Barbaro Updates: 1 – 109

Barbaro, with Messaging, at Fair Hill Training Center

Update 109: Barbaro continues to please everyone with his progress. Just spoke to Peter Brette this afternoon (saturday afternoon). He may visit tomorrow morning, so if so will try to get an update before leaving San Fran. I asked Peter about the origin of his name (someone asked in the comments). Apparently Barbaro is named after a foxhound of Roy Jackson’s family. There is a painting of the hounds that includes Barbaro, and apparently his new full brother may be named after another of the hounds.Update 108: Just spoke to Peter Brette who reported that Barbaro had another good night last night (friday night). He continues to do well, of course with a long road ahead.
update saturday, 8:40 am PSTUpdate 107: Just spoke to Peter Brette who has just visited Barbaro (after morning work friday). He is doing well, and apparently listening to some country music!

Update 106: a couple of nice articles have been posted in the comments. The first: Trainers, owners hold dream of discovering another Barbaro (thanks Ernie) notes the enormous loss the tragedy is to the Barbaro team. The following is an excerpt:

Brette, who rode the son of Dynaformer every morning, is equally convinced of that. “Unfortunately, people really didn’t get to see how good he was,” he says. “The Kentucky Derby was just the start, not the end for him. He was just going to get better and better.”

Brette says the regular visits he and Matz make to Barbaro as he recovers at New Bolton Center in nearby Kennett Square, Pa., help to ease their pain only somewhat.

The second article discusses the visit of two soldiers from Fort Benning: FORT BENNING: Soldiers visit Kentucky Derby winner (thanks Edie) which I am assuming is the same visit we noted in update 52. It includes the following:

Why a flag?

Because both women felt that the fact Barbaro tried to continue racing despite his obvious pain reminded them of the wounded soldiers they see every day, many of them severly injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Update 105: No news yet for Barbaro this morning. Tim spoke to Michael Matz’s crew and they had not heard anything yet, which seems to be coming more of the ‘trend’ lately (aside from yesterday morning). I will endevour to get a more concrete update later when I call Peter Brette.
update 9:00 am, friday

Update 104: Spoke to Peter Brette late this afternoon (Thursday). Barbaro is continuing to do well and is getting more comfortable in his new cast.

Update 103: Knowing Barbaro had another great night last night, and be able to report such before leaving for San Fran. is great. I will try to get in touch with Peter Brette once I get to San Fran. so hopefully will have another update late in the day. I am amazed at the persistent public interest in Barbaro (which is brilliant), and as some have noted in the comments, he is becoming an inspiration for many and possibly a ‘platform’ for change. Keep the conversation going!

Update 102: Another good night for Bobby last night (wednesday night). Dr. Richardson called Michael Matz’s early this morning, who then let me know as I was coming to the wood chip track. I also ran into Kathy Anderson this morning (while on another horse) and asked her about whether a horse could live a “pain-free” life with the type of “hardware” Barbaro has in place. The short answer was yes! (then I had to disappear on my horse).
updated wednesday, 8:35 AM

Update 101: Just spoke to Peter Brette who visited Barbaro this afternoon (wednesday afternoon). All looks well. They are all very happy with him, he looks bright and well. Phew, took a while to get that update today. On that note, I am traveling to San Francisco tomorrow (coming back on sunday), so while I will endevour to get updates as I have them (and will be busy on my cell phone trying to get them), the timing might be off a little bit. Another good day! Many more days to go.

A little necessary humour (thanks Ernie)

Update 100: The following article: Barbaro gets new cast on shattered leg provides a little more detail on the cast change of yesterday (thanks Lisa). It includes the following excerpt:

Richardson decided to change the cast yesterday, he said, because Barbaro’s temperature had risen “half a degree” and the horse was showing signs that the cast was causing itchiness. It turned out Barbaro had two very small rubs on his heel, which wasn’t surprising, Richardson said, because he has been so active in his stall. The rubs aren’t “of any consequence,” the surgeon said.

Barbaro’s overall prognosis remains the same. There is optimism at New Bolton, but the crucial indicator is whether the horse can walk pain-free when the cast comes off for good, probably several months down the road.

Caught up with Kim Brette in the local shop this morning. We talked about the relief of yesterday’s process. While all visible and outward indicators were positive prior to yesterday’s removal of the cast, problems could have been revealed once the cast was removed. This was not the case of course.

Update 99: No new news yet this morning at Fair Hill, so like other mornings without news we are assuming no news is good news. Peter Brette may get to go and visit Barbaro later today, so if that happens I will get an update from Peter. Miraculous Miss (flipped in the gate in the Acorn) is back at Fair Hill and recovering. It does not appear she sustained any long term physical damage, but a few cuts and bruises.
update wednesday, 10:10 am

Update 98: Given the focus on Barbaro today, with his cast replacement, I thought I would highlight this article on Dr. Richardson who has clearly been in the spotlight lately: New Bolton’s Dr. Fix-It (thanks Daphne). A short excerpt:

“He knew it was a very bad injury and he knew immediately it was Barbaro,” Reid said. “The feeling was indescribable. Being so far away from New Bolton, that bothered Dean. He knew the horse was coming his way.”

Calls to Richardson’s cell phone flooded in. First the equine vets at Pimlico, then Roy and Gretchen Jackson.

Here is an excerpt of a comment from Erica re: the ‘power’ of Barbaro:

I was so upset, wondering how I’m going to keep from getting depressed and how I was going to be ready for my marathon. Then… I thought of Barbaro and his great spirit. I thought of how well he has adjusted to a new life, a life of no racing. I thought of the messages that have been posted on this site describing how Barbaro’s attitude has been such a big plus for his recovery. Thinking about this made me less sad and less upset.

Finally just to “re highlight” two of the “movies” created by you: Our Prayer for Barbaro and Beautiful Barbaro.

Update 97: “Slightly groggy, but happy”, as Kathy Anderson said to me in a brief call this afternoon. As far as everyone is concerned, today has gone as well as could be hoped for. Kathy visited with Barbaro this afternoon, and she gave him a good scratch (he was apparently a little itchy). She also viewed the radiographs etc. and as noted in the press release earlier things are starting to do whatever it is they are supposed to do (I am not a vet)!

Update 96: Out of the Pool! New Bolton’s Press Release: Doctors change Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro’s cast notes the procedure Barbaro endured today. The following is an excerpt:

Today Chief of Surgery Dean W. Richardson replaced the cast that had been on Barbaro’s hind leg since surgery on May 21. “His leg looks excellent,” said Dr. Richardson. “The incision has healed well and judging by the radiographs, the graft is opacifying (“taking”). Callus is forming nicely, and all of the implants (plate and screws) look unchanged.” The cast was replaced under general anesthesia, and Barbaro had a very smooth pool recovery.
(thanks Edie!)
To “celebrate”, we have just posted a new “movie” Beautiful Barbaro on our Fan Media page. Thanks Jayne!

Update 95: The cast replacement did happen today. A friend called who had just spoken to Kathy Anderson, who confirmed that Barbaro had the cast replacement this morning. Everything looks good (radiographs, skin etc.) and he is now in the recovery pool, where they will wait for him to come out of the anesthesia.
update 11:30 am

Update 94: It looks like today (tuesday) might be the day they are planning to replace Barbaro’s cast. A couple of people close to Barbaro have mentioned this, and given the timeline (3+ weeks) it makes sense given previous conversations. Lets keep our fingers crossed for this process, as we know there are potential risks with this necessary step in the recovery process (the need for anesthesia, the exact fit of the new cast etc). The process will also allow the vets a much closer look at the healing process.
update: 7:50 am, tuesday

Update 93: Just spoke to Peter Brette, who visited Barbaro today (monday). Barbaro is doing well, so his status remains the same. I asked Peter if he could investigate the source of the blanket Barbaro was wearing (when filmed on ESPN / ABC) with the signatures etc. It is a blanket from the Kentucky Derby. It has printed on it: 132 Kentucky Derby Winner Barbaro. It includes signatures from many people working at Churchill Downs.

To answer a couple of questions that have come up in the comments lately:
a. We will continue to provide updates as we have them, we hope that is at least once a day
b. Barbaro will not be returning to Fair Hill, simply because Fair Hill is a training center for horses that are running races etc. While I am not privy to plans for the future, it would not make sense to return to a place like Fair Hill. It makes better sense to return to the owner’s farm, and then hopefully to a ‘stallion station’.

Update 92: Added links to the ‘sidebar’: Barbaro Photo Album, which includes the latest photos from New Bolton, taken on Saturday (June 10); and Good luck, Barbaro! (Barbara Livingston), many shots from Fair Hill, some simply great photographs.

Update 91: The following Thoroughbed Times article: Barbaro adjusting to life of constant attention at New Bolton does a good job of illustrating how at ease Barbaro is with his injured leg and supporting cast. We know about the early ear scratching episode, we have heard about him rearing up for the state Govenor, but it also appears he likes to buck too:

“He’s got a big personality, he’s feisty,” said George D. Widener Hospital Executive Director Corinne Sweeney, D.V.M. “I saw him in the stall [Thursday morning] with Dr. Richardson [chief surgeon at Penn’s veterinary school] and he actually was bucking for fun–you know those kind of horses–and he is moving around his stall all the time.

ESPN has an article : After Triple Crown, Barbaro is still the one to beat (thanks Lisa) where the connections of the Preakness and Belmont winners presume Barbaro remains the number one three year old, excerpt:

The day after saddling Jazil to victory in the Belmont Stakes, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin believes the injured Kentucky Derby winner most likely will end up the 3-year-old champion.

And Tom Albertrani, who trains Preakness winner Bernardini, agrees — at least for now.

“Barbaro didn’t do anything wrong,” McLaughlin said Sunday after watching several promising 2-year-olds train over Belmont Park’s main track. “He’s undefeated except for one race. It would be hard to top him, but we’ll give it our best.”

We, of course, would agree!

Update 90: New Bolton’s release notes: Beginning today, updates on Barbaro’s condition will be made weekly, unless there is a significant change to report. The release also speculates as to why Barbaro has attracted so much public attention, the following is an excerpt:

Why do heroic animals inspire such intense emotions? Partly, I think, because they perform their acts of heroism for us, and not of their own volition. While we may feel intense admiration and concern for human warriors and athletes who put themselves at risk of injury or death, our sympathy is always tempered by the belief that they were aware of the risks and were willing to face them. With animals we cannot shelter realistically behind this assumption.

We will continue to provide updates as we have them from people visiting etc.

Update 89: Much like update 77 we have no official word yet this morning re: Barbaro, but presume that since we have not heard anything that things are OK. (I asked Michael Matz and his team this morning and as of 7:30 am they had not heard anything.) Would rather post this than not post anything, but will endevour to find at least one update per day going forward, as things progress.
updated: monday, 8:45 am

Update 88: Just spoke to Peter Brette and he reported Michael (Matz) visited Barbaro today (sunday) and all remains well. Another good day.

Update 87: Great article from mercurynews: A tough day for Barbaro’s inner circle and followers that offers great details of Barbaro’s status and routine, his cast, fondness for his neighbour, and some skin abrasions caused by the sling used in the surgery process. A few excerpts:

Three weeks after the catastrophic injuries to Barbaro’s right hind ankle during the first furlong of the Preakness Stakes, the medical team at New Bolton is aware of potential setbacks, knowing that decisions on his future will be made only after his cast comes off for good. But the mood of the place, while still cautious, indicates that Barbaro keeps clearing every hurdle.

“He continues to make remarkable improvement, walking in his stall with his cast,” co-owner Gretchen Jackson said last week.


“He’s using his cast really well,” Adams said. “We’re all really thrilled with that. It’s dry. It’s not cracked. It’s not worn through at the bottom. All of the staining you see is purely superficial, because it’s about 7 or 8 millimeters thick. Nothing’s gotten through.”


Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who live just down the road in West Grove, come by each day to see the horse, as does Matz, who arrived after running a horse at Delaware Park on Saturday afternoon.

“I changed a bandage in there, groomed him up a little,” said Matz, standing just outside the ICU. “It’s something that makes him happy.”

And that can work both ways. Matz does some grooming each day.

“He was good to us,” Matz said, “and we’re just trying to return the favor.”

Update 86: No official update this morning (I was not able to catch up with the Matz’s barn this AM). I will catch up with Peter Brette later, so should have something later in the day. He did look great yesterday on TV. He appeared bright, happy, and not lame as he was moving about. I really think the coverage of Barbaro yesterday was very good.

We are now looking at three weeks since the horrific accident, and it seems all has gone exceptionally well in those three weeks. I was talking with Kathy Anderson yesterday about the critical issues going forward. It seems the next critical ‘event’ to consider is the changing of the cast, which will likely be in the next week or so (my guess based on our conversation). This will allow the vets a closer look at the healing process, and will also create some risks itself (replacing the cast; Barbaro will need to be anethetized etc.) So perhaps we should celebrate the progress of the three weeks, but wait cautiously for the cast replacement process.

As far as I am aware, Miraculous Miss is on her way back to Fair Hill. Some scrapes and bruises are known, but it may be a few days before they really know if there are any ill effects from the gate incident in the Acorn.
update, Sunday, 9:25 AM

Update 85: Peter Brette decided not to visit Barbaro today given all the media at New Bolton. We, of course, have benefited from the media coverage thanks to ESPN and ABC. He looks great today!

Update 84: If you can, tune into the Belmont TV coverage (ESPN and then ABC), they are doing a fantastic job of providing Barbaro updates. Some great shots of him today, rolling in his stall, getting a bath and more. I am sure they will repeat this later. The horse does look great.

Update 83: The ESPN 2 broadcast yesterday included a story on Hoist The Flag, and comparisons to Barbaro. The story noted Hoist The Flag’s spectacular early career (undefeated, his jockey Jean Cruguet noting he was the best he had ridden, and he rode Seattle Slew) and horrific accident, prior to the triple crown. His injuries appear to be similar to Barbaro’s catastrophic injuries, and the decision to try to save the horse was going to involve the need for truly ground breaking work. He went on to become a (very) successful sire. The following article (thanks Lynette): The Dream Lives On notes the story in the context of War Emblem’s preparation for the Belmont (2002). The following are excerpts:

In March 1971, thoroughbred racing was preparing for a coronation. A magnificent colt named Hoist the Flag was blazing toward the Kentucky Derby, conjuring up images of his grandsire, Triple Crown winner War Admiral. “I don’t think he’ll ever get beat,” raved his jockey, Jean Cruguet, “unless he falls down.” As Hoist the Flag scorched through workouts at Belmont Park, onlookers watched with giddy anticipation.


Jenny and Reed had done the impossible. Hoist the Flag survived. He would become an exceptional sire, bequeathing his talent to generations of offspring.

Update 82: Belmont Day which obviously reminds us all of the horrific accident of three weeks ago. Lets hope the Belmont afternoon is great racing without incident. I am sure there will be plenty of Barbaro coverage this afternoon on ESPN and ABC so we will keep an eye out for it. If anyone reading this is attending Belmont today, it would be great to post your ‘reports’ in the comments section, especially surrounding the get well card and other Barbaro stuff. While Fair Hill is not represented in the big race, Miraculous Miss, trained by Steve Klesaris, is running in the Acorn, so we will be rooting for her.

Peter Brette is planning to visit Barbaro this afternoon so we will try to catch up with an update later. (Note, Kathy Anderson did not end up visiting yesterday, hence no ‘report’, although she did talk to someone who did visit Barbaro, and he was fine.)
Update 81: Another good night last night for Barbaro (friday night). Just spoke to Michael Matz who had just received word. More updates later, but have to run and get on two more horses and (hopefully) watch england win our first world cup game!
update: saturday, 8:40 am

Update 80: Just saw the Fox News piece, which turned out to be an interview with Michael Matz. The most important aspect of the interview (I think) was the first question … how is Barbaro doing ? The answer: looks good, appropriate weight on the injured leg, vital signs good etc. (so that is our most recent update). I think Michael did a great job, especially the answer to the question of whether a horse other than Barbaro would have received the same treatment. It was a short interview, but glad to get the update!

Other quick things: the Bloodhorse has an article: Dr. Bramlage Looks Back on Barbaro’s Preakness that notes the importance of keeping people up to date with the news as it unfolds, which has been an ongoing aspect to this entire story:

“I think our ontrack vet program worked great that day,” Bramlage noted. “The worse thing for viewers is not to have any information. I think we were accurate, gave the best information we had, and made people as comfortable as possible. It was a bad injury and we had to tell people that.

Finally has a story:
Barbaro still on Prado’s mind
that highlight’s Edgar Prado’s ‘state of mind’ as he rides the Belmont:

“When I am in the jockeys’ room before the Belmont, my thoughts will be with Barbaro,” Prado said. “But when I go out and do my business, he will stay here, in the jocks’ room. After the race I will think about him again.”

Update 79: New Bolton’s press release today confirms Barbaro’s continuing good progress (its good to know no news this AM did mean good news). It begins:

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro continues to please veterinarians at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals with his progress on this day before the running of the finale of horse racing’s triple crown.

The release also notes that TV coverage of the Belmont tomorrow will include footage of Barbaro recuperating in his stall at New Bolton.

On another note, I was talking to a friend this afternoon who noted that Barclay Tagg (Funny Cide fame, also trainer for the Jackson’s, past exercise rider of Ruffian in her very early career) mentioned, shortly after seeing Barbaro win his first stakes race in Maryland, that he considered it the best performance he had seen since Secretariat!

Update 78: Just spoke to Kathy Anderson (Barbaro’s Fair Hill vet.) She had not heard anything yet today (Dean Richardson is away) but she is visiting this afternoon, so I will call her again later (Kathy assumes all is well). She did mention a few things of interest:

a. Barbaro was actually rearing up during the Pennsylvania Governor’s visit yesterday (the cast must really work!)
b. The gift yesterday was a gift that was in the works, but certainly Barbaro’s presence helped ‘close’ the transaction
c. There is whisper of another gift, thanks to Barbaro (need to explore this)

The Fox News piece is still planned for later today (5:45 pm east coast) but Kathy is no longer being interviewed for the piece.

Update 77: No official update yet this morning. I spoke to Michael and others, and we suspect Dean (Richardson) may actually be away for a couple of days, hence the reason he did not call. As Anne Kelly said, we are assuming no news is good news. (Obviously cannot confirm that). Will update once I hear something more definitive. On another note, more than a few people at fair Hill were excited to see the Barbaro piece by Debra Lopez : Our Prayer for Barbaro. Anne and I were discussing it as we were walking to the track (she loved it); Penny (Tim Woolley’s wife) asked me if I could imagine what it was like watching four women cry (she was viewing it from her office I think). Tim was very impressed (should this not be on TV ?) and Kim (Brette) left a comment after watching it with her family. Thanks Debra, your work has touched many people.

Update 76: Just spoke to Peter Brette who visited Barbaro after work today (and thus after Ed Rendell). He reports Barbaro is in great shape, Dr. Richardson is very happy with him, and apparently he performed very well for the cameras earlier in the day. Another good day in a long journey.

Update 75: Some new pictures of Barbaro from the Governor Ed. Rendell visit. A nice article from The Kennett Paper: Barbaro has brought worldwide attention to New Bolton Center notes the impact Barbaro has had at New Bolton and the overwhelming response he is receiving worldwide:

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen or imagined having a patient that the whole world cared about in such a unique way, and I don’t think we’ll ever see it again,’ said Corinne R. Sweeney, associate dean for the New Bolton Center and the hospital’s executive director.

The article notes the types of gifts Barbaro has received, and also the openness to sharing his recovery updates, that has been the approach adopted by his owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson. (We certainly appreciate that!)

Update 74: I know many of us have been waiting for the official word from New Bolton, here is their latest release, June 8, confirming what we heard this morning. The following is an excerpt:

Barbaro’s medical team reported that the colt is doing extremely well, and has been especially frisky today, displaying interest in nearby mares that are also at the Hospital.

The release also includes information about his special visitor (Ed Rendell) and a gift:

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell stopped by this morning to give Barbaro his good wishes and to personally present Jim Riepe, president of the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees, with a check for $13.5 million for the New Bolton Center. The funds will be used toward the completion of new medical facilities at the Center, including a new isolation building, a colic barn and a chemical digestion facility.

Update 73: Another good night for Barbaro (wednesday night). Spoke to Michael Matz this morning, who then had to check his messages to see if Dean (Dr. Richardson) had called. With the visit of Ed Rendell today, Fox News coverage tomorrow and the Belmont on saturday, I am sure there will be plenty of (mainstream) media updates, which we will aggregate and post here (as well as reports from Peter etc.) Just a quick ‘reminder’ about our new Barbaro Multimedia page. Debra Lopez’s work has already solicited five comments, including this:

OMG, that was so beautiful. I had to watch it twice, since the first time I had so many tears I couldn’t see it.I was wondering who sings that song, it’s so touching and says everything we are feeling.

update thursday, 8:38 am

Update 72: We have added a Barbaro ‘multi media’ page. We hope to include a variety of media about Barbaro on this page, created by his fans. Thanks Debra Lopez (Wisconsin) for the first solicitation.

Update 71: Spoke to Peter Brette this afternoon, and while he was unable to visit, the reports seem to remain the same (very positive at this early stage). He plans to visit tomorrow, as does Pennsylvania Gov. Ed. Rendell. Received a cool ‘slide show to music’ file (not sure how best to describe it) of Barbaro. Will attempt to post it online in the next day or so.

Update 70: I caught up with Dr. Kathy Anderson (Barbaro’s Fair Hill vet) this morning and quizzed her on the cast situation. I was curious to know the ‘risks’ to the cast replacement and when it was likely to happen, as well as the rationale for leaving it on for this length of time. This is what I learned from our conversation:

a. its great the cast has been on so long, it enables the healing process, so the longer he can remain in this cast the better, but its likely that after about 3 weeks it may need changing.

b. the risks to the change in cast include the need for the second cast to be an exact fit, thus allowing the current healing process to continue, and avoiding the potential for rub marks appearing (if the fit is not good) which may in turn cause infection.

Kathy also mentioned that Fox News will be doing a story on Barbaro this friday, 5:45 eastern. Kathy will be interviewed for that story.

The following Mercury News story: Barbaro’s injuries are deja vu for one Kentucky veterinarian notes Nureyev’s paddock accident which was similarly catastrophic. Dr. J.D. Howard, the surgeon for Nureyev, discusses many of the issues they needed to overcome as he discussed the recovery of Nureyev, the following is an excerpt:

But as Howard knows all too well, Barbaro’s journey will be a long and trying one. He just hopes the colt’s connections can witness the same miraculous comeback he was a part of some 19 years ago.

“It’s going to be a long deal and hopefully there won’t be any setbacks,” Howard said of Barbaro. “One day you think you’ve got it beat and the day after, you want to vomit. You just never know what the next day will bring.

“Hopefully, this horse won’t have to experience that.”

Update 69: Another good night for ‘Bobby’ last night (tuesday night). I called over to Michael Matz’s barn this morning as I was leaving our barn and Annie gave the thumbs up. Barbaro continues to do well.
update: wednesday, 8:35 am

Update 68: Spoke to Peter Brette, after he had just finished evening feed. He was unable to visit Barbaro today but spoke to Michael earlier and things seem to remain positive. Its been a week since they stopped the antibiotics, which seems to be very positive. I saw Kim (Brette, Peter’s wife) in the local shop this morning (Prizzios) and while we discussed how positive things are to this point, we also concluded that there really is still a very long way to go. Lets hope things continue as they have progressed thus far!

Update 67: The Thoroughbred Times has an excellent article: Matz groom Orozco recalls harrowing moments at Preakness that highlights the immediate reactions of those at Pimlico at the time of the horrific incident. Clearly we make decisions in fleeting moments that make have long term consequences, and perhaps Rafael Orozco’s decision to get to Barbaro soonest may have helped significantly in the recovery process. The following is an excerpt:

“I want to help,” Orozco said. “I see that when he passed in front of me that his rear right leg was broke and I said, ‘Oh my God’ and I [ran] out there.

“The jockey tried to pull him up, you know, and my only reaction was to help Barbaro. I don’t want him to fall down and hurt his leg more or something.”

People doing what they do because that is what they do.

Update 66: The Bloodhorse notes Belmont Patrons Can Sign ‘World’s Largest Get Well Card’ for Barbaro. If you go to the Belmont I assume you will be signing the card. I had planned to go, but have since decided to stay at home. It seems Edgar Prado will be kicking off the signing at 10 AM. In ‘opinions’ Joe Clancy (who is often seen at fair Hill) writes a wonderful piece: More Than We Know (thanks Chris) which includes the following excerpt:

Thanks to Barbaro, they know more now. They realize the training center, situated within a 5,600-acre state property, houses Thoroughbreds worth millions. They also get why the training center succeeds. Who wouldn’t want to live, work, and play at Fair Hill? Horse, human, deer, bird, groundhog, it doesn’t matter. When Matz extolled the virtues of open fields, hills, and places for a Thoroughbred to train, a reporter asked if the workouts were timed.

It is certainly a great place to ride horses, and Joe forgot about the Foxes!

Annie (Michael Matz exercise rider) also left a comment last night, which included the following excerpt:

Life at the barn still goes on, but we wait every morning for the report from New Bolton. At around 6.30am Its always a welcome relief to hear he is doing so well. I know it makes my job a little easier knowing the Big Horse has gotten another night under his belt [so to speak].

Update 65: Another good night for Barbaro last night (monday night). Took me a while to get the update this morning, but thanks to Annie for helping me get it (from Michael, from Dr. Dean Richardson).
update tuesday, 8:35 am

Update 64: Just spoke to Peter Brette, who visited Barbaro again today (monday afternoon). Another positive report, so it looks like another good day for Barbaro! This is good news for all of us, but specifically those who are finding it hard to focus on anything else … even their pending wedding (Shannon: comment 139)

Update 63: The new Bolton Center press release confirms that Barbaro is continuing to do well. The release also discusses gifts from unlikely sources:

Concern and support for Barbaro continues to pour in, often from unexpected sources. After seeing a photo of Barbaro lowered in our special equine recovery pool last month, the Notre Dame Masters Swim team –in support of a fellow athlete–made a donation for maintenance of the pool.

The release then goes on to discuss the importance of the recovery pool in the process of bringing a patient out of anesthesia without injury.
Yesterday, the Bloodhorse provided an update: Barbaro Walks Stall, Munches Huge Carrots which included the following excerpt:

The colt remains on stall rest and spent parts of Sunday walking around the stall, peering out the window and eating carrots that were sent as a gift.

“Each carrot was almost equivalent to that small bag you buy in the grocery store,” said Dr. Corinne Sweeney, executive director of the hospital.

Update 62: Barbaro continues to do well, he had another good night last night (sunday night). I met Michael Matz’s ‘set’ coming back from the track this morning, and received the good news. On a (somewhat) unrelated note, as I was jogging by the 3/16ths of the main track first set (6:05 am) I saw a fox (vixen) and what appeared to be three cubs playing.
update: monday, 7:15 am

Update 61: The Bloodhorse has a nice article on Peter Brette: Assistant Trainer Brette Maintains His Composure in Triumph and Tragedy. The article discusses Peter’s career before working for Michael Matz (via Dubai), and the special relationship he and Michael have developed. The following excerpt notes the story of the two soldiers who delivered the american flag to the wounded warrior, we mentioned in update 52 as well as the special relationship between Peter and Michael.

Brette still can’t believe all the attention the colt’s injury and recuperation has received around the world. “It’s unbelievable how many people he’s touched,” he said. “Some soldiers came the other day with an American flag that was sent for him from Iraq. And that’s over at New Bolton now. They flew 19 hours from Iraq and drove another three hours just so he could have this flag.”

It is rare to find the kind of relationship Matz and Brette have had in only a little over a year together. During that time they have formed a special bond and trust that has enabled the soft-spoken and low-key Matz to go about his business with the serenity and peace of mind that befits his personality.

Update 60: No new news to report for sunday evening. Spoke to Peter and Kim Brette late afternoon, and they were busy painting their deck. They had not visited Barbaro today, but certainly would have heard something if there was different news to report. Two weeks have now passed since the surgery, lets hope things continue as they have done so thus far.

Update 59: Barbaro had another good night last night (saturday night). I spoke to Martine (exercise rider of Michael Matz) on the track this morning, who gave me the good news; that Michael had received another positive report from Dr. Richardson. I later saw Michael who confirmed the news.
update, sunday 8:10 am

Update 58: Peter Brette visited Barbaro again today (saturday afternoon) and reports that he is doing very well.

It seems there have been three significant ‘events / decisions’ this week, Barbaro’s second week post surgery:
1. He was taken off antibiotics early this week (reportedly tuesday).
2. The decision to remove his cast early this week has been postponed to a day-to-day situation. This is a positive sign.
3. He has had at least two baths this week!

We have added a couple more Barbaro pictures, taken (by Jennifer Duffy) the saturday after the Kentucky Derby. They show Peter Brette observing Barbaro, after he had trained.

Update 57: A couple of recent stories touch on the impact Barbaro is having on many people. Author J Carson Black wrote this story: The Hero’s Journey which starts with the story of the American soldiers delivering their flag to Barbaro which we reported in Update 52. Clearly that story has impressed many. The Hero’s Journey includes the following excerpt:

Nothing was spared in saving this horse. People waited and watched and prayed and hoped and cried.

The story is far from over, but we are more hopeful every day. Why? Because this horse is creating a miracle with every day he lives and thrives. By being the individual he is, by accepting his fate with grace and a good nature, by taking care of himself.

This story is also included as one of the comments below.

Randy Moss, writing for the NTRA has a story: Barbaro injury reveals racing’s heart that includes the following excerpt while trying to analyze the public’s overwhelming response to Barbaro:

The outpouring of support for Barbaro has been dramatic and even perplexing to some.

One newspaper columnist wrote that Barbaro briefly became the world’s most popular sports figure “who is not a female racecar driver named Danica.”

Another theorized that Barbaro’s plight resonated more powerfully than if Barry Bonds had stumbled and broken his leg while rounding the bases after hitting home run No. 715.

Update 56: Barbaro had another good night last night (friday night). I spoke to Michael Matz who had heard from Dr. Dean Richardson this morning. It seems he is doing very well at this stage, and everyone is very happy with his progress.
update: 7:55 am, saturday morning

Update 55: Just spoke with Peter Brette who visited Barbaro today (friday afternoon). He is still doing very well, they are all very pleased with him. He is in good form and had another bath today (which he enjoyed). I was hoping to go with Peter today (as noted earlier) but some things came up so hopefully sometime later next week.

Update 54: The Bloodhorse has a nice story on Dr. Dean Richardson: With Famous Equine Patient, Barbaro’s Vet Gains Celebrity Status, while Delaware Online covers his Fair Hill vet, Dr. Kathy Anderson: Fair Hill vet pulls for Barbaro. A quote from each:
On Richardson:

He knew without asking that he would be the surgeon to repair Barbaro. He had worked before with trainer Michael Matz, who lives down the road, as do owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson. He also knew he didn’t have to rush back.

“Roy Jackson offered to send a chartered jet to pick me up,” he said. “I told him he didn’t have to.”

A suddenly lame horse needs time to figure out that something is wrong, so it doesn’t panic after surgery when confronted with being unable to stand normally, Richardson said. He operated the next day.
Jackson credits Richardson with saving his horse’s life.

“I just don’t know if any other doctor could have done the same thing,” Jackson said. “He’s done a lot of good things over the years. He just didn’t get this kind of recognition.”

On Anderson:

Matz and Brette value Anderson’s role in their racing operation.

“She is just very good and always on the same page with us,” Matz said. “She takes care of all our horses and was wonderful with Barbaro.”

The Anderson article refers to a journal at the end, that is reproduced here as update: 14

Update 53: New Bolton Center’s release today confirms Barbaro continues to do well:

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro continues to improve daily as he recovers from a shattered hind leg sustained at the Preakness on May 20. “I’m very pleased with the progress Barbaro is making,” said Chief of Surgery Dean W. Richardson. “Everything is fine.”

They also include a q and a, with the following questions:

1. In addition to hay, what, if anything, is he being fed? Do you have a special diet for cases like his?
2. How do you keep water from entering the cast while a horse is awakening from anesthesia?
3. Can he be groomed, or would that be too stimulating?
4. What size is his stall?
5. If he survives this ordeal and it is eventually deemed safe for him to be in a paddock, how would his leg be protected and supported? Will his hoof touch the ground in the normal position?

Update 52: Barbaro has clearly touched many people, you only need to read a few of the comments on this site to realize this (and please keep them coming). The following story is further testament to the reach of those who really care.

Kathy Anderson (Barbaro’s Fair Hill vet) was visiting Barbaro on wedneday at New Bolton Center. As she was hanging out with him she heard an ‘entourage’ coming. It was two soldiers, from Fort Benning, GA (or at least that is where she thinks they were from) coming to present Barbaro with an American flag. This flag had been flown in Iraq for nine hours and eleven minutes. It was then flown over to the US for these soldiers to present to Barbaro: to honour the wounded warrior Barbaro!

Update 51: Another good night last night (thursday night) for Barbaro. Spoke to Michael Matz and others in the barn this morning.
update: Friday 7:40 am, Fair Hill Clockers Stand

Update 50: Great article from Derby winner is just a horse in a stall which includes a really interesting timeline to Barbaro’s day (thanks Gloria). A quick excerpt:

9-11a: Visitors show up, including owners Gretchen and Roy Jackson, Matz and Brette. Prado visited Tuesday.

10 a.m. – Visual check.

11 a.m. – Grooming.

12 p.m.: Receives abbreviated exam – heart, lungs, GI tract, and legs checked … walks around stall … fresh straw and wood shavings put down in stall … Antibiotics were given first two weeks, but were stopped Tuesday … medications administered as needed.

It appears another milestone was reached on tuesday, ending the antibiotics.
We have also added a couple more Barbaro pictures.

Update 49: Spoke to Peter Brette late afternoon, and while he did not visit today, presumes all is well based on what he had heard for the day. There is a chance, all being well, I may get to visit Barbaro tomorrow with Peter.

Last year I was in the starting gate schooling a horse, when the trainer of the horse I was riding (Chloe Carroll) turned to Michael Matz and asked him if he had any Derby horses. He said he might have a couple, a Fusaichi Pegasus and one running at Laurel that following weekend (November 19). Can you guess the latter ?

Update 48: A nice article about Peter Brette from the Thoroughbred Times: Visits with Barbaro good therapy for anguished Brette (thanks Lisa). We have been fortunate to hear directly from Peter after his Barbaro visits. A couple of excerpts from the article:

Regular trips to the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center and Barbaro’s continued progress on a long, perilous road to recovery have been therapeutic for Brette, whose attachment to the stable star grew stronger as they traveled on an extended road trip from their home base at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland to Southern Florida to Central Kentucky.


“Hopefully, we have a happy ending,” Brette said. “He certainly captured the hearts and imaginations of many people.”

Update 47: New Bolton Center’s press release today confirms Barbaro’s excellent condition:

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro’s condition is excellent today, according to Chief of Surgery Dean W. Richardson, “He looks great and everything is fine.”

The press release also goes on to discuss his breeding prognosis if he does recover from this tragic accident. Many have asked if we plan to continue providing updates. The short answer is: absolutely. As long as we are able to get direct access to updates from those close to the situation, we will publish them as we know them.

Update 46: Barbaro had another good night last night (wednesday night.) Dr. Richardson called Michael Matz with the news as usual this morning.
update: 7:35 am thursday AM, Fair Hill Clockers Stand

Update 45: Neat video from that shows Barbaro moving around and his comfort putting weight on his injured leg. The article also discusses the “plans” for the cast:

Dr. Dean Richardson said Wednesday that he is continuing his daily assessment of Barbaro’s cast on his right hind leg. Barbaro continues to do well, and his vital signs and appetite remain good.

Richardson will decide each morning whether to change the fiberglass cast that runs from Barbaro’s right hock to hoof. It could happen soon, or in several weeks.

Update 44: Just spoke to Peter Brette and Barbaro continues to do very well. He visited him again this afternoon (wednesday afternoon) and said Barbaro is in great form, he looked really well and is very happy. He could not be doing better at this stage. Please continue to leave your thoughts, comments and wishes.

Update 43: We have added more Barbaro pictures, taken the tuesday before the Preakness (Jennifer Duffy). I wanted to take this chance to thank Eliza at Olive Tree Media for her work on this site. She designed the site, is supporting it while we are covering Barbaro (which has meant changing servers and other technical things while the traffic has increased substantially), and uploads all our images (way beyond the tech. capabilities of me). I also wanted to mention that ESPN was at Fair Hill this morning. I think they were doing some coverage on Barbaro’s little brother, but certainly they were covering Michael Matz’s string.

Update 42: Sheila asks (in the comments) when the recovery moves beyond a day-to-day situation. Part of answer seems to appear in the Daily racing Form’s coverage of yesterday’s visit of Edgar Prado.

“Catastrophic infections usually occur within 10 to 14 days,” Richardson said. “Laminitis, or a failure of fixation, could occur at a later date. There’s no question that things are much better, but he’s still a long, long way from being discharged.

“To be perfect, you have to fuse the fetlock and pastern. There has to be no infection. All these bad things could still happen. But bone is the only tissue in the body that can heal and be truly stronger. He won’t have normal mobility, but the bone will be very strong.”

Thus it seems we are still in the former period (10 days post surgery) but with only a few days to go.

Update 41: Another good night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I galloped past Michael Matz on the track and asked him how Barbaro did last night, and he replied: “Everything is excellent”.
update 7:40 am, Fair Hill Clockers Stand.

Update 40: Spoke with Peter Brette tonight (tuesday evening). He decided not to visit Barbaro today given how busy things were likely to be with Edgar’s visit and the media conference. We chatted about the current state of Barbaro and the importance of remembering that while everything thus far has been very positive, it is still a 50 – 50 sitiuation (or 51 – 49 as noted in the press conference today.) Clearly the decision not to remove the cast today is very positive, but there is still along way to go. I also saw Peter on Barbaro’s little half brother, by Quiet American, this morning on the horsepath coming back from the track.

Update 39: Photos of Edgar Prado with Barbaro.(thanks Lisa) from his visit today (tuesday). Also, I keep meaning to add a link to the photos, taken by Barbara Livingston, of Barbaro training at Fair Hill. We met Barbara during her brief visit to Fair Hill.

Update 38: The Bloodhorse (Steve Haskin) has an excellent update on his condition from today: Barbaro Recovering; Jockey Prado Visits. As we noted earlier, the cast has yet to be removed. From the Bloodhorse article:

Richardson said May 30 that the first nine days have gone incredibly well. “He’s actually done far better than we could have ever hoped, so far,” Richardson said. “He’s perfectly comfortable and all his vital signs are normal. His blood work is good, and basically, at this moment, he could not look any better in terms of his medical condition. His prognosis is much better than it was, but he still has a long way to go.

“When we change his cast will literally be a day-by-day decision. Right now, this horse is walking so well on his limb, he willingly rests his left hind, and he he’s very active walking around his stall. So, my inclination at this point is go day-by-day. There’s no compelling reason to remove the cast. If he continues to look as good as he does he can continue to wear this cast for several more weeks. It has been a surprisingly good-fitting cast considering I felt there would be a little bit of loosening or swelling above the cast, neither of which occurred.”

Originally, Richardson had stated that Barbaro’s chances of recovery were 50-50. He jokingly said it is “now officially 51%. “Seriously, every day that goes by is a big day. In terms of some of the complications, certain ones are more likely to rear their head in the earlier stages of the convalescence, such as infection. Laminitis or failure to fixation both can occur at later dates. There’s no question that things are much better now in terms of prognosis, but he’s still a long, long way from being discharged from the hospital.”

The article also notes the special shoe that Barbaro now has, as well as his mental condition as follows:

As for Barbaro’s mental condition, Richardson said the colt “couldn’t look a whole lot better in that regard. He’s very active in his stall, and when a horse walks by the outside window, he’s peeking out there trying to see who it is. If you were to look at this horse, I believe an objective person would not believe that this horse looks depressed. Michael Matz and (owners) Roy and Gretchen Jackson have been here every day and have looked the horse over, and I think they’d agree that he’s bright and happy.”

The article also includes some speculation as to the cause of the injury. Edgar Prado is also quoted in the article, some of his quote follows:

“I’m still heartbroken, and I will be for a long time, but I definitely feel a lot better after seeing him,” Prado said. “It’s been tough to concentrate on anything this past week, but I had to go forward. I just wanted to come visit him to show him I still care for him. He looks very bright and strong. He even wanted to get out of his stall. All we can do now is pray for him to have a speedy recovery and for him to enjoy the rest of his life.

Update 37: Another good night (monday night) for Barbaro. I spoke briefly with Michael Matz this morning who had spoken with Dr. Dean Richardson. As I remarked how remarkable it is to another of his exercise riders, he commented how if any horse could pull through this, it would be Barbaro … he mentioned he was like a 9 year old jumper in terms of his temperament, which obviously bodes well. It seems they may not remove and replace the cast today as previously thought, but this will be confirmed no doubt via the press conference scheduled later this morning. It seems he is doing so well at this point, it only makes sense to keep the cast on for a while longer. As we mentioned yesterday, Edgar Prado is on his way to visit Barbaro. While we won’t be attending the press conference (of course) we will link to the media reports as soon as we see them.
update 7:40 am, Fair Hill Clockers Stand.

Update 36: Around the media: the following article from The Baltimore Sun: Journey longer than 1 3/16 miles is a vivid description of the events that followed the Preakness through to Barbaro’s surgery. It reminds me a little of Kathy Anderson’s e-mail we published in edit 14 (below). The Daily Racing Form: Matz: ‘I’m just sad for racing’ describes what we might have missed as a result of this tragic incident. It also covers the overwhelming response the Jackson’s have received from well wishers everywhere (I know Peter Brette showed them a print out of this site); and a comment from an exercise rider at Fair Hill:

“He was shook up. He said, ‘The Lord doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.’ Then he rode away a couple of strides, stopped, looked back and said, ‘He must think you’re an awfully tough guy.’ ”

Lastly Lisa Leach posted the following comment below:

From the Barbaro page at

Dear Barbaro Fans and Supporters:As his owners we would like to be able to reply personally to each of you for your kind messages and thoughts. There have been so many good wishes that it is impossible for us to do so. We want you to know that your thoughts have been a strength to Barbaro, Michael Matz, Peter Brett, Edgar Prado, his groom, the whole vet staff that is caring for him, and ourselves. The out pouring has warmed all our hearts and we thank all of you. Please continue your thoughts and prayers for Barbaro as he continues to heal. Sincere thanks:, Gretchen & Roy Jackson

Update 35: The Bloodhorse confirms what we have already reported: Prado Scheduled to Make First Visit to Barbaro; Horse Continues to do Well. They also note the planned removal of the cast this week:

Surgeon Dean Richardson expects this week to remove Barbaro’s cast long enough to examine the colt’s shattered right hind leg, which is being held together with a plate and 27 screws.

“Changing the cast … is significant because then he’ll be able to take a look at the leg and see how it’s healing,” said Gail Luciani, spokeswoman for the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school.

Update 34: Peter Brette just called, and visited Barbaro this afternoon (monday afternoon). He reports that they remain very happy with Barbaro’s progress at New Bolton. Peter says he is in really good form, and basically just everyone is really happy. The cast may or may not come off tomorrow (and be replaced). It seems there will be a press conference about 9 am tomorrow at New Bolton Center, coinciding with the visit of Edgar Prado.

Update 33: We have added more Barbaro pictures all taken the tuesday before the Preakness, by Jennifer Duffy. As with any of the other images, feel free to take them if you like. I think these new pictures are the best we have. I spoke with Edgar Prado’s agent this morning who confirmed Edgar’s visit with Barbaro for tomorrow (tuesday).

Update 32: Another good night (sunday night) for Barbaro. Michael Matz heard from Dr. Richardson this morning. As Anne Kelly (one of Michael’s exercise riders) said this am, he’s truly amazing, truly truly amazing (or something like that, we were passing each other on the horsepath at Fair Hill).
posted monday, 7:10 am

Update 31: Spoke to Peter Brette later today (sunday) and all looks good for the day. Just wanted to thank Michael Matz, Kathy Anderson, Chuck, Peter Brette, Kim Brette, Anne Kelly and Michelle Matz (and likely I have missed someone) who have been very willing, in these very tough times, to provide timely updates when I have called, met them on the horse path at Fair Hill, or met them by their truck as they are at other barns examining horses (vets). Their efforts to provide ‘transparency’ to this situation, which seems to have captured the imagination of many throughout the country, has been awesome. Only with their support, are we able to provide timely updates.

Update 30: Another good night (saturday night) for Barbaro. Spoke with Michael Matz this morning who had spoken with Dr. Dean Richardson. I also spoke with Michelle Matz, Michael’s oldest daughter, who works for Michael. She visited Barbaro yesterday afternoon at about 3 pm and said how well he was doing. It has now been a week, lets keep hoping the news continues to be positive. It does still remain very much day to day at this point.
posted sunday, 8:20 am.

Update 29: Adding a few more pictures of Barbaro. A few more will be added tomorrow (sunday). These were taken the tuesday before the Preakness by Jennifer Duffy.

Update 28: The Jackson’s visited Barbaro today (I think likely everyday actually) and then visited Michael Matz’s barn. Peter (Brette) reports that they said how well Barbaro is doing, so today looks like another good day (saturday).

Update 27: Barbaro had another good night last night (friday night). I spoke with Michael Matz and Kathy Anderson this morning. It seems Edgar Prado is planning to visit him tuesday next week, all being well. He received a visit from the President of the University of Pennsylvania yesterday (of course along with Peter, Kim, Eduardo and whoever else visited). New Bolton Center is part of UPenn.
update: 8:41 am Friday morning

Update 26: Kim Brette, Peter’s wife, reports on their afternoon visit to Barbaro (Bobby) the fifth comment. A quick excerpt:

After meeting with Dr Richardson, he took us to see the champ, he looked great, happy, in no pain at all, I asked him how many mints he was allowed he said as many as he would like, we didn’t go overboard, no sugar overload…he is a three year old and those of us with the human version know what too much sugar does.

One of the most touching things was how Eduardo and him were, Eduardo quietly walked in and looked every part of his body over, started picking the straw out of his tail, brushing his mane and stroking him, he truly cares about him and I think he loves going there to make sure his boy is okay.

Update 25: Peter Brette just called after visiting Barbaro again today (friday afternoon). He reports that Barbaro is doing as well as can be expected, great appetite, looks bright, perhaps a little bored. Obviously we still have a long way to go, but Barbaro continues to do as well as can possibly be expected.

Update 24: The Bloodhorse’s report today again confirms Barbaro is doing well. They also added some information about a special shoe applied to the injured leg, quote:

The latest report about Barbaro’s condition included information about a special three-part, glue-on horseshoe, designed and patented by the Farrier Service at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, that was applied to the hoof on Barbaro’s injured leg.

“One of the complications that can occur following leg fractures in horses is the risk of developing laminitis in the opposite foot from bearing extra weight,” said New Bolton Center farrier Rob Sigafoos. “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.”

Sigafoos explained that the shoe is designed to reduce the risk of laminitis in several ways:

By supporting the sole of the left hind foot;

By containing materials that minimize weakening and possible infection of the sole;

By being built up to extend the length of the left hind foot, which compensates for the additional length of the right hind limb created by the cast.

Update 23: New Bolton Center’s press release confirms what we heard this morning:

As of 11:00 a.m. EST, Barbaro’s condition is excellent. “He looks good, everything is fine and his appetite is particularly good,” according to Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery.

Thanks Janet for the update. Also, to ensure we keep all the comments we have received (I have no idea what this system allows) we have created a separate blog entry with the first 240 comments, its at Barbaro: Your Overwhelming Response. It makes GREAT reading. Please continue to add comments, thoughts and good wishes to the comments section of this entry.

Update 22: Barbaro had another good night last night (thursday night). It does remain a day-to-day situation. As far as we know (from a couple of conversations with those close to the situation) they will plan to remove (and replace) the cast sometime early next week, all being well (lets hope!) This will give them a chance to take some radiographs and make some assessments. Your thoughtful comments are a relief for all those following the situation, thanks for sharing, and please continue to do so.
posted friday morning, 7:40 AM

Update 21: Peter Brette (Barbaro’s exercise rider) visits Barbaro each day after the morning work. He just called (thursday afternoon) to report Barbaro is in good form. Everybody is happy with him. He is bright, was glad to eat the grass Peter fed to him. All in all everything is as well as it could be expected.

Update 20: New Bolton Centers 3 PM update reiterates what we learned this morning. As it states:

According to Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery, Barbaro is progressing nicely, has totally normal vial signs and is in excellent condition.

Jennifer Duffy took these Barbaro pictures the saturday between the Derby and the Preakness at Fair Hill. Feel free to take what you may want.

Update 19: Barbaro had another good night last night (wednesday night). I saw Michael Matz this morning who had just received a call from Dr. Richardson.
from the clocker’s stand, Fair Hill, 8:30 am thursday.

Update 18: Peter Brette (Barbaro’s exercise rider and Michael Matz assistant trainer) has added a comment of thanks for all your support (comment 217) … and you will see Barbaro has a nickname: Bobby! We have also added some pictures of the good wishes displayed outside the New Bolton Center (we took these today). Feel free to take these and any other of the Barbaro pictures.

Update 17: Dr. Kathy Anderson (his Fair Hill vet) went to visit Barbaro this afternoon (wednesday) with Eduardo, Barbaro’s groom. True to form, they witnessed Barbaro attempting to scratch his left ear with his left hind. He is very comfortable, and for the most part resting his injured leg (which is appropriate). His stall is surrounded by good wishes, most of which come from the neighboring school, Upland Country Day School, where Muchael Matz’s children, Lucy, Robert and Alex attend. There was a bag of freshly cut grass by his stall which Kathy and Eduardo could use to feed Barbaro. Of course Barbaro was very happy to see Eduardo. The bottom line — all we have heard has been confirmed first hand, he is doing very well.

Update 16: The New Bolton Center press release today, 3 pm states Barbaro’s condition is excellent. He is stable and happy, according to Chief of Surgery, Dean W. Richardson.

Update 15: The bloodhorse reports Barbaro is continuing to do well, napping, laying down etc. NTRA has a complete transcript of the May 23 press conference. Ann Kelly, an exercise rider for Michael Matz, left a comment below (number 210) which describes the mood of the barn. Here is a quick excerpt:

The thing about Barbaro is that he loves all the attention. You will notice in his photographs he is always looking at the camera. He knows he is a big handsome horse and he knows how to work it to his advantage. I rode him a few times when he came to the barn first as a 2 year old. He always had that great spirit he shows in this races. Jig jogging out of the barn before he trained.

We plan to try to get others involved with Barbaro to comment. Finally here is another Barbaro web-site: GetWellBarbaro. Keep the comments coming!

Update 14: The following is an e-mail Dr. Kathy Anderson (Barbaro’s Fair Hill vet and source for much information we have been releasing) sent to her friends sunday night about the events surrounding the Preakness. She has given us permissions to reproduce it here. Apologies for any typos, they are mine, not Dr. Anderson’s.

Thank you to all of you for your empathy and concern. Thought I would summarize the events of the day from my perspective at Fair Hill …

Saturday dawned a beautiful crisp sunny May day and in schizophrenic style vacillated between blustery threats of rain and tranquil sunshine for the remainder of the day. Anxious anticipation prevailed at Fair Hill as people went about their work in order to be done to enjoy an afternoon of quality racing and what would be another page in the history of the quest for the Triple Crown. We at EVC had been cajoled into another “party” at the office to ensure the luck that had prevailed for the Derby — naturally we agreed to do our part … plus some — this time we would have satellite coverage and better sound. About 200+ Fair Hill horse people crowded into the area in the late afternoon bringing their own refreshments and a pot luck array of edibles. We watched proudly as Fair Hill Training Center’s best was brought to national television— great film footage and interviews with Michael Matz, Peter Brette and Barbaro filled our hearts with pride. Post time arrived — Barbaro’s premature break from the gate surprised us — with another horse that would have cost him the race but we believed that our Barbaro could overcome this altercation. Surprise turned to shock as our hometown hero bobbled and hobbled not 1/8th mile into the race — shock became horror as we realized the seriousness of Barbaro’s gait. The race was run but we did not see it for our hearts were crying out for Barbaro to stay upright and be able to leave the racecourse in one piece.

Those close to Barbaro’s team circled together for moral support — Peter Brette’s wife Kim and 2 yr old son Nicholas, Sue Danner — Michael’s right hand person for many years, Grey — new to the team, grooms and riders alike not able to believe that history had taken this turn. My cell phone begins to ring incessantly … Dr. Dean Richardson calling within minutes from Florida, Dr. Scott Palmer calling, Michael Matz calling for Dr. Palmer’s cell phone number — and so it went. Barbaro transported off course back to the barn, the press reprimanded and forced back to allow digital radiographs to record the damage. Dr. Palmer reviewing the rads and discussing with the Jacksons and Michael the only viable treatment option of immediate transport to the New Bolton Center — 1.5 hours away. A police escort up Rte 95 w/ helicopter media coverage overhead (reminiscent of OJ Simpson’s famous drive) — banners hung from 95 overpasses “God Bless Barbaro” “Pray for Barbaro”

Sue Danner and I left the deflated and rapidly departing group at Fair Hill to meet the ambulance at the ICU at New Bolton. The media had arrived before us — security wrestled with order. Barbaro’s approach was signaled by the helicopter overhead. Dr. Nunamaker (hospital chief) and Dr. Barb Dollap Greeted us and showed me the radiographs that had been e-mailed ahead — the fractures were catastrophic … a lateral condylar fracture that teetered on the verge of breaking the skin, a fractured sesamoid indicating significant soft tissue disruption to the attached suspensory, and a completely shattered pastern bone (P1) — clearly it would take a miracle for Barbaro, the warrior, to survive this.

The ambulance backed right up to the ICU and Barbaro carefully maneuvered his way from the trailer to the stall — he had been bandaged and splinted from above the hock down to his foot to encase the injury in the Kimsey brace. Careful examination indicated that he could benefit from longer splints over the cannon bone region — these were promptly applied as he was hooked up to IV fluids and offered feed and water. Dr. Palmer and his wife arrived and continued their moral support and veterinary consultation. Within the hour Barbaro had urinated, had a drink and was eating “voraciously” (as described by Dr. Dollap). Barbaro was alive and probably as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Michael made a release to the press regarding his condition and the evening drew to a close. I took Barbaro’s groom Eduardo back to Fair Hill, Sue took Michael home to rejoin his family and Peter returned to his waiting family.

Sunday — a call from Dr. Dallap set the hopeful tone of the day. Barbaro had been eating “voraciously” all night and managed to lie down and get up several times without further damage to his leg. He appeared stable and ready to go to surgery. Dr. Richardson arrived late morning and surgery commenced — many hours later I get the call from Dr. Richardson that Barbaro is in the recovery pool and the surgery has been completed utilizing bone plates, screw fixation, cancellous bone implants and a cast over the entire repair to protect and support the injured area. I sob tears of relief that Barbaro is still with us and tears of sadness for what might have been … then I start the task of letting all his concerned human friends know the “good” news — tomorrow is another day.

Update 13: Barbaro had another good night last night (tuesday night). All signs are positive, although we have to keep in mind these are still very early days. Its good to see the ‘ear scratch’ from yesterday, putting weight on the right hind has to help reduce the chances of Laminitis.
udated 8:15 am wednesday, clockers stand, Fair Hill
Update 12: New Bolton Center’s 3 pm press release confirms Barbaro is progressing well. They will release a press release each day at 3pm, or when conditions warrant. We will blog them here. This press release also includes some links for donations, and an e-mail form to send well wishes to Barbaro. We do encourage you to add your comments and thoughts below. Sharing your thoughts and reading others’ thoughts on this tragedy can be very helpful for all (and we will endevour to get them all to the Barbaro team.)

Update 11: Bloodhorse confirms our earlier report that Barbaro is doing very well. Snippets from Dr. Dean Richardson include:
“Barbaro is doing very well. He’s actually better today than he was even yesterday, and he was pretty good yesterday,”

“He’s walking very well on the limb. He’s got absolutely normal vital signs today: his temperature, pulse, respiration attitude, and appetite. We have no shortage of volunteers to handpick him grass, so he’s grazing at a distance. He’s doing very well.”

Update 10: Kathy Anderson (his Fair Hill vet) asked me if I wanted the good news this morning … so that was a welcome relief. Barbaro ate well last night (monday night), his temperature is normal and he is a little ‘fiesty’ (he is trying to scratch his left ear with his left hind leg)! Its a long road ahead for sure, but these are positive signs.
update: from Fair Hill Clockers stand, 7:43 AM.

Update 9: Well it seems Barbaro has survived the first 24 hours post surgery, which has to be a critical mile stone. While we have not heard anything official, it is good to know that this ‘mile stone’ has been passed. Recovery is fraught with risk, but here’s hoping he can make it work. New Bolton Center are offering updates, the most recent from today rehashes what has already been reported. Their next update will be 3 pm tomorrow, May 23.

Update 8: Bloodhorse reports Barbaro is Bright and Frisky One Day After Surgery. This is clearly a good sign, but as Richardson emphasized in the article, he is 50-50 at this point to make it. The article highlights the two issues of concern: infection from the surgery, and laminitis. It will be a long road ahead before we know whether he can make it.

Update 7: Dr. Richardson visited Barbaro at 5:30 am. He is hosting a press conference at 8 am. Seemingly all is well so far. He is comfortable, is eating well and did well through the night. One thing not picked up by the press yesterday, Barbaro literally dragged his handlers back to the stall after surgery yesterday. If attitude and disposition have anything to do with it … All at Fair Hill are in a very sombre mood. We are hoping, keeping our fingers crossed etc. Keep the comments coming, I will make sure they get to Barbaro’s team. (7:50 am)

Update 6: The surgery has been considered a success, as reported in the Bloodhorse. The surgery is clearly the first step in a long road ahead for Barbaro, but it is great to hear that this first step has been successful. It appears that Dr. Richardson is more favourable about Barbaro’s chances of recovery than was first thought (from reading the article, not from any other source). Dr. Richardson is quoted:

I feel much more relieved after I saw him walk to the stall than when I was loading him into the ambulance to come up here,” he added. “That’s for darn sure. It was an unknown area that we were going in. I feel much more confident now. At least I feel he has a chance. Last night, I didn’t know what was going to go on.

Will blog once at Fair Hill and having talked to the vets here.
BTW, apologies for the site crashing late last night. This site had about 6 visitors per day before Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby. Yesterday, during one hour, early evening, we had 3,000 visitors. We ran out of bandwidth apparently. This has been fixed!

Update 5: Barbaro is now in the recovery pool (7:40 pm). He has a bone plate fusing his ankle and pastern and a caste has been placed over this. Dr. Richardson described the surgery as one of the toughest he has performed. He is awakening from anesthesea in the pool, and once he completely comes around, he will be transported via sling back to his stall later this evening (it usually takes an hour from when they are placed in the pool to when they are able to return to their stall.) Bloodhorse has a great mid surgery report (6 pm) that outlines the catastrophic nature of the injury. Also, we have some pictures of Barbaro in our gallery taken at Fair Hill last saturday. Feel free to download them.

Update 4: Barbaro’s surgeon, Dr. Richardson, was flown up from Florida this morning. The procedure after the surgery is designed to have Barbaro ‘wake up’ in a swimming pool. He will be placed on a sling and transported to the pool. This is to help ensure that when he does wake up he does not cause himself further damage. When a horse comes out of anesthesea there is a chance they would start thrashing around, this environment limits the chances of causing further trauma from the thrashing. As he is already ‘stood up’ by the sling in the pool, he won’t need to get up, which could obviously cause further harm to the leg. It is anticipated that this will occur sometime early this evening.

Update 3: Barbaro’s surgery was scheduled for 1 pm EST today (sunday).

Update 2: Barbaro seemed to have a good night last night at New Bolton Center. He ate up and had a restful night. He was able to get up and down on his own power. These are all positive signs. Reported from Kathy Anderson, his Fair Hill vet.

Update 1: according to the Bloodhorse Barbaro will have surgery this afternoon (sunday). He has a fractured cannon bone and pastern on the right hind leg.

All at Fair Hill are devastated by the Preakness, which has left Barbaro’s life in the balance. He is being vanned to New Bolton Center to work on his ‘shattered’ hind pastern. It will likely be a few days before we really know the outcome of the injury. Lets hope he recovers. As we learn more we will blog.