed runs Godolphin and Darley Stud, owner of Bernadini). He is very hands-on, and on top of everything within the entire operation. He loves the sport of horse racing, its competitive nature. He would have loved nothing more than seeing a true rivalry, something akin to Affirmed and Alydar.

I have never met Tom. I do know a few people who have and who have worked with / for him. He does seem like a very cool guy.

Update 347: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). I just spoke to Peter Brette who had just got off the phone with Michael Matz.
update 11:20 am, monday july 31

Update 346: No morning update yet, but Peter (Brette) did confirm Barbaro remained comfortable throughout the day sunday. Here is an article that appeared recently while we wait for an update from this morning. The Chicago Tribune: Veterinary hospital is breed apart writes about New Bolton Center, a nice compliment to their own video. Here is an excerpt about the recovery pool:

Normally, horses coming out of anesthesia after surgery are lying down in a recovery room. As they wake up, they must struggle to their feet, a dicey maneuver on freshly repaired ankles and legs. Moreover, a postoperative horse may be confused and thrash about in the recovery room, further jeopardizing the surgeon’s work.

But in New Bolton’s C. Mahlon Kline Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Center, an orthopedic surgical patient like Barbaro is lifted from the operating table in a sling suspended from a ceiling monorail system that can handle patients typically weighing 1,000 pounds. From there, the animal is conveyed to the nearby room containing the recovery pool, a bright blue circle of heated water, some 20 feet deep.

There, the animal is lowered into a black rubber raft with four long sleeves enclosing the legs. Once the raft is inflated, the horse remains floating there, typically for one or two hours, with nurses sitting close beside it. Thus, when the patient awakens, there is nothing hard anywhere near an injured leg, no matter how much it tries to thrash about.

A couple of blogs have written about this site: Animals We Can Love (that’s Tim in the picture, not me) and Barbaro = Passion = Blog = Community. Toby, the author of the latter blog, is a “blog buddy”.

Update 345: This morning’s update will again be delayed. Michael is still in Saratoga I think, returning today. I imagine I will know something by mid morning and be able to post then.

Update 344: We have seen Barbaro coverage in the UK, in New Zealand, and now Japan: Sympathy for a racehorse. This article talks about the rationale for the sympathy directed towards Barbaro as the world is seemingly full of other tragedies. The conclusion:

Barbarophilia is certainly not logical. And it is sentimental, outrageously so. But here’s a thought the anti-Barbaro crowd seems to have missed: Compassion isn’t an either-or proposition. Interest in the fate of an injured horse in Pennsylvania doesn’t preclude concern for terrified children in West Java or Baghdad or Tyre. Very likely, it’s the same warmhearted people caring about the lot of them. Even if it wasn’t, you can’t legislate the flow of sympathy.

The following article: Bernardini could be Horse of Year I hesitated to post. Not because I don’t admire another great racehorse, who won very easily over the weekend (although he really had nothing to beat), but because it was poorly written and factually inaccurate. Bobby was 6 for 6 going into the Preakness. I would also take issue with qualifying Albertrani’s tenure with Godolphin as a sentence but since I don’t know the guy (yet) I cannot confirm how much he enjoyed working with horses like Dubai Millenium.

Update 343: No new update this evening. I am assuming that is a good thing. Lori Keith rode her first winner at Philadelphia Park today, in the first race. She is a friend, and its great to see her getting going at Philly. She had ridden a winner at Penn, and actually went to Saratoga yesterday and was fourth. I asked her her perspective on Barbaro, she said:

My heart goes out to everyone involved. The horse is obviously strong, and he is hanging in there. It really makes you want to pull for him even more, he is trying.

Very true words. Congrats on the win, and looking forward to seeing you at Fair Hill breezing.

Adrienne caught up with Michael Matz yesterday at Saratoga. She had this to say (comment at 5:35 pm from update 27):

I was at Saratoga yesterday and actually had 2 michael signtings. The first was on a tour of the barns and track that was scheduled through the thoroughbred museum. Michael was with one of his children.

The second was in the paddock waiting for the post purade for the Jim Dandy. michael was walking into the paddock and I asked him how Barbaro was doing because I couldn’t check Tim and Alex’s web site as I was at Saratoga.I told him that I was one of those crazy and proud of it Barbaro fanatics. Michael said that he had a good night. I guess I heard the update as close as you can get from the horses mouth. He stopped for a second and I then asked him to thank Tim, Alex and the NBC staff for all of their wonderful work. I also told him that I hoped Barbaro enjoyed the carrots and the Delaware Park cap that I dropped off at the NBC 2 weeks ago. Finally he thanked me for the thoughts. Michael seems to be a really kind and understanding person. Barbaro you are really lucky!!!!

Wm & Cl, NH provides us this new poem (5:33 pm updates 27)

****Seabiscuit To Barbaro****

Rest if you must,
Lord heal our great Barbaro
who’s won a nation’s trust.

Heart only like one other,
Seabiscuit’s claim to fame– There is but just another,
Barbaro’s his name.

Living far greater,
Than one could hope for–
His spirit, God is creator,
More than Life’s core!

He is destined for much more.
Strengthen him night and day–
What is needed to rest and snore.
Show his shining spirit today,
As a testament to hero lore!

You are the one to beat this,
With loving care and caress– Believe Blessed with a kiss,
Lucky Swiftness your harness!

Make believers of doubters.
Great joy to be heard–
Help Campaign all ye shouters.
Help spread the good word!

Not just for Barbaro’s fight,
But for Mike Rea’s too– May both heal day and night
Richly blessed by all of you!

Recovery’s road may be long,
But tender care is there too– Keep sending those donations.
Each and everyone of you.

Lend a hand to a friend,
Help a neighbor in need.
Hold up another, don’t offend,
Is the word of this noble steed!

Contribute your time,
Your money, your hands–
Be it poetic rhyme.
Or prayers from all lands.

Expert minds can only wonder,
Seeing Barbaro’s will to survive–
Marvel at MIRACLES we’ll ponder,
Makes us thankful we are alive.

Listen, rest, soak up our love!
You’ve grabbed us so–
Heaven’s gift to us from above.

Whispering your wise ways,
Bring commonsense to reign–
Uplifting our hopes these days,
Lead us safely back home again.

Forever thanks to Alex & Mike,
Allowing others a sharing mind–
For blessed news raising the spike,
Focused on good and bad left behind–
Go BARBARO Go — we all love you so!

I was at dinner tonight when our host (Sue) relayed a story from our local fair (which has been in town the last week). She was talking with the person responsible for the big cats, and they were planning to take a lioness to New Bolton to be spade. Sue mentioned how excited the person was at the thought that she might get a chance to see Bobby! (Not too likely, but its great to see how widespread Bobby mania is!)

I am going to try to catch up with Tom Albertrani and get a quick interview on his Bobby perspective. He seems a really nice guy and I am sure has good things to say about Bobby. I have his phone number anyway!

Posted by Alex at 11:34 PM | Comments (691)
Barbaro Update: 27
Posted July 30, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 342: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). Peter just visited Bobby to report the news, and said that Bobby looked good. Peter’s tone was relatively upbeat!

A nice article in the UK Observer: The final furlong rehashes the Barbaro story. A good resource for those wanting to get a good handle on the entire set of events. You might also pick up one or two additional insights.

Thanks Heather for the lovely basket delivered to our barn by Kennett Florist. The goodies have been eagerly distributed between our barn and Michael Matz’s barn. Much appreciated. A belated thanks to Brandi for the popcorn. Sorry to say that stayed in our barn! As I was in the barn this morning (Tim called me to tell me there was a basket of goodies etc.) I got a chance to see Red Aspen. She looks good after her race yesterday, but tired. I also ran into Sheila Barndollar, who has been instrumental in putting together the raffle for a Mustang for Mike Rea. The drawing is tomorrow at Delaware Park, after the fourth race I think. Tim and I are planning on going. I hope to win! Lets hope Mike continues his good progress.

Update 341: Its great Michael is spending a couple of days at Saratoga (I think he is returning monday) as he has enabled more media coverage for Bobby. This Times Union article: Barbaro touches a heart includes some of the same interview covered by the Racing Form article in update 340. Here are a couple of excerpts that are new:

“I have just never been around a horse that has been so popular,” Matz said. “Even outside of the racing community … I took the kids to a Phillies game a while back and we were just sitting in the stands watching a ballgame on a Saturday afternoon. Three people I didn’t know just came up and asked how the horse was doing.”


“It would have been nice to see Barbaro run against Bernardini,” Matz said quietly. “It would have been good for racing. But I’m not going to be sour. How can I be sour. The horse has done a lot for me. Now we are going to try and do as much as we can for him.”

I had dinner at the Brette’s last night. They gave me a win picture from the Tropical Park Derby (How cool is that ?) I asked Peter how he looks, given all the concern of no recent pictures. Peter said while he has dropped a little weight (inevitable) his coat looks great (shiny) and his eye is bright, two very good signs he is doing well. We talked about many Barbaro things. I asked about the Florida Derby, and the stretch dual. Peter considered that was the making of the transition from boy to man for the horse. He said Edgar told him afterwards that it was very easy (despite what we were seeing). He did gallop out very strongly. Peter is visiting this morning, so will get an update after that visit.

Update 340: No update yet for sunday, but I will likely know something by mid morning. In the meantime here are a couple of articles, one old and one new. The new one, from the Daily Racing Form, is essentially an interview with Michael Matz from yesterday in Saratoga: Matz keeping an eye on Barbaro. Michael relayed how the last few weeks have been:

“At one point I thought I was going to win the Triple Crown with this horse, next time I was sort of resigned to the fact maybe it wasn’t supposed to be and he’s going to come through this and be a great stallion,” Matz said. “Then, when this other thing happened, I sort of resigned myself that they were going to put him down. Next morning I go and look, there he is bright-eyed. Every time I had myself resigned to something that was going to happen it never did. I don’t think physically I was getting tired, emotionally I never knew what to expect.”

He was also asked about Bernadini yesterday:

“I’m anxious to see the race,” Matz said. “Bernardini’s a real nice horse. It sure would have been nice to see them run against each other; that’s never going to happen.”

Matz was asked if part of him was rooting for Bernardini to lose so that his chances of unseating Barbaro as 3-year-old champion would diminish.

“Right now, I’m more worried about saving his life instead of whether he’s 3-year-old champion,” he said.

The second article, which I don’t think I had seen, is about Peter Brette, some of his background etc: Exercise rider Brette on journey of a lifetime with Barbaro. Obviously this is an old article, and the journey has taken major turns since the article was written. The final piece of the article is poignant:

At mid-afternoon on Derby Day, a good friend of Brette’s from Ireland strolled up to the barn to greet the horse and rider.

“She gazed into his eyes for a while,” Brette said. “Then she turned to me and said: ‘He’s an old soul. He’s been here before.'”

Update 339: Barbaro had another comfortable day (saturday). Had dinner with Peter and Kim. Other interesting factoids:

Messenger was a racehorse, I think trained by Michael, but not very fast. I think he may have had a stakes winning sibling.

Bobby, Barbaro’s nickname, is such because Nicholas, Peter and Kim’s son, could not say “Barbaro” … he is quite young.

I also wanted to note that a couple of people have noted sons and daughters of Dynamformer as half bothers / sisters to Bobby. We do not actually consider a thoroughbred a sibling (or half sibling) unless they are out of the same dam. Thus Bobby’s siblings are Holy Ground (four year old half brother) Man of Havana (two year old half brother), and his weanling full brother, yet unnamed.