Archive for Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Barbaro loses fight against injury

Derby winner euthanized eight months after breaking leg

January 30, 2007


— So many people felt a stake in Barbaro's recovery. They imagined his pain, grimaced each time he faltered, took heart as each day passed and he was still alive, making painfully slow progress.

The 2006 Kentucky Derby winner's fight for survival was their fight, a symbol of strength, courage and comfort - and, more than anything else, a source of inspiration.

Finally, it was too much.

Barbaro was euthanized Monday after complications from his gruesome breakdown at last year's Preakness, ending an eight-month ordeal that made him even more of a hero than he was as a champion on the track.

"Certainly, grief is the price we all pay for love," co-owner Gretchen Jackson said.

A series of ailments - including laminitis in the left rear hoof, an abscess in the right rear hoof, as well as new laminitis in both front feet - proved too much for the gallant colt. Barbaro was given a heavy dose of a tranquilizer and an overdose of an anesthetic and put down at 10:30 a.m.

"I really didn't think it was appropriate to continue treatment because the probability of getting better was so poor," said Dr. Dean Richardson, chief of surgery at the New Bolton Center.

Not only did Barbaro win the Derby, he demolished what was supposed to be one of the toughest fields in years. The 6 1â2-length winning margin was the largest since 1946, when Assault won by eight lengths and went on to sweep the Triple Crown.

Barbaro would never get his chance at a Triple. His career, which earned $2,302,200, would end in the Preakness, where that horrible misstep would lead to his only loss in seven starts.


countrygirl 11 years, 4 months ago

Wonder how much semen they collected from the horse before they put him down? That's where the big money is these days. AI is safer for the animals and cheaper than traditional methods.

bastet 11 years, 4 months ago

Money indeed. At the bottom line, Barbaro was a financial investment, and his owners were hoping to get a return.

On the other hand, we on the outside are not in the position to clearly judge their motivations. He was a special animal, deserving of the possiblity to live the life he was destined to live. The owners had the money and wherewithal to seek for him that chance.

I suspect that they have paid out in medical expenses far more than they could have imagined. That is one of the reasons horses injured in this way are often euthanized on the track. Taking the chance for recovery--a slim one at that--is simply too expensive.

Horse racing is such a complication sport--so full of bottom-line financial issues. Horses are often treated quite badly. Then again, it is also full of people who love these beautiful and majestic animals who are bred to run and who do it so magnificently.

I wish all horses faced with these kinds of injuries were given the chance this horse had.

countrygirl 11 years, 4 months ago

From what I've heard, AI can be used, but there may be issues with registering the offspring.

fabian_zimbabwe 11 years, 4 months ago

A Marine gets killed in Iraq, and he/she gets little to no afterthought, at best.

A horse gets euthanized, and it's splashed across the front pages. No disrespect to animals (and hopefully this was for the best in the end), but come on now.

Apples and oranges? I think not. What I do think is that our priorities are severely out of whack. This is not news.

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