Barbaro Updates: 707 – 747

Barbaro, with Messaging, at Fair Hill Training Center

Posted September 30, 2006

Update 747: The final two races from ESPN: Wait a While was awesome. A very impressive performance by a 3 year old filly against older horses for the first time. The Tin Man took the final race, clearly the betting and public favourite. He only just got the nod, and I would doubt he can duplicate this (and the Arlington Million) in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. We shall see. Sharp Writer was “vanned off”, I will see if I can find further information.

The Lost in the Fog tribute, televised on HRTV, was nice. They showed a few clips of his dominating performances, a couple of speeches, of which Greg Gilchrist’s was special. Clearly the Fog was surrounded by good people. GEVA is their charity of choice for those wanting to donate a gift in honour of Lost in the Fog.

Tomorrow’s racing’s focus is on Paris. Sue McMullen provides this run down of the eight starters for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe:

Just eight stand their ground for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the smallest field since 1941, but thankfully that much reduced number includes ‘the big three’, Hurricane Run, last year’s winner who also added this year’s King George to his resume, Deep Impact, the Japanese wonder horse, winner of their Triple Crown and beaten only once in his career, and Shirocco, 4th to Hurricane Run in last year’s running, winner of this season’s Coronation Cup at Epsom and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf. Does it get any better?

In terms of the World Thoroughbred Rankings, there is merely a pound between Hurricane Run and Deep Impact, a son of Sunday Silence whose loss to Japanese breeding cannot be overestimated. Deep Impact’s only defeat in 11 starts was at the hands, or hooves, of another son of Sunday, Heart’s Cry, who finished third to Hurricane in the King George. But the Japanese regard Deep Impact as their best horse and he has been showing flashes of his brilliance while working at his training base in France. Deep Impact is currently just ahead of Hurricane Run in the UK betting market, followed by Shirocco, despite the fact that he has never raced outside Japan and will be ridden by the darling of Japanese racing Yutake Take who, to put it tactfully, is not exactly a favourite with British punters, many of whom exhibit elephantine memories and haven’t forgotten or forgiven poor Take for his abysmal ride on White Muzzle in the Arc 12 years ago. White Muzzle was held up at the back of the field for what seemed an eternity, then came with a brilliant late run cutting down the eventual winner with every stride but sadly it was far too late. If it were a case of ‘Take him or leave him’, Yutake would remain in the weighing room. It says much for this horse’s awesome reputation that he commands the greatest respect, especially at this track where you need a pilot with a wise and cool head. Hopefully his pilot will demonstrate both attributes, as Hurricane Run will benefit from the services of Kieren Fallon, who many will be pleased to see reunited with this horse (he is currently banned from riding in the UK) and Shirocco will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that there are five other horses due to line-up, including the St Leger winner, Sixties Icon, but it’s hard to make a case for any of the others to get past all three of the leading fancies, three outstanding horses, unless they have trouble in running, but with such a small field this seems unlikely.

Racing at this level is increasingly global and true race fans celebrate great horses, no matter where they are trained or bred. We all hope for a true run race on Sunday with no hard luck stories, but if Deep Impact should pull it off, vindicating the sporting decision to bring him out of Japan, he will be cheered from the rooftops at Longchamp and it won’t be just the money talking.

For those of us who loved his father, it will be an especially moving victory.

HRTV will telecast the Arc. Also tomorrow, at Belmont, Discreet Cat will put his unbeaten record on the line: Spotlight on Discreet Cat in Jerome.

Update 746: A quick assessment of the two races thus far shown on ESPN. Ashkal Way ran a very good race in the Kelso. He set a stakes record, and I think good enough to be a factor in the Breeders’ Cup mile. In the Kentucky Cup Perfect Drift was clearly very unlucky, not being able to get through at the top of the stretch. Perfect Drift ran a great race and with room would have won going away by a couple of lengths.

Update 745: Just spoke to Peter Brette (3:25 pm) who had just left New Bolton from his visit to Barbaro. He was pleased with Barbaro. He groomed him, put on his massage blanket and changed his bandages. An upbeat report.

Update 744: I just heard from my friend at HRTV (Tina, who used to gallop at Fair Hill), and the Lost in the Fog memorial at Golden Gate Fields will be on after the 6th at Golden Gate Fields. Post time is 6:25 east coast time.

Update 743: The rest of the morning was relatively uneventful. We had some visitors from Vineland, New Jersey, which was cool. The three I had to ride all went pretty well. Chesapeake City Slew (CCS) did his first little work, along with Grandma. They both went well, and I think CCS will now go home for a couple of months to catch up with himself.

I did see Barclay Tagg earlier this morning, which confirms Funny Cide is not running today in the Hawthorne Gold Cup. I asked him about the plans for Showing Up, and they are still uncertain. He is doing well.

Peter said he was going to visit Barbaro today, so I will hopefully be able to catch up with him later.

It looks like Barbaro’s dad is getting popular: Dynaformer’s fee increased to $150,000. Nice to see two of his 2006 graded stakes winners are Fair Hill horses!

Update 742: Another comfortable night for Barbaro last night (friday night). I just saw Michael Matz as they were getting ready to head to the track for their third set. While it was a little chilly this morning, it is looking very beautiful outside. My first couple of sets were both breezes of sorts (one open gallop 3/8ths, the other break from the gate and breeze a half). The first went well, the second was “interesting”. Off back to Fair Hill for three more, and I think some visitors!

Update 741: I am hoping the Barbaro update this morning is available by 8 am. This is a very nice Message from Barbaro’s Owners, the beginning:

We were still trying to believe Barbaro had won the Kentucky Derby when his career-ending injury occurred. Now our focus is on his recovery and providing him with quality of life.

Looking for the good that has come out of this tragedy, we have found great consolation from the vast number of Barbaro fans and have witnessed a powerful interest in all activities that support the welfare of the horse.

Posted by Alex at 9:45 AM | Comments (434)
Barbaro Updates: 88
Posted September 29, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 740: Sue McMullen sent an e-mail which highlights the fantastic racing we have from Longchamp on sunday:

A feast of racing in Europe this weekend, culminating in Sunday’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, a mile and a half Turf race at Longchamp, France’s premier track, which offers as much of a challenge in terms of its undulations as Epsom. First run in 1920 in its present form, the Arc is a spin-off from the Grand Prix de Paris which started in 1863 and evolved over the years, adding big prize money which attracted foreign runners and eventually the inclusion of older horses. By 1920 it was decided to ‘rebrand’ the race by creating a prestigious international event, a decision made by a committee that included the British Ambassador and the French racing authorities, so the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe was born, named after soldiers that served in the Great War.

The Arc weekend now offers a total purse of 4.5 million euros, with 2 million going to the winner of the Arc, a seriously prestigious race, which continues to be hyped as Europe’s premier, all-aged Flat race, certainly over this distance. But it could also be argued that the Arc is the premier event for this distance at this time of the year, as nowadays the all-aged King George run at Ascot in July would also be a major target for a middle-distance horse. For example, Hurricane Run, last year’s winner of the Arc, won this year’s King George and will take some beating on Sunday.

In terms of this race’s position in the racing calendar (outside the US), it would be the principal end of season target for a mile and a half turf horse, with the Breeders’ Cup an option thereafter. It is unlikely that a European horse good enough to be a major contender for the Arc, would bypass this race and head straight for the Breeders’ Cup. Ideally, they would be able to do both but the Arc is a very tough race to be a mere prep for the Breeders Cup. Having said that, it didn’t exactly slow down the awesome High Chaparral who ran third in two Arcs, before winning both his Breeders’ Cups. But it’s a possible case of what might have been the year Sakhee, one of the toughest horses in training, won the Arc and just 20 days later went down a nose to Tiznow in the Classic at Belmont, on a surface that didn’t suit him.

The Arc field is limited to 18, but given the nature of the track, a field of that size will inevitably result in hard luck stories and just occasionally, the race throws up a result that leaves a bit of head scratching. But it takes a very good horse to win, combining speed and stamina in equal measure and in its 84 runnings has seen some of the finest turf horses in the world added to the roll of honour. This year, just 8 go to post and while there have been some defections due to the going, the top three, Hurricane Run, Deep Impact and Shirocco stand their ground.

Just as the Irish are an integral part of the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival in March, adding a vital ingredient to its unique atmosphere, it has to be said that the British and Irish are just as important to the Arc weekend and thousands head off by train or by air, either making a weekend of it, or just going over for Sunday’s racing, which also stages the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye, one of Europe’s premier Sprints and the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera, limited to fillies and mares and which now includes Mandesha, who at one stage had been a possible for the Arc.

Tomorrow Sue will preview the Arc field. The Arc will also be broadcast on sunday, on HRTV. Of course also tomorrow we have some great racing in the US, broadcast on ESPN, 4 – 6 pm (previewed in update 725).

Update 739: Just spoke to Peter, who had spoken to Michael, who visited about 4:30 pm. Barbaro remains comfortable. Michael mentioned to Peter he was “squealing” … I guess he saw Michael and assumed he was off to go outside. Anyway, whatever the reason for the squeal, squealing is good!

Update 738: Rachel from Kennett Florist just posted this update (comment timestamp: 9:21 pm):

Just back from NBC. Everyone seems in good spirits today… must be Friday! We had heard Mr B was low on carrots, so we loaded him up for the weekend. We also had a nice big basket of carrots and apples for the donor horses (and goats and pigs, etc). It is such a beautiful cool fall day here… I think it’s time for apple picking (although we are up to our elbows in apples here these days :)… guess I’ll have to bring some in the form of a pie!). Hope eveyone has a great weekend!

Also, wanted to thank each and every one who has worked so hard with S.1915. We’re trying to do what we can at this end. Keep up the fight!


Rachel at Kennett Florist

I also wanted to post another beautiful poem: We Are The Horses.

Update 737: A great AP article from Rich Rosenblatt: Barbaro an inspiration on and off the race track. I had noted in an earlier update that I met the writer when he was in Fair Hill a couple of days ago (Barbaro nipped his trouser leg). Anyway, here are some excerpts:

“You can just see it in him, he wants to survive,” Barbaro’s exercise rider Peter Brette said. “He does everything right to allow himself to get better. And he’s had a really good month or so now. He’s tougher than I gave him credit for.”


The cast could come off within two weeks and be replaced by a splinted bandage. It remains now because Richardson does not want to add stress on the foot with laminitis. “I’m being very conservative,” he said. “The cast would be off the right hind if there was no laminitis in the left hind.”


“I really believe it’s a miracle,” Gretchen Jackson said. “Everything has just seemed to come together against incredible odds.”

The outpouring of get-well cards, flowers and gifts hasn’t let up, either. During his stay, the colt has been sprinkled with holy water and received hundreds of gift baskets and thousands of drawings from children wishing him well. Tens of thousands of e-mails have been sent to the hospital’s Web site.

Jackson recalls one that read: “Believe in Barbaro: A Miracle in Progress.”

“That about sums it up,” he said.

The entire article is a must read.

Update 736: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). I saw Peter coming back from my fourth set (Rocky), he had heard from Michael, who had heard from Dr. Richardson. Michael is not at Fair Hill this morning.

Lots of action this morning at Fair Hill, most of which is action you would rather avoid. One loose horse, one run off, all first thing in the morning. I think all involved are fine, but I know from experience, being run off with is the single worst feeling a rider can have. The last time I was run off with it was a stupid mistake on my part, I had forgotten to tighten my girth. I turned my horse round to begin his gallop (I had not ridden him before, and he was supposed to be breezing) and as soon as I did I felt the saddle slip forward on top of his withers. The horse took off, and there was nothing I could do except sit as still as possible and steer the horse to the inside rail. This I did, and we went for a mile and a half, I was then picked up by a pony. Anyway, it was an experience hard to forget.

OK, back to today, Chappy breezed second set, on the woodchip. She went a nice half, finishing strongly. She does seem to like the chips, lets hope she likes the new tapeta surface when it is ready.
update, 8:45 am, friday september 29

Update 735: The morning update for Barbaro will again be a little later, possibly around 8:30 am. Barbara Livingston e-mailed me a link to her Precisionist Album. Barbara also included this commentary in the e-mail:

Precisionist provided me my first Blood-Horse cover over twenty years ago, and the graceful chestnut gelding has been close to my heart since.

He was a brilliant racehorse – a true Hall of Famer – and after retirement he remained classy, tolerant and proud. The lanky chestnut held his head unusually high, with deep-set, brilliant, dark eyes. Those eyes understood the world.

I visited Kentucky for a whirlwind trip (less than 24 hours) Tuesday, and had a few hours to spare before heading to the airport. We decided to swing by Old Friends to see our old buddy Precisionist. We called. They mentioned Precisionist was failing, and nothing more could be done for him. The staff still allowed us to visit.

There stood Precisionist, resting against Michael Blowen as Michael rubbed Precisionist’s ‘special spots.’ The famous gelding, in obvious discomfort, eased under Michael’s touch. When Michael ceased rubbing him, Precisionist’s ears flicked back. Michael kept rubbing. Several volunteers stood vigil nearby, tending to Precisionist’s every need. Tears were rubbed away.

Precisionist eventually made it clear he wanted to rest and was led back to his sunlit stall, laid thick with straw. Staff volunteers brought him first-rate alfalfa and cleaned, cut carrots. After resting awhile, Precisionist dipped his head to eat.

Before leaving, I peered through the stall rungs. Precisionist was watching me. I looked into those soulful eyes one last time and said, ‘Thank you, old boy.’

Precisionist was euthanized the following day and laid to rest at Old Friends.

He was so beloved, gallant, proud and beautiful; and Old Friends treated him like the champion he was. They understood.

Posted by Alex at 10:03 AM | Comments (449)
Barbaro Updates: 87
Posted September 28, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 734: Spoke to Peter Brette (6:20 pm) who had heard from Michael, who had visited Barbaro this afterenoon. All remains well, and Barbaro remains comfortable.

I attended a retirement party for Tom, who had worked on the maintenance crew at Fair Hill since its inception (or very close to it); basically 23 years. It was held in Chevation III, which is now the maintenance barn. In the old days it was a regular 40 horse stall barn. I used to gallop horses for Patti Miller from that barn. Anyway, it was a nice event. Nice comments from Sally Goswell (Fair Hill manager) and Dr. Fisher, who basically started Fair Hill, and hired Tom. They presented Tom with a gift, a Barbaro win picture of the Kentucky Derby, signed by Michael Matz. Tom will be missed. He always had a hello for you when jogging back and past where the tractors are parked, when they were preparing to begin the track renovation.

Update 733: Rachel, from Kennett Florist, has just provided this quick update (comment timestamp: 9:02pm):

Afternoon all!

All is well at NBC this afternoon. Quiet, but I was there for just a moment, dropping off some green tops, stud muffins and nickermakers… all of Barbaro’s favorites!


Update 732: I just spoke to Steve Willard, Giacomo’s exercise rider. I wanted to get a quick update as I think he is pointing for a race next weekend (The Goodward). He said Giacomo is doing well. He had a nice breeze a few days ago, he jogged yesterday and was galloping today (jogging a mile and a quarter warm up, and then galloping a mile and a half). Steve said his mind could not be better, very good attitude, and really wants to go out and train. A good report from Giacomo.

Update 731: As we get ready for saturday’s races on ESPN (update 725) I thought I would call Joe Deegan, Perfect Drift’s exercise rider, to see how he was doing coming up to his race, the Kentucky Cup Classic. He told me Perfect Drift was training really well. He galloped well this morning, will gallop again tomorrow and then ship up on saturday to run. This will be his first race on the polytrack at Turfway, although he has worked on the track once. Joe said he worked well on the track, he quickened really well on it, and should handle the track well on saturday. I asked him about his last start in the Pacific Classic. He said that he came out of the race really well. He acted like he had not really run. He just really did not fire for the race, and perhaps the pace of the race did not suite him. (Relevant article: Perfect Drift to try something new in Kentucky Cup Classic).

Talking about the polytrack at Turfway Park, I spoke to my buddy Andy Durnin last night, he is working at Hollywood Park, where they have recently installed another synthetic surface (I forget its brand name). He said the track is really riding well in the mornings. They have not had any bad weather yet, to see how it handles rain (southern california), but thus far the horseman seem to be pretty happy with it.

Update 730: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). I saw Michael Matz ponying Peter as I was on my second set with Chappy. They were in deep conversation, but broke their dialogue to give me the news. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson. Another nice morning at Fair Hill, although I think it might rain a little later.

Not related to Barbaro, but I had this chance meeting last thursday, pretty cool!

Update 729: Today’s morning update will be a little later today, probably about 8:30 am. In the meantime Barbaro is starting to get invitations: “Barbaro did receive a wedding invitation a couple weeks ago.”:

Barbaro did receive a wedding invitation a couple weeks ago. When I first opened it, his name was on the outside envelope and I thought, no this can’t be. The wedding is in September and the girl had written a note saying she really hoped he could come but she would understand if he can’t. We sent the reply card back saying he wouldn’t be unable to attend because he didn’t have a thing to wear and he wouldn’t be able to dance. And Dr. Richardson happened to be over here and he saw it, so he signed a thank-you card and sent it to her. In his note, Barbaro wished them well in their marriage, but that he didn’t plan to remain monogamous.

Nice work from Anna who was able to get some good news coverage: South Texas News Segment (video link) on the slaughter issues.

Posted by Alex at 10:17 AM | Comments (450)
Barbaro Updates: 86
Posted September 27, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 728: Something Wild ran a nice third today at Laurel. I just caught up with Tim, by cell phone, as he was returning from the races. Something Wild was in a fourteen horse allowance field, “never win a race other than” condition. He broke sharply, was taken slightly off the pace, moved down to the rail going around the turn and basically ran a gutsy race. He seemed to cool out well. His owner, Walter Simek, from Arizona, flew in for the race.

Update 727: Peter just called, he had heard from Michael who had visited Barbaro this afternoon. Barbaro remains comfortable. A quick, upbeat report. And then Kathy Anderson called. She was just leaving New Bolton (6:35 pm). She again said he looked good, very bright. Mrs. Jackson and Dr. Richardson were both there during Kathy’s visit. Barbaro was munching on hand-picked grass!

Update 726: Just moved the site. There was some whacky behaviour during the move, but I think it is now functioning. On a more somber note, we have lost two more athletes, Precisionist and Second of June, who many recently saw running second in the Woodward.

Update 725: Jeannine Edwards just sent me the following e-mail regarding ESPNs plans for racing this weekend:

Here is a preview of Sat’s show…..

After a 3-week hiatus (during which I was on vacation riding in the WY wilderness…. doesn’t get any better than that!) the live ESPN horse racing coverage continues on Saturday with the “Countdown to the Cup” series, 4-6pm ET. We’re really looking forward to these next 3 shows, Sept 30, Oct 7, and Oct 14 in anticipation of the Breeders’ Cup on Nov 4 (also on ESPN.) Most of the key contenders in each of the 8 BC race divisions will be in action over the next 3 weeks… we’ll see all the stars of our sport, in their final prep races. It should be very exciting! We’ll even have a look at the European contingent for the BC on our show this weekend, as we have a 2 1/2 minute international feature from across the pond.

This Sat’s show features 4 big races… the Clement Hirsch and Yellow Ribbon from Oak Tree (Santa Anita), the KY Cup Classic from Turfway Park, and the Kelso Handicap from Belmont. Our “host” location is Santa Anita. I can’t wait to see The Tin Man run in the Clement Hirsch… he’s a marvel. 8 years old and in the best form of his life, after 2 seriously bowed tendons, ankle injuries, and various other minor ailments. He’s spent about 3 years on the sidelines, and has been carefully managed by his trainer, Dick Mandella, who says The Tin Man is his all-time favorite horse and the barn pet. He’s quite a character and has endeared himself to all those around him. He reminds me of John Henry… small, plain-looking, but with the heart of a champion. He’ll be running in his 3rd Clement Hirsch and 3rd BC Turf… he first competed in both races in ’02. We have a 2 1/2 minute feature devoted to The Tin Man on our show. Joan, one of our Associate Producers, is interviewing Mandella and The Tin Man’s owners tomorrow (Wed) for the story.

In the Yellow Ribbon, 3-year-old Wait A While takes on older mares for the first time in the Yellow Ribbon on turf. Wait A While is shooting for her 4th win in a row. She’ll face tough California mares like Dancing Edie and Live Life, but she appears to be on a roll right now for Todd Pletcher and has really made her presence felt in the distaff turf division. She gets a big test on Sat.

Our old friend Perfect Drift is running again this Sat, in the KY Cup Classic. He’s such a cool horse, and always tries his best. I think the track was not particularly suited to his running style in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. He’s done well at Turfway (won 4 of 6 starts) but not since they switched over to the Polytrack surface… should be interesting to see how he handles it. He zipped through a sharp 5-furlong workout over the track about 2 weeks ago in his only “trial run” on the surface. Premium Tap, who last won the Woodward at Saratoga, and Gouldings Green, who’s been super consistent this year, are his chief rivals.

At Belmont in the Kelso, it should be an interesting match-up between Godolphin’s Ashkal Way, who’s won 4 of his 5 starts and has been a pleasant surprise for his connections since coming to this country in the spring, Meteor Storm, an old (7) campaigner who’s made over $1.3 million but hasn’t raced since December (was nearly retired to stud) and may prefer more ground than the one-mile of the Kelso, and Friendly Island… a sprinter who’s never raced beyond 7 furlongs and never been on turf. They’re feeling him out for a possible start in the BC Mile on Turf. The Pletcher stable’s confidence in him jumped way up when he scorched through a 1/2 mile workout on turf last week… :47.4 on a turf course that doesn’t play fast.

Lots of great stories, interviews, and exciting racing to look forward to on Sat. And of course, we’ll update everyone on Barbaro and include a tribute to the late great Lost In The Fog.

Update 724: I just met Rick Rosenblatt, who wrote this story for the AP, which was published yesterday: Barbaro looks good; still has ways to go. Rick was in Fair Hill, and likely writing a follow up story. He visited Barbaro yesterday, so I had to ask him for his report! He said he looked bright in his eye, and alert. Any unexpected sound garnered his attention. He was out grazing, and took a little nip out of Rick’s trouser leg. Anyway, Rick seemed pretty happy with what he saw. He had previously seen Barbaro in the ICU, a couple of months ago. The AP also took a bunch of photos yesterday (so they are the most recent), you can see a few at espn: Horse Racing Photo Wire.

Here’s another poignant poem: For Every Horse an Angel.

Update 723: Another comfortable night for Barbaro last night (tuesday night). I just saw Michael Matz by the clocker’s stand. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. Also another absolutely gorgeous morning here at Fair Hill. Beautiful sunrise, a thin layer of mist coming out of the ground, plenty of deer grazing…I am currently stood behind the gate on a two year old to do a bit of gate schooling and then we’ll open gallop a quarter down the lane.
updated wednesday 7:20am

Update 722: Julie created this wonderful memorial to Lost in the Fog.

Fans will be able to celebrate Lost in the Fog on saturday at Golden Gate Fields: Track to honor Lost in the Fog. The following is an excerpt:

Golden Gate Fields will salute Eclipse Sprint champion Lost in the Fog, his owner Harry Aleo and trainer Greg Gilchrist on Saturday. A special DVD featuring each of the colt’s victories will be given away, and career highlights will be shown throughout the day.

Golden Gate Fields has been swamped with requests about the video and had fans from as far away as Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey inquire about attending the day to pay their respects to the colt, who was euthanized on Sept. 17 after battling cancer.

Donations in the name of Lost in the Fog can be made to the Glen Ellen Vocational Academy, Northern California’s only non-profit horse rescue and rehabilitation facility. The GEVA address is P.O. Box 2101, Glen Ellen, CA 95442.

“If it’s something to help horses, I’m always for it,” said Aleo, who has allowed GEVA to auction off pictures of the colt in the past.

This Bloodhorse article: Crystal Clear is a wonderfully written article about the Fog. It begins:

He was special; a simple word that seems inadequate, but at the same time says it all. He was speed incarnate, not just blazing fast but white-hot fast, able to run a second quarter faster perhaps than any horse before him. He was without pretensions, no blue-blooded pedigree or flighty temperament. He was all business.

An update was posted to the IN HONOR OF BARBARO RESCUE CHALLENGE, providing the status of the fifth challenge, this was swifty met, you have raised more than $9,000!

Posted by Alex at 9:10 AM | Comments (370)
Barbaro Updates: 85
Posted September 26, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 721: Peter just called. He visited Barbaro this afternoon (1 pm), and was upbeat in his assessment. He groomed Barbaro, changed his bandages and put on his massage blanket. He also said Michael just called, who visited Barbaro on his way back from Delaware Park, later today. Barbaro remains comfortable.

Update 720: Here is the New Bolton release for today: Barbaro’s progress pleases veterinarians:

Veterinarians at Penn’s George D. Widener Hospital continue to be pleased with the medical progress of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who remains in stable condition at the hospital. “The left hind hoof on Barbaro has grown about 18 millimeters in the heel area,” said Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery. “It has to grow at least three times that, which could take more than six months. It’s a very gradual process; the bottom of his foot has to completely heal as well.”

Barbaro continues to be comfortable in his right hind leg cast, so there are no immediate plans to change it. “As always, we monitor his comfort very closely, and we will likely change the cast within the next two weeks,” said Dr. Richardson. “Barbaro’s vital signs continue to be excellent, as is his appetite. He definitely enjoys his daily excursions outside to walk and graze.” Barbaro spends about 30 to 40 minutes outside every day, depending on the weather.

Barbaro remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Pennsylvania’s George D. Widener Hospital, where he is recovering from injuries suffered at the Preakness on May 20.

The next update will be posted on Tuesday, October 3, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro’s condition.

Update 719: Just a quick FYI, New Bolton has a scheduled Barbaro update to release for today, but it may be released later this afternoon. I was chatting to them on another matter this morning and this is what I learned.

Update 718: Another comfortable night for Barbaro last night (monday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was going to the track on my second set on Chappy. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. While it was a bit of a chilly start to the day, it’s absolutely gorgeous now as the sun is coming up. I am now heading to the woodchip track to gallop Chappy. We only have two more weeks to ride on the woodchips as we then begin the switch over to the Tapeta surface. As I am walking on to the track, I also asked Adrian Rolls if Better Talk Now was back from his Canadian exploits. He said he had arrived back in Fair Hill last night and all is well.
updated tuesday 7:20am

Update 717: We have a couple of quick reports, the first from a visit to Fair Hill this past weekend, and the second, a meeting with Mr Aleo (Lost in the Fog day at Golden Gate Fields is Saturday September 30, I believe it will be covered by HRTV).

Racing also returns to ESPN on saturday, so hopefully we will hear from Jeannine. The major race in Europe this weekend is the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe. Sue McMullen will hopefully keep us updated with this marquee race. And finally, Discreet Cat also runs on sunday: Discreet Cat vs. Bernardini unlikely to happen.

Posted by Alex at 9:45 AM | Comments (385)
Barbaro Updates: 84
Posted September 25, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 716: I spoke too soon. Peter just called (8:20 pm) and he had heard from Michael who had visited Barbaro earlier this afternoon. All was well.

Update 715: No later update today for Barbaro, which is not unusual. The Thoroughbred Times has a story on the status of the anti-horse slaughter bill in the senate: Vote on horse slaughter bill may be delayed until next year. Keep up your great work, each person’s effort makes an impact.

Update 714: I have created an archive page of Barbaro updates, which includes all the updates. I did this for two reasons:

a. it is hard to find the old updates, now you can

b. if this site goes offline temporarily (if we have technical issues), you can use the archive site, which I will continue to update

Update 713: I just interviewed Edgar Prado, the interview appears below. I had called up his agent last week to confirm Edgar was coming down to visit Barbaro. I had mentioned to his agent during the call that I would really like to interview Edgar. He asked me to call back in a few days. So I chose today, when I knew there was no racing at Belmont.

When I called back (after I got off my last horse this morning) I was not expecting to be past on directly to Edgar to begin the interview. So I was in my truck, interviewing Edgar over my cell phone, looking for scraps of paper to make notes. Once the interview was complete, I told Edgar I would call back in 45 minutes, so he could hear the interview before I published it. When I called his agent back, Edgar had left, but his agent gave me Edgar’s cell number to call. I did, and after I read back the interview Edgar asked me when I was next coming to Belmont. So likely I will go up for the Jockey Club, and meet with him in person. Very cool. and of course, here is the interview:

Me: What were your first impressions of Barbaro?
Edgar: I first rode him in the Tropical Park Derby. I was very impressed with the way he handled himself on the track, and when he came back after the race he was not even blowing, he could not even blow out a match. I had not ridden a horse with such a turn of foot since Kitten’s Joy, a really nice turf horse.

Me: At what point did you realize you were going to win the Kentucky Derby?
Edgar: Before the race: I was very comfortable after he won his races on the dirt, and I could tell he still had room to improve. I was very confident he was training so well coming up to the Derby, he was handling the racetrack so well, and his pre-Derby breeze (under Peter Brette) was exceptional.

Edgar: During the race: Between the 3/8ths pole and 5/16ths. He was going so easily, I had not asked him, and he was going so well. I really did not need to urge him too much, I did not use the stick, a nice hand ride.

Me: How does Barbaro compare to others you have ridden?
He could run on any track and any kind of surface. I could put him anywhere I wanted (in a race). He had acceleration that was incredible. He was only a three year old and was just developing. He had the right to be one of the best horses to ever run a race.

Me: Why do you continue to visit Barbaro?
I like him very much. He gave me the biggest thrill of my life in the Derby. The courage he is currently displaying in his recovery just shows how special this horse is. A horse like this does not come around too often, I am honored to have been part of his story, he is very special.

Update 712: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). I saw Michael Matz while I was on my second set, jogging Chappy two miles on the dirt. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson. Michael was on Messaging standing by the clockers stand when i passed him, he was talking to Barclay Tagg. I asked Barclay if they had finalized plans for Showing Up’s next race, not yet was the answer. I wonder if he saw George Washington’s win! I also saw Graham Motion, and congratulated him on Better Talk Now’s victory. It seems he will now not go for the Melbourne Cup. Its possible he may run again in Canada, but is now returning to Fair Hill. Graham thought the pace did not really suite Better Talk Now, and he really did run a great race.

Another poignant poem: Four Hundred Horses.
update monday, 8:15 am, september 25

Posted by Alex at 12:04 PM | Comments (464)
Barbaro Updates: 83
Posted September 24, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 711: Congratulations to Better Talk Now and all his connections: Better Talk Now outduels challengers for Sky Classic victory. In typical Better Talk Now style, he dropped back, and came with a late run, and won by a head. I just spoke to Adrian Rolls, Graham Motion’s assistant, who gave me the quick update. It appears they are no longer considering the Melbourne Cup (according to the article) but it is nice to see Graham proved correct in his assessment that Better Talk Now is as good as ever.

I just spoke to Peter Brette, no later update today on Barbaro. He had not heard anything, which he assumes is a good thing.

Update 710: Here is the Orlando Sentinal article: Barbaro’s Big Breakthrough: Although his survival remains in doubt, the Derby champ’s injury (and recovery) leaves promising legacy for his fellow thoroughbreds. I was interviewed for this article, so was excited to see it going to press today. The article is another great read (much like those in Update 709), but of course I have to highlight where I am quoted and this site is referenced:

“You think of athletes as holding out for contracts; they’re getting [in trouble] for positive drug tests. Athletes don’t necessarily have the best [reputation],” says Alex Brown, an exercise rider at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. “And here’s a horse that just did his best, he was brilliant, he just goes home at night and eats some hay and then he breaks his leg in front of a national audience.”

Ever since the Preakness, Brown has kept the world updated on Barbaro’s condition with daily posts on Tim Woolley has a stable at Fair Hill, and Barbaro trained for the Preakness nearby. The Web site had been around for a while, before anyone knew who Barbaro was. It used to get maybe five hits a day.

Now, thousands visit it daily. Brown receives information from the insiders — those such as Richardson and Michael Matz, Barbaro’s trainer — and he posts the news on the site, much to the appreciation of Barbaro lovers everywhere.

Update 709: I bought the Philadelphia Inquirer, thinking they may run the same Barbaro story that was written for the Orlando Sentinal (which I have not yet posted) and lo and behold, they wrote a couple of their own very cool articles: STANDING BY BARBARO and A happy horse could take six months to a year. Both Mike Jensen articles are fantastic, and you will learn a lot about Barbaro’s current condition (foot growth etc.) as well as insights into Mrs. Jackson. The following is an excerpt from the second article:

The cast on Barbaro’s right hind leg is mostly precautionary. All the signs are good on that front, but Richardson said, “There’s still no guarantee we can get his left hind foot to the point where he can be in a field and be a happy horse.”

The hoof is growing – about 18 millimeters in the heel area, Richardson estimated. “He’s got to go three times that, at least.”

If that took six months or longer, “we hope that his comfort and the stability of the foot improves during that interval,” Richardson said. “In other words, it’s not all or none. It’s a very gradual progressive thing, and the big problem is that we still need to get the bottom of his foot to completely heal. That’s a big deal.”

Update 708: Oddly I was just on a horse racing site to see if there was any more fall out from yesterday’s Georgeous George win (nothing) and then I checked my e-mail, a follow up from Sue McMullen follows:

Just been confirmed that Ballydoyle are to appeal yesterday’s decision to ban Shamus Heffernan for 14 days for what the Ascot stewards adjudged to be improper riding and team tactics.

An exasperated and understandably furious Aiden O’Brien yesterday implied there was little point in appealing but many of us felt that they would have to do so (and we hoped they would) as it was such a harsh penalty with very unpleasant implications. It will now be referred to Shaftesbury Avenue in London, HQ of racing in the UK. On a personal note, the more I see the race the more harsh it seems and while it’s tempting to say more, I should perhaps leave it there.

Thankfully, in spite of this, the eulogies have continued in tribute to George’s superb performance, with writers exhausting the supply of superlatives to describe his outstanding victory, which made some very classy milers look ordinary.

As you might expect and subject to his continued wellbeing, George is bound for Kentucky and the Breeders’ Cup Mile where we hope he will be able to unleash his brilliance.

If anyone can find the URL to the Barbaro story in the Orlando Sentinal, please post in the comments. I have seen the same story via mercury news, but would rather link to the home paper of the writer. Its a cool story!

Update 707: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I went to Fair Hill and to Michael Matz’s barn to get the update. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. A lovely poem from Bobby J.: Message of Encouragement From Bobby.
update sunday, september 24, 8 am