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What's In Store For Barbaro?

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was "bright and appropriately frisky" Monday after surgery to repair his broken hind leg, even showing an interest in mares, but the colt still faces a long and perilous road to recovery.

Dr. Dean Richardson, who performed the intricate five-hour operation, was satisfied with the result, but was blunt about the future for a horse who was unbeaten before breaking down in the Preakness Stakes.

Richardson, who operated on Barbaro at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center for Large Animals on Sunday, said the horse's chances for survival were still 50-50.

Michael Matz, who trained the 3-year-old colt to six straight wins before the grotesque injury ended its unbeaten run Saturday, paid the horse a visit Monday and was encouraged by what he saw.

"He looked pretty bright just now," Matz said. "You can't ask for anything more. He was very alert and seemed fine."

Barbaro, fitted with a fiberglass cast, was standing in his stall at the center's intensive care unit earlier Monday and showed interest in several mares in the vicinity.

"He got through the night very well, day one and into day two is going as well as expected," Corinne Sweeney, a veterinarian and the hospital's executive director, said Monday. "He is standing on the leg, and with the appropriate amount of weight on it.

"He also showed appropriate interest in the mares, which means he's acting like a young colt should."

Barbaro may be feeling some pain now, but during the Preakness, when Barbaro broke three bones, he likely wasn't in much pain, another equine specialist told CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi. And it's likely the jockey knew about the injury before Barbaro did.

"It actually doesn't hurt real bad because he had a lot of adrenaline going," Dr. Larry Branlage said.




After his afternoon visit Monday, Matz smiled often — an improvement over the evident fatigue of the night before.

"We've got the first step accomplished," he said. "He seemed fine. It's a new thing for him also to have this big thing on his leg and hopefully he's adjusting to it very well."

Sweeney said there are two major concerns in the first days of recovery — the possibility of infection from the surgery and laminitis, a potentially fatal disease sometimes brought on by uneven weight balance.

"He's doing exactly what the doctor wants, but he's got a long road ahead," Sweeney added. "A lot of possible problems that could occur have not.

Earlier Monday, Richardson emphasized that the horse had a long road ahead, and would never race again.

There is "absolutely no chance of this horse racing again. There's none," Richardson said on The Early Show. "We're salvaging him as a breeding animal. The idea is to try and make him comfortable enough that he could basically go to a stud farm and breed mares. That's what we're trying to accomplish."

"He looks happy this morning. It's a long way to go. But this morning he looks happy," Richardson told co-anchor René Syler. Still, "Any one day could be the last day."


Barbaro's surgery to repair three bones shattered in his right rear leg at the Preakness went about as well as Richardson and trainer Michael Matz hoped. It wasn't long after surgery when Barbaro began to show signs he might make it after all.

After a dip into a large swimming pool before he was awakened — part of New Bolton's renowned recovery system that minimizes injury risk — Barbaro was brought back to his stall, where he should have been calmly rested on all four legs.

Barbaro had other ideas.

"He decided to jump up and down a few times," Richardson said, smiling. "But he didn't hurt anything. That's the only thing that really matters. It had Michael worried."

That's not much to worry about after the agony of the previous 24 hours. Barbaro sustained "life-threatening injuries" Saturday when he broke down Saturday only a few hundred yards into the 1 3-16th-mile Preakness. The record crowd of 118,402 watched in shock as Barbaro veered sideways, his right leg flaring out grotesquely.

Barbaro sustained a broken cannon bone above the ankle, a broken sesamoid bone behind the ankle and a broken long pastern bone below the ankle. The fetlock joint — the ankle — was dislocated.

Richardson said the pastern bone was shattered in "20-plus pieces."

The bones were put in place to fuse the joint by inserting a plate and 23 screws to repair damage so severe that most horses would not be able to survive it.

Horses are often euthanized after serious leg injuries because circulation problems and deadly disease can arise if they are unable to distribute weight on all fours.

Barbaro's injury came a year after Afleet Alex's brush with catastrophe at the Preakness. Turning for home, the horse was bumped by another and nearly knocked to his knees before gathering himself and going on to win.

Roses, other assorted flowers and cards from fans and admirers expressing well wishes were delivered to the center and displayed in the lobby. One sign said "Be Well Barbaro." Two apples and five carrots, some of a horse's favorite snacks, lay next to the flowers.

"I feel at least better that we've made every effort to save his life," Matz said. "At least he has the chance now to have a career as a stallion."

Barbara Dallap, a clinician at the center, was present when Barbaro arrived at the center Saturday night.

"When we unloaded him, he was placed in intensive care and we stabilized him overnight," Dallap said. "He was very brave and well behaved under the situation and was comfortable overnight."

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