Derby Winner Barbaro's Condition Remains Stable
KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. – Barbaro's vital signs, appetite and heart rate remained normal Monday, though there was no indication the Kentucky Derby winner's condition has improved since a grim prognosis by his veterinarian last week.
The colt, who had 80 percent of his left rear hoof wall removed last week, still faces the same tough odds to survive a severe case of laminitis and a reconstructed right hind leg.
For the fourth straight day, Dr. Dean Richardson said Barbaro's condition remained stable.
"He had a restful night last night," Richardson said Monday on "Good Morning America." "That's really how we're assessing him each night as whether or not he gets up and down and sleeps well and then when he gets up that he eats normally. His vital signs are all good. He had a very good night last night. His heart rate is absolutely normal. He's eating well. If you were to see him, you'd think he's a fairly comfortable, happy horse. But his pain is being intensively managed."
Richardson, who has treated Barbaro since the colt shattered his right hind leg a few yards after the start of the Preakness Stakes on May 20, said the best case scenario is still "many months of very extensive medical care and rehabilitation."
Assistant trainer Peter Brette emerged after a Sunday morning visit to the intensive care unit and said the colt "is in a good frame of mind."
"He was bright," Brette added. "He sort of at least had a bit of sparkle in his eye."
Brette, who exercised the colt daily for trainer Michael Matz, has been visiting Barbaro almost every day since Barbaro was injured.
"We're still very worried," Brette added, "but it's very good for me to go in and see him like this."
Barbaro has casts on both rear limbs. The cast on the colt's right hind has been changed at least four times in the last two weeks at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals. A smaller cast is on the left rear hoof, and the bandages protecting it were changed Saturday, and are likely to be changed again in the coming days.
On Wednesday, veterinarians performed a procedure to remove most of the hoof wall in Barbaro's left rear leg to combat the laminitis, a painful, often-fatal foot disease usually caused by uneven weight distribution in the limbs. The disease could appear in another limb at any time, and if it does, it would likely result in the horse being humanely destroyed.
Barbaro has been listed in stable condition since Friday, the day after Richardson said the colt had laminitis "as bad as it gets" and termed his chance of survival poor.
While Barbaro's condition is being constantly monitored, it was a relatively quiet weekend around the New Bolton Center. Residents and interns tended to their rounds, checking on the many other animals in their care. One resident said he's treating two goats in the stall next to Barbaro's.
Homemade signs that implored the colt to keep fighting and that they would keep believing continued to be posted on the fence near the hospital's entrance. Other signs thanked Dr. Richardson and his staff while one read "God Bless Barbaro. Hang in There!" with a single red rose taped next to the message.
A couple from Hershey, Pa., made a side trip to the hospital and left a get-well card at the front desk before heading to the races at nearby Delaware Park.
"So many people are rooting for Barbaro to make it — he was going to be our Triple Crown winner," Dawn Templin said a few minutes after admiring the get-well cards, flowers and fruit baskets on display in the lobby. "We came here to leave a card, and just see the place where they're trying to save his life."