- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2006

2:32 p.m.

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. — Barbaro napped in his stall this morning, another indication the seriously injured Kentucky Derby winner is making steady progress on his long road to recovery from life-threatening leg injuries.

“I happened to peek in there today, in the [intensive care unit] this morning, and it was early and quiet, and the light was dim, and he was lying down very peacefully, sleeping in his stall,” said Corinne Sweeney, executive hospital director at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. “And I talked to Dean Richardson, and he told me Barbaro is doing very well and his condition is excellent.”

Dr. Richardson and a team of assistants pinned together the three leg bones the 3-year-old shattered in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. So far, all the progress reports have been positive, and Barbaro has been a perfect patient.

Ever since Barbaro broke down, all owners Gretchen and Roy Jackson wanted for him was a life without pain.

If their beloved colt recovers from catastrophic injuries to his right hind leg and ends up as a stallion, all the better.

“But that’s a long way from now,” Dr. Richardson said. “If he’s doing well, it’s conceivable he could possibly be breeding mares next year, but that’s way ahead of it. He’s just a few days into post-op.”

Talk of little Barbaros running around the track will have wait, but at least the Jacksons are sparing no expense trying to save their colt.

“If this horse were a gelding, these owners would have definitely done everything to save this horse’s life,” Dr. Richardson said. “If this horse could have absolutely no reproductive value, they would have saved his life.”

Even if Barbaro becomes a stallion, there still would be concerns about his ability to cover mares because of the severity of his injuries. That leads to the question of whether all this money and time would be spent if Barbaro were not the Derby winner expected to gain millions in stud fees.

“My only hope for him is that he lives a painless life,” Gretchen Jackson said. “Whether that means he’ll be a stallion and we’re lucky enough to see little Barbaros, that would be a supreme hope for him.”

“I know these people, and they love this horse,” said Dan Rosenberg, president of Three Chimneys in Midway, Ky., where Smarty Jones stands for a stud fee of $100,000. “Yes, this is a business. But at the same time if you don’t care about them, then you can’t do this.”

Roy Jackson said Barbaro was insured, and the premiums grew after the colt won the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby. The owners also have a policy that protects them in case Barbaro is unable to stand at stud.

The Jacksons could have made the decision not to go through the expense of trying to save Barbaro and likely would have collected on their policy.

“If they went to the insurance company and said they made a decision to destroy the horse, there would be no questions,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “But they didn’t.”

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