Star galloper Barbaro breaks leg

May 22, 2006

Mighty racehorse Barbaro, winner of the Kentucky Derby, has suffered a catastrophic leg fracture.

There is no doubt the unbeaten three-year-old's racing career is over, but it is hoped planned surgery will give Barbara a life as a stud horse.

Barbaro was pulled up shortly after the start of the US Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse. He was clearly favouring his rear right leg in what has proved to be a life threatening injury.

Race fans were reportedly crying in the grandstand as Barbaro was placed in an equine ambulance, his leg encased in an inflatable cast.

X-rays show that two bones low in the leg are broken and equine surgeons will use plates and screws to help repair the damage.

The surgery will be performed at the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary hospital, called New Bolton Centre, and is scheduled today.

However, it is the recovery phase that will probably prove most dangerous for Barbaro. A person with a similar injury would require weeks in bed. Barbaro could spend up to six months in a sling supporting his weight.

A veterinary surgeon has confirmed Barbaro has a broken pastern and cannon bone.