Barbaro’s fans celebrate his life; should probably consider getting one of their own

26 04 2007

Wet & wild!

Barbaro would have turned four this Sunday (April 29), and his fan Sharon Crumb has organized a celebration of his life at Delaware Park, site of the colt’s maiden win in October 2005. I think that’s a nice idea, and she’ll have plenty of company; apparently over 500 FOBs (Friends of Barbaro) have committed to showing up. Some things do give me pause though:

“I can’t let Barbaro go,” a choked-up Crumb said. “I won’t let Barbaro go.”


I don’t doubt for a moment that Ms. Crumb’s distress is very real, and that the death of an animal she may never have seen in person has hit her hard. I do have to ask why, however. We all grieved when his valiant fight was for naught, taking comfort in the fact that his medical saga will benefit future injured horses. Refusing to “let him go” smacks of deeper problems, or at the very least a good ol’ fashioned dramabomb. On Sunday, NBC will be airing a one-hour documentary called Barbaro: America’s Horse (not to be confused with the HBO documentary in the works). The compulsion to mark anniversaries this way is a perfect expression of what Pat Forde refers to as “drama-addicted America”.

Five months ago I wrote:

If you are still moved by Barbaro, if you really love horses, don’t send him a card. Don’t make another video pastiche for YouTube. Do something for all the other horses who don’t have the world on their side…If you really love horses, and not just because it’s cool to be sentimental over Barbaro, do something meaningful for all the horses who serve us, and suffer in silence, yet still trust humans to do the right thing. They deserve it just as much as any Kentucky Derby winner.

I still stand by what I said. If you were and are genuinely moved by Barbaro, and love horses, then for God’s sake dry your eyes, pick up a shovel, grab your wallet and get moving. He’s dead and we can do no more for him. We can remember him, yes, but if he is to live up to his fans’ claims of greatness then those fans should be working on leaving him a more tangible legacy than a heap of tear-stained tissues on the grounds of Delaware Park.

Update: Oh, all right. Here’s a slightly more sympathetic take from ESPN, The Church of Barbaro.

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Barbaro’s Kentucky Derby saddle to be auctioned for charity

3 04 2007


The saddle worn by Kentucky Derby champion Barbaro will be sold at a charity auction in May to raise money for permanently disabled jockeys.

Edgar Prado, who used the red-and-white leather saddle to guide Barbaro to a dominating victory in last year’s Derby, also used it while winning the 2002 and 2004 Belmont Stakes.

The saddle will be auctioned off at the Mint Jubilee Gala on May 4, the night before this year’s Derby.

“Barbaro was one of the greatest horses to ever run the Derby,” Prado said. “I only used the saddle for major races.”

Prado was aboard Barbaro during last year’s Preakness Stakes when the 3-year-old colt broke down in the front stretch after injuring his right hind leg.

Prado’s ability to quickly pull up and calm the horse helped doctors immediately address Barbaro’s injuries. Barbaro underwent emergency surgery after the race and spent several months in rehabilitation before being euthanized in January following complications from the injury.

Prado donated the saddle to the Jockeys’ Guild and proceeds from the sale of the saddle will go to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, a division of National Thoroughbred Racing Association Charities. There are 58 severely injured jockeys receiving vital assistance each month from the fund. Link

If you can’t get down to Louisville for that, you can also support the charity with this.

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When does it end?!

23 03 2007

Now someone’s auctioning off a Cheeto in the shape of Barbaro. How…cheesy. Link

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Barbaro documentary by HBO Sports to air in June

20 03 2007

RIP Barbaro, originally uploaded by Cowtools.


HBO Sports has begun production on a documentary that explores the triumph and tragedy of Barbaro. It will air June 6, three days before the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time.

Tracing the colt’s significant accomplishments and setbacks, Barbaro, a “Sports of the 20th Century” documentary, will chronicle his medical treatment after the 2006 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) as well as the resolute character of his eternally optimistic owners and trainer.

“The story of Barbaro is extraordinarily dramatic,” HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said. “We will tell the complete story of his remarkable life journey. One year ago, he emerged at Churchill Downs as the best 3-year-old Thoroughbred with a genuine chance at greatness. Fourteen days later, on May 20, all that changed when he suffered the devastating leg injury at the Preakness.

“The film explores this engaging animal’s will to survive and the deep love affair that many of us have with horses.”

With the cooperation of Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, Barbaro explores the many facets of the story, including the exceptional compassion displayed by trainer Michael Matz and the uncommon trust between Matz and the Jacksons.

Barbaro captures his spectacular victory and promising future; the heartbreaking events two weeks later at Pimlico Race Course; and the challenging medical procedures used to try and save the horse’s life.

Despite the odds, the Jacksons remained dedicated and never relinquished hope, with the medical expertise of Dean Richardson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, at the New Bolton Center enabling Barbaro to survive in the wake of his accident. On Jan. 29, Barbaro’s valiant struggle came to an end when he was euthanatized.

The executive producers of Barbaro are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; the producer is Margaret Grossi; and the story editor is Mary Carillo. It was written by Frank Deford, with original music composed by Brian Keane.

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Equus in the Wind

12 03 2007

Blame raincoaster.

Delaware Park renames race in Barbaro’s honour

3 03 2007

Barbaro Raring To Go, originally uploaded by seabiscuit schmiscuit.

Delaware Park has announced that it has changed the $300,000 Grade Three Leonard Richards Stakes to the Barbaro Stakes in a tribute to the 2006 Kentucky Derby champion.

The race on the turf at one and one-sixteenth miles for three-year olds will be run on July 15, the same day as the $1 million Delaware Handicap.

Barbaro broke his maiden in a turf race at Delaware Park in 2005. He was euthanized in January after complications from catastrophic injuries in last May’s Preakness.

“To be able to honor such a tenaciously spirited horse, whose remarkable career started at Delaware Park in 2005, with its own stake race, makes the racing family here extremely proud,” Delaware Park racing secretary Ismael “Izzy” Trejo said. Link

Breyer to reissue Barbaro model due to overwhelming demand

3 03 2007

Barbaro Breyer

Bowing to phenomenal demand for the critter, which had only been available from October 1 2006 to January 1 2007, Breyer announced that it will be reissuing the Barbaro model. If you missed it last time, now’s your chance.

Breyer’s Barbaro portrait model will be available for purchase through 6:00 p.m. Eastern time on April 2, 2007 at Breyer’s website at or call 1-800-735-9205. The price is $45 plus $8 each shipping and handling, limit two (2) per household or address. The model will begin shipping in July 2007 when Barbaro models will also be available from retailers. Ten dollars from the sale of each model will be donated to the Laminitis Fund at The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. The Barbaro model will include a certificate of authenticity signed by trainer Michael Matz, jockey Edgar Prado, surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson and Anthony Fleischmann, President of Reeves International, Inc. Each model will have Barbaro’s name stamped on the belly in gold ink. It will be packed in a customized, four-color Breyer® box featuring pictures and the story of his career. I’d order right away if you want one. To download an order form click here:

To make an additional donation to the Fund to Fight Laminitis, please visit:

Horse Lovers Blog Carnival II

7 02 2007

At The Very Heart Of Where The Action Is, originally uploaded by drp.

Welcome to the February 7, 2007 edition of horse lovers blog carnival.


Damian McNicholl presents Barbaro posted at Damian McNicholl’s Blog, saying, “Hello,
I thought you might like this article I wrote about Barbaro as well as the great horses I remember from my boyhood. I’m an Irish author living now in Pennsylvania and, as you can imagine, his loss was especially hard here.”

everyrider presents Barbaro – Rest in Peace posted at Every Rider, saying, “Thanks!”

Lynda Polk presents Where have all the heroes gone? posted at Hoofbeats, saying, “A short but thought-provoking perspective.”

Defrost Indoors presents Breeding out the usefulness? « Bridlepath posted at Bridlepath, saying, “Some thoughts on the state of the TB industry, and why these breakdowns are becoming far too common.”

MiKael Caillier presents MiKael’s Mania – Arabian Horses: Barbaro posted at MiKael’s Mania – Arabian Horses, saying, “The blogging about Barbaro has been all over the place from those who loved him to those that think he was just a horse. What does it all mean?”

Halt Near X presents Comments, Twelve-Month Pseudo Update, and Barbaro posted at Halt Near X.

Horse Health

Riderone presents Coming Home Today posted at Women and Horses, saying, “Getting adjusted to the idea of lameness, ill-health, etc, of one’s horse.”

Sierra Lynch presents To Know If Your Horse Has A Breathing Problem, You Must First Know This posted at Horse IQ, saying, “Equine upper respiratory issues and how to tell if your horse has one.”


Chris Dolley presents chrisdolley: Animals Behaving Typically (i.e. Badly): Part Eight (A Gelding Too Far) posted at Author Chris Dolley’s Page.

joanne presents Hints for Horseback Riding Vacations posted at Vacations with Kids, saying, “If everyone in your family loves horseback riding, you are in for many fun family vacations, because horseback riding is an easy activity to incorporate into many family vacations.”

Mona presents Horse Approved » Finding Colorful Clue – Have You Seen Me? posted at Horse Approved.

K.J. presents What’s your dream ride? « Finequine posted at Finequine, saying, “I love all kinds of riding, and have a dozen favorite breeds… but nothing like riding a good cuttin’ horse…”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
horse lovers blog carnival
using our
carnival submission form.

The next carnival is Feb. 14th and the theme is “A Love for Horses”
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page

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Barbaro roundup

30 01 2007

PREAKNESS 131, originally uploaded by Banamine.

Barbaro may be laid to rest at Churchill Downs…

Wingspan Expressions reports that over 18,000 candles from 41 countries are alight in Barbaro’s honour on a virtual candle website

The Breyer Barbaro was retired on January 1, 2007, so your best bet is probably eBay, where it’s going for ridiculous prices…

The LAist reminds us that he was “just a horse“…

Gulfstream Park and the University of Florida will honour his memory by establishing a veterinary scholarship in his name…

Philadelphia Weekly offers a hilariously cynical field guide to Barbaro messageboard factions

Here’s the official statement from Churchill Downs…

Here’s a story about Barbaro’s vet (use BugMeNot if it asks you to register)…


In Memoriam: Barbaro

29 01 2007

In Memoriam: Barbaro, originally uploaded by Shoshin Seishu.

“Certainly, grief is the price we all pay for love.”
— co-owner Gretchen Jackson.

Barbaro euthanized

29 01 2007

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was euthanized this morning, according to one of the horse’s co-owners. Over the weekend, Barbaro needed new surgery on the leg he broke in last year’s Preakness. Surgeons inserted two steel pins in one of the three shattered bones, to eliminate all weight on his right rear foot.

The leg had been on the mend until an abscess began causing discomfort last week. Until then, the major concern was the other hind leg, not the broken one. Barbaro had developed laminitis in his left rear hoof in July, and 80 percent of the hoof was removed. Link

Godspeed, big guy. 😦 You’ll never be forgotten.

Barbaro update: section of hoof removed

15 01 2007


The Bloodhorse reports that Barbaro has had another section of his left hind hoof removed this weekend in order to decrease pressure on the coffin bone, and a cast placed on his right hind for extra support. Barbaro’s current treatment includes a return to the sling pictured in this photo taken in July.

Barbaro update, and a challenge to those who say they love horses

14 11 2006

Barbaro’s cast has now been removed, and he is said to be making slow but substantial progress, say his vets.


Now, here’s where the “if you love horses” part comes in.

Barbaro has received a lot of attention in the months since the Preakness, and deservedly so; very few horses recover from that sort of injury. When I saw his jockey pull him up, and that dangling foot, my heart was in my mouth. I was somewhat relieved when they bundled him into the horse ambulance; at least he wasn’t going to be euthanized on the track, like Go For Wand was. He would not be added to the statistics for 2006, although the numbers for 2005 are horrendous enough (753 racehorses died as a result of track-related injuries that year).

If you are still moved by Barbaro, if you really love horses, don’t send him a card. Don’t make another video pastiche for YouTube. Do something for all the other horses who don’t have the world on their side.

Make a donation to the Barbaro Fund at the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine, buy a Barbaro wristband, the Breyer Barbaro, or the Barbaro print: all proceeds will benefit horse-related charities.

Volunteer at a local horse rescue, or send a donation of money, old tack and other usable goods. I’ll bet Canadian horse rescues would be happy to accept that Canadian Tire money you never get around to using.

Adopt a PMU foal, or sponsor a PMU mare.

Make your next eBay purchase from a charity or horse rescue which is trying to raise funds. MissionFish lists many of these; go to Search, then choose Environment and Protection of Animals under Nonprofit Type.

Volunteer at a local therapeutic riding centre and help someone else discover the joy that horses can bring to a person’s life.

Support Brigadier’s Law, which supports a proposal to amend the Criminal Code of Canada giving Police Service Animals the much needed protection they require, under the law. (Brigadier)

If you really love horses, and not just because it’s cool to be sentimental over Barbaro, do something meaningful for all the horses who serve us, and suffer in silence, yet still trust humans to do the right thing. They deserve it just as much as any Kentucky Derby winner.

Barbaro update

4 10 2006


A quick look at Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and how he’s progressing from lifesaving surgery and a severe case of laminitis at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa.:

MEDICAL UPDATE: Barbaro had another good week, and veterinarians have been pleased with his progress.

WHAT’S NEXT: If needed, veterinarians will change the cast on the colt’s right hind leg within the next week. The protective bandage on Barbaro’s left hind hoof is changed every day, and the horse walks and grazes each day.

QUOTE: “He is doing very, very well,” said Dr. Dean Richardson, chief of surgery at the New Bolton Center. “His appetite and vital signs continue to be excellent.” (AP)

And another, more detailed story of his life and career:

Barbaro and vet Dean Richardson, chief surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center for Large Animals, looks at Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro during an outing at the center. Barbaro has been at the center for more than four months, and the leg that was shattered in the Preakness has all but healed.

Barbaro conquers major hurdles

After two brushes with death, Kentucky Derby winner recovering, but still vulnerable

By Richard Rosenblatt – Associated Press Racing Writer

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Kennett Square, Pa.

— Led to the gate for the first race of his career, Barbaro shied away, reluctant to get started.

A mile later, after an eye-catching 81⁄2-length victory on Oct. 4 at Delaware Park, trainer Michael Matz and owners Gretchen and Roy Jackson realized they might have a special thoroughbred.

Read the rest of this entry »

Horse news in brief, 2006-07-28

28 07 2006

Poor thing! Missing horse found in Palm Beach County…

Care of Charleston carriage horses under scrutiny

Still no explanation for seven fatal breakdowns at Del Mar track…

Rare Canadian Horse foal born in PEI…

Wadworth Shire horses are off on their summer holidays

Buy one riding lesson, get the second one free

Jockey to deny causing horse’s death while Paul O’Neill apologizes for headbutt…

Barbaro stable and regrowing hoof…

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