Barbaro Updates: 167
updates are now here.
Update 1267: Another lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. I remember one time, years ago, riding in the afternoon at Muirfield East Farm (Bob Levy's in Chesapeake City) in a T shirt in January, and just thinking that was incredible. I am sure if I was riding this afternoon it would be about the same! First set I again took Hawty Creek outback across the fields. The ground was a little crunchy after a light frost, but it was still good enough. It was another lovely sunrise, and so peaceful jogging round the outside of the field I use (about 2 miles around) up and down the small inclines.
Tim's Nonpariel again galloped very nicely on the dirt track. We went in company with Tim on Farouche. They galloped a mile and a half together. Nonpariel is really learning well when to switch leads and keep nicely balanced. The rest of the morning continued very pleasantly. Each of the young horses I ride just seem to be doing what they should be doing and learning how to become racehorses!
Update 1266: Barbaro remains comfortable. I had a short visit with Barbaro today. I had planned to pull his mane (shorten his mane). I started, but they were wanting to do some routine medical work with him. I did not want to interrupt so I just hung around for a while and then left. I hope I get to finish what I started, or his mane will really look odd. There were some cute baby goats in one of the "stalls" that I got a glimpse of on my way out. Very cool.
It looks like the Fog's connections have another speedster: Vicarino Gets Third Career Win in Stinson Beach.
Update 1265: The Eclipse Award finalists are known: Eclipse Awards Finalists Dominated by Breeders' Cup Winners. Barbaro, the Jackson's (in two categories) and Edgar Prado are all in the running. Unfortunately Michael Matz was not selected for the trainer category.
ESPN has a great article on the woes of horse racing: I am horse racing. It includes the following two excerpts:
I will stop burying my head in the sand when it comes to the issue of horse slaughter. I have the clout and the money to put an end to this reprehensible practice. I am truly ashamed that I have allowed thousands of retired race horses to perish in this grisly manner each year and I will do something about it. For an industry that generates $14 billion a year in business, there shouldn't be any problem coming up with the money to make this happen. I'm going to stop pretending this isn't a serious problem.
I will order that every racetrack that has a slots room also have a mutuel window in that area, television screens showing the races and, whenever possible, an unobstructed view of the racetrack. I've had it with racino managements who do everything possible to keep the slot players from even knowing that horse racing is going on somewhere else on the premises.
Update 1264: A nice article on Barbaro's journey: Going the Distance -- Barbaro's story was one of the year's best. The article notes this web-site, and includes the following excerpt:
To me, 2006 will always be the Year of Barbaro. Barbaro is an athlete in every sense of the word, giving his all wherever needed. He never asked for money, never sought performance enhancing drugs, never turned down an autograph.
All he asked for were caring humans and lots of baby carrots. Here's hoping he'll have many more years to live and green pastures in which to roam.
This article highlights the benefits on the new synthetic surfaces that US racing surely needs: Race Pros Hope Synthetic Tracks Save Horses. The article does note a downside to the new surface, it makes it harder to handicap a race, and thus could effect the handle. While this may occur in the short term, I assume once we get used to racing on these new surfaces we will understand better how to handicap the races. The new surfaces are attracting bigger fields, which in turn attracts more wagering (according to a couple of people I know who love to bet).
The new surface at Fair Hill (Tapeta) is riding very well at the moment. I have been on it for one set for each of the last couple of days and you really do feel you are floating across it. I imagine it might also help us older riders out a little with the better concussion on our own joints!
Update 1263: Another gorgeous winter morning this morning at Fair Hill, although very spring-like for sure! Hawty Creek went outback first set. It was still pretty dark but you could pick out the deer grazing. We also saw a fox scampering out of the way, which actually spooked Hawty Creek and she bucked so hard I almost went into orbit. Anyway, I landed in the right spot. I took a few to the gate today, including Tim's Nonpariel. She is doing everything right in her early training program. Behind the gate I caught up with Adrian Rolls, Graham Motion's assistant. He noted that Better Talk Now (best distance turf horse in North America) has resumed training and will be in light exercise for a couple of weeks at Fair Hill before heading down to Florida. He jogged a little in the shedrow this morning. When I was leaving Fair Hill (I went via the tack shop to get a mane comb) I saw Better Talk Now out in his paddock in the lovely sunshine.
Update 1262: I just spoke to Tom, the Jackson's farm manager. He visited today and Barbaro remains comfortable. I am planning on visiting Barbaro again tomorrow with Tom.
Update 1261: New Bolton's Barbaro update: Barbaro's status remains unchanged:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's status is essentially the same. "The shoe on his right hind foot was further modified as his strength improved," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "We are aware that there is some public concern about his abnormal motion on the right hind limb, however, this is not unexpected. His gait may be abnormal as he learns to adapt to having fusions of two major joints in his lower limb and to the special shoe. In addition, the fracture had some collapse on the medial (inside) part of the pastern region after he developed laminitis on the left hind foot. Although this is visually unattractive, the mechanics of the lower leg are not seriously affected because the pastern and fetlock joints are fused."
Our goal was to give him a leg that would be functional and comfortable enough to live happily. "The right hind has healed well enough that we are optimistic about that possibility," said Dr. Richardson. "However, Barbaro's left hind foot, which had laminitis, remains a more formidable long-term challenge. The foot must grow much more for him to have a truly successful outcome."
Barbaro, who has been in the Intensive Care Unit of the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals since his injuries at the Preakness on May 20, is eating well and has a bright eye and happy demeanor, according to his medical team.
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, January 16, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
And here is the most recent video of Barbaro without his cast.
Update 1260: NoBiz was back to work on New Year's morning: Nobiz Like Shobiz gets back to work. It looks like it was a very easy work (half mile in 49 and change), and his first in a series of works designed to get him ready for the Holy Bull Stakes on February 3. The same race won by Barbaro last year in Barbaro's first start on the dirt. Yesterday's winner of the Tropical Park Derby may also point for the Holy Bull: Soldier's Dancer victory stirs memory of Barbaro. If he does they may need to find a new jockey!
Update 1259: Another lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill, and somewhat quiet for me (five horses ridden). Hawty Creek shedrowed this morning, jogging for about ten minutes. While she came out of her work well I am just backing off her a little for the following couple of days so she can get her appetite back, she tends to back off her feed a little. When I was out grazing her later snow geese were flying overhead. They were cool to watch, I don't remember the last time I saw snow geese. Nothing wrong with canada geese, but we seem to have plenty of them all the time.
I rode Tim's Nonpariel who went very well. Tim reminded me that Chesapeake City Slew is coming back in the next day or so. He's cool, so am looking forward to (hopefully) start getting back on him. Tim's crew were busy washing down a few of the stalls, I guess in anticipation of a couple of new arrivals. All in all a relaxing morning.
The Barbaro update today will be late in the day. New Bolton are also scheduled to release an update. The discussion boards are currently down, this is a tech. issue, they should return soon.
Update 1258: Soldiers Dancer, the favorite, won the Tropical Park Derby. They were more than two seconds slower than Barbaro's time last year (1:46 3/5). The Tropical Park Derby was Barbaro's last race on the turf, and he won very easily. Many people actually think Barbaro was a better turf horse than dirt horse. What was brilliant about his racing career (and another reason he should be considered Horse of the Year) was he won on all surfaces in 2006, good dirt, slop, and turf.
Jazil is back in the entries: Jazil Entered in Aqueduct Allowance Race Friday.
Update 1257: Tom is still recovering from whatever derailed him yesterday so he asked me if I wanted to come over and help him with Barbaro this afternoon ... Yes! We were to meet in the ICU at 1 pm. When I arrived Tom was already there. Anyway, while he felt better it made sense for me to groom Barbaro. That was all we were going to do today. I put on his halter, tied him up (Barbaro not ...) and set to work. I started as usual by picking his front feet. I then gave him a good once over with the body brush. This again was followed up with a good currying and a wipe over with a cloth. I spongued out his eyes and nostrils. Once done Barbaro looked great. He really does have a very good coat and shines up brilliantly when he has been groomed. Once we were done Tom and I sat around chatting for a little while, while we fed Barbaro some carrots and apples. Tom had brought him his Lael grass, which he does really enjoy. All in all we were with Barbaro for about an hour, a lovely way to spend New Year's day afternoon for sure. Nine visits and as of yet, Barbaro has not bitten me!
Update 1256: Another good year-end wrap article: '06 was rich tapestry of triumph, tragedy. The article also includes the turf writer's picks for eclipse awards. Tim and I were discussing (on the way back from the track yesterday after breezing The Kielbasa Queen and Hawty Creek) the momentum Barbaro seems to be gaining for end of year honors. The article above has Barbaro as horse of the year! Here are my picks (for fun of course):
Steeplechaser: McDynamo (by default, no competition)
Juvenile Colt: A close call between Street Sense and NoBiz like ShoBoz. My bias pick is for the latter.
Juvenile Filly: Dreaming of Anna
Three year old colt / gelding: Barbaro. While there may be a little bias I am convinced the award should go to the horse that does the most impressive thing on the racetrack. For me that is Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby. His other races were notable in as much as he won them all until the fateful day of the Preakness. Bernardini had a great year, but I just don't see that he prooved he was better than Barbaro. Same with Discreet Cat.
Three year old filly: Pine Island. Wait a While was great on the turf, but Pine Island takes this one.
Older horse: Invasor. Aside from his early defeat in Dubai he was flawless. Great win in the Classic sealed this with ease.
Older female: No idea.
Sprinter: Thor's Echo. Special mention for Lost in the Fog for winning a stake while suffering from cancer (obviously undetected at the time).
Turf male: Who knows, they all managed to beat each other. Better Talk Now showed he's the best US based distance turf horse on Breeders' Cup day, but if I pick him you will know I am just biased!
Turf female: Film Maker ? .. OK, Ouija Board!
Horse of the year: Barbaro (of course). He ran the best race, he is running his most important race, and he has done more for the sport of horse racing than any horse in the modern era. (Mind you, the sport needs much more help going forward).
Trainer: A toss up between Michael Matz and Kieran McLaughlin. They both won a triple crown race and a Breeders' Cup race, with different horses. Since I don't know Kieran personally, I'll vote for Michael Matz.
Jockey: Edgar Prado. An elite horseman and human.
Apprentice: The french dude.
Owner: The Jackson's. They campaigned two of the best five three year olds of the year.
Breeder: No idea. Perhaps the Jackson's again.
Update 1255: Treat yourself to the sporting performance of 2006: And its all Barbaro, in a sublime performance ...
Update 1254: January 1, an important date in the horse racing calendar, everyone is a year older! So Barbaro, happy birthday! The barn was quiet this morning at Fair Hill. I shedrowed a couple, and took care of Hawty Creek. She seems to have come out of her work yesterday well. She had today off and will do something light tomorrow. I took her out for a pick of grass (although it was raining) and walked her for a little while.
Today is the Tropical Park Derby: Tropical Park Derby kicks off 2007 Triple Crown watch. While it is a turf race, its significance is heightened as it was a race that Barbaro won last year on his way to his dominant Kentucky Derby win. While Michael Matz does not have a runner this year, Graham Motion and Steve Klesaris both do.
Update 1253: Another (short) visit. I called Tom (the Jackson's farm manager) to get an update but Tom was sick and was unable to visit Barbaro today. I, of course, volunteered to run over and give him a quick groom (Barbaro, not Tom). I did. I spent about forty minutes with Barbaro, giving him a good grooming. He had just finished his dinner when I arrived. I put on his halter, tied him up and went to work. As usual, starting by picking his front feet. I then went over him with a body brush (with free hand on his halter and an eye out for him) and then a curry comb and a towel. I finished off just sponguing out his eyes and nostrils. He looked good. Before leaving I fed him some carrots and a couple of apples. His appetite appears strong, he would have kept eating if I had stayed to continue ... but its New Year's eve and I am off to dinner. Happy New Year!
Update 1252: Barbaro was ranked the number one sports story by the Wilmington News Journal readers: Barbaro's competition left at the gate. Looking at the quotes from the article it appears you influenced this ranking. Perhaps we can have the same impact to determine ESPNs top story for 2006 (Barbaro is currently ranked number 18): Rank 'Em: Which were the top stories of 2006?.
Update 1251: This morning Hawty Creek worked 5/8ths, with me on her, on the Tapeta track. We went in company with Tim on The Kielbasa Queen. It was a decent work, we ended up going in 1:03. I was on the outside on Hawty Creek and she did the work very comfortably, although I think she will also get a lot out of it. We started off a little on the slower side and picked it up throughout the work, finishing strongly down the lane. I had plenty of horse throughout the work, rating her early and just sitting on her and letting her run a little at the end.
I was discussing work times with someone last week, who relies on them for betting purposes. I always think work times are unreliable for a couple of reasons. Firstly you would not know who was riding the piece of work (I weigh considerably more than a jockey for instance); and nor would you know how easily the horse went in the work. Was the work full out with sticks up coming down the lane, or was it with considerable ease, without asking the horse to run (most of Bernardini's works were not much quicker than our work this morning for example).
Anyway, our work was comfortable. Assuming Hawty Creek comes out of her work well, and she does not back off her feed (which she sometimes does, and is why I spaced out her last work) I will work her back on saturday, and try to get Jesus Bracho to work her. Jesus has just come back from a stint in the middle east, and it is good to have him back at Fair Hill. He can work her, and then hopefully ride her when she runs.
After the work Hawty Creek's owner (Dave), who came to watch the work, cooled her out while I mucked her stall. We then went and grabbed breakfast, I then came back to Fair Hill to take Hawty Creek out for a pick of grass while currying her ... and then grooming her more in her stall to just finish her off. She will be off tomorrow, New Year's day!
Update 1250: Hall of Fame Trainer "Buddy" Delp died friday evening: Hall of Fame Trainer Bud Delp Dies. He will be best remembered as the trainer of Spectacular Bid, but was a dominant trainer in Maryland, and the surrounding racing jurisdictions for many years. His last runner in his name will actually be on monday, Crafty Bear, in the Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel.
Barbaro's story was selected as one of the top ten sports stories by the Chicago Tribune for 2006: National: A run to make a father proud.
Edgar Prado's quote: "If tears could heal a wound, Barbaro would be healed by now." was selected as one of the best sports quotes of 2006: The Voices: Best quotes from 2006.
The Barbaro update will again be late in the day, after Tom's visit.