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Sunday, May 21
Update 1: according to the Bloodhorse Barbaro will have surgery this afternoon (sunday). He has a fractured cannon bone and pastern on the right hind leg.
All at Fair Hill are devastated by the Preakness, which has left Barbaro's life in the balance. He is being vanned to New Bolton Center to work on his 'shattered' hind pastern. It will likely be a few days before we really know the outcome of the injury. Lets hope he recovers. As we learn more we will blog.
Update 2: Barbaro seemed to have a good night last night at New Bolton Center. He ate up and had a restful night. He was able to get up and down on his own power. These are all positive signs. Reported from Kathy Anderson, his Fair Hill vet.
Update 3: Barbaro's surgery was scheduled for 1 pm EST today (sunday).
Update 4: Barbaro's surgeon, Dr. Richardson, was flown up from Florida this morning. The procedure after the surgery is designed to have Barbaro 'wake up' in a swimming pool. He will be placed on a sling and transported to the pool. This is to help ensure that when he does wake up he does not cause himself further damage. When a horse comes out of anesthesea there is a chance they would start thrashing around, this environment limits the chances of causing further trauma from the thrashing. As he is already 'stood up' by the sling in the pool, he won't need to get up, which could obviously cause further harm to the leg. It is anticipated that this will occur sometime early this evening.
Update 5: Barbaro is now in the recovery pool (7:40 pm). He has a bone plate fusing his ankle and pastern and a caste has been placed over this. Dr. Richardson described the surgery as one of the toughest he has performed. He is awakening from anesthesea in the pool, and once he completely comes around, he will be transported via sling back to his stall later this evening (it usually takes an hour from when they are placed in the pool to when they are able to return to their stall.) Bloodhorse has a great mid surgery report (6 pm) that outlines the catastrophic nature of the injury. Also, we have some pictures of Barbaro in our gallery taken at Fair Hill last saturday. Feel free to download them.
Monday May 22
Update 6: The surgery has been considered a success, as reported in the Bloodhorse. The surgery is clearly the first step in a long road ahead for Barbaro, but it is great to hear that this first step has been successful. It appears that Dr. Richardson is more favourable about Barbaro's chances of recovery than was first thought (from reading the article, not from any other source). Dr. Richardson is quoted:
I feel much more relieved after I saw him walk to the stall than when I was loading him into the ambulance to come up here," he added. "That's for darn sure. It was an unknown area that we were going in. I feel much more confident now. At least I feel he has a chance. Last night, I didn't know what was going to go on.
Will blog once at Fair Hill and having talked to the vets here. BTW, apologies for the site crashing late last night. This site had about 6 visitors per day before Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby. Yesterday, during one hour, early evening, we had 3,000 visitors. We ran out of bandwidth apparently. This has been fixed!
Update 7: Dr. Richardson visited Barbaro at 5:30 am. He is hosting a press conference at 8 am. Seemingly all is well so far. He is comfortable, is eating well and did well through the night. One thing not picked up by the press yesterday, Barbaro literally dragged his handlers back to the stall after surgery yesterday. If attitude and disposition have anything to do with it ... All at Fair Hill are in a very sombre mood. We are hoping, keeping our fingers crossed etc. Keep the comments coming, I will make sure they get to Barbaro's team. (7:50 am)
Update 8: Bloodhorse reports Barbaro is Bright and Frisky One Day After Surgery. This is clearly a good sign, but as Richardson emphasized in the article, he is 50-50 at this point to make it. The article highlights the two issues of concern: infection from the surgery, and laminitis. It will be a long road ahead before we know whether he can make it.
Update 9: Well it seems Barbaro has survived the first 24 hours post surgery, which has to be a critical mile stone. While we have not heard anything official, it is good to know that this 'mile stone' has been passed. Recovery is fraught with risk, but here's hoping he can make it work. New Bolton Center are offering updates, the most recent from today rehashes what has already been reported. Their next update will be 3 pm tomorrow, May 23.
Tuesday, May 23
Update 10: Kathy Anderson (his Fair Hill vet) asked me if I wanted the good news this morning ... so that was a welcome relief. Barbaro ate well last night (monday night), his temperature is normal and he is a little 'fiesty' (he is trying to scratch his left ear with his left hind leg)! Its a long road ahead for sure, but these are positive signs. update: from Fair Hill Clockers stand, 7:43 AM.
Update 11: Bloodhorse confirms our earlier report that Barbaro is doing very well. Snippets from Dr. Dean Richardson include:
"Barbaro is doing very well. He's actually better today than he was even yesterday, and he was pretty good yesterday," ...
"He's walking very well on the limb. He's got absolutely normal vital signs today: his temperature, pulse, respiration attitude, and appetite. We have no shortage of volunteers to handpick him grass, so he's grazing at a distance. He's doing very well."
Update 12: New Bolton Center's 3 pm press release confirms Barbaro is progressing well. They will release a press release each day at 3pm, or when conditions warrant. We will blog them here. This press release also includes some links for donations, and an e-mail form to send well wishes to Barbaro. We do encourage you to add your comments and thoughts below. Sharing your thoughts and reading others' thoughts on this tragedy can be very helpful for all (and we will endevour to get them all to the Barbaro team.)
Wednesday May 24
Update 13: Barbaro had another good night last night (tuesday night). All signs are positive, although we have to keep in mind these are still very early days. Its good to see the 'ear scratch' from yesterday, putting weight on the right hind has to help reduce the chances of Laminitis. updated 8:15 am wednesday, clockers stand, Fair Hill
Update 14: The following is an e-mail Dr. Kathy Anderson (Barbaro's Fair Hill vet and source for much information we have been releasing) sent to her friends sunday night about the events surrounding the Preakness. She has given us permissions to reproduce it here. Apologies for any typos, they are mine, not Dr. Anderson's.
Thank you to all of you for your empathy and concern. Thought I would summarize the events of the day from my perspective at Fair Hill ...
Saturday dawned a beautiful crisp sunny May day and in schizophrenic style vacillated between blustery threats of rain and tranquil sunshine for the remainder of the day. Anxious anticipation prevailed at Fair Hill as people went about their work in order to be done to enjoy an afternoon of quality racing and what would be another page in the history of the quest for the Triple Crown. We at EVC had been cajoled into another "party" at the office to ensure the luck that had prevailed for the Derby --- naturally we agreed to do our part ... plus some --- this time we would have satellite coverage and better sound. About 200+ Fair Hill horse people crowded into the area in the late afternoon bringing their own refreshments and a pot luck array of edibles. We watched proudly as Fair Hill Training Center's best was brought to national television--- great film footage and interviews with Michael Matz, Peter Brette and Barbaro filled our hearts with pride. Post time arrived --- Barbaro's premature break from the gate surprised us --- with another horse that would have cost him the race but we believed that our Barbaro could overcome this altercation. Surprise turned to shock as our hometown hero bobbled and hobbled not 1/8th mile into the race --- shock became horror as we realized the seriousness of Barbaro's gait. The race was run but we did not see it for our hearts were crying out for Barbaro to stay upright and be able to leave the racecourse in one piece.
Those close to Barbaro's team circled together for moral support --- Peter Brette's wife Kim and 2 yr old son Nicholas, Sue Danner --- Michael's right hand person for many years, Grey --- new to the team, grooms and riders alike not able to believe that history had taken this turn. My cell phone begins to ring incessantly ... Dr. Dean Richardson calling within minutes from Florida, Dr. Scott Palmer calling, Michael Matz calling for Dr. Palmer's cell phone number --- and so it went. Barbaro transported off course back to the barn, the press reprimanded and forced back to allow digital radiographs to record the damage. Dr. Palmer reviewing the rads and discussing with the Jacksons and Michael the only viable treatment option of immediate transport to the New Bolton Center --- 1.5 hours away. A police escort up Rte 95 w/ helicopter media coverage overhead (reminiscent of OJ Simpson's famous drive) --- banners hung from 95 overpasses "God Bless Barbaro" "Pray for Barbaro"
Sue Danner and I left the deflated and rapidly departing group at Fair Hill to meet the ambulance at the ICU at New Bolton. The media had arrived before us --- security wrestled with order. Barbaro's approach was signaled by the helicopter overhead. Dr. Nunamaker (hospital chief) and Dr. Barb Dollap Greeted us and showed me the radiographs that had been e-mailed ahead --- the fractures were catastrophic ... a lateral condylar fracture that teetered on the verge of breaking the skin, a fractured sesamoid indicating significant soft tissue disruption to the attached suspensory, and a completely shattered pastern bone (P1) --- clearly it would take a miracle for Barbaro, the warrior, to survive this.
The ambulance backed right up to the ICU and Barbaro carefully maneuvered his way from the trailer to the stall -- he had been bandaged and splinted from above the hock down to his foot to encase the injury in the Kimsey brace. Careful examination indicated that he could benefit from longer splints over the cannon bone region --- these were promptly applied as he was hooked up to IV fluids and offered feed and water. Dr. Palmer and his wife arrived and continued their moral support and veterinary consultation. Within the hour Barbaro had urinated, had a drink and was eating "voraciously" (as described by Dr. Dollap). Barbaro was alive and probably as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Michael made a release to the press regarding his condition and the evening drew to a close. I took Barbaro's groom Eduardo back to Fair Hill, Sue took Michael home to rejoin his family and Peter returned to his waiting family.
Sunday --- a call from Dr. Dallap set the hopeful tone of the day. Barbaro had been eating "voraciously" all night and managed to lie down and get up several times without further damage to his leg. He appeared stable and ready to go to surgery. Dr. Richardson arrived late morning and surgery commenced --- many hours later I get the call from Dr. Richardson that Barbaro is in the recovery pool and the surgery has been completed utilizing bone plates, screw fixation, cancellous bone implants and a cast over the entire repair to protect and support the injured area.
I sob tears of relief that Barbaro is still with us and tears of sadness for what might have been ... then I start the task of letting all his concerned human friends know the "good" news --- tomorrow is another day.
Update 15: The bloodhorse reports Barbaro is continuing to do well, napping, laying down etc. NTRA has a complete transcript of the May 23 press conference. Ann Kelly, an exercise rider for Michael Matz, left a comment below (number 210) which describes the mood of the barn. Here is a quick excerpt:
The thing about Barbaro is that he loves all the attention. You will notice in his photographs he is always looking at the camera. He knows he is a big handsome horse and he knows how to work it to his advantage. I rode him a few times when he came to the barn first as a 2 year old. He always had that great spirit he shows in this races. Jig jogging out of the barn before he trained.
We plan to try to get others involved with Barbaro to comment. Finally here is another Barbaro web-site: GetWellBarbaro. Keep the comments coming!
Update 16: The New Bolton Center press release today, 3 pm states Barbaro's condition is excellent. He is stable and happy, according to Chief of Surgery, Dean W. Richardson.
Update 17: Dr. Kathy Anderson (his Fair Hill vet) went to visit Barbaro this afternoon (wednesday) with Eduardo, Barbaro's groom. True to form, they witnessed Barbaro attempting to scratch his left ear with his left hind. He is very comfortable, and for the most part resting his injured leg (which is appropriate). His stall is surrounded by good wishes, most of which come from the neighboring school, Upland Country Day School, where Muchael Matz's children, Lucy, Robert and Alex attend. There was a bag of freshly cut grass by his stall which Kathy and Eduardo could use to feed Barbaro. Of course Barbaro was very happy to see Eduardo. The bottom line --- all we have heard has been confirmed first hand, he is doing very well.
Update 18: Peter Brette (Barbaro's exercise rider and Michael Matz assistant trainer) has added a comment of thanks for all your support (comment 217) ... and you will see Barbaro has a nickname: Bobby! We have also added some pictures of the good wishes displayed outside the New Bolton Center (we took these today). Feel free to take these and any other of the Barbaro pictures.
Thurday May 25
Update 19: Barbaro had another good night last night (wednesday night). I saw Michael Matz this morning who had just received a call from Dr.Richardson. from the clocker's stand, Fair Hill, 8:30 am thursday.
Update 20: New Bolton Centers 3 PM update reiterates what we learned this morning. As it states:
According to Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery, Barbaro is progressing nicely, has totally normal vial signs and is in excellent condition.
Jennifer Duffy took these Barbaro pictures the saturday between the Derby and the Preakness at Fair Hill. Feel free to take what you may want.
Update 21: Peter Brette (Barbaro's exercise rider) visits Barbaro each day after the morning work. He just called (thursday afternoon) to report Barbaro is in good form. Everybody is happy with him. He is bright, was glad to eat the grass Peter fed to him. All in all everything is as well as it could be expected.
Friday May 26
Update 22: Barbaro had another good night last night (thursday night). It does remain a day-to-day situation. As far as we know (from a couple of conversations with those close to the situation) they will plan to remove (and replace) the cast sometime early next week, all being well (lets hope!) This will give them a chance to take some radiographs and make some assessments. Your thoughtful comments are a relief for all those following the situation, thanks for sharing, and please continue to do so.
posted friday morning, 7:40 AM
Update 23: New Bolton Center's press release confirms what we heard this morning:
As of 11:00 a.m. EST, Barbaro's condition is excellent. "He looks good, everything is fine and his appetite is particularly good," according to Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery.
Thanks Janet for the update. Also, to ensure we keep all the comments we have received (I have no idea what this system allows) we have created a separate blog entry with the first 240 comments, its at Barbaro: Your Overwhelming Response. It makes GREAT reading. Please continue to add comments, thoughts and good wishes to the comments section of this entry.
Update 24: The Bloodhorse's report today again confirms Barbaro is doing well. They also added some information about a special shoe applied to the injured leg, quote:
The latest report about Barbaro's condition included information about a special three-part, glue-on horseshoe, designed and patented by the Farrier Service at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, that was applied to the hoof on Barbaro's injured leg.
"One of the complications that can occur following leg fractures in horses is the risk of developing laminitis in the opposite foot from bearing extra weight," said New Bolton Center farrier Rob Sigafoos. "To reduce this risk, we applied a supportive shoe to Barbaro's left hind foot immediately following the surgery for the fracture of his right hind leg."
Sigafoos explained that the shoe is designed to reduce the risk of laminitis in several ways:
By supporting the sole of the left hind foot;
By containing materials that minimize weakening and possible infection of the sole;
By being built up to extend the length of the left hind foot, which compensates for the additional length of the right hind limb created by the cast.
Update 25: Peter Brette just called after visiting Barbaro again today(friday afternoon). He reports that Barbaro is doing as well as can be expected, great appetite, looks bright, perhaps a little bored. Obviously we still have a long way to go, but Barbaro continues to do as well as can possibly be expected.
Update 26: Kim Brette, Peter's wife, reports on their afternoon visit to Barbaro (Bobby) the fifth comment. A quick excerpt:
After meeting with Dr Richardson, he took us to see the champ, he looked great, happy, in no pain at all, I asked him how many mints he was allowed he said as many as he would like, we didn't go overboard, no sugar overload...he is a three year old and those of us with the human version know what too much sugar does.
One of the most touching things was how Eduardo and him were, Eduardo quietly walked in and looked every part of his body over, started picking the straw out of his tail, brushing his mane and stroking him, he truly cares about him and I think he loves going there to make sure his boy is okay.
Saturday May 27
Update 27: Barbaro had another good night last night (friday night). I spoke with Michael Matz and Kathy Anderson this morning. It seems Edgar Prado is planning to visit him tuesday next week, all being well. He received a visit from the President of the University of Pennsylvania yesterday (of course along with Peter, Kim, Eduardo and whoever else visited). New Bolton Center is part of UPenn.
update: 8:41 am Saturday morning
Update 28: The Jackson's visited Barbaro today (I think likely everyday actually) and then visited Michael Matz's barn. Peter (Brette) reports that they said how well Barbaro is doing, so today looks like another good day (saturday).
Update 29: Adding a few more pictures of Barbaro. A few more will be added tomorrow (sunday). These were taken the tuesday before the Preakness by Jennifer Duffy.