KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. – Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is progressing so well he might not have the cast on his severely injured right hind leg changed for several weeks.
Dr. Dean Richardson, the surgeon who repaired Barbaro's shattered bones after the colt broke down at the Preakness Stakes on May 20, said Tuesday the prized patient has had an "incredibly good week -- far better than I would have ever hoped so far, so far, so far."
Richardson said the fiberglass cast on Barbaro's leg will be assessed daily, but there's no urgency for a change.
"Right now this horse is walking so well on his limb, walks around the stall, he's very active," Richardson said at a news conference at the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals. "If he continues to look as good as he does, he can wear this cast for several more weeks. It has been a surprisingly good fitting cast considering I thought there would be a loosening of it or swelling above it. Neither one has occurred, and that's why we're letting it stay in place."
Meanwhile, jockey Edgar Prado paid his first visit to Barbaro since pulling up the colt early in the Preakness, and was relieved by what he saw.
"It was very emotional," Prado said. "I was happy to see him doing so good, feeling so good, looking so bright. He's not out of the woods yet, but it was really good to see him making progress."
Following Barbaro's five-hour-plus surgery May 21, Richardson had said the prospects of recovery were "50-50."
That has changed slightly:
"I was going to call a news conference to say it's officially 51 percent," Richardson said, smiling. "Seriously, every day that goes by is a big day, and in terms of some of the complications, some of them were more likely to rear their head in the earlier stages in the convalescence (such as infection within 10-14 days).
Laminitis, an often fatal foot disease, or failure of the injury to heal properly can occur later, Richardson said, "but things are definitely better eight days post op. But it's still a long, long way from being discharged from the hospital."
Also making their daily visit were owners Gretchen and Roy Jackson, who live about a 10-minute drive from the hospital.
"He was just walking around when I went to see him, it was great to see," Gretchen Jackson.