Sunday July 2
Update 157: Just spoke to Peter Brette (sunday morning) and as far as he is aware all remains well (he of course would be informed otherwise if that was the case). Bobby had another good day yesterday.
I mentioned to Peter the poll we are currently running (Barbaro 211 votes, Jazil 1 vote, zero votes for others) which of course has no survey bias etc! We discussed what it might take to dislodge Barbaro from 3yo of the year, perhaps Bernadini winning the Travers and the Breeders Cup Classic (there is not a Breeders Cup race strictly for 3yos).
Peter said he may visit later today, if so I will try to catch up and get a quick report.
Update 158: Peter Brette was unable to visit today, but assumes Barbaro continues to do well. He did see an update on HRTV at 3 pm which said the same. The update also reminded us that while everything has gone very well thus far, Barbaro is a long way from being 'out of the woods', so we must remain cautious, there are complications that can still occur. (I knew HRTV had planned to do updates each day, as reported by the Bloodhorse, but I have not seen any for myself, I will try to tune in tomorrow.)
The Baltimore Sun's Digest today included the following:
Barbaro is having a lazy weekend, enjoying his air conditioning at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, where he is recovering from a broken right rear leg. Yesterday, Dr. Corinne Sweeney, director of the facility, said Barbaro is fine and was chowing down on horse treats that arrived in Friday's mail. ... Dance in the Mood won the $750,000 CashCall Mile by 1 3/4 lengths at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. Victor Espinoza guided Dance in the Mood, a daughter of 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Sunday Silence, over one mile on the turf in a stakes-record 1:33.33.
I was surprised, when I tuned into ESPN yesterday to see Graham Motion (Fair Hill Trainer) being interviewed by Jeannine Edwards (who also lives locally), at Hollywood Park. Graham's horse, Sweet Talker, actually finished second to Dance in the Mood.
Six weeks have now passed since Barbaro's horrific accident, so while we understand things can still go wrong, we should be grateful Barbaro has done so well in the six weeks. I assume the next 'event' will be the second changing of the cast. I have no current insight into when this might happen (we had heard it might have been last week, that changed). Lets hope the cast change occurs uneventfully, and the pictures they can take during the cast switch show continued healing!
Mike Rea's updates continue to show good progress.
Update 159: Barbaro wins! That was the poll result: Barbaro: 272; Jazil 1; Other 1 (for 3yo of the year). I have taken the poll down as it was delaying the 'performance' of the site. I will need to relook at how to use polls without compromising overall site performance.
Monday July 3
Update 160: Just saw Michael Matz out on the track...he says there's a possibility today is the day for Barbaro's second cast change. It's not a definite yet so will try to confirm when able to later. If it does happen today, let's hope all goes well and xrays show continued healing for Bobby!
Update 161: It seems the cast change is planned for today, and this morning. I will try to get any updates through the day. Via the process of the cast change they will be able to take more pictures to see how the healing process is coming along (note, they can take pictures with the cast on, but apparently, and as one may suspect, the cast does muddy the quality of the images).
I think this is an important day for Barbaro in the entire recovery process. While I am not privy to the reasons for the cast change, one can speculate it is simply due (one day shy of three weeks), or he is less comfortable with the current cast at this point (we noted in update 153 he is likely to have better days and not as good days). If the latter, it may simply be due to the fit of the cast. Anyway, no good speculating, lets just hope today is a good day, and I am sure we will know more later.
Update 162: Confirmation from the Baltimore Sun that Dr. Richardson noted yesterday Barbaro may have his cast changed this week (we now know it is today). Barbaro could have cast changed (thanks Sarah).
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro had a visit with his surgeon yesterday. Dr. Dean Richardson said the horse, who is attempting to recover from a broken rear, right leg suffered in the Preakness, could have another cast change this week.
Barbaro has been doing fine since his first cast change June 13, a little over three weeks after the original surgery. At that time, Barbaro was X-rayed and found to be healing properly.
Now nearly three weeks after that first change, Richardson said this cast "is beginning to show signs of wear." On the day the cast is changed, Richardson is expected to X-ray Barbaro's leg.
Update 163: Just spoke to Kathy Anderson (Barbaro's Fair Hill vet) at 12:50 pm and Barbaro is currently having his cast changed.
Update 164: Phew! OK, Kathy Anderson just called and she had just heard from Dean Richardson. Barbaro has recovered and is now back in his stall. The injured leg looks good, the radiographs were very good. They did replace a couple of screws (please don't ask me any details, it is beyond my domain).
There was an abscess in his left hind foot, in the heal. This had been a recent cause of discomfort (and hence the cast change I guess). It is great they could identify this, as apparently that's not an issue for them to work on. Basically, as far as I can tell with my brief conversation, the cast change was as good as they could have hoped for.
Update 165: New Bolton's press release today: Barbaro's cast changed for second time; new screws added includes:
Doctors at New Bolton Center's George D. Widener Hospital have changed the cast of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro for the second time since his hind leg was shattered at the Preakness on May 20. "Barbaro is back in his stall and is doing well," said Chief of Surgery Dean W. Richardson, who replaced the cast he had put on Barbaro on June 13. "Also, we replaced two bent screws and added three new ones across the pastern joint. His radiographs look great, and he had another successful pool recovery."
Update 166: Peter Brette just called, and confirmed what we had heard from Kathy Anderson. You can imagine there is a sense of relief surrounding those who are close to Bobby (or at least I got that impression from each of the conversations I had with Peter and Kathy). Michael (Matz) is visiting Barbaro. The Bloodhorse is running a copy of the New Bolton Press Release: Barbaro Gets New Bandages, Screws; Radiographs 'Look Great'
Update 167: Four new pictures from New Bolton from today. The first of Barbaro, you have to admit, he does look sharp! And Mike Rea is doing well, thanks to a bit of sisterly intervention.
Tuesday July 4
Update 168: Just passed Michael Matz on the track (Tuesday morning) and he tells me Barbaro is doing well. He had a good night after his busy day yesterday. Everything is looking good. Relieving news!
Updated 7:50am, tuesday.
Update 169: The Baltimore Sun has a nice article: Barbaro gets cast change (thanks Barbara) that has a good explanation for the additional screws:
"Dr. Richardson was pleased with what he saw," Sweeney said. "He's continuing to heal, and the bent screws are not a setback. It's why you don't put one or two screws in to hold the stresses. It's no different from you or I healing from a broken leg, walking around, getting up and down. It's normal. And Dr. Richardson simply thought three [additional] screws would work better as a proactive measure."
So now Bobby has 30 screws, lets hope he does not plan to travel, how will he explain that to the security people!
Update 170: A must read article from the Daily Racing Form: Vet pleased with Barbaro's progress (thanks Kim) that is essentially an interview with Dr. Richardson conducted today. He details yesterday's events, the current prognosis, and notes the 'problem' with the foot of the good hind leg. The following are a couple of excerpts, but it is good to read the entire article:
"This is about the time we expect to see good evidence on radiographs of a degree of healing, and the X-rays that were taken yesterday, they look very, very good," Richardson said Tuesday in a phone interview. "As far as the major fracture, basically, it could not look better. He's really progressing well as far as the fracture goes. All in all, it was a reasonably satisfactory day."
"The reason we changed the screws is that he had two broken screws that crossed the pastern joint," he said. Richardson said that the screws he replaced were in "the least important part of the fixation" and that veterinarians knew bent screws in that area would be fairly likely.
"That is an area that we knew was going to be vulnerable to have the implants break, because there's a lot of force and motion that's occurring at the pastern joint, because everything is locked down above it. The end of the plate is there, and it's tending to move, and he's been very, very active on his cast.
"This doesn't affect his fracture per se, but it does affect how quickly I would be able to get him out of the cast if his fracture continues to heal, because we need to have the pastern stable as well as the fracture. Because of that, we put these additional screws across the pastern joint to try and help stabilize it more."
The following article: Cast change for Barbaro, and new screws (thanks Lynette) is the first article to cite this site as a source :) In fact, I e-mailed them last night to let them know of the cast change (I saw their site referenced in the wikipedia entry of Barbaro). I was pretty excited to see this site's reference, all the way from New Zealand!
Wednesday July 5
Update 171: No update yet today. This morning was crazy busy and I was not able to catch up with the right people. I will endevour to get some news later today. I did discover I used to ride point-to-points with the father of one of the exercise riders at Fair Hill (which I guess ages me a little).
Also, from the Baltimore Sun: Barbaro's owners happy to hear their horse's breaks are healing (thanks Sarah):
Roy Jackson, who with his wife Gretchen owns Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, said yesterday he was relieved to hear Monday -- after Barbaro's cast change and the implanting of three additional screws -- that Barbaro's joints are fusing and the breaks healing.
"But it all takes time," Jackson said. "I'm hopeful that he will come through everything all right, but we've been through this before [with other horses] and we know things can go wrong in 24 hours. All we can really do is wait and see."
Yesterday, Barbaro was feeling good, said Dr. Corinne Sweeney, executive director of the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., where Barbaro is recovering in the intensive care unit from the multiple fractures in his right, rear leg during the Preakness.
wednesday, 11:50 AM
Update 172: Thanks for your patience today. Barbaro did show some level of discomfort with his new cast. They decided to replace the cast, change the angle slightly and see if that helps his comfort level. During the change they were able to confirm things happening beneath the cast were fine (there was no obvious reason for the discomfort). Dr Kathy Anderson, who had not seen the most recent radiographs until later this afternoon, said she was "thrilled" with the actual bone-healing process. More updates will likely be forthcoming, but please, keep good thoughts for Barbaro, today was a tough day for all involved.
Dr. Thomas Brokken, President of the American Association of Equine Practictioners, is planning to visit Barbaro and Dr. Richardson tomorrow.
Mike Rea does seem to be progressing well: Steps Forward.
On other news, it was great to see Makybe Diva inducted into the Australia Racing Hall of Fame. I was fortunate to be there to see her win her first Melbourne Cup!
Thursday July 6
Update 173: Again, no real update this morning. Given the current situation where Barbaro appears to have been more uncomfortable lately (yesterday anyway) it is harder to get updates. This is not because people are not willing to provide them, but because I don't have the 'energy' to ask them. You can tell just passing Michael Matz's crew this morning that the same spirit of optimism is being tested. I assume there will be something coming from New Bolton concerning yesterday's events at some point, but I am sure they are overwhelmed too. We were warned that Barbaro would have good days, and not so good days. Lets hope we are just experiencing a little of the latter and things improve quickly.
I do plan to update Tim's horses on the site later today, we have let that lapse a little lately.
Update 174: Just spoke to Peter Brette who visited Bobby today. It does appear his level of discomfort has improved a little, but there is still some discomfort for which they are trying to determine the cause. I asked Peter how he looked physically, and he said he looked well, was eating etc. so that is good. Peter also reiterated that the bone-healing process is as good as they could possibly expect, if not better. Please keep thinking your positive thoughts for Barbaro.
I have updated the content for each of Tim's horses, Tim was around this afternoon. I am also going to get a picture of Tim added to the site. Tim had a pretty quick start to the year, but things have been quieter lately. We are hoping for a good summer with Redaspen, Randy's Bullet and Gator Nation (unraced) getting close to running, Something Wild getting back to his earlier form and Kielbasa Queen moving on from her debut.
Finally as I was jogging back on the main track with Tim today we passed the clocker's stand where Graham Motion was supervising his string. I asked Graham if he knew whether they would be racing in New Jersey this weekend, and of course he did not. There was no racing thursday. He has Better Talk Now in the United Nations (Grade 1 $750,000 race). This is a race he won last year (I think), and a race he has targeted for Better Talk Now for this year. His training program has been designed to have Better Talk Now in prime condition for saturday. Clearly Graham was not anticipating the potential for this race not running. It is hard enough mapping out a campaign for a grade one horse, but when a race does not run, its not so simple to regroup and run the horse in another race the next week! Lets hope they can resolve this odd situation very quickly and Fair Hill's Breeders Cup winner gets a chance to do what he does best, run them down in the stretch!
Update 175: New Bolton's press release confirms much of what we know: Barbaro receives third cast (thanks Lisa, I had been checking ALL day) and its copied below:
On Wednesday, July 5, Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery, replaced the cast on Barbaro that he had received on Monday, July 3. "Barbaro was not comfortable with the second cast, so we decided it would be best to replace it sooner rather than later," said Dr. Richardson. "His appetite is healthy, and we are continuing to monitor him closely for an elevated temperature or other signs of discomfort."
New Bolton Center continues to receive requests for additional information on Barbaro's condition. Below are some of the most recent questions asked with responses from his medical team.
Q. Why was Barbaro's cast changed again?
A. For several days before the second cast change, Barbaro showed a slight elevation in body temperature and his hind legs appeared uncomfortable, which led to Dr. Dean Richardson's decision to reassess the leg and then change the cast. He was still not as comfortable as he had been so a new cast was applied on Wednesday.
Q. Why were two screws replaced and three new ones added?
A. Two previously implanted screws that cross the pastern joint were bent, so Dr. Richardson, who had predicted that bent screws in that area were likely, replaced them and added three new screws for additional support. Barbaro has been very active on his cast, and the repairs were needed as a result of force and motion in the affected area. The screws are bridging the pastern joint. They are not part of the repair of the primary fractures. The pastern joint needed to be fused because the proximal phalanx (long pastern bone) was so badly broken that the middle phalanx (short pastern bone) was needed to anchor the distal (lowest) part of the plate.
Q. What do the radiographs show about how well Barbaro is healing?
A. Barbaro's new radiographs show excellent progressive bone healing, a very positive sign.
Q. Were the repairs considered major surgery?
A. Barbaro was put under general anesthesia for the procedure. The repairs themselves were made under fluoroscopic control, which gives surgeons a live-X-ray view of the patient. This means that small one- centimeter incisions were made rather than any large incision.
Q. Did Barbaro have an abscess on his foot?
A. During the examination, doctors found a small infection on the sole of Barbaro's uninjured left hind hoof near the frog, a V-shaped cushiony growth that helps absorb shock. Dr. Richardson is treating the infection topically; in addition, Barbaro is on systemic antibiotics, which is common post-surgical practice. He also has a new protective shoe.
Q. What is laminitis and what are you doing to prevent it in Barbaro?
A. 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. Laminitis is very serious and can result in severe consequences. To reduce this risk, we applied a supportive shoe to Barbaro's left hind foot immediately following the surgery for the fracture of his right hind leg.
Q. How long will Barbaro have to stay in a cast?
A. Barbaro will remain in a cast until we believe that the fracture and joint fusions have developed adequate strength.
Q. How long will Barbaro remain in Intensive Care?
A. Barbaro will remain in the Intensive Care Unit at the George D. Widener Hospital as long as necessary. Even though he is progressing well and has not had major complications, he is not out of danger. Even if things progressed perfectly from this point forward, it is likely that he would be here two more months.
Friday July 7
Update 176: Barbaro is a little more comfortable this morning! Just saw Michael Matz (who offered to pony me as I was stuggling to get a new horse on to the track)...Michael had already received a call from Dr. Richardson this morning giving the good report.
updated friday 7:10am
Update 177: It is good to hear the news this morning has be received so well. I do want to caution I used the phrase "a little more comfortable", so keep the positive energy coming, he still has a way to go to get to where he was comfort-wise a week or so ago I think. Michael did mention that this could also change quite quickly, but anyway, this morning is great news and a relief for those close to him, but we need to remain very cautious at this stage. To demonstrate the change in mood this news brought, Michael chatted for about five minutes with Judge (one of the trainers I ride for) and was being very open about the current Barbaro situation. Anne Kelly (one of Michael Matz's longtime exercise riders and contributor to this site) thanked me this morning for yesterday's updates. (i.e. there really was no chatting yesterday amongst anyone about Bobby's condition).
A couple of people have mentioned the ESPY awards, details here: Velazquez, Gomez, Prado Compete for ESPY Award. Voting ends midnight July 9. Each of these jockeys is fantastic. Here are my three reasons to support Edgar Prado (in case you were wondering who to vote for):
1. He is considered the best. I think many people would simply agree with that.
2. He may well have been a significant factor is helping get Barbaro to where he is today. He alertly pulled Bobby up and did what he could to limit damage. No doubt there was catastrophic damage, but it could have been much worse.
3. He has paid two visits to see Barbaro since the horrific accident (that we know of). A cynic (sp ?) might suggest the first visit was for the media attention (although looking at the pictures you could dismiss this quickly.) The second visit, with his family, was completely without media coverage (and media knowledge). In fact to the best of my knowledge only this site reported on the visit (Peter Brette told us the next morning) and Bobby mentioned it himself in an exclusive interview with ESPN!
Finally I did want to mention that Miraculous Miss visited the starting gate for the second time since her horrific gate incident in the Acorn in New York. As a result of that incident she is considered on the "starter's list" which means she has to be approved by the gate crew (at Fair Hill) before she can run again. I convinced Judge (trainer I ride for and noted earlier) that we should send our last horse to the gate so I could ask the gate crew how Miraculous Miss did today. Judge obliged. Miraculous Miss was great. She walked in, stood, they played around with her etc. Brian (in charge, the "crew" comes from Philadelphia Park) said she has to come back one more time, but she should be fine. Coming to the gate three times is a standard requirement for a horse on the "starter's list". The horse I was on, a nice rangy 2 year old filly, galloped out of the gate very well, which was pretty cool because the last time she was a little slower to get going.
And finally again, it seems Better Talk Now will get to run tomorrow: Last-minute diplomacy saves U.N.. I asked Lisa, his exercise rider, if he would win. Of course she said "Yes". Win lose or draw, this looks like it is shaping to an awesome horserace! Good luck Graham et al!
Update 178: No update yet but I will try to get another update before the end of the day. I spoke to Kathy Anderson who was planning to visit. She is still at Fair Hill (working) but hopes to go over later. Mike Rea seems to be progressing well and it seems help has arrived from the The Delaware Horsemen's Assistance Fund. Peter Alexander, the president, is a Fair Hill regular.
A couple of articles surfaced today as a result of New Bolton's press release yesterday. Barbaro Experiencing Discomfort (thanks Lisa) includes the following:
If only horses could talk. In recent days, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro has been having some problems with his right hind leg, shattered in the May 20 Preakness and then surgically repaired the next day. According to the colt's owner, Gretchen Jackson, Barbaro is "feeling some discomfort and they can't figure it out. Blood tests are good. Temperature is good. So they're just trying to figure what is causing the discomfort."
According to Jackson, the doctors don't think the discomfort is anything major, but, with these fragile horses - especially one with such a significant injury as Barbaro - every little thing has to be taken very seriously. Barbaro continues to be in intensive care at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square.
That the colt is experiencing discomfort at this stage is no great shock. They just wish they knew exactly why.
"It's not anything to be scared about," Gretchen Jackson said.
I do know that the Jackson's had planned an Africa trip, I think starting this week. They have cancelled.
The second article: Barbaro still not out of the woods (thanks Lynnette) simply asks us to have a kind thought for Barbaro as we watch racing this weekend. We surely will.
Update 179: Spoke to Peter Brette. While he was at the barn all day (Fair Hill) he had heard from Michael (Matz) that Barbaro continued to have a better day today (than the previous couple of days). Still hoping to hear from Kathy, but if not, I think we can be happy to know that Bobby continued to be a little more comfortable today than the last couple of days.
Update 180: Kathy Anderson just called and had just finished visiting with Barbaro (8:00 pm friday). Her assessment is that these are pretty critical days for Bobby. Clearly he has improved today (as we know) and his attitude is quite good, but he is not as comfortable as he was a couple of weeks ago (as we know). He is rallying, keep your positive thoughts for Bobby. Today was a better day.
Update 181: New York Times article: Barbaro Has Two Screws Replaced (thanks Gloria):
For the first time in a remarkably smooth recovery, Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner, has had a minor setback. Two screws were replaced in his shattered right hind leg this week, and his cast was changed twice.
He also has a minor abscess in his left hind leg that is being treated by a topical cream, according to veterinarians at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals in Kennett Square, Pa.
Dr. Corinne Sweeney, the director of the hospital, said the surgeon Dean Richardson was "very pleased" with how Barbaro's ankle, which was severely injured in the opening yards of the Preakness Stakes on May 21, was healing.
"The radiographs were terrific; his healing is very good," she said. "Still, Dr. Richardson saw Barbaro was a little uncomfortable, and he decided to change the cast again."
Barbaro has a supporting shoe on the left leg to help protect against laminitis, a sometimes-fatal foot disease brought on by uneven weight distribution. Sweeney said it was merely a precaution. She also said the replacement of the two screws was expected.
A total of 27 screws were inserted in an effort to fuse Barbaro's back leg so he could live a pain-free life and perhaps become a commercial stallion. "It is the reason he put that many in, because he anticipated having to make adjustments," Sweeney said of Richardson.
Richardson has cautioned that it will be months before Barbaro's prognosis is known, and that his is vulnerable to infection. Still, Sweeney characterized this week as one of activity rather than of concern.
"These are things that we have anticipated, and he's doing very well," Sweeney said.
Saturday July 8
Update 182: Barbaro's condition today is similar to yesterday, which as we know was improved from wednesday and thursday. I asked Michael Matz this morning, and he had just heard from Dean Richardson. Peter Brette, who again will be tied to the barn all day, is hopefully planning to visit after work which would be late afternoon / evening. I will try to catch up with Peter later to get another status check. As we know, these next few days are very important.
I asked Michelle (Matz) how her father was holding up under the constant "worry" of Barbaro. Michael does visit everyday (along with his wife I believe). She said he was handling everything as he normally does. He is a true hands-on horseman and clearly an integral part of Barbaro's "recovery team". I noted to Michelle how fortunate we were that we were based so close to New Bolton which allowed Michael to play an important role in the process.
We had more visitors to Fair Hill today. I believe it was a group associated with the local fire company (or at least that is what their trucks indicated). It is nice to see people interested in coming out to visit. Better Talk Now (Graham Motion) runs later today in the United Nations, of course so does Shake The Bank. Gus (Brown, Shake The Bank's exercise rider) is convinced he will win. Of course he says that every time he runs!
Update 183: Spoke to Peter Brette who visited Barbaro later today (saturday). He was happy with Bobby, and expressed some encouragement that he was doing well (relative to the last few days). Bobby received a massage today, and subsequent to the massage slept for a couple of hours. While we need to remain very cautious, Peter's "visit report" was a little encouraging.