Sunday July 9
Update 184: No update yet today (sunday). Will try to learn something and post before the day is over. I think Peter may be visiting again today. Keep thinking positive thoughts for Bobby!
Update 185: Peter Brette just called (sunday 1pm). Barbaro is not doing as well as he had been yesterday. Peter had not visited Bobby, but had been talking to others. He did not have any details, but I could just tell in his voice he was pretty concerned (it was a short conversation). Peter may call later if he hears more, but now is the time to channel all positive energy for Bobby. If I hear more I will post.
Update 186: No new news yet. But as we all hope for better news, I thought I should highlight the original "fan media" sent by Debra Lopez: Our Prayer for Barbaro. You might also enjoy Barbaro's best moment: Kentucky Derby 132. As Lisa noted in the comments:
"..And here comes Barbaro! The undefeated Barbaro comes up on the outside and he takes the lead as the field turns for home in the Kentucky Derby and Barbaro turns it on and his stablemate Showing up is second, Bluegrass Cat is third, Brother Derek putting in a late run for the outside, Steppenwolfer is fifth and Sweet Northern Saint six by the rail, but there coming to the finish and it's all Barbaro in a sublime performance!
Update 187: New Bolton Center's press release: Veterinarians treat Barbaro for infection, replace plate and screws in injured leg that discusses events over the previous 24 hours:
Late Saturday, July 8, Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery, replaced the plate and many of the screws that had been inserted into Barbaro's injured hind leg on May 21. "Barbaro had developed some discomfort and a consistently elevated temperature so we believed it was in his best interest to remove the hardware and thoroughly clean the site of the infection," said Dr. Richardson. "We also applied a longer cast on that leg for additional support."
While the main fracture is healing well, the pastern joint that doctors are attempting to fuse continues to be the area of concern. This joint was stabilized with new implants and a fresh bone graft.
"The recovery process from anesthesia took longer with this surgery, but Barbaro is now back in his stall in the Intensive Care Unit," said Dr. Richardson. "He is receiving pain medication, antibiotics and other supportive care."
Barbaro continues to be monitored closely in the Intensive Care Unit of the George D. Widener Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center. Dr. Richardson emphasized that the complications are potentially serious. Both Barbaro's owners and trainer continue to visit him at least twice daily.
Peter Brette had just left me a voice mail (I was on a work call) to let me know that Michael Matz had just called him (I gather Michael is almost living there lately), and Bobby was doing a little better, was brighter, standing on both hind legs, and looking for something to eat. These next few days will remain very critical for Bobby I am sure.
Monday July 10
Update 188: Just spoke to Peter Brette this morning on the horse path...all things considered, it seems like Barbaro had a decent night last night (sunday night). Peter is planning to visit after work this morning so I'll try to get more details later today. Keep all your positive energy coming for Barbaro today; he will surely need it.
updated monday 7:10am
Update 189: There has been quite a lot of media coverage as a result of the surgery late saturday night (and New Bolton's press release re: the same.) Rather than rehash that content I wanted to highlight this article: New hope for Barbaro fans in 'kid brother'? (thanks Barbara) that provides some insights into the Jackson's breeding operation and Barbaro's brothers. The following are a couple of excerpts:
Call him Kid Barbaro. Well, actually, the dark bay foal doesn't have a name yet. These days, he tags alongside his mother, La Ville Rouge, at Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington, Ky.
Born in mid-March, the colt was sired by Dynaformer. That makes him a full-brother to Barbaro. Could there be another Kentucky Derby champ in those genes?
"He's very confident and thinks he's special, just like Barbaro did when he was here," said Headley Bell, the bloodstock agent for Roy and Gretchen Jackson. "You're never quite sure where that comes from. He has good size, maybe not quite as leggy as Barbaro, but he's close."
That's the guy (and his mum) that we have pictures of, and
While it will be two years before Barbaro's kid brother hits the track, his half-brother, Man in Havana, is gearing up for his racing career. His mother is La Ville Rouge. The colt is working out at the Fair Hill Training Center under the tutelage of Michael Matz and is slated to make his debut this fall.
Man In Havana and his sire, Quiet American, are named after books written by British author Graham Greene, a favorite of Gretchen Jackson's father.
"He's a big horse with a lovely shoulder," Gretchen Jackson said. "Unlike Barbaro, he might take some time to show what he has. But that's true with all of Quiet American's foals."
OK, now back to ride a few more horses. Wanted to thank Jen Duffy (she took plenty of the pictures of Barbaro that are on this site, prior to the Preakness), she sometimes substitutes for me re: providing the early updates (I call them in!)
Update 190: I am starting to look through some of the articles posted today, the Baltimore Sun (which continues to provide great Barbaro coverage) has an article: Barbaro's infection 'potentially serious' (thanks Anne) includes a quote from Michael Matz:
Yesterday evening Barbaro's trainer Michael Matz said the horse appears to be doing well.
"He looks fine," Matz said by phone as he left the facility. "He's on all four legs and, hopefully, that's the way he will stay. Everything was going very smoothly and it's always a setback when he has to go through something like this.
"Dean wasn't happy with how comfortable he was and it has really been a very long, trying week for Barbaro and for Dean."
I would add, a long trying week for Michael too! The above quote is similar to the feedback Peter Brette provided us last night (update 187 end).
It seems ESPN is going to provide some coverage today, Jeannine Edwards left a comment that included:
I am heading up to New Bolton this afternoon to do an update for SportsCenter. Let's all hope this is just a bump in the road for Barbaro. Keep up the fantastic work, and thanks for keeping us informed!
Update 191: ESPN's tentative schedule for today. Jeannine Edwards sent me an e-mail which included the following:
right now i am going live on espn news around 4pm, live on sportscenter somewhere between 6-7pm, and then a taped report for the 11 and overnight shows.
Update 192: New Bolton Press Release: Barbaro receives sixth cast (thanks Faye):
After evaluating Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro this morning, Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery, replaced the cast on the colt's injured hind leg for a sixth time. "The long leg cast was replaced with a short leg cast this morning. This was done with Barbaro in a sling and only under mild sedation," said Dr. Richardson. "The long cast was used as extra support during the anesthetic recovery phase. It is much easier for him to move around his stall and get up and down with a short cast. We also found and treated an abscess in his left hind foot that was bothering him."
Barbaro spent a comfortable night and is eating well after surgery to stabilize the pastern joint this weekend. "We're continuing his pain medication, antibiotics and other supportive care," said Dr. Richardson. "He appears more comfortable today and has had a normal temperature, heart rate and overall attitude."
I spoke to Peter Brette a little earlier. He mentioned the new cast. He also noted the second abscess in the good hind leg (left hind) which they can now deal with (I assume they already have). This was good news as it revealed a source of discomfort. Peter (who did visit) said Bobby was standing well and munching on hay when he was leaving. I also spoke with Jeannine Edwards who attended a press conference at New Bolton. I assume content from that will be used for her ESPN bulletins we noted in update 191.
Update 193: NBC10, for those in the local area are covering Barbaro today (thanks Danielle) along with Jeannine Edwards and ESPN:
For those in the NJ, MD, DE area, the local nbc10 news station will be airing the same footage as espn did at 5pm ( it was on at 4 as well) along with some other interviews of horse lovers.
ESPN article: Doctor: 'Tough days ahead' for Barbaro (thanks Lynda) copied in full:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was facing major problems for the first time since surgery to repair the right hind leg he shattered in the Preakness seven weeks ago, with Dr. Dean Richardson saying "we're in tough times right now."
Barbaro had the cast on the leg replaced for a sixth time Monday -- the fourth time in a week. The latest development followed many hours of surgery Saturday night when doctors replaced the metal plate and many screws and also treated an infection.
"I think we're in for tough times right now. I think we're going to have some tough days ahead," Richardson said at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center. "I'm being realistic about it. When a horse has a setback like this, it's a problem."
Richardson, the chief surgeon at the New Bolton Center, looked haggard during the briefing, and said it took more than 15 hours from the start of Saturday's surgery before Barbaro had fully recovered from anesthesia.
He said Barbaro was back in his stall in the intensive care unit, where he's been since the catastrophic injury occurred just a few hundred yards after the start of the Preakness.
"Right now, he's happier," Richardson said. "He's got a normal heart rate, normal temperature, he's eating like crazy. He's very hungry. He's making lots of manure. He looks actually pretty happy today. Now we have to see how he responds to what's going on."
The long cast applied Saturday night was replaced by a shorter cast Monday, and was done with Barbaro in a sling and under mild sedation, Richardson said.
"The long cast was used as extra support during the anesthetic recovery phase," Richardson said. "It is much easier for him to move around his stall and get up and down with a short cast. We also found and treated an abscess in his left hind foot that was bothering him."
Barbaro is receiving pain medication, antibiotics and other supportive care, Richardson added.
Update 194: Saw the NBC10 coverage, if you get a chance to see it at 6pm, it's well worth it. It includes footage of Bobby, and commentary from Dean Richardson. He is quoted "He is feeling reasonably good right now". Dr. Richardson noted they had 6 weeks with no problems, then multiple problems in one week. He noted Bobby remains 50 - 50, and clearly it's a day to day situation. The piece was about two - three minutes and ran early in the newscast.
No recent update from Mike Rea, I assume that is not a bad sign, lets hope for an update soon!
Update 195: NBC10s coverage today: Barbaro Chances 50 - 50 (thanks Cheryl) If anyone wondered whether we cared for Barbaro, check the stats on this site today 5,190 visits by 6:06 pm
Update 196: CBS3 has video footage of Dr. Richardson's press conference today: Dr. Dean Richardson Updates Barbaro's Condition (thanks Skyler)
Update 197: Just saw Jeannine Edward's coverage on ESPN. She used some of the same footage we can see from the press conference noted in the CBS3 video below (Richardson press conference). She also spoke of Michael Matz and how hard is was for Michael to see Bobby in some pain again (I guess over the weekend) and that he was a little brighter today (Bobby, and I guess Michael!). My somewhat educated guess, Michael is there now, as he seems to be camping out there lately other than training hours in the morning. Jeannine also noted the Jackson's decision to cancel their trip to Africa. I am hoping Jeannine will post a comment here later tonight noting her experience at New Bolton today.
Update 198: Jeannine Edwards has posted a comment after her afternoon at New Bolton Center covering Barbaro for ESPN. I copy it here in full (thanks Jeannine):
We spent the afternoon trying to get the latest info on Barbaro. I spoke with Michael Matz on the phone.... he was just leaving New Bolton around 1:45pm. He said it was a long night Sat. night... Dr. Richardson later told me from start to finish the entire ordeal was about 15 hours. They both described Barbaro's recovery this time around as "long and grueling". Michael said they had put the longer, full cast on and that Barbaro wasn't handling it too well. (Thus the decision to remove it earlier today.) For the first time in all of this, Barbaro had been in a sling... they were taking no chances. Michael said it's been a long, trying week and that it was especially difficult for him to see Barbaro in pain, but that he was encouraged to see him feeling better and looking brighter today. After my conversation with Michael, Dr. Richardson came out for an inpromtu press "conference", I say it that way because there only 3 or 4 of us there. He said Barbaro had exhibited changes in his condition, that he had a persistent fever, and that his comfort had diminished in both hind legs. His pastern joint is infected (not good) but the primary fractures (in the cannon bone and sesamoids) are healing well. They decided to remove the 16" plate and some of the screws because all of this hardware was infected. They put in 2 smaller plates and new screws, and did a new bone graft to aid in bone healing in the pastern... which didn't have much bone left after the injury (many smaller fragments had been removed.) They finally were able to drain the abcess from his left hind foot, so that should make him more comfortable. Richardson called these "serious complications" and that it's "definitely a setback". As I said earlier, Michael confirmed to me that the Jacksons have postponed a trip to Africa. When asked if the subject of euthanasia had come up at all over the weekend, Richardson said "We're nowhere close to that... we haven't even contemplated that... not even close to calling it a day with Barbaro." So that's a good sign. He did tell me the timing of the complications was unusual, as they would have expected infection soon after the original surgery, not 6 weeks later. His condition is "guarded", and he's still at 50/50 for survival, although 2 weeks ago his chances were at least 60/40.
It's a day to day situation and he's being monitored around the clock. We then did a live report for ESPN News at 4pm, then taped reports for tonight's SportsCenters and tomorrow's Wire To Wire. This coming Sunday we have a live show (the Delaware Handicap) so we will be including a Barbaro update then as well. Ok, it's 8pm, time to grab a bite for dinner. Let's all say a prayer and hope for the best.
Update 199: Trying to identify news stories that have information we have not already seen, so I apologise if I miss a good story! The Daily Racing Form: Barbaro 'comfortable' after more surgery (thanks Maria) includes some insights from Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith, a of Colorado State University's Equine Orthopedic Research Center, excerpt:
"It's definitely a setback," said Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith, a of Colorado State University's Equine Orthopedic Research Center. "When you get an infection, it's always a challenge. But the other thing to state is that, if you have stability, you can heal bone in the presence of infection. So there is still some reason for optimism."
McIlwraith pointed out that Barbaro's radiographs have reportedly shown knitting in the fractured areas.
"That means he already has some stability from bony union," he said. "That's one of the things that's positive."
The new locking compression plate that Richardson implanted Saturday may also aid with stability and allow bone healing, McIlwraith said.
"Ultimately, when you get healing, you can take out the implants and clean out the infection," he said. "If the infection persists and causes instability in the plate or the screws, that's difficult."
I added some new videos to the fan media page, thanks Jessica Franks. You might also want to light a candle for Barbaro at gratefulness.org (thanks Melissa).
Tuesday July 11
Update 200: Spoke to Michael Matz this morning (Tuesday) as I was going onto the track, he was ponying Peter off the track. I asked Michael "how's your horse doing?"... he said Dr. Richardson had just called and reports Barbaro is holding his own.
Also spoke to Kathy Anderson who visited Bobby last night at 6pm (Monday). She was relieved to see him in the condition he was in. He had just had a bath, mane combed, and was eating.
Updated Tuesday 7:10am
Update 201: The Baltimore Sun (which continues to do great Barbaro coverage) has an interesting article: Barbaro faces 'tough times' (thanks Anne) that includes quotes from Peter Brette and a vet which I include below:
At the equine center in Leesburg, White said the main concern in such cases is whether the bone is actually healing.
"Any evidence of healing is a good sign," he said. "It's a race between that bone healing, having the plate and screws hold up and keeping infection at bay."
Richardson said Sunday that Barbaro's main fracture was healing well, but the pastern joint above the hoof - which was shattered into more than 20 pieces - continues to be a concern. The joint, which doctors are attempting to fuse, was stabilized with "new implants and a fresh bone graft."
Often, such a traumatic break leaves portions of the bone and tissue without sufficient blood supply to grow back together, White said. Inadequate blood supply also hampers the immune system's ability to find and destroy any bacteria that entered the wound during surgery.
"Then you've gone ahead and taken a piece of metal and screws and put them into that environment," he said. Bacteria will attach to the metal parts, grow and destroy surrounding tissue and bone. That can loosen screws and diminish the support needed by the bone as it heals.
Veterinarians watch animals for signs of postoperative infection. They check for fever and look for evidence of pain, such as limping or favoring the injured leg. They may even be able to feel unusual heat through the cast or spot drainage that signals infection in the wound, White said.
Such contamination is quite common, he added. "You use antibiotics locally during the process to kill as many [bacteria] as you can so there is no infection, but it's not a perfect science." If the tissue is healthy and the number of invading bacteria is low, the animal will fight off the infection and recover.
White, who has not participated in Barbaro's care, declined to speculate on the colt's chances for survival. "I've managed horses with this kind of [injury] that have survived, and I've had others that did not," he said.
One of the big questions Barbaro's doctors must be addressing now, he said, is whether, after weeks of antibiotic treatment, the bacteria in the animal's wound have grown resistant.
A less tangible question is whether Barbaro has the heart to keep fighting.
"They have personalities," White said of thoroughbreds. "Perhaps we're not perfect at reading their minds, but we get a feel for when they are hurting and not willing to give what they need to survive."
"There is something there that tells you when they want to quit," he said. "And you have to make that tough decision."
I have added a couple of sites to the fan media page.
Update 202: No new update until after 6 pm unless New Bolton provides something. Just wanted to let everyone know. I called Peter Brette at 3, he was still at the barn (Fair Hill). Michael is running a horse today, once that has run he will get to NBC and let Peter know. Peter plans to call me later.
As I continue to read through all the recent Barbaro articles this one seemed pretty comprehensive re: the recent events: Barbaro has 'very significant setback,' surgeon says (thanks CJ): the following is an excerpt:
After Barbaro's temperature spiked to 102 degrees Saturday and the Kentucky Derby winner showed signs of discomfort, Richardson performed surgery that evening. Monday was a better day for the horse, the surgeon said.
Monday, the horse had a sixth cast put on, his fourth cast replacement in the last week. Richardson put a shorter cast on, like the previous ones Barbaro had been wearing. The doctor had put on a longer cast, covering Barbaro's entire leg, Saturday night. That cast was designed to protect him better as he woke up.
"He's a tough horse . . . a big, strong horse that's kind of aggressive, so we put him in a full-length cast," Richardson said. "It's a more protective cast, but it's also much more cumbersome for a horse to wear. They panic a lot of times because they feel they can't move their legs. He really didn't like it very much.
"As a consequence, we spent most of the night trying to get him back standing comfortably. We literally worked on him for close to 15 hours (including the surgery) before he was back in his stall."
Good luck Bobby, these are the toughest of days I am certain.
Update 203: As update 202 was being composed New Bolton came through with an update: Barbaro stable after sixth cast applied (thanks Faye):
Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery, reports today that Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is resting comfortably after receiving his sixth cast since his accident at the Preakness on May 20. "Barbaro is eating well and resting in his stall," said Dr. Richardson, who also treated the colt for an abscess in his left hind foot.
"He's tolerating the shorter cast well," said Dr. Richardson. "His vital signs remain stable and his attitude and appetite remain good."
Update 204: Just spoke to Peter Brette. He reported that Barbaro remains the same. He is doing OK. That being said, I could just hear in his voice that he knew these were extremely tough days. Barbaro has just been through a lot in the last few days. Time to focus on how successful Nurevey came through: A Look Back: Saving Nureyev. Nureyev is an amazingly uplifting story. Keep all energy for Barbaro please, lets hope he writes a similar story!
Update 205: Articles from the New York Times and Washington Post highlight the current problems Bobby is facing. New York Times Another Serious Turn in Barbaro's Recovery (thanks Gloria) copied in full:
The recovery prospects of Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner, took another serious turn Tuesday when veterinarians discovered that the infection in his left hind leg may be more serious than first thought.
Dr. Dean Richardson, chief of surgery at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals, will detail the setback to Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, on Wednesday, Gretchen Jackson said Tuesday night.
In a telephone interview late Tuesday, Jackson said that tests had identified a bacterial infection on Barbaro's left hind -- or healthy -- foot that Richardson hoped he had cleaned out during a three-hour operation late Saturday.
During the operation, Richardson also changed the titanium plate and many of the 27 screws that had been inserted into Barbaro's injured right hind leg on May 21, a day after the colt shattered it during the opening yards of the Preakness.
Jackson said she did not know the details of the infection or possible treatment, but said that she, her husband and Richardson remained optimistic that Barbaro could overcome the setback.
"Barbaro is alive and he is going to be alive and is acting like he wants to live," Jackson said. "He is having trouble with his good leg. He can put weight on the leg and is a pain-free horse right now. We, and he, are not quitting. We're a long way from that."
Gail Luciani, a spokeswoman for the University of Pennsylvania Veterinarian School, said there might be a news conference about Barbaro's condition later this week.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the school released a statement saying that Barbaro was eating well, resting comfortably and without fever after undergoing surgery and four cast changes in the last eight days.
Richardson, who on Monday warned that the colt faced tough days after those medical setbacks, said his team had also changed the bandage on the colt's left hind foot, where they drained an abscess during surgery.
"Barbaro is eating well and resting in his stall," Richardson said in the statement. "He's tolerating the new cast well. We have changed his left hind foot bandage and that looks improved. His vital signs remain stable and his attitude and appetite remain excellent."
On Monday, Richardson had changed Barbaro's cast from a full-length one intended to protect the colt as he came out of anesthesia to a shorter one that allows Barbaro more mobility. The cast changes and surgery were prompted by fever and infections that made it difficult for Barbaro to support himself on his hind legs and raised the concern he might develop laminitis, a painful condition for horses that is caused by excessive weight bearing on one limb.
While horses with laminitis can be saved, and there was no evidence that Barbaro had developed the condition, the prospect of him having to battle the condition could be devastating, Richardson said Monday. The potentially excruciating pain could put stress on Barbaro and impede his healing process, leaving little choice but for his owners to ask the veterinarians to euthanize Barbaro.
Richardson said that option had not been discussed, and on Tuesday Gretchen Jackson reiterated that she and her husband had yet to consider that option.
Before Barbaro's bad turn over the weekend, he seemed to be recovering well. X-rays last week showed that his main fracture was healing well. It was the pastern joint, which is above the hoof, that had veterinarians worried.
On Friday and Saturday, however, it was clear that Barbaro was uncomfortable and surgery was needed. The colt had been treated topically for an abscess found on his left foot, had a fever and struggled to put weight on his right foot.
Before Richardson performed the original five-hour operation, he calculated the chances of Barbaro's survival at 50-50; and he increased them only slightly to 51-49 in the days after the procedure, when the colt's convalescence was proceeding smoothly.
But Gretchen Jackson said that she and her husband were aware of the long odds they were facing, and they have steeled themselves for the sudden shifts in Barbaro's status.
"We've know all along that what can be going wonderfully can turn disastrous in a moment," she said. "We also believe that what can be going badly can be turned around, too."
Washington Post: Infection Leaves Barbaro In Jeopardy (thanks Debbie):
An infection in Barbaro's right rear pastern joint has reduced the chance the Kentucky Derby winner will survive, Dean Richardson, the chief of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, said Tuesday.
While the majority of bones fractured have healed in the seven weeks since Barbaro's catastrophic breakdown at the start of the Preakness Stakes on May 20 at Pimlico Race Course, problems in the joint that connects the long and short pastern bones in the ankle region are putting the horse's life in jeopardy.
"There's so much concern. It's significant," Richardson said from the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals on the New Bolton campus. "It worries me. I have a hard time sleeping at night. So many people want to see this horse survive. He is stable today, and he's got a great appetite, but he's not as good as he was two weeks ago.
"Two weeks ago we were at 50-50 [for survival]. With this new problem, we're less than that."
On Saturday, Richardson performed extensive surgery on Barbaro, changing six screws and applying two new titanium plates in the pastern joint area. Richardson also attempted to clean out and treat an infection that had developed in the joint. Under anesthesia, and with a long cast placed on his leg, Barbaro did not recover enough to stand on his own until 15 hours after the operation began. On Monday, Richardson replaced the long cast with a shorter one to give the colt more mobility.
Barbaro maintains a hearty appetite and his vital signs were stable Tuesday. Richardson continued to treat an abscess on the left hoof, changing the bandage. Richardson stressed that the pastern infection, which is being treated with antibiotics, needs to be controlled before healing in the joint will resume.
The infection in the pastern joint developed despite extensive precautions. For example, the orthopedic surgery suite at the hospital is a completely sterile room with special filters to keep sterilized air flowing in. On the floor at the entrance of each room in the hospital, including the intensive care unit where Barbaro resides, are mats soaked in a powerful disinfectant to cleanse the soles of shoes.
"Parts of the recovery have gone better than average, but the infection now is a complication we'd rather not have," Richardson said. "Do we always succeed in dealing with infection? No, we do not."
There are no medical benchmarks or thresholds to consider when deciding whether to continue trying to save Barbaro, Richardson said.
"When it gets to the point where he's inhumanely uncomfortable, there's no strict, objective measure you have to quote," he said. "It requires experience with consultation among many people. We're not at the point where we're going to pull the plug."
It appears each article covers a different problem.
Wednesday July 12
Update 206: Saw Michael Matz this morning as I was going to the track. He told me Dr. Richardson had called and said Barbaro appeared a little brighter this morning (wednesday). I suspect we should take this news within the context of the two articles reproduced in Update 205. I'll post more later as I learn more.
updated wednesday 7:20am
Update 207: The Baltimore Sun covers the same problem in the "good" leg that was covered by the New York Times (update 205): Barbaro suffers another setback (thanks Sarah). Please read in full. Someone in the comments noted that it was a positive signal that I even saw Michael this morning. Oddly I had the same thought, and had mentioned it to Michael earlier (that I was relieved to see him at Fair Hill). I am not sure if he heard me to be honest.
Update 208: New Bolton Center press release this morning echoes other recent news: Barbaro's condition guarded (thanks Sarah):
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is continuing to rest comfortably today according to Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "As we said yesterday, Barbaro's condition is potentially serious, and we are aggressively seeking all treatment options," he said. "Today we will focus on further diagnostics and keeping our patient comfortable." Barbaro is being treated for fractures received at the Preakness on May 20 as well as discomfort in his left hind foot.
"He's facing tough odds and his condition is guarded," said Dr. Richardson. "Our entire staff is determined to do all they can for this magnificent horse." All decisions are being made in constant consultation with the owners, who continue to be only interested in his comfort.
Barbaro remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the George D. Widener Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center.
Watch for a media advisory for a press conference later this week.
On a lighter note (needed) Tim told me a funny story this morning. His friend Mike, who visits Tim's barn each saturday morning and now has a horse that may come to training in time, was at Delaware Park. He was talking with someone in the office there, and asked her if she new Tim Woolley. She said no, but I am on his site right now, and showed him the computer screen! Not sure many trainers can say their web-site is more famous than they are!
Update 209: No update, but someone in the comments asked about the naming of Barbaro. Anita's response made me smile:
Linda Lee - I read a cute story about the name Barbaro. BEFORE the Kentucky Derby, Michael Matz was being interviewed and was asked by the interviewer what the name Barbaro meant. Michael Matz turned to Peter Brette, the assistant trainer, and repeated the question. Peter Brette immediately replied "KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER!".
Lynette then provided the more official version of the name, from the link: Batting 1.000:
Mrs. Jackson had foxhunted and competed at hunter trials for much of her life.
Barbaro got his name from a foxhound in a five-panel 1880's painting the Jackson's discovered in Mr. Jackson's mother's attic after her death. Each dog had their name written at the bottom of their picture. They chose the hound on the right-hand side, Barbaro. The painting is now in the family room.
It has been speculated that the Jackson's will name Bobby's full brother (the cute foal we have pictures of) after another hound in the painting.
The following article from yesterday: Trainer reports that Barbaro is resting quietly notes Michael's win yesterday and discusses Barbaro's condition yesterday (I think the articles we cited in update 207 and 205 are more recent), including the following about his weight:
According to Gretchen Jackson, Barbaro, whose right hind leg was shattered in the May 20 Preakness, had lost a lot of weight while recovering from the initial surgery on May 21. He had gained that back before getting a fever and showing discomfort in his hind legs about 10 days ago. Now, after four cast changes and a very long, involved surgery Saturday night into Sunday, Barbaro is trying to recover from all that.
Update 211: A press conference is scheduled for tomorrow (thursday) 11 am. Jeannine Edwards (ESPN) e-mailed me the following:
the presser is tomorrow at 11am. you can put on the site that sportscenter and espn news will be covering it.... no times yet, but it will be on the 6pm SC, and of course earlier on espn news during the day. they are flying a producer in from dallas to work with me tomorrow.
Update 210: The Baltimore Sun has this piece, timed: 2:17 pm today: Barbaro 'facing tough odds,' veterinarian says (thanks Sarah) copied in full:
Barbaro's condition turned "potentially serious" again today, a day after the Kentucky Derby winner's veterinarian gave a more upbeat report, saying the colt was stable and resting comfortably.
Dean Richardson, the chief surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, also said the colt faced "tough odds" and that doctors were looking at all possible treatments to keep the 3-year-old comfortable.
"Our entire staff is determined to do all they can for this magnificent horse," Richardson said in a statement issued by the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals.
Barbaro, who shattered three bones in his right hind leg at the start of the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course on May 20, has undergone three surgical procedures in the past week. In the most recent one Saturday, Richardson replaced the titanium plate and 27 screws and treated two infections -- one in the injured leg and a small abscess on the sole of his uninjured left hind hoof.
"Today we will focus on further diagnostics and keeping our patient comfortable," Richardson said.
Doctors also are keeping watch for any signs of laminitis, a potentially fatal disease sometimes brought on by uneven weight balance.
A major concern centers on the infection in the right rear pastern joint -- located above the hoof that was shattered into more than 20 pieces. While most of the fractured bones have healed, the joint that connects the long and short pastern bones remains problematic.
Barbaro's recovery had been going smoothly until this recent series of setbacks. Saturday's surgery lasted three hours, and Richardson replaced the hardware that had been inserted into the leg the day after the Preakness.
"He's facing tough odds, and his condition is guarded," Richardson said.
Owner Roy Jackson said the sudden changes in Barbaro's condition made this a tough week.
"We've been concerned all along," Jackson said today. "It's just one of those things. It's very difficult to climb the mountain when something like that happened."
I think there is new information above, the most critical being the notion that he really does face tough odds. I will try to get an update from Peter later, but I am also not going to bug him (too much) for it. My plan, head down to the Whip for a couple of Tetleys (and that's not tea) a little later!
Update 212: Just spoke to Peter Brette. He visited Bobby this afternoon (wednesday) and said he looks reasonably comfortable. Peter mentioned the press conference tomorrow, and the intent of the conference was for Dr. Richardson to detail everything that has occured over the last week or so. Keep all your positive energy for Bobby, he needs it.
Update 213: Good Morning America is doing a piece on Bobby tomorrow morning. Jeannine Edwards let me know as we were discussing tomorrow's press conference. (ABC owns ESPN or something like that). Jeannine left a comment clarifying ESPNs coverage of the press conference tomorrow and the reason for such a press conference:
Just to clarify for everyone, SportsCenter always sends a producer with the reporter when they cover any story. It's always a tag-team situation. But normally someone would not fly in from TX, normally a regional person would make the trip from NY or DC. Perhaps no one in the area was available. ESPN takes the Barbaro situation very seriously and wants to cover it accurately and completely. We have no idea what will be discussed at tomorrow's presser, but we have to be prepared for what could potentially be a worst-case scenario. New Bolton is being beseiged with phone calls right now, and rather than try to deal with each news org separately, it's much easier to hold a press conference and give everyone as much info as possible in an orderly fashion. Pressers can be held for several reasons: 1) There is updated info to communicate, 2) There are inquiries and demands made on the facility and so they're trying to accomodate everyone. We'll know more tomorrow.
I am planning to attend the press conference scheduled for tomorrow. I hope they let me in. I did call New Bolton and asked if it was OK. They were aware of this site, and did not seem to mind.
The New York Post may be including a bit on this site tomorrow in its Barbaro coverage. (Eliza, I hope we have the bandwidth for that ?) As I was enjoying a couple of Tetleys at the Whip it seemed HRTV was running something on Bobby (sound was muted, but it seemed they were talking to Jeannine during some of the coverage).
Mike Rea seems to continue to improve, with plenty of visitors, Bruce Miller can see improvement in his condition.
Update 214: Just spoke with Kathy Anderson. She visited Bobby at about 4 pm. She wanted to let me know that despite all the medical information that we are learning, Barbaro is comfortable. He appeared bright and she was encouraged. She gave Bobby about a half hour of good scratching, and when a nursing assistant was russling a plastic bag he misinterpreted this activity as dinner time; he was alert and looking for food. She called me as she really wanted to make sure everyone knew that despite all, he remains reasonably comfortable.
Update 215: A new article from the Baltimore Sun, later in the day yesterday (10:34 pm): Derby winner Barbaro is 'facing tough odds' Infections impede horse's recovery. Much of the content we are familiar with I think. The Mercury News carries an article that mentions the purpose of today's press conference: Surgeon says Barbaro's 'facing tough odds' (which I plan to attend), excerpt:
Addressing a rumor that the news conference was to announce that Barbaro would be put down as soon as Thursday night, Gretchen Jackson said that was unfounded.
"No, I guarantee that's not going to happen unless something goes drastically wrong in the next 24 hours," she said in a phone interview Wednesday night.
The purpose of the news conference, she said, was for Richardson to give a detailed update on the events of the last week. "It just seems fitting that Dean does the whole thing now."
Lets hope Bobby has good comfort today and the Press Conference gives us some hope regarding his medical condition.
Thursday, July 13
Update 216: Spoke to Michael Matz this morning (thursday). It appears Bobby is still doing OK given all we know. I asked Michael a little more about the press conference this morning. He won't be able to attend, but is aware that Dr. Dean Richardson will be very forthcoming with everything that is occuring (no surprise apparently if you know Dean). Michael also mentioned he received a very nice letter, which he gave to Peter (Brette) to give to me, that discussed this site. I'll look forward to reading it. (Peter could not give it to me since he was on a horse, Michael was on Messaging and I was on one of Tim's horses, whose "nickname" is also Bobby!) I am planning to attend the press conference.
update thursday, 7:15 am
Update 217: OK, off to the Press Conference. Will report back when I am there etc! Wanted to thank Ed Fountaine for his kind mention of this site in the New York Post today. May be I'll get to thank him in person. Also wanted to note that I saw Bobby's older half brother this morning, Holy Ground. Emily (Michael Matz exercise rider) was riding him on the track. He is a four year old stakes winner I think. It seems many have interest in his younger siblings but are less aware of the oldest half brother.
Update 218: Just arrived at New Bolton Center...the parking lot is full. There are quite a few trucks- WGAL, News 8, Fox 29, NBC 10, Eyewitness 3. I spoke briefly to Jeannine Edwards from ESPN. This is actually the first time I've been to NBC since the accident. I'm looking in the lobby at the six huge cards for Barbaro from Churchill Downs. They're covered with signatures and each one has the quote "Once a Derby winner, always a Derby winner. Get well soon Barbaro." The news conference is scheduled to start in 10 minutes. Will update as soon as it's over.
Update 219: Jeannine Edwards will be broadcasting directly after the conference on ESPN 2 on a show that I think is called "Cold Pizza." She'll also be on ESPN news after that (not sure what time) and then SportsCenter at 6pm tonight. I would estimate about 70-80 people (writers, TV people etc etc) here at the conference awaiting Dr. Dean Richardson. Should be very soon.
Update 220: The focus of the press conference was the new, significant problem of laminitis in the left hind foot. No doubt this will be widely covered by all the media. Barbaro's current state is extremely serious however, he does remain comfortable. They will continue to work around the clock to try to overcome this setback as long as he remains comfortable. One issue that Dr. Richardson emphasized was that the Jacksons will not tolerate any discomfort for Barbaro. More to come later. Updated Thursday 11:30am
Update 221: OK, just returned from the Press Conference. I waited to watch Jeannine Edwards do her ESPN 2 broadcast. You can see the conference at CBS3. A couple of links to reports: Barbaro has life-threatening inflammation in hind foot and Doctors Say Barbaro Has Catastrophic Injury. And here is Laminitis in Wikipedia. A few observations of my own:
Dr. Dean Richardson is a class act. I was thoroughly impressed with his forthright discussion on Bobby's condition. He was clearly open, understanding of the media, and obviously upset with current circumstances. He and his team have worked incredibly hard, and this must be very tough for all of them at an emotional level.
Bobby is now a long shot to recover, but while there are still chances of recovery, and he is comfortable, they will keep trying. No one is yet giving up.
2 weeks ago Dr. Richardson really thought Bobby was going to make it.
Bobby now has a foot cast on the left hind, he also uses a sling from time to time. This sling is designed to help Bobby, it still allows him free movement.
The laminitis is catastrophic, and the onset of laminitis was very rapid.
Bobby looks good, he is eating well. He has a strong constitution.
The media asked good questions and were very respective of the situation (I was impressed).
Update 222: New Bolton has released a copy of the transcript for today's press conference.
Update 223: Just spoke to Kathy Anderson (Barbaro's Fair Hill vet) who visited Bobby this afternoon (she was just leaving at 6 pm when I spoke to her). She said he remains comfortable, as comfortable as he was when she visited yesterday. She noted the many gifts that had been arriving for Bobby all day (I am guessing many of them are from people commenting on this site). Kathy fed some carrots to Bobby, part of a very elaborate gift sent by Margaret from Beaufort, SC. The nursing staff were also feeding him cut grass and corn husks (chopped up for him).
Update 224: Barbara Livingston, whose Barbaro photographs (and all racing photos) are fantastic, just left the following comment and offer:
We are all so grateful for your updates and information. I start and end my days visiting your site nowadays - wishing all good things for the remarkable Barbaro.
I first became smitten with Barbaro last year, as his name is so similar to my own. When I finally saw him Derby week, I was thunderstruck. He was SO professional, relaxed, stunning - just right. To say he had 'the look' seems understatement. He is truly a once in a lifetime horse.
I told everyone who would listen before the Derby that Barbaro was like a different species from other horses - he could not lose the Derby.
And now we simply root for him to live.
I've had so many requests for photos that I added more to my site, as well as a couple of wallpaper patterns and two downloadable 8x10"s.
If any Barbaro fans would like to download them and print them for their own use, feel free. Please do not sell them, or make them into artwork, etc.
Depending on response, I'd be happy to add others. The address is www.barbaralivingston.com/gallery/barbaro
Again, we are so grateful for all that you are doing, Alex...as well as indescribably grateful to the Jacksons, Dr. Richardson, and everyone connected with Barbaro.
Take good care.
Update 225: Must see: Web Extra: Latest Barbaro Video. It illustrates Bobby's use of the sling, his mobility and to be honest, the sharpness about the look he retains. He appears inquisitive (I noticed a quick "ears pricking" moment), and obviously loves the carrots.
Jeannine Edwards left this comment regarding ESPNs coverage:
Thank you for the kind words. Just want to let you know, in case you noticed and were wondering why Barbaro's tail looked so short in the ESPN footage from today (shot at 5pm by New Bolton staff) they had a rope around his tail when he was recovering from anesthesia Sat night (standard procedure) but it was a rough go, and most of his tail hairs were pulled out. As if the poor horse doesn't have enough to deal with! I thought he walked well, and New Bolton clearly shot the footage to avoid speculation that Barbaro may be suffering. His eyes seemed a bit dull and tired to me, but keep in mind he's on massive amounts of meds and was also sedated earlier in the day so they could work on his foot. He's been through hell... I think he looked good considering. I was happy to see him putting good weight on the left hind foot. He's a trooper. Very sad situation, but we must all hope for a miracle. We'll have more updates tomorrow from New Bolton.
Friday July 14
Update 226: Barbaro had a comfortable night last night (Thursday pm). He slept about 4-5 hours which is a clear signal of his comfort level. He was out of the sling for most of the night. I spoke to Michael Matz to get this news this morning (he had heard from Dr. Richardson). It was obvious in Michael's expression that he was relieved to be able to provide this news.
Updated Friday 7:10am
Update 227: Bloodhorse (and many others) confirm Barbaro had a good night last night: Barbaro 'Doing Much Better' Friday Morning. The following is an excerpt:
"He had a good night last night, and even slept on his side," Dr. Dean Richardson told The Associated Press early Friday before re-entering the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals to check again on the 3-year-colt. "He's doing much better."
Richardson appeared a bit more upbeat than he was Thursday, when he told a packed news conference that Barbaro has a severe case of the disease laminitis in his left hind leg, and termed his condition "poor."
This confirms what we learned from Michael Matz this morning (update 226).
Sabina Pierce left the following comment:
I'm the Photographer for Penn who has been shooting Big B, as I like to call him as his personality is larger than life. I tried to show in this last set how great he looks and is doing, but also how his will and personality to overcome are identical to the way they have been over his 2 month stay at NBC, he is naughty at times with his nips but a cuddly teddy bear a minute later. I saw all of those attributes as he chewed on my camera bag and hammed for the lense. I've had horses since I was 6 and I've known many more. He is special and a real fighter, the real thing.
Sincerley, Sabina louise pierce
Jeannine Edwards just called. ESPN is planning more coverage, but she is not sure when yet. She'll try to alert us ahead of time.
Update 228: The official word, New Bolton's press release today: Barbaro's condition is stable:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro spent a restful night and his condition is stable, according to Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery. At a news conference yesterday, Dr. Richardson announced that the three-year-old colt has laminitis. Laminitis is a painful condition in horses that can be the result of a number of causes, including excessive weight bearing in one limb. It occurs when laminae, the strong connecting tissues that attach the pedal bone and the inner hoof wall, are inflamed.
"Barbaro was out of his sling for more than 12 hours yesterday, and he had a calm, restful night, sleeping on his side for more than four hours," said Dr. Richardson. "While his condition is stable, it remains extremely serious."
Update 229: Jeannine Edwards did a piece on ESPN2, a comment from Anne:
Just saw Jeannine Edwards on ESPN (2:10pm est) doing an update on Barbaro. MUCH more upbeat than yesterday. She mentioned that Barbaro's internet fans were devastated and that NB received about 25 baskets of goodies for Barbaro and the staff after yesterday's news. Hopefully this will be run again all day long......very uplifting. Did anyone else catch it?
She is about to go live on ESPN news (its 3:13 now), and I think she will be on Sports Center tonight.
ESPN has some cool pictures of Bobby and a few were added to the New Bolton site.
Update 230: Edgar made his third visit to Bobby today, he's all class, and of course won the ESPY too I believe! Like his fans, Barbaro's jockey still hopeful, the following is an excerpt:
The news left Prado scrambling to make a trip to visit the horse at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Penn. He just returned from California, leaves for a race in Florida tomorrow and heads to Peru, his homeland, on Sunday.
"The drive is really far and the traffic was awful, but we had to do this," Prado's wife, Lilian, said. "It was the only time he could see (Barbaro)."
The injured horse's stall felt more like a fruit stand than a barn, Prado said. Baskets of apples, carrots and candy -- all sent by the horse's fans across America - were everywhere.
Prado grabbed several carrots and fed the horse, which chomped down more than 10, the jockey said. It was an affirmation of the good appetite Dr. Richardson had described the day before, Prado added.
"The horse appears to be handling things well," he said. "He wanted to get out of the stall today, which is a good sign."
Update 231: Daphne has this report on Jeannine's 3:15 report from New Bolton:
**Alex** my tivo is on overtime and I just watched Jeannine 3:15 update.. good reporting. She did indicate that this is just a "shred more positive" than yesterday- that is what I heard. She spoke about Barbaro being able to sleep about 4-5 hours, also on his side, get up and down, being out of the sling(everything we've read) but that this is still (as we know) very serious. She mentioned all the floral/goody deliveries to NB and that the NB staff gobbled them down, beginning last evening. Ok, she didn't use the work gobble, this was my word. Also, many more deliveries expected later.
Jeannine will be on Sports Center (6pm) with a new report.
Update 232: A little more on Edgar's visit today. I just spoke to Ed Fountaine (New York Post) who just spoke to Edgar Prado (just before the 4th race at Belmont). Ed reports that Edgar (and his wife I guess) left New York at 4:30 am, arriving at NBC about 7:30 am. He stayed until about 9 am. At one point Bobby fell asleep on Edgar's shoulder for 10 minutes (hence Edgar's prolonged stay). Edgar told Ed that Bobby looked better than he thought he would be (given all he had heard), he appeared very comfortable.
The interesting thing about this story is that as far I can tell, no one was aware Edgar decided to visit. I spoke to a few people who had not heard about the visit after it was reported by Tripp Mickle of Newsday.
Update 234: Peter Brette just called. He visited Bobby about 1:30 pm. He also reports Bobby is comfortable and appears in a good frame of mind. Peter was pretty happy with what he saw. He fed him some carrots, his appetite does appear to be holding up well. Peter was also not aware of Edgar's visit.
Update 235: Nice to see NBC offering two releases today, this one 4pm: Barbaro's condition remains stable:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro remains in stable condition according to his veterinarians at the George D. Widener Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. "His vital signs, including heart rate and pulse, remain good," said Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "We are treating his laminitis aggressively and he continues to respond well and is acceptably comfortable."
Laminitis is a severe, painful condition in horses that can be fatal.
"As I said at the press conference on Thursday, we monitor his condition very closely because signs can change quickly," said Dr. Richardson. "However, it's important to remember that Barbaro's treatment could easily continue for several weeks, and if all goes well, even months. Our goal is to keep him as comfortable as possible, and clearly that comfort level will be a major indicator for our treatment decisions." Dr. Richardson also emphasized that Barbaro, as evident in the footage and still photos released yesterday, has a very positive attitude.
His positive attitude was noted by Peter during his visit today (Peter noted "good frame of mind").
Update 236: A Barbaro Vigil is planned for tomorrow (saturday) at 7 pm east coast time. I think Sheila's comment sums it up best:
I am going to bring my kids into this, even though it looks like we're set for 7pm EST. After seeing me cry I finally let in on why last night so it makes sense for them to be involved. The more positive energy, the better! Thanks for the suggestion Anita. I agree that we all my have different methods - for some it's prayer, some it's meditation, some its just sending positive energy, but we are united in our love for the big guy and I think that we should stay that way - united.
I don't think it matters how long the vigil, just if you can spare a thought, prayer, hope, sentiment etc. for Bobby at 7 pm tomorrow night (est), wherever you are, whatever you are doing.
Roberta wrote a lovely Bobby poem which I am reproducing below:
With pride and joy
Roses on your neck
A new, more perilous race
Your spirit, determination and trust
Allied with skill, loving kindness and compassion
Against the frailties of flesh and bone and hoof
May victory again be yours
Roberta Goodman 7/14/06
Update 237: The Sports Center's piece was nice and upbeat, while of course respecting the true reality of the situation. It was nice to see Jeannine note Edgar's visit and use footage from the Derby (yeah!) The gifts look great.
Here is the site for Kennett Florists.
Tim ran Randy's Bullet today. He was a closing third on the turf at Colonial Downs. He had not run for a year. It was nice to see him come back, and Tim was very happy with him. I have mentioned Randy before, he is a cool horse to ride, but really is the type of horse to benefit from Fair Hill. He loves to go "out back", away from the training tracks, to do much of his training. (You can see me on Randy in a couple of the pictures in our gallery).
Mike Rea continues to make steady progress in his long recovery!
Finally, my perspective on Bobby's situation today. I am totally psyched he remains comfortable, but remain very conscious of the seriousness of his condition. Edgar Prado is simply an amazing human being. In England he would be considered for Sports Personality of the Year (top Jockeys in england are high profile stars); I wonder if there is something similar here.
Update 238: Added an update to the Fan Media page that links to Barbaro Livingston's work and Anna's lovely pastel.
A nice article in the Philly Inquirer: Barbaro said to be in good spirits, stable condition that notes the fan outpouring of late (lots of people here contributing no doubt) and Edgar's visit yesterday, excerpt:
The day's upbeat report was accompanied by an outpouring of sentiment from Barbaro's fan base. Numerous floral arrangements - one of roses in the shape of a horseshoe - and carrots and apples seemed to arrive at New Bolton on Friday by the minute. A woman brought in a single orchid and wondered about the latest news. Barbaro's trainer, Michael Matz, put a number of arrangements in the back of his car after an early evening visit.
Earlier in the day, Barbaro received a visit from another old friend. Barbaro's jockey, Edgar Prado, stopped by to see the horse early Friday morning before riding at Belmont Park later in the day. He left New York at 4:30 a.m., got down to the Kennett Square facility, then drove back to Long Island with his wife, who had visited the day before.
"He looked much better than I thought he would," Prado told a New York Post reporter at Belmont Park. "He is very smart, and he knew me right away. I fed him, walked with him, and he put his head on my shoulder and fell asleep."
Ed, thanks for getting the Prado interview!
Saturday July 15
Update 239: Just spoke to Michael Matz and Barbaro had another comfortable night last night (friday night). Dean Richardson called Michael. Michael said he was up and down 2 - 3 times, again showing that he is OK using himself to move around. All vital signs are normal.
I also saw Kathy Anderson, who saw Bobby around 4pm yesterday (she tried to call me last night but apparently my phone was on the blink). She also said that when she saw him he looked the same (as her positive report yesterday). She also noted the pulse in his front feet was normal. She saw 35 baskets of goodies being delivered as she was leaving! updated 7:15 am, saturday morning
Update 240: New Bolton Center press release: Barbaro continues to be stable confirms what we learned from Michael this morning:
Chief of Surgery Dean Richardson reports today that Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro had a very good night and remains in stable condition at the George D. Widener Hospital. "His heart rate and pulse are normal, and his appetite is good," said Dr. Richardson. "He continues to respond well, looks good and has a positive attitude."
Barbaro is being treated at the hospital for fractures received at the Preakness on May 20 as well as laminitis in his left hind foot. "We continue to monitor him very closely, and we are keeping him as comfortable as possible," said Dr. Richardson.
Jeannine Edwards (ESPN) left the following comment:
ESPN's coverage will continue throughout the weekend. I will actually be at Delaware Park today (Sat) and tomorrow for our Delaware Handicap telecast on Sun, but another reporter is coming for the Barbaro watch. If the situation warrants, I'll be back at New Bolton on Mon. Let's hope for a positive update again today. Good luck with the vigil this evening... I'll be there in spirit.
Note, Jeannine left the comment before the positive update this morning! She further explained to me that ESPN will likely have coverage throughout the day, and Sports Center this evening. There will also be a piece on the Delaware Handicap broadcast tomorrow from Delaware Park (5pm ESPN2). Many have commented on the quality of ESPNs coverage (of course I agree). I think the fact that Jeannine was a racehorse trainer and exercise rider for many years helps with her objective coverage.
We had a visitor today, at Fair Hill. Jean, I hope you enjoyed your trip to Fair Hill, and NBC. I enjoyed the Maccaroons, and will wait a little while to enjoy the Sam Adams!
Update 241: We have received a couple of calls about tonights vigil (CBS radio, New Bolton Center). The main questions were where and when ?
Where: wherever you are. If you can congregate with others in your area, great. If not, great! I am sure there will be a few congregating outside the main entrance of New Bolton (I may do the same).
When: 7 pm east coast time.
Update 242: Just spoke to Peter Brette. While he is unable to visit today (still in the barn) he noted that D.D (Michael's wife) visited earlier today and said Bobby remains comfortable (she visited about noon). No doubt Michael will visit later today, I think he had runners at Delaware Park. Kathy Anderson is also visiting today (likely as I type) so I will try to catch up with her in a little while.
Update 243: The following is a comment posted by Jen as a result of our afternoon activities (it was actually pretty cool watching a horse use an aqua treadmill)!
alex and I went to a very interesting open house this afternoon for Fair Hill Equine Therapy at Bruce Jackson's new barn (rebuilt since devastating fire late last year). We had the opportunity to chat with Chuck, one of the Fair Hill vets who works with Kathy Anderson. He was great about letting us pick his brain to better understand some of the issues related to Barbaro's condition. I wanted to share some of what I personally learned...most of all, in regards to the sling. I naively thought that whilst in the sling the horse was literally suspended and totally non-weight bearing. Not the case. In fact, he's still actually full-weight bearing in the sling. What it does is provides support so that should he want to lean on it (in whatever direction), he can rest himself off of whichever leg he wants. So, it still gives him a fair bit of control over his situation. Even so, it was a learning process for him to become comfortable with the concept (understandable!). But it seems as though he's come to appreciate it's benefits. Also, regarding the sling, as you can see from the photos it's positioned right in front of the stall door and that is because it's a part of the lift system that transports the horse from post-operative recovery back to the stall. Makes sense. Another bit I found interesting was that Barbaro has apparently been on Aspirin and Plavix (anti-platelet aggregation...ie. makes blood less likely to clot) since his injury as part of the effort to prevent laminitis (general risks of immobility)and he will continue on these medications to try to fascilitate blood flow to where it is so very needed for healing. Last bit,also related to laminitis prevention, initially, they fed Bobby on the ground to encourage weight bearing on the front legs. Now, they're feeding him more upright to try to provide protection for the front legs as they don't want him to favor them too much at this point. OK, that's it. I know I for one have absolute faith that our boy is in the very most capable hands and I thought it was cool to hear more about the details.
Update 244: Trying to catch up on much of the recent media coverage. Mike Schuh e-mailed us this video clip he reported on for WJZ 13 Eyewitness News yesterday (July 14). Barbaro Shows Improvement Day After Outlook Was Grave. (Its cool to have media contact you!) Its a nice piece I think (I am sure it was also commented on below). It includes footage of Bobby's use of his sling, it highlights the gifts that have been sent to NBC and also includes a short interview with Michael Matz. Well worth viewing!
Update 245: Kathy Anderson just visited (I called her as she was leaving at 5 pm). While Barbaro appeared a little irritated (I guess as one would from time-to-time when stall bound as Bobby is) he managed to devour a bag of fresh grass Kathy fed him. Kathy also noted that they changed the cast on his left hind and apparently all looked as it should. All his vital signs were good. He remains comfortable.
Michael Matz won the Virginia Oaks with Aunt Henny!
Update 246: Jeannine Edwards caught up with Michael Matz yesterday (saturday afternoon) at Delaware Park, she e-mailed me this:
i actually talked to michael today at delaware. he and D.D. gave me a good update. he told me about the cast change today. he told me barbaro's been using the sling very well, and that he actually likes it, he "sits" in it and rests sometimes. he said at one point, while in the stall and out of the sling, he got a little tired or uncomfortable or something and he moved over to the sling and stood there like "hook me up!!" anyway, michael gave me a good on-camera interview for tomorrow's show. we'll use just a short comment from him. he couldn't help but get a little emotional.... it's obvious this has been an excrutiatingly painful ordeal for them. he was as gracious and as wonderful as he's been all along.
the cast change Jeannine refers to is the one we mentioned yesterday on his left hind. ESPN2 will have some coverage later today (5pm) which will include footage of Michael.
The New York Times also caught up with Michael yesterday at Delaware Park: For Barbaro's Trainer, the Race Must Go On (thanks Mary). The following are a couple of excerpts:
"Not so much physically, but, mentally, everything is catching up with me right now," he said between races here Saturday. "I thought for sure this horse could win the Triple Crown. Then, when this happened, I thought it wasn't supposed to be, but he was still going to be a good stallion. Then this latest setback comes along, and I've had to resign myself that maybe we'll have to put him to sleep. Then, he bounces right back again. Sometimes, I don't know what to expect."
After the races, he was planning to head to Kennett Square to make his daily visit to Barbaro. He did not know what to expect.
"Sometimes he wants somebody to be there with him and sometimes he wants to be left alone," Matz said. "It all depends on what people are doing with him."
Matz does not try to pretend he is taking it all in stride. He understands that, despite Saturday's positive report, the odds remain very much against Barbaro. The type of severe laminitis that Barbaro has is difficult to cure and can lead to severe pain. About the only factor working in Barbaro's favor is his spirit.
"It's like anything else with this horse," Matz said. "You can never count him out. He's just an unbelievable horse who doesn't want to give up. I'll put it this way: I'm not giving up on him. If any horse can get through this, it is him."
I saw Michael leaving New Bolton just after 7 pm last night, as I was there for the Vigil. Unfortunately it seems NBC was not aware the intent of the Vigil was for those who want to come to NBC to gather outside the gate, by the get well posters etc. I hope everyone who wanted to participate found a quiet time to think of Bobby.