Sunday May 28
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 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.
Monday May 29
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 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 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 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 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 horsehats.com
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
Tuesday May 30
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 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 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 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.
Wednesday May 31
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 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 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 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 45: Neat video from NBC10.com 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.
Thursday June 1
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 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 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 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 50: Great article from twincities.com: 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.
Friday June 2
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 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 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 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:
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."
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 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.
Saturday June 3
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 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 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.