No one can tell you exactly why Barbaro, America's tragic Super Horse, affected so many people, so deeply. The mere fact that his baby brother Nicanor (pictured above, being walked by exercise rider Pam Ritter at Palm Meadows in Boynton Beach, Fla.) is about to come to the racetrack for the first time has people in the horse world whispering. No one is saying "Nic" will be nearly as good as his big brother (was Jim Belushi really ever as funny as his brother John?). Well, if even if he's half as good, that will really be something.
But Barbaro's biggest legacy goes beyond the racetrack. Thousands and thousands of fans have joined an ad-hoc online community called "The FOB's," or Fans of Barbaro. The group began when Barbaro was recovering – they were texting and blogging about every medical update. Some were more than a little obsessive. But they slowly evolved into something much more. FOB's are now a real political force, fighting to end horse slaughter and working against horse abuse. They lobby in Washington for anti-slaughter legislation. And they have amazingly raised more than $1 million to buy horses otherwise bound for slaughter houses.
They've saved 2,700 horses at last count. These rescued horses are sent to retirement farms or adopted out.
Barbaro was euthanized two years ago today. Win or lose, you can't help but imagine that he'd be proud of baby brother – and prouder still of all the good work being done in his name.
Watch the Evening News tonight to see our report on Nicano and the legacy of Barbaro.