'We're in a Marathon,' Says Barbaro's Vet
by The Associated Press
Date Posted: 7/20/2006 8:05:19 AM
Last Updated: 7/25/2006 12:49:36 PM
By DAN GELSTON
AP Sports Writer
Day to day, for six straight days now, the reports on Barbaro have been good.
Good vitals, good attitude, stable.
Dr. Dean Richardson is looking way beyond those daily updates, however.
"His condition is not likely to change really fast any time soon," said Richardson, the chief surgeon attending the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner at the New Bolton Center. "We're in a marathon at this point.
"The issue is months, not days," he said Wednesday. "He has a long, long way to go."
As most racing fans know, the 3-year-old colt is recovering from a shattered right hind leg, which broke in three places shortly after the start of the Preakness (gr. I) on May 20, and severe laminitis in his left hind leg.
During a press conference last week, Richardson said the horse's prognosis for recovery was "poor," especially since most of the left rear hoof was cut away because of the often-fatal disease.
That hasn't changed.
"I'd be laughed out of the profession if I said this horse's prognosis is anything but poor," he said during a brief telephone interview from the center.
Richardson said Barbaro's condition shouldn't take any sudden turns -- for better or worse -- because it takes a long time to recover from laminitis.
"It is possible he could have a bad night, but it could be just a bad hour and we wouldn't go crazy about that," Richardson said.
He also said the shattered right hind leg, reconstructed with pins and plates, is "going in the right direction."
"Every day I'm encouraged," Richardson said. "No one wants to quit on this horse. No one wants him to suffer."
Casts on the horse's hind legs were changed Monday, and Richardson said the left one will be changed often so the laminitis can be treated. So far, he likes the way the hoof is healing.
"It looked as healthy as you could have expected it to look. I was very pleased," he said. "If you're not used to looking at that sort of thing, it might not look healthy."
Barbaro needs to regrow that hoof if he is to have any shot of walking -- albeit with a hitch in his gait. That might not happen until early next year, if at all.
"We're still talking months, many, many months," Richardson said. "We're talking about six-plus months, as far as how long to go if he grows one. The next few weeks, that's very important."