Sports Outside the Beltway

Kentucky Derby Champ Barbaro on the Mend

From ABC News-

Dec. 21, 2006 — With each hesitant step, Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner who fractured his leg in the Preakness, is defying the odds.

In video released today, the bandages on his broken right hind leg were gone and he even appeared to be smiling for the camera.

The now-famous horse has a noticeable “hitch in his giddyap,” but appears well on his way to recovery — a recovery that many, including his own dedicated team of doctors, knew was a long shot.

“He was a great patient, not just a good patient,” said surgeon Dean Richardson of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “I’d say [he] was a great patient.”

Though Barbaro’s health is still at risk and he’s still showing signs of his near-fatal injury, doctors say the famous racehorse may soon be leaving intensive care.


Barbaro’s delicate surgery involved 27 screws and a stainless-steel plate followed by hydrotherapy to reduce pressure on his legs.

His recovery was right on track until the extra weight on his healthy left leg caused a severe hoof disease called laminitis.

When Barbaro was originally injured, I thought the horse would be destroyed in the end. It’s good to hear the horse is recovering but I wouldn’t want to be the one responsible for this horse’s vet bill. Seven months in intensive care! A ten-day hospital stay in 2005 for a pulmonary embolsim, including my being in the ICU for five days, resulted in a total bill just under $50,000. Thank you there is health insurance for humans but is there for horses?


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