Barbaro suffers significant setback on road to recovery

Thursday, January 11, 2007
Barbaro, shown after a morning workout in May 2006 file photo, had damaged tissue removed from his left hind hoof Tuesday. (Associated Press file)

The Kentucky Derby champ will be hospitalized longer than hoped after having tissue removed from his hoof.

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. -- Every time the outlook was grim for Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner pulled through like a champ.

After months of upbeat progress reports, news came of a significant setback Wednesday because of the laminitis -- a painful, often fatal disease -- afflicting his left hind hoof.

Chief surgeon Dean Richardson removed damaged tissue from Barbaro's left hind hoof, the first bad news weeks after owners Gretchen and Roy Jackson and New Bolton's chief surgeon Dean Richardson talked about releasing the colt from the hospital by the end of the month.

"Things were marching along pretty smoothly until this," Gretchen Jackson said. "We've been there before with him. He's a horse that wants to live."

Richardson was "pulling out all the stops" to save Barbaro, placing him back in a protective sling in his ICU stall at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center. The bay colt has been here since shattering three bones in his right hind leg just a few strides into the Preakness on May 20.

"They're taking extreme measures," Jackson said. "They're treating it very aggressively. They're really pulling out all the stops to help him."

Barbaro was in stable condition, according to a statement released Wednesday morning by the Center. The tissue was removed Tuesday night.

The latest blow comes one week after a new cast was placed on Barbaro's laminitis-stricken left hind foot to help realign a bone. The cast change could have caused some inflammation.

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