- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2006

1:18 p.m.

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. (AP) — There was more good news today on Barbaro’s recovery from a catastrophic injury to his right hind leg.

“He’s actually better today than he was even yesterday, and he was pretty good yesterday,” Dr. Dean Richardson said. “He’s walking very well on the limb, absolutely normal vital signs. He’s doing very well.”

Barbaro was on his feet in his stall, even scratching his left ear with his left hind leg just two days after Dr. Richardson and a team of assistants spent more than five hours pinning together the leg bones he shattered in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

The surgery was performed at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center.

“We’ve run the gamut of emotions from the euphoria of the Kentucky Derby to the devastation of the Preakness,” owner Roy Jackson said. “The sad part is that in Barbaro’s case, that the American public won’t get a chance to see him continue his racing career. Even though he ran so well in the Kentucky Derby, we probably didn’t see his greatest race. But that’s water over the dam. We’re just glad we jumped a hurdle here so far.”

Dr. Richardson added that the Jacksons’ main concern was for the health of Barbaro, not for the millions of dollars the colt could make as a stallion if he recovers completely.

“If this horse were a gelding, these owners would have done everything to save this horse’s life,” Dr. Richardson said. “I’ve known the Jacksons a long time. If this horse had no reproductive value, they would have saved his life.”

The strapping 3-year-old colt has been a perfect patient from the start. With a fiberglass cast on his right hind leg and a staff of veterinarians keeping 24-hour watch, standing around is the best thing — the only thing — Barbaro can do.

Despite the good initial reports, doctors guardedly have given Barbaro a 50-50 chance for survival. There’s still concern about infection, including laminitis ? an often fatal disease sometimes brought on by uneven weight balance.

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