Barbaro's recovery back on track, doctor says

Horse Racing


KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. -- After a week of alarm and setback, Barbaro appeared to be back in the recovery mode yesterday in this rural southeastern Pennsylvania setting.

The Kentucky Derby winner enjoyed his second consecutive good night at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals, and remained stable - two days after his condition was downgraded to guarded.

"His heart rate and pulse are normal, and his appetite is good," Dr. Dean Richardson said in a release from the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center. "He continues to respond well, looks good and has a positive attitude."

Flowers and fruit baskets continue to arrive in droves from an adoring public after a week in which it appeared Barbaro's recovery from multiple fractures in his right hind leg had come to an abrupt halt.

On Friday, by unofficial count, a hospital receptionist said there had been no fewer than 50 deliveries of bouquets or snacks for the horse.

Barbaro broke his leg in three places with a misstep in the first 100 yards of the Preakness Stakes on May 20, and underwent a 4 1/2 -hour operation the next day.

Since then, he has gone through three more surgical procedures, including one to treat an infection in his right leg - and for cast changes.

Eighty percent of Barbaro's left rear hoof was removed Wednesday after he developed an acute case of laminitis, a disease that is often fatal in horses.

The dark bay had been fitted with fiberglass casts on both hind legs, as well as a body sling that allows him to move around.

Yesterday was Barbaro's 56th full day in intensive care at the New Bolton Center.

"We continue to monitor him very closely and we are keeping him as comfortable as possible," Richardson said.

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