Monday, January 29, 2007

A Horse Named Barbaro

Horse racing has not seen a Triple Crown winner since the late 1970's. For a brief shining moment last year, it seemed the drought might be about to end. A horse named Barbaro had not only blown away his competition in the Kentucky Derby, but his margin of victory was the largest since 1946.

Barbaro was heavily favored to win the second leg of the crown, The Preakness, until one of his hind legs was shattered mere yards out of the gate. Jockey Edgar Prado did an amazing job reigning in the stricken Barbaro, but the damage had been done.

The reason horses don't do well with leg injuries is that if they begin favoring the opposite limb, all that extra weight causes the good leg to develop a condition called laminitis. The prognosis for Barbaro in the days after his injury was not good. Yet despite occasional setbacks, he proved himself to be a fighter, and for much of the last seven months his doctors were increasingly optimistic.

Over the weekend, however, things suddenly took a turn for the worse. Earlier today Barbaro lost his fight to survive.

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