This is from the Detroit Free Press, issued about 40 minutes ago:
Barbaro, thought by many to be a serious contender for the Triple Crown if he won the Preakness, was diagnosed with a fracture above and below his right hind ankle. Dr. Larry Bramlage, of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, called it a "life-threatening" injury.
The horrifying scene occurred right in front of the grandstand as the field of nine headed to the first turn. The unbeaten 1-2 favorite was in the middle of the pack when he suddenly dropped back under Prado.
"During the race, he took a bad step and I can't really tell you what happened," Prado said. "I heard a noise about 100 yards into the race and pulled him right up."
The colt was noticeably favoring his right rear leg.
"It's a serious fracture. This will require pretty major surgery," Bramlage said. "Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer. His career is over. This is very life-threatening.
"Under the best circumstances, we will try to save him as a stallion."
Bramlage said a human would have to spend six weeks in bed with a comparable fracture, "with a horse that's impossible."
The 1-2 favorite, Barbaro broke through the gate before the official start, but Bramlage said that had nothing to do with the injury. After the colt was led back to the gate, the field broke cleanly.
As soon as his horse broke down, trainer Michael Matz bolted from his seat and ran onto the track where he embraced Prado. The jockey walked over to owner Gretchen Jackson and said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
She put an arm on his shoulder and said, "You did a great job."
Fans were crying in the grandstand as the strapping 3-year-old was loaded into an equine ambulance and taken away, his injured leg in an inflatable cast.
"You never expect it," Jackson said as she walked back to the barn.
The devastating development drained all the excitement from a Pimlico crowd expecting a victory by Barbaro that would have set the stage for seventh Triple try in the last 10 years.
The Triple talk is over now.
Remember yesterday when I said I believe everything happens a reason? I still don't understand this happening at all, but the "light at the end of the tunnel" for Barbaro is, if he makes a recovery from the surgery, he will be used for breeding purposes. There should be some wonderful colts from Barbaro.
For the Record Book
1 week ago