Barbaro's owners express thanks

January 30, 2007

The owners of Barbaro, who was euthanised early today (New Zealand time), thanked the many people who offered their kind words and support during the Kentucky Derby winner's nine months of care.

"I would like now for all of us to say a prayer for Barbaro, and for all those that have loved him so much" said Gretchen Jackson, who, with her husband, Roy, attended a press conference called after the four-year-old colt was put down.

"Certainly, great is the price we all pay for love," she said.

"I am sure there are a lot of grieving people. Certainly a lot have contacted me.

"I hope that we can turn our love into an energy that supports horses throughout the world, and not just in our own country, and not just the thoroughbreds that we love so dearly, but all horses."

Roy Jackson praised the devotion of surgeon Dean Richardson and the staff of the New Bolton Centre, where Barbaro was treated after shattering a hind leg moments after the start in the Preakness Stakes last May. "They have been remarkable. Gretchen and I thank you very much."

"It's a difficult day," he told journalists.

"We hope a lot has been learned from this case that will help a lot of other horses in the future."

He said he had been overwhelmed by the positives of the experience. "There have been an awful lot of positives that have come out of this."

He said veterinary medicine had learned much from the case, and it even helped raise the profile of the anti-slaughter bill currently before the US legislature that aimed to ban the killing of horses for human consumption.

He said there was nothing, in his view, that he would have done differently throughout the entire process, including the decision made today.