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Barbaro recovering; injury 'catastrophic'

May 22, 2006

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is recovering from surgery to have his off-side hind leg set after breaking three bones during the Preakness Stakes at the weekend.

He was operated on at the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary hospital, New Bolton Centre, by Dr Dean Richardson, the chief surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Barbaro sustained a fracture of the cannon bone, a fractured sesamoid, a fracture of the long pastern bone, and a dislocated fetlock at the start of the Preakness.

He was pulled up about 100m into the race. Race fans were reportedly crying in the grandstand as Barbaro was placed in an equine ambulance, his leg encased in an inflatable cast. His long pastern bone was shattered into more than 20 pieces, and surgeons inserted 23 screws to the right hind leg. A team of seven worked on Barbaro. Veterinary experts said few horses with the type of injury that Barbaro sustained would be able to be saved. It is hoped he will recover from the surgery to have a stud career.

However, it is the recovery phase that will probably prove most dangerous. A person with a similar injury would require weeks in bed. Barbaro could spend up to six months in a sling supporting his weight.

The cost of the surgery and recovery could be more than $US100,000. Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, are determined to save the horse, who brought home $US1.2 million when he won the Kentucky Derby.

The Preakness was won by Bernardini.



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