Barbaro’s 6 1/2 length win of the 2006 Kentucky Derby was the largest win margin since 1946, when Assault won it by 8 lengths. Barbaro was only the 6th undefeated horse in the history of the race to win the Derby. His racing career earnings were $2,302,200.
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On May 20, 2006, Barbaro ran in the Preakness Stakes as a heavy favorite, but, after he false-started, he fractured three bones in and around the fetlock of his right hind leg. The injury ruined any chance of a Triple Crown in 2006 and ended his racing career. The next day, he underwent surgery at the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania for his injuries. In July he developed laminitis in his left rear leg. He underwent five further operations, and his prognosis varied during an exceptionally long stay in the Equine Intensive Care Unit at the New Bolton Center. While his right hind leg eventually healed, a final risky procedure on it proved futile because the colt soon developed further laminitis in both front legs. His veterinarians and owners concluded that he could not be saved, and Barbaro was euthanized on January 29, 2007.
Barbaro was cremated shortly after he was euthanized. On January 29, 2008 it was announced that his remains would be interred in front of an entrance to Churchill Downs, and that a bronze statue of Barbaro would be placed atop his remains. The Jacksons chose to place his remains outside of both Churchill Downs and the adjacent Kentucky Derby Museum to allow his many admirers to pay their respects without having to pay an admission fee.
I often wonder had he had not broken his right hind leg in 20 places, in the Preakness, would he be held in such high esteem? No doubt he was an extraordinary race horse and had every chance in the world of becoming the Triple Crown winner. He won America’s heart with his gallant struggle to survive all the surgeries with their attendant problems. Barbaro was a gallant lad.
Video of Barbaro Winning 2006 Kentucky Derby
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