Story of the Decade: Barbaro Captures the Heart of a Nation

No story in the past decade transcended the Sport of Kings more than Barbaro’s eight-month struggle to survive, during which he had to undergo major surgeries and numerous procedures, and live in constant discomfort. All of America became engrossed in his story, and each time Barbaro battled back he reached deeper into people’s hearts, whether they knew anything about racing or horses. To everyone, he became a symbol of courage and determination.

The following is an editorial that was printed in The Blood-Horse magazine and following Barbaro’s death. It is my tribute to a gallant warrior, who united a nation in hope, prayer, and admiration.

Fairy tales are not supposed to have unhappy endings. Barbaro was to leave New Bolton Medical Center, walking soundly with his head held high, and live happily ever after. But Thoroughbreds, despite the fairy tales they inspire, live in a different realm than Walt Disney.

So, on the morning of Jan. 29, Dr. Dean W. Richardson, head of surgery at New Bolton Medical Center, made the somber announcement most everyone had been prepared to hear more than eight months earlier. Barbaro had been euthanized. The wave of grief that was anticipated back then now came swiftly and unexpectedly.

After so many months of hope and high expectations, Barbaro’s fight for life and the miracle story he had written were over. One did not have to hear Richardson’s words to know they were as heavy as the millions of hearts around the world that had embraced Barbaro and his struggle to survive.

What made the news of Barbaro’s death even harder to accept was that only a month earlier, talk had begun about the colt’s possible release from New Bolton. When Richardson, although still guarded, said that Barbaro’s release could come in the “not so distant future,” it brought a wave of elation and optimism. The horse was happy, eating, and enjoying his daily walks and grazing sessions. Christmas brought a deluge of cards and gifts to New Bolton, and spirits were high.

But just a month later, Dr. Richardson and owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson were forced to come to the realization that they had run out of miracles.

Having witnessed live the shocking breakdown of Ruffian and the horrific spills of Go for Wand and Pine Island, it is difficult to come to terms with the question: which is worse, watching the quick, relatively painless deaths of those magnificent fillies, or riding the roller-coaster of emotions that continued for more than eight months with Barbaro, ultimately leading to the same fate?

The answer, at least in Barbaro’s case, is the latter. The colt proved that greatness does not have to be achieved only on the racetrack. His incredible will and indefatigable spirit kept him alive long enough to show the world just how much emotion is capable of pouring out of one’s heart for a Thoroughbred racehorse, and how far the field of veterinary medicine has come. It just hasn’t come quite far enough; maybe it never will.

It was not disease or injury that ended Barbaro’s life; it was recovery. If there is a flaw in nature’s power of healing, it is that it cannot be applied to the Thoroughbred, to whom the words stationary and prone do not co-exist. Infused with the fiery blood of its ancestors, the Thoroughbred’s impetuous nature sadly is in constant conflict with its fragile legs, and it is that nature that often leads to its demise.

Rather than dwell on the outcome, it is best to concentrate on the heroic efforts that were made to save a horse that lived eight months longer than he was supposed to. It is best to concentrate on an unknown veterinarian, whose dedication, wit, and wisdom turned him into a James Herriot-like figure.

But what of future incidents of this nature regarding high-profile horses? Had Barbaro lived, similar efforts likely would have been made. But when Barbaro died, hope died with him, and without hope, you have to wonder if owners will be willing to invest the money and emotions needed to save a horse with this type of catastrophic injury. To come this close and defy such long odds, it would be a shame if others didn’t follow in the footsteps paved by Barbaro and Dr. Richardson.

Although Barbaro had to endure a great deal of physical and mental anguish, he also experienced the ultimate in human kindness and compassion, while being pampered like the noblest of kings. And he leaves behind a legacy that far transcends his stunning victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Cervantes said, “The guts carry the feet, not the feet the guts.” Barbaro’s guts carried his feet to victory after victory. But they carried his heart a lot farther.


Leave a Comment:



Barbaro's battle to live was such an emotional thing for me.  It looked as though he was going to make it then I went on that January and saw where he had been put down.  The tears immediately came and I was devastated that Barbaro had lost his battle.  He fought so hard and he so deserved to survive and have a happy life.  Some months later there was a special about it on TV and his Doctor was interviewed and with tears in his eyes and in his voice, he said he had to tell Barbaro that he was putting him down.  He said he couldn't do it without telling him first.  Oh, my God.  I sat there and cried like a baby.  That Vet loved that horse after having spent so much time trying to save his life and having to put down that noble animal was so hard for him and such a horrible loss of life of that magnificent horse.  I have tears rolling down my face right now.  I loved that horse and his courage and spirit.  God bless his huge heart.

31 Dec 2009 11:14 AM

Outstanding tribute to a true Champion.

May, I, also, nominate you, Mr Haskins, for "Writer; Not Only For The Decade, But, For the Ages"?

31 Dec 2009 11:18 AM

Wow...beautifully written. I kept thinking about the breeding aspect of Barbaro while reading this article: Mr. Prospector lineage is prone to fragile ankles none-the-less.

Barbaro was amazing too when one read about the bond he had with his caregivers, in and out of New Bolton: It was said more than once that Barbaro was a very smart horse. One who understood how to interact with his caregivers: Let's not forget that the magnificent Ruffian awakened from anesthesia and re-injured herself, sealing her fate.  I also thought of Eight Belles' injury so close in time to the demise of Barbaro.

It will be interesting to see if Lentenor, as predicted, will live up to the rumor that he is Barbaro re-incarnated as many- including Gretchen Jackson- have noticed a familiar decorum about Lentenor which Mrs. Jackson has been quoted as saying has her wondering if Barbaro has been reincarnated through his brother-we can only hope and watch this colt on the track in 2010.  Barbaro is one of those beings that all of us take with us, those of us who loved him and his fight to survive. Barbaro never really died. Bravo Steve Haskin.

31 Dec 2009 11:24 AM

Thanks for the article,it is nice to know he is still foremost in our thoughts and our hearts and always will be.Love you Barbaro!

31 Dec 2009 11:47 AM

Steve, as always a magnificent piece and I still think about Barbaro and his courage - a TB quality we can all learn from! Happy New Year!


31 Dec 2009 11:49 AM
Blue Blue Sea

Beautiful thoughts - totally agree that this is the story of the decade.

31 Dec 2009 11:52 AM

Thank you.  

Even if you are making me verklempt at work.

I continue to think of Barbaro this year.  2009 has been a great year for racing, but I think two things that made it feel even better were the lack of catastrophic injuries on our big days and that it felt like we were emerging from a period of mourning.   I stopped holding my breath a little during each race and just enjoyed again.  The triumphs felt a little bigger and more emotional.  Joy was back in the sport.

Let's just hope again.  That didn't die with Barbaro.  I like to think it was just resting and waiting.

31 Dec 2009 11:52 AM
Greg J.

"It is my tribute to a gallant warrior, who united a nation in hope, prayer, and admiration."

Bravo and Thank You Mr. Haskin...

Hope You and Your Family have a Great New Year...

31 Dec 2009 12:16 PM

Thank you.  Now i need a box of kleenex.  I was in Saratoga Springs at the pavillion for the hall of fame ceremony when Edgar was inducted.  There wasn't a dry eye in the house when he spoke about Barbaro.  Dr. Richardson, i can't say enough good things about him. He is genuine and he truly cared about Barbaro, as do we all.  Happy New Year everyone.

31 Dec 2009 12:43 PM

We were priviledged to have experienced him.  He is the horse that brought me back to racing.  No other horse will ever be in my heart more.  It is amazing to me that every time I go to a race track with my Barbaro shirt or hat, I am stopped by people who want to talk about him.  Hard-core bettors just shake their heads and say "that was a magnificent horse."

His story shows how much the public loves these animals.  It grew because of the love the Jacksons and Michael Matz displayed to the public every day.  Let's hope all owners rise to their example.  The Jacksons continue to share their story by allowing fans to follow his siblings.  This simple act has allowed me and many others to learn more about this sport I now love.

31 Dec 2009 12:53 PM

I am so glad Barbaro has won thus, he really deserves it. I first fell in live with barbaro and American horse racing when I accidentally, stumbled across a tribute to him

on YouTube. It makes me sad that I never watched him race live, but ever since that moment I have bought his books, teddies, everything. I am 16 and I hope to grow up to be an equine vet and help horses like Barbaro. When ted durcan said "it's all barbaro"- I will remember it forever

31 Dec 2009 12:55 PM
Ida Lee

OMG I thought I was through crying for Barbaro, apparently not. The beautiful Barbaro was really just a baby when he was taken from us. But he will live in our hearts forever. It will be the Barbaro who gave us that incredible KD run who will live in our hearts. It will be the Barbaro who fought for his life in spite of the odds against him who we will treasure. He had the same fire in his eyes at New Bolton that he had at CD. It took laminitis taking all four of his legs to end his fight for life. That is indeed the sign of the true Champion - he may have lost the battle, but he fought every step of the way. I do thank his connections and of course Dr. Richardson for putting everything they had to save this magnificent animal. We'll never forget our beutiful hero. And now let's pray for our Kip Deville who is struggling for his life and slipping away from us. And thank his connections for loving him and doing whatever is needed to help our beautiful Champ make it through this dreadful illness.

31 Dec 2009 1:11 PM
Jclson(Fan of Nicanor)

I have to agree with you.  Barbaro touched alotof lives.  I believe there was a reason why he came and went so quickly and only God knows why.  This is only my opinion but Lentenor is very close to barbaro he is so cl ose i am having a hard time looking at Lentenor and not get emotional.  I don't know if Barbaro was reincarnated ornot.  but It sure has me wondering.  

31 Dec 2009 1:12 PM

Powerful stuff.  He still evokes so much emotion from us, doesn't he? This was really a decade of highs and lows, from Barbaro and Eight Belles to Rachel and Zenyatta. Here's to more highs than lows in the next decade.  

Happy New Year to all!

31 Dec 2009 1:36 PM

Has to be the story of this and maybe any other decade.....gut wrenching, emotional and sad.

31 Dec 2009 1:38 PM

This brought tears to my eyes.

Very, very, well written.

May he Rest In Peace.

Still missing him everyday <3

31 Dec 2009 1:39 PM

Thanks for a great article Steve!!!!

31 Dec 2009 1:41 PM
Virgil Fox

Thank you Steve.

- Peace

31 Dec 2009 1:43 PM
Jamie Gillispie

As a very honored member of a horse advocacy group called The Fans of Barbaro, I just want the horse racing world to know that Barbaro's story did not end on January 29, 2007.  Our hope didn't die that day, it was transformed.  Our focus shifted from a miracle for Barbaro, to honoring his great courage by helping other horses in need.  To date, our group has saved the lives of over 3,100 horses.  Barbaro's spirit lives on in each of these horses and in the heart of everyone who loves him. The Legacy continues. Thank you Mr. Haskin for honoring our Beloved Barbaro!

31 Dec 2009 1:59 PM

Reading about Kip Deville's grim prognosis has put Barbaro back in my thoughts recently, along with the death of Washington DC sportscaster George Michael on the 24th.  On the day Barbaro died, horseman Michael praised the staff at New Bolton and added that if love could have saved a horse, Barbaro would be alive today.  Thanks for re-publishing this lovely tribute to a special horse.

31 Dec 2009 2:10 PM

Goodness Steve, Here comes the memories and tears again for our beloved Barbaro. I guess it will be with me forever and everyone else as well. That is defintily the down side to horseracing. Everytime I watch any kind of special or think about him, I cry.

Life isn't suppose to be this way for these beautiful creatures, but it is. they're not just animals they are our hero's and we need to always remember what each one does and has done for us and this sport.  Thankyou, Steve and I hope you always keep us informed on our ladies that retire into motherhood this year as well.  I know I want to always follow Zenyatta, in her life , foal after foal, doesn't matter to me, as long as I know how she is doing. RA and the others as well.

God bless our beautiful racehorses, all over the world.

31 Dec 2009 2:16 PM

I was at the Derby in 2006 waiting for Barbaro to take on the nations best 3 year old horses and a group of women sitting next to us asked us who was going to win the Derby.  I said, "That's easy the 8 horse they print it right on your ticket!" She looked at me kind of puzzled and I said, "Look at your ticket!"  She looked at her ticket and laughed and said, "I guess that means the 8 horse is going to win."  After the beautiful Barbaro came roaring past us for the win all the women thanked me for pointing out the winner is printed on the ticket.  We laughed about it the rest of the day.  As people walked by all the women bragged about having the winner because it was printed on the ticket.  A day I will always remember.

31 Dec 2009 2:29 PM

Gosh, I got to get off of this particular blog of yours Steve, I just can't keep reading these posts about Barbaro, I am going to have to hide in a room by myself so everyone can't see me crying and tearing up.  Damn, I need a nerve pill, this is bringing back too many sad memories for me.

I can't stand the word I see on here( and other sites as well) quite frequently and the word is, EUTHANIZE.

It really is heart wrenching when you remember how hard Barbaro fought and then it came down to him being euthanized, it just breaks my heart. Have a great NEW YEAR, STEVE AND EVERYONE ELSE TOO.

31 Dec 2009 2:29 PM

Steve, I feel privledged to have witnessed Barbaro's greatness both on and off the track and I feel it a privledge to be able to read your writtings on this and many other subjects. Thank you Barbaro for your heart and thank you Steve for your talent to write about it.

Happy New Years to all and may Barbaro's siblings carry on his legend.


31 Dec 2009 2:32 PM

Thanks Mr. Haskins for honoring Barbaro with your words.  He was "otherwordly" on the track.  His courage from May 20, 2006 to January 29, 2007 is something we all should remember and apply to our own lives.  He inspired me every day.  I was honored to see him at Keeneland before the derby.  What a magnificant horse!

31 Dec 2009 2:46 PM

Barbaro had true champion fire in his came from his true champion heart.

31 Dec 2009 3:00 PM

Barbaro & his legacy are definitely the story of the decade. Glad he will never be forgotten.

31 Dec 2009 3:10 PM

I remember the day the news came across that Barbaro had been euthanized.  Broke my heart, and I had to leave work early.  I just was not prepared for it.  I thought that he was going to make it.  And now poor Kip Deville has the same laminitis battle.  Such heartache!  RIP Barbaro.  Thanks Steve for your many articles that enrich our lives.

31 Dec 2009 3:11 PM

Sooo beautifully written, thank you, Mr.Haskin.

"For the love of one horse, we began. For the love of all horses, we continue."

Call me a proud FOB.

31 Dec 2009 3:15 PM

Steve, Thanks for the tribute and remembrance of Barbaro.  None of us have forgotten him and never will.  He was 'Prince Valiant'.  I say goodmorning and goodnight to him each day as I look at his photograph.

31 Dec 2009 3:22 PM
Deborah A.

Few creatures are born who leave an indelible mark on the world forever.  Barbaro was one of those creatures.

Barbaro ignited and re-ignited a love for horses in thousands upon thousands of people.  The world will continue to be a better place due to the work done in his name.   I just wish he had lived to see it. . .  Miss you forever, Big Bay One.

Thank you Steve for a beautiful article.

31 Dec 2009 3:51 PM
Steve Haskin

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and to thank you all for your comments and kind words all year.

31 Dec 2009 3:53 PM
sabina louise pierce

Thanks Steve,

I know I am a better person for having been in his presence.

Also the Staff at New Bolton gave every bit of their hearts and head trying to save him.  I will never forget Big B and what he did for me!

31 Dec 2009 4:00 PM
John T

 A lot of horses die each year with the disease that Barbaro had.What made this case so different was the fact that the Jackson,s done everything within their power to try and save the horse.It was a great compliment to an outstanding thoroughbred and one that toouched the heart of people who love horses worldwide.

 Thank-you for your good stories

over the year and best wishes to you for 2010.

31 Dec 2009 4:05 PM
Kim R

Steve, once again you've taken my breath away! Beautiful piece about a beautiful boy that we lost too soon.  Happy New Year to you!

31 Dec 2009 4:12 PM
Paula Higgins

Another brilliant article Steve. I am heartbroken allover again. I loved this horse and followed his progress daily. I will NEVER forget him. That goes for the Jacksons who did everything they could to save him and for Dr. Richardson and the staff at New Bolton. They fought a desperate battle, and even though the end wasn't what we wanted, he brought thousands of new fans to the sport, including me. The day the Jacksons and Dr. Richardson spoke on t.v. after they euthanized him was heartrending. It broke my heart to see their anguish, while trying to keep a stiff upper lip when speaking to the media. They showed the best of what it means to be a human being and I will be forever grateful for everything they tried to do. Barbaro will always have the number one place in my heart for horses and Steve you are one hell of a writer. I am sitting here fighting back the tears.

31 Dec 2009 4:35 PM
Barb AZ

He was a true champion in every meaning of the word. Thanks for this wonderful article!

31 Dec 2009 4:36 PM

I'll never forget Brian Williams that night: " and women and children across this country cried today when they learned that Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner, had been put to sleep."

Yes, we certainly did.

31 Dec 2009 5:03 PM

Steve, thank you barely scratches the surface of my gratitude for your reprinting this excellent article, for naming Barbaro as the story of the decade.  Indeed.  Thank you.

May you have all the very best in the New Year!

31 Dec 2009 5:12 PM

Happy Blessed Prosperous New Year!

Thanks Steve!

31 Dec 2009 5:15 PM

Brillant article, Steve.  It captures our feelings for a courageous and gallant horse.  I particully like the comment that Barbaro "proved that greatness does not have to be achieved only on the racetrack".  He has inspired and continues to inspire so many to help with all issues of equine welfare.  What a horse for the ages.

31 Dec 2009 5:21 PM

I hope Kip Deville can win his fight!Keeping him in my thoughts and praying.

31 Dec 2009 5:36 PM

Add me to the list of people crying while reading your wonderful tribute to Barbaro.  I got to see him while he was at Keeneland and he was beyond breathtaking.  He was "the one".  The photo book produced about the Derby had so many Derby race photos of Barbaro with all four feet off the ground.  The photographers commented that they'd never taken so many photos of one horse with him always completely off the ground.  He could fly!  That same book showed photo after photo of Peter Brette intently focused on Barbaro and oblivious to the Derby madness.  He knew what that horse was going to be.  

Can somebody please refresh my memory as to what Mrs. Jackson said the day we lost Barbaro?  It was something like, "Grief is the price we pay for love."  So true.

31 Dec 2009 5:47 PM

Magnificent article! Thanks for remembering this amazing creature.  It was truly a wonderful, tragic love story between humans and a horse.  Barbaro just didn't know how to quit, even though the odds were totally against him.  He inspired us all to keep going and showed that animals are worth caring about.  They are family.

31 Dec 2009 5:56 PM
Renee Antaya

One look in those eyes and he changed me forever. I am still not the same, and will carry this Great Champion in my heart until we meet and even then.

God Bless you always Champion of my heart. I love you!

Happy New Year Barbaro!

31 Dec 2009 5:57 PM

RIP Barbaro!! You are forever in the hearts of all who watched you run and who followed you as you tried to overcome overwhelming odds... here's a nice tribute to Barbaro:

31 Dec 2009 6:10 PM
Judy ~ Burbank, CA

Steve ~ another masterpiece.

Some of us can remember very few things that happen during our lifetime. However, on my list is the day BARBARO won the Derby, his horrific breakdown at the Preakness ~ the country wept TOGETHER, and the day I heard he was euthanized. Once again the country wept TOGETHER. I was at work and could not contain my emotions...

Forever in our hearts: BARBARO.

31 Dec 2009 6:11 PM

Steve, you really blew me away with this story about Barbaro. I read every comment and will continue to read with tears and rememberance...for a fallen horse hero...

painting and pictures do not show the true beauty of Barbaro, his video's showing his living being are the best....I dreamed of Barbaro the night he died and what a dream it never to be forgotten...

Thanks Steve and Happy New Year..

31 Dec 2009 7:23 PM
Soldier Course

We use the term "connections" to refer to a horse's humans. In Barbaro's case that's just not good enough. For him, they were family, at home, at the track and training center, and at New Bolton Center.

31 Dec 2009 7:30 PM
Carrie - Paris, ky

Just rereading about Barbaro really tears at my heart.  I remember being at the derby, at the finish line and just screaming "triple crown, triple crown" as he galloped past the finish line.  He was an inspiration and brought much needed attention to the problem of founder.  His death was not in vain.

31 Dec 2009 7:31 PM

We have had quite a few near misses for a Triple Crown winner the past dozen or so years, and even though Barbaro did not get to that point, I still thought he was the one.  Watching him come down the stretch in the Derby brought tears to my eyes and I could not wait for the Preakness.  Unbeknownst to me or anyone else, the next tears we would be shedding would be for very different reasons.  The following Monday at work (equine clinic), there was hardly a client that didn't mention Barbaro. When I saw copies of his x-rays, the tears started all over again.  I am only a receptionist, but even I knew his prognosis was grave.  Every day I would wait for the news of his passing, but it did not come and I became more and more hopeful.  Then the worst case scenario happened, laminitis, but he still soldiered on.  Towards the end I truly thought he would go home and at least be able to enjoy leisurely strolls through his paddock and naps in the sunshine.  I am sure he is enjoying those things now, I just wish we were able to witness them.  And even though I had hoped he was the next Triple Crown winner, I was even more anxious to see him run again on the grass.  I think he was as good it not better on turf.  Well, in my dreams.

P.S. Mr. Haskins, just a thought for a future article/discussion (forgive me if you have already done this topic, but this blog stuff is very new to me).  I have numerous times recently read that if so and so had won the Triple Crown, it would have saved racing or racing would not be in the trouble it is now.  Personally, I do not think the lack of a Triple Crown winner has anything to do with it.  I mentioned it above because Barbaro was on the Triple Crown trail, but that is just one part of the racing season.  There is so much more to racing than the Triple Crown, and we need to support all of it.  Yes it is exciting to watch the cream of the crop, but there is good racing in all of the divisions.  You, or should I say we just need to be watching.

P.S.S. I would also like to thank you for sharing so much of your knowledge and love of racing with us, and look forward to the coming year of Hangin' With Haskin.  Happy New Year!

31 Dec 2009 8:14 PM

Steve thank you for bringing back this story about Barbaro as the story of the decade. I was watching the day he broke down and all the months after that he lived. When they put him down I thought my heart would break.Such a fighter he was.Steve I want to thank you for all the stories I've read of yours you bring back the lives of these fine thoroughbreds we get to relive them if only for a while. Alot of them I knew and alot I did'nt but thru you I've learned so much about the ones I did'nt know.Also you have so many knowledgeable people on this blog that help to. You are a great writer and should be writer of the decade. Your love  for these animals clearly comes thru in every piece. Thanks again and here's hoping everyone has a wonderful New Year!

31 Dec 2009 8:16 PM
Julie L.

My thoughts have been with Kip Deville during this time and I can only hope that what the doctors learned from Barbaro can maybe...just maybe help save beautiful Kip. My friend Gail and I have lit a candle for Kip and I hope that others will follow this link and do the same

31 Dec 2009 8:51 PM
Karen in Indiana

Thank you for such a wonderful article about a horse who touched many, many hearts. While there is much discussion about how to improve the sport, the reaction of the public to Barbaro should show to anybody that the difference between this sport and many others is it's athletes - the horses. Gambling may pay to support it, but a gambler will find another avenue if necessary. It's the fans that keep it living and breathing, the people who look at the spirit and drive of a horse and can't stop the tears - tears of joy, tears of sadness, tears that can't be put in words. And Barbaro brought out all of those.

31 Dec 2009 9:02 PM

Definitely the top story of the year. I have a picture of Barbaro winning the Kentucky Derby on my bedroom wall. I look at it every day, and always wonder why this had to happen to him. Why did this have to happen to this beautiful animal. I guess only God knows the answer. I love and miss you Barbaro. You'll never be forgotten.

31 Dec 2009 9:03 PM

Steve, since you have been doing articles on the decade that will end at midnight, I am surprise you have done a piece on the most prestigious race in America i.e., the Kentucky Derby. This decade has been the most intriguing and historic.

2000 – Fusaichi Pegasus became the first and only son of the great sire and sire of sires Mr. Prospector win the derby

2001 – Monarchos became the only the second derby winner to break 2:00 for the 10F derby distance.

2002 –War Emblem became the twenty second wire-to-wire winner.

2003 – Funnycide became the eight gelding to win and the first in 74 years.

2004 – Smarty Jones became only the 5th undefeated winner.

2005 – Giacomo became the only derby winner with only a maiden victory to his credit. He also returned the third highest win dividend ($102.60)

2006 - Barbaro became only the 6th undefeated winner.

2007 – Street Sense became the first Breeder Cup Juvenile winner to win the derby.

2008 – Big Brown became only the 7th undefeated winner and the first winner in 78 years from PP #20. He was also the first Derby winner to have just three previous starts in 93 years

2009  -  Mine That Bird  returned the second highest win dividend ($103.30)

The decade was produced an unprecedented three undefeated winners and four winners of the first two legs of the Triple Crown. It also produced the second winner to break two minutes; two winners that returned the second and third highest win dividends; the first winner from PP#20 in 78years; the second winner with three previous starts in 93 years; the first gelding in 74 years; the first Breeder Cup Juvenile champion winner; the first and only winner sired by sire of sires Mr. Prospector.

31 Dec 2009 9:29 PM

Wonderful story.  I to was watching that fateful day in May when the unthinkable happened.  I to kept up with the daily updates from New Bolten.  When I heard the news on Jan. 29, I to cried like a baby for many days.  Though we may never see another like him, he will always be in our hearts forever.  Rest in Peace sweet Bobby. You will forever be my Triple Crown Champ!!

31 Dec 2009 9:45 PM
Mike Relva


My appreciation to you for another fine work. With Barbaro,connections and Dr. Richardson there wasn't any quit in any of them. If only EVERY owner had the caring compassion the Jacksons' displayed. Will never forget of following Barbaro's health update everyday without fail. Thanks,wishing you a great New Year.

31 Dec 2009 9:57 PM

I had horses for 16 years and then got away from it with marriage and raising a family. As Deborah A. put it Barbaro reignited a passion for horses in horse people and non-horse people.  He certainly did in my case and after a 22 year hiatus I am now a horse owner again.  He is a 7 yr old off the track Thoroughbred which I adopted in October and his last race was in June.  He is bay with a small white heart in his forehead.

Someone else said that he evoked courage in all of us and the desire to emulate him.  In my case that is also true.  Two months to the day he was put down I suffered a catastrophic illness and basically died.  In my fight back to life he was who I wanted to emulate, to fight with grace and courage, so he touched my life in several ways.

31 Dec 2009 10:25 PM

Barbaro's story is the perfect uniting of horse, owner, modern medicine & skilled medical staff. If one of these elements were missing there would have been no hope for a positive outcome.  If the shear will of the public could have make it so Barbaro would be alive and well.  Instead  Barbaro and those involved in the fight for his life will continue to inspire all fans that were witness to those consuming eight months.  

31 Dec 2009 10:26 PM

As a horse lover and a member of a horse racing family, I can only say that horses do die. some injuries are catistophic, when they happen on the track we are all left to wonder why? These specific horses were bred to run! That is what they do day in and day out. An accident, a miss step can happen at any time whether on a gallop in the morning or during a race in the afternoon? I witnessed a family owned horse die on the race track at 8 years old in 1957, He was a big red ball of fire, but he he was 7 years old, his best was behind him. The Family continued to race him, afterall he was the 1949 2 year old British Columbia Champion. He had won every race he ever raced as a two year old, The Nusery Stakes, The Futurity and The Breeders Cup. He became the BC Triple Crown Champion that year.

In 1957 they did not have the tools they do now to try to save a horse's life, Barbaro and those that follow are my Ruffian and they have won the crown that they deserve.

31 Dec 2009 10:34 PM

Wonderful way to end this decade, remembering a legend. His spirit will live on through us all. I loved him so much, to this day I grieve for his loss. I never doubted for a minute that he wouldn't win the tripple crown.  

31 Dec 2009 10:48 PM
Lou Ann R., PA, FOB forever

Thank you, Mr. Haskin, thank you so much!

My heart beats for your heart, Barbaro, always and forever!  

You gave me a miracle, Barbaro, and I will carry on your legacy for as long as I am on this earth . . . and then I get to meet you in Heaven!

And blessings and honor always to each and every one of Barbaro's people, his connections, his most dedicated medical team, and to Alex Brown . . . . always.

Proud to be an FOB!

always, Lou Ann

31 Dec 2009 10:55 PM

Incredibly written!  Beautiful...  Cried all over again for Barbaro.  While there have been many good moments in horse racing over the decade, nothing, Nothing comes close to to world stopping to watch Barbaro's fight to live and the incredible love that surrounded him.  Thank you so much for the gift you gave us in writing this article and connecting with the deep emotion felt by so many different people from all over the world in regards to Barbaro.  I will continue to re-read this article and soak in your words.  

"Surely grief is the price we pay for love..." Gretchen Jackson.

31 Dec 2009 11:36 PM

He was fantastic, too bad he never lived up to his full racing potential. Although I think that if he had won the triple crown instead of breaking down, I don`t think he would have made as big of an impression as he did. Real shame. :'( I really had to fight tears reading this post, every time I really think about him I get a good feeling, until I get to the breakdown, then come the tears.

01 Jan 2010 1:23 AM
Chris K

Mr. Haskins,

Thank you so much for this beautiful tribute to our beloved Barbaro. He truely was a legend both on and off the track.  He brought us together and evoked in us courage and hope.  Because of him, so many horses have been saved, race tracks are being made safer for horses, and New Bolton is trying harder to find a cure for laminitis.  Dr. Richardson learned so much from Barbaro that he himself said if he had another horse with such an injury, that horse will have a better chance of survival.  

I got into horse racing after Barbaro's injury.  From then on, I followed his progress at New Bolton, sent him cards and a giant teddy bear to let him know that I was thinking about him.  I cried buckets of tears when I learned  that he lost his battle.  To this day I still can't watch anything about Barbaro because I just start crying all over again.  I'm hoping that Lentenor will win the Triple Crown so he can finish what Barbaro started.  

Rest in peace my beloved Barbaro.  You're in heaven now running with Secretariat, Ruffian and Eight Belles and all the other legends.

01 Jan 2010 1:37 AM


01 Jan 2010 3:24 AM
Maria K.

He certainly captured my heart.  I will never forget the strong will and courage of the Big Boss Horse, Barbaro.

01 Jan 2010 4:02 AM

I have one of those Makers' Mark bottles of bourbon,commemorative bottles- not sure how many were distributed. It's the one with the gold wax drips, the green label denotes Barbaro as the '06 Derby winner. I thought about asking the Jackson's to entomb the bottle with Barbaro but selfishly, I couldn't part with it. Maybe one day I'll donate it to the Ky Derby museum at Churchill Downs. For now, it is my personal connection to the legend that I pray no one will ever forget.  No matter how bad a day I have, I think of Barbaro's struggle to live and my problems become very small.   We were all lucky to have experienced his destiny on the track unfolding. Michael Matz said on the Barbaro DVD- "I'll probably never have another horse like Barbaro but, I had him once."   Wow....I'm envious of Michael Matz.  I wish he would write a book about his days and nights with the legendary Barbaro at Fair Hill.  Best seller material.  What a blessing.

01 Jan 2010 4:06 AM

Godspeed Barbaro, I still miss you. Thanks Mr. Haskins for the tribute.

I STILL wear my Riding With Barbaro bracelet, and have 10 in back-up. I have high hopes that one day soon laminitis will be a thing of the past.

Prayers go out to Kip Deville, may he be the one to beat it!

01 Jan 2010 5:25 AM

God bless Barbaro, and his connections.  God bless Kip De Ville.

01 Jan 2010 6:39 AM

To Barbaro may his spirit shine on.

Thank you Mr. Haskin, you ended the year, indeed the decade with class.

01 Jan 2010 6:45 AM

Thank you, Mr. Haskin, for expressing so eloquently what has been in my heart the past 3 years. I am honored to call myself a Fan of Barbaro and to continue to work on issues related to horse welfare. But most of all I just love to watch those thoroughbreds run.

01 Jan 2010 7:46 AM

First, let me second my good pal Bert's comment.

Secondly, I had waited years for Barbaro to appear.  I just knew that Dynaformer was going to produce a runner of his caliber.  That Roberto/Hail to Reason line, ya know.

To much derision over on the old Thoroughbred Times boards I argued that all it was going to take was for one top grade mare to be sent to Dynaformer, then Katie bar the door.

I'd watched how gallantly some of Dynaformer's git had performed. Film Maker, Dynever, Perfect Drift and so forth.

The second I laid eyes on Barbaro I was a helpless goo-goo.  I knew he was the great one.  I was devastated by his breakdown in the Preakness and followed his terrible ordeal in the news as though he were a member of my own family.

Scarcely a day passes when I don't wonder what might have been but for a single tragic misstep.

01 Jan 2010 8:26 AM
LouAnn Cingel


He will forever be the Noblest of Kings!

01 Jan 2010 8:27 AM
Sophie's Lee

Mr. Haskin,

Count me as another that is crying like a baby with the memories you've resurfaced. Memories I am grateful and glad to have.

Barbaro's story, his Legacy, didn't end with his life, that's when it began. His short time with us was meant to start a new life for all horses; a life of love.

As we fight to find a cure for laminitis; as we fight to end any kind of suffering for all horses, we fight the fight Barbaro began.


A proud Fan of Barbaro

01 Jan 2010 8:27 AM
Soldier Course

We owe a lot to Dr. Joan Hendricks, Dean of Penn Vet including the New Bolton Center, for her savvy and professional handling of the media in the early days of Barbaro's arrival at the hospital.

The night of the Preakness, she got a call that 1500 members of the press were headed her way. She could have panicked or shown resentment. Instead she ordered pizzas for everyone, and welcomed them with courtesy and kindness.

At that moment it was up to the press whether this would be a story about compassion, or one about cruelty. Dr. Hendricks inspired them to make the right choice.

01 Jan 2010 8:39 AM

Coldfacts, what a great summary! Plus, Mine That Bird's closing quarter was the fastest since Secretariat..

01 Jan 2010 8:41 AM


I too watched the Preakness that fateful day in May when Barbaro "mistepped" (he really showed his intelligence here - instead of a heartwrenching struggle or continuing to try to run - at least, as much was possible for a horse pumped fulled of adrenaline - he knew he was hurt and allowed Pardo to help him).

I followed him through his eight months of recovery until the inevitable announcement of his euthanization.  I loved this horse with all my heart and all his connections with him; I couldn't agree more with Gretchen Jackson's "Grief is the price we pay for love."  It is.

Thank you, Steve, for a great remembrance of an even greater horse.

Might I also say something about a different horse in a different generation: Secretariat, Triple Crown winner of an earlier era also had to be euthanized because of laminitis but, in his case, he was 19 years old and lived his prime years in the lap of luxury - the connecting dot between these two great horses is the laminitis that killed them both.)

God bless America and help people the world over to realize the plight of all animals, wild or free, are in the keeping of man's


Thank you, Steve, for a wonderful article - and Happy New Year, Everyone!

01 Jan 2010 8:42 AM

The heart of a true champion was never bigger. He was a winner, a listener, a fighter, a giver, and most of all an inspiration.  I was there that day at Pimlico.  The experience and the horse forever changed my life.  When I have a bad day, I think of Barbaro, and his fight to live (and he so wanted to live), and I get better.  I'm devoted to his cause; to make a better life for the horses that follow behind him; to help find a cure for laminitis; to stop the transport of horses to slaughter; to ensure the humane treatement of horses and all animals and to be kind to one another.  I think of him every day, and cry many of those days.  He became a member of my family and so many other families that day in May 2006.  On this New Year's Day 2010; here's to you, Barbaro, for making me a better person.  I love you and will always miss you.  

01 Jan 2010 9:31 AM

Long after Barbaro's death, I myself was fighting a life threatening illness.  Every day I wore my Riding with Barbaro bracelet, and just thinking of how hard he fought for his life, gave me the strength to fight for mine.  Thank you Barbaro, for not just giving me excitement on the track, and allowing me to watch your tremendous battle for life, but for giving me the motivation to fight for my own.  You will always be Horse of the Year to me.

01 Jan 2010 9:36 AM

All for the love of Barbaro...

Horse lovers give me some advise here!

Last evening I took an abandoned horse some food and water.  Since I know where the horse lives, I went there and knocked on the door tv's on with activity inside and no one answered the door...

can I go pick up that horse and bring him to my corral at home? Feed and water him like he/she needs?  

01 Jan 2010 10:08 AM
Majella from Ireland

A simply outstanding tribute! Marilyn, your courage is amazing and thanks for sharing that.

01 Jan 2010 10:18 AM

we never really got to see how great he was going to be.He is truly missed.Horse racing is highs and lows.The sport will go on.Barbaro will never be forgotten.He was and still is a Champion.

01 Jan 2010 10:52 AM
Laura Peterson

Barbaro endures, embodying the paradoxes of power and grace, strength and fragility that make racehorses so captivating.  As Marilyn said, Barbaro "will always be Horse of the Year to me."  

As a huge fan of Dean Richardson, Barbaro's skillful and dedicated vet, I yesterday visited the website, at,of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton campus, where Barbaro spent his last months.  It was a tough choice between its laminitis research fund and its Barbaro gift fund, but for sentimental reasons I chose the latter to help to improve the care for injured animals today.

Racehorses give so much to us that it seems only right to give back to them.

01 Jan 2010 11:30 AM
Linda in Texas

Thank you Steve. A sobering way to start the new year for sure. For me, i think what a kind and trusting horse Barbaro was. And the patience he had with all who helped him eventhough he was in some level of pain for so long. That probably stands out as the most impressionable attribute he possessed. Patience. Though not having the mind to strategize the why and what of the surgeries he was having, he still maintained that patience and inborn confidence that we as humans should appreciate. I have many pictures of Barbaro saved in my gallery of photos of horses. His winning the Kentucky Derby was my desktop picture for a year after he died. As one person said earlier, it was 'with all 4 feet off the ground.' And that is how i will remember him. What a trooper he was. And thanks to all who helped him and showed him love.

01 Jan 2010 11:31 AM

Steve...I couldn't finish reading this although I know when I do, it will be a beautiful tribute to an amazing athlete,fighter and inspiration to us all. For some reason these wounds are still very fresh to me. I still can't watch the video I purchased. Someday. But not now. Sometimes I think it must be painful for you to write about stories like this. Thanks for a wonderful year of therapy and happy memories. Happy New Year to you Mr. Haskin!

01 Jan 2010 12:23 PM

 Every decade has one or two horses that capture our hearts. The 70's had Secretariat and Ruffian for example. This past decade we saw many great horses (Eight Belles, Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, Afleet Alex) but I think Barbaro far and away stole our hearts more than any other. I came home from work that day to hear he lost his battle at the end of a news show. All I remember is sinking to the couch in a wave of pain and tears.  Later I spent hours using up a ton of paper and ink printing up any and every article online that I could find. They are stored in a special box with his picture on top. I still have to wipe away a tear when I think of him. How I wish he could have made it but oh what we learned not only medically but in courage and heart. Best of luck to his owners and siblings ! I'll be watching and rooting for you !!

01 Jan 2010 12:32 PM

Thank you, BARBARO, for your inspiration.  Your legacy of Life, has resulted in the rescue of over 3000 horses from the tragic betrayal of slaughter.  Over $1,000,000 has been raised for Laminitis research, all accomplished by the FOB, in your name.  The legacy continues, all because of BARBARO.

...and now Sir, and all who still have the heart to hope, and because of our great champion BARBARO, let us all, as a nation of frens, pray for that miracle again.

KIP DE VILLE needs our prayers now, and the power of our hope, as he battles Laminitis.    

Let's not let up...there is still work to be done.  The spirit of BARBARO has shown us the way.

Your FOB Fren, Otherlyn

01 Jan 2010 1:01 PM

Happy New Year to all,

I haven't read all the posts, but if you want to see Barbaro and other 3 year olds on the way to the Kentucky Derby, please find a copy of the DVD "The First Saturday in May" and watch it all the way through, even the credits

(great soundtrack).  I really enjoyed it and my non-horseracing friends have also. (I loned them my copy.)  

01 Jan 2010 1:43 PM
Nancy Jacob


Thank you for your well written article in tribute to Barbaro.  In

January 2006, I have to remember

seeing a colt in The Horse of the

Delaware Valley publication. I shared with our barn boarders, this will be the winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby!  He is built  like a dag gone cheetah, tiny waist and somewhat flat croup!  If I am not mistaken, I believe Michael Matz stated he

measured 16 in off the ground in

mid air flight. Fantastic! Such

greatness!  His bronze Kentucky Derby statue catches this greatness

in such perfection.

Where does catastrophic injury

research go from here?  As terrible

as it sounds, I read about a vet

who had a mare with a snapped DSL

in Guideposts Magazine several years ago. She had to euthanize her or amputate her rear limb halfway up the cannon bone. She elected to amputate. She fit her with a fiberglass "ski boot"

hoof prosthesis with an inner sock.

The mare ended up having good quality of life, essentially pain free after healing. Prosthesis replacement probably ran $70,000 a year, or for the lifetime of the horse??

Can thoroughbred owners bear this option?  Do all the strong medications cause stallion/mare


Barbaro, a hero, was surrounded by

many human heroes.  How many horses

can come close to winning the Derby

by six lengths?  He is missed.

01 Jan 2010 1:52 PM

Thank you for this beautiful article.  As the third anniversary of Barbaro's passing approaches, it warms my heart and soul to be part of a group of wonderful, caring people called the Fans of Barbaro.  Barbaro and his valiant struggle brought us all together, and we're still together today fighting the good fight against horse slaughter, laminitis and working to save horses.  Barbaro, you are still our sweet inspiration.  Barbaro, thanks for the memories.  And, as always, Barbaro will lead the way...

01 Jan 2010 2:42 PM

Barbaro...the mere mention of his name brings a wave of tidal proportion. You are so right Mr. Haskin. His story IS the story of the decade.

My (horse) wish for 2010... a cure for laminitis, starting with Kip De Ville.

My (avid reader) wish...more stories from Mr. Haskin.

Happy New Year everybody!!!

01 Jan 2010 3:08 PM

Let us never forget the class, character and courage displayed by both Barbaro and Dr. Richardson. These two will be forever linked through history.

Marilyn, thanks for sharing your uplifting and inspiring story.

01 Jan 2010 3:25 PM

Thank You Steve.  Beautiful article.  

A lot of you have probably seen this but it is a vid that I made for Edgar (song chosen by him) as a tribute to Barbaro.

AND here is one that 11 horses & I made for Barbaro. It is a New Years to Barbaro.  All 11 of these horses told me that had Barbaro not been injured, he would have been the 12th horse.  ;-)  God had much much bigger plans for him though.

Happy New Years to you all. ♥

01 Jan 2010 3:31 PM

Ragsy.  Go get that horse and then call the police.  :)

01 Jan 2010 3:46 PM

If anyone wants to write to Barbaro here is his address.  I know a lot of you have it.  Just in case some of you don't.  :)


111111-1 Un-Defeated Road

Derby Champion Ave.

Richardson Estates

Edgar/Matz/Peter Mansion #8



Steve.  You article is very good and touching.  Nice to see all the love that he has in this world.  :)  Is there a horse of the decade?  

01 Jan 2010 3:52 PM

Thanks for this article, is increasingly evident that Barbaro's influence and reach extend beyond that of a Derby winner, or ANY mere stallion.  What he did, what he touched in so many, and what he inspired will last longer than a Triple Crown triumph, or the accomplishments of any progeny, although we all wish we could have seen what could have been.  

His life changed things.  His life changed people. That is definitely the racing story of the decade.  Thank you for telling it so well and reminding us of the power this sport, its athletes, and all connections have to make a difference to others.

01 Jan 2010 4:36 PM

My thanks to Steve for choosing only one "Story of the Decade" instead of a "Top 10".  Barbaro's story so thoroughly transcends any other of this past 10 years.

I am the only person in my circle of friends who follows horse racing.  After his death, I was asked if I thought Barbaro should have been euthanized at the track (as nearly every horse with this type of injury has been) instead of trying to save him, only to lose him in the end.  I firmly answered "No".

It's true Barbaro spent the last 8 months of this life in some measure of pain and near constant confinement.  But I'm certain that the people around him read his answer to that question in his attitude every day.  Until the very end, they knew that if Barbaro could talk, he too would have said "No".

We humans tend to assign human emotions to horses - I doubt Barbaro was truly thinking of "survival".  But the opportunity to graze in the sun, to whinny at a horse passing by his stall, or to rub his head against a favorite human - these and more were reasons for Barbaro to survive that fateful day at Pimlico.  Above all, instead of dying in pain and fear on May 20th, he died peacefully in the company of people who loved him over 8 months later.

Hopefully, the true legacy of Barbaro's ordeal will be the opportunity to use what was learned during his long course of treatment.  I like to believe that other owners, faced with the tough decision to euthinize on the spot or to try to save a horse having experienced a similar catastrophic injury, will give these dedicated vets a chance to learn what they learned from Barbaro to save the life of another horse.

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Jackson.

01 Jan 2010 4:44 PM
Pat Diers

I too watched Barbaro along with thousands of others, praying that he would survive.  So many people I know, who would not know Man O' War from Mr. Ed knew who Barbaro was.  He awakened something in people that would not go away.  I like to think that his life's mission was to awaken folks to the plight of horses who surive breakdowns, only to die from Laminitis.  Let's keep his light alive, we all need to help find the cure.

01 Jan 2010 5:06 PM

Just to clarify, Gretchen Jackson was not the originator of the "grief is the price we pay for love."  It was author and theologian CS Lewis.

It certainly fit the situation - but I'm sure a lady as classy as Mrs. Jackson would not want the quotation misattributed to her inappropriately.  I don't know if she gave credit during her press conference - but it would be understandable if she did not - as it was a very emotional and difficult time.

01 Jan 2010 5:08 PM


You can't just take the horse or you yourself can get into trouble for taking something that has not been legaly granted to you. But, by all means keep doing what you are doing by trying to care for it.

Report this crime to the police, call your local ASPCA, and try to contact your local animal warden.

And this is a must. Take pictures and document the date and time of everything that you do involving this crime to this horse and be specific because most likely this will end up in a court of law thus you will have documented evidence to offer the judge. Be brave and don't back down one inch no matter who these criminals are. God bless you for your heart. You are a wonderful person. You and this horse are in our prayers.

Please keep us posted so that those of us that are able to help you can help you if you happen to need it. Once again, God bless you.

Steve, you are a treasure, my friend!

01 Jan 2010 7:00 PM

Thank you for your beautiful writing.  You always manage to make me smile and bring me to tears on your thoughful writing.  Happy New Year and keep it coming!

01 Jan 2010 7:25 PM

Thanks Steve - beautiful article.  Barbaro's story showed everyone   that there are "good guys" in horse racing.  I believe that Barbaro's legacy, along with Eight Belle's, is that the horse racing industry is being held to higher standards now.  They realize that the public is paying attention and really does care.  Many horses have been saved and will be saved as a result of Barbaro's and Eight Belle's stories.  So as tragic as their deaths were at least some good has come out of it.      

01 Jan 2010 7:50 PM

Thanks Steve for the memories insights and undisputed excellence in journalistic integrity. This  sport of kings with all its ups and downs is blessed to be the benefactor of your passion.Looking forward to another decade of extrordinary stories.

01 Jan 2010 9:13 PM

Once again Steve you never dissapoint! great article , But now its Kip Deville fighting for his life,I love Kip Deville,I hope he overcomes

01 Jan 2010 9:59 PM
Charmed By Silver

Wow. After all this time im still not done crying over this horse. Beautiful tribut Mr. Haskin. R.I.P. Barbaro.

01 Jan 2010 10:02 PM


Wonderful article. Barbaro was one for the ages; I can still remember the vivid details of his Derby win. I am not a gambler but that day I had some friends in Vegas and they asked me for a recommendation on a Derby horse. Who else would they call but me, their horseracing nutty friend? I begin to study a horse's career in their second year and already Barbaro was on the radar since the Tropical Park Derby. Naturally, I said put $50 for me on Barbaro. He was not the favorite but he was my favorite for many reasons, including a silly thing like a name. Barbaro means "the great one" in Spanish and he needed no other introduction.

To bring up the cliche, "What's in a name?" Barbaro lived up to his in every way. On the racetrack, there was no equal and off the track, there was none greater.

RIP, O' Great One.

01 Jan 2010 10:11 PM

Thank you for remembering Barbaro.  Almost 3 years later and he is not forgotten. He was an amazing horse on the track but even more amazing in the legacy he left us.  He was truly special...

01 Jan 2010 10:25 PM
Soldier Course


And I'm sure that C. S. Lewis wouldn't mind that Mrs. Jackson borrowed his words, with or without attribution.

Another moving comment I read shortly after Barbaro died:  "If only tears could cure ..."

01 Jan 2010 11:05 PM
Gina Rizk

Thank you for your beautiful tribute to Barbaro. He was magnificent! Barbaro enchanted the nation with his courageous spirit, his charismatic personality, as well as his unmatched speed and athleticism. One look into his soft, brown eyes, which exhibited a child-like innocence, could melt your heart! Barbaro had an intangible quality that millions of people could sense--which touched their hearts in an inexplicable way... As a racing fan for many years, I felt he was the epitome of what a racehorse should be, very fit, strong, intelligent, with the capacity for breathtaking speed during his performances. It is a shame that a twist of fate kept him from reaching his full potential--to win the Triple Crown! He will always be our champion! As a physician, I can imagine how frustrating it must be for Dr. Richardson and his medical team to work so hard to save Barbaro's life, just to have laminitis win the battle eight months later. It took all I had not to fall apart at my office, when I heard he had been euthanized. I was beginning to think he was invincible, since he seemed to overcome just about every challenge set before him. I believe we are on this Earth for a reason. Barbaro will be infamous for uniting his fans and those who loved him, for the greater good of horses everywhere. I am also a proud member of the F.O.B. group. His fans will continue to fight for safer racetracks, raise money for further laminitis research, fight to stop the slaughter of horses, and rescue those horses and foals in need. Barbaro will have a place in my heart,forever. I couldn't miss him more, if he were my own horse! He made a difference in many people's lives, just by being himself!  

02 Jan 2010 12:15 AM

The quote by C.S. Lewis is from his book "A Grief Observed" about his coming to grips with the loss of his beloved wife, Joy, who he wrote another book about "Surprised by Joy"...a brilliant apologist who also wrote the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, novels The Great Divorce, Screwtape Letters and some really, really good adult Sci-Fi!! e.g. Perelandra, This Hideous Planet et al

02 Jan 2010 7:56 AM
LouAnn Cingel

Time has passed but hearts around the world are still heavy for Barbaro-the gallant warrior.  He will forever be a part of us all!

02 Jan 2010 8:16 AM

Happy New Year to you too, Steve!  And thank you for all your fine writing. The best of lists and articles have been great fun - - and it's amazing how quickly they let you re-live all those moments.  Those are the things that keep us loving this sport - -the moments with Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Big Brown, Invasor, Rachel and Zenyata, Rags, so many more, and of course, Barbaro, who still touches everyones' hearts so tenderly.Thanks again.  Can't wait to read your next column!    

02 Jan 2010 8:31 AM

I wanted to add to my last comment - - Barbaro, in whose name, people are doing such good work.

02 Jan 2010 8:35 AM
Susan K.

I was thrilled to watch Barbaro race and felt my heart shatter during the Preakness.  Afterwards, when he was taken to New Bolton, I searched the internet every single day for updates, and was elated as time went on and he continued to show his courage.  Then came the dreaded "L" word that most of us who own horses are afraid to even utter.  In spite of this he marched on to his own beat and displayed incredible bravery and heart.  When the news broke that January day, I got up from my desk at work, found a vacant office nearby, and sobbed for 45 minutes.  Co-workers approached me the rest of the day and expressed their sympathies as though Barbaro was my horse.  In many was, I felt he was.  I still have books and videos about him that I have not been able to bring myself to read or watch yet...someday I will.  But the heartache is still there.  His greatness will endure always.  Thank you, Steve, for again reminding all of us what makes a truly great and unforgettable champion.   I would also like to express my thanks to Dr. Richardson, his entire team, and Mr. and Mrs. Jackson for everything they did for this very special hero.  

02 Jan 2010 10:03 AM
Greg J.

    Thought I would add the quote that is on the base of Barbaro's Statue at Churchill Downs:

  I believe God made me for a purpose, But He also made me Fast.

And When I Run, I feel His pleasure. - Eric Liddell

02 Jan 2010 10:14 AM
Soldier Course

Greg J.:

Gorgeous pictures. Did you take them? Thanks.

02 Jan 2010 11:52 AM

I bought the most comprehensive dvd collection of BARBARO. It's UNREAL!!! It runs about 17 hours long and tells the story of BARBARO from his first race all the way to his sad final days. It's a time capsule from HORSERACINGDVD.COM - if anyone's interested and a huge BARBARO fan - you will absolutely LOVE THIS. There's not another one around like this. The person who makes them does a beautiful job and custom all the way. You won't be disappointed!

02 Jan 2010 12:23 PM


But do we learn from these tragedies? I hope so....

As far as the comments go about HOY and that Rachel did not 'show up' for the Breeder's Cup.... Think people!

Learn from the past tragedies!

Rachel ran a full and hard campaign the entire year.

Yes! she should have been given the time off and rested! Foresight rather than hindsight should be used in caring for these great racehorses that cannot speak for themselves! Who can guarantee that pushing her and having her run there would not result in a tragedy?

She earned her rest and time off and I am grateful to Jackson that he did not demand more of her!

I resent those saying 'she did not show up' as if that should disqualify her.

Rachel Alexandra HOY

Barbaro Horse Of Decade

02 Jan 2010 12:40 PM

Yes, Barbaro's story brings us back to the highest ideals.  Thanks to the Jacksons, Dr. Richardson, Mr. Matz, Mr. Prado and all the New Bolton staff for believing in Barbaro's precious gift of life and will to live.  He was a champion on the track and even more so later.  To Barbaro: May you have green pastures, a fast track, and worthy opponents up there, with the One who created you.

02 Jan 2010 12:47 PM

*That Hideous Strength (not planet)

02 Jan 2010 1:10 PM

It was a tough year for battles...Lost In The Fog "telling" Greg Gilchrist when it was time to say goodbye.

He was the greatest sprinter of this decade...absolutely.

Winning his first 10 starts,and eight straight in a row in 2005 STILL not getting HOTY...running his heart out and even winning a stakes with cancer.

His owner, Henry Aleo refusing to sell him ("Why the he** would I sell him? I've been waiting all my life for him!")

02 Jan 2010 1:18 PM
Jackie Shaffer

Thanks for such a moving tribute to such a wonderful horse who was taken from us too soon.  Beyond what he did on the racetrack, Barbaro's legacy is in bringing out the best in people and uniting them in concern during his struggle and now in trying to find a cure for laminitis which took him from us.

02 Jan 2010 1:38 PM

Barbaro I miss you so.I was not ready for you to.Your gallant fight took all your might.But you left behind the finest family one could ever hope to find.It is still growing with a sister soon to keep us all going.To my magnificent boy who brought us all so much joy,take a bow you live in my heart now.

02 Jan 2010 2:54 PM

I just wanted to add my two-cents worth to this moving discussion of Barbaro.  The first time I watched the HBO presentation, I was with my father (who had never heard of him).  This is a man who, in my entire life, I had never seen cry.  So, imagine my surprise when I heard sniffing-like sounds, as if he were fighting back tears.  He asked me repeatedly, how many months had Barbaro been hospitalized?  I think he was attempting to put my mother's sudden death into perspective.  And, he seemed to be very moved by the scenes of Mr. Jackson getting emotional (over an animal, of all things).  It was interesting and memorable to view the Barbaro story through his eyes.  Me, I am just the opposite... too easily moved to tears.  I tried to read Steve's masterful synopsis of the Barbaro story from a clinical perspective... yeah right!  It is amazing how this horse got so deeply embedded into our collective heart.  My favorite line in this story:  "His incredible will and indefatigable spirit kept him alive long enough to show the world just how much emotion is capable of pouring out of one’s heart for a Thoroughbred racehorse..."

You gotta laugh at the person who interjected the HOY debate into this Barbaro blog.  Happy 2010 everyone!  

02 Jan 2010 3:24 PM
melissa k

Interesting to know the origin of "grief is the price we pay for love" quote, as when I shared it with mrs. Jackson on the day barbaro died, what I knew about it was that the queen had used it, with no attribution, when her own mother died in 2002, and it had appeared with no attribution in the queen mother's funeral program. Mrs. Jackson loved the quote and used it with her own modifications shortly afterward at the press conference.

02 Jan 2010 3:30 PM
joe c.

Every once in a while I watch Barbaro's Derby run.  Durkin's NBC call-"...And here comes Barbaro" is not only a goose flesh moment; it is also tears coming down my face.  That he did not win a championship puts championships in perspective.

02 Jan 2010 4:05 PM

Even here in Wyoming, with our single track and one small meet each year, many recognized Barbaro for his courage and realized that horse-racing is not just an industry or just a sport. It's more emotional than that. RIP Barbaro.

02 Jan 2010 5:33 PM

Horswld and Stardust:

The 6 month old was reunited with his owners and when I returned from town today he was back at the same place..his humans did not know he/she had been gone 2 days even tho the horse had been tied to the trailer house they live in...

forgive me, but a horse should not be unable to walk and stretch their legs let alone possibably run sometime during 24 hours. The owners stated, they are going to sell the baby at auction because they think they will make alot of money.

Thank You for the Kind words...

Melissa just to many folks trying to be so correct, kinda like our Government and their political correctness at our expense..

I LOVE BARBARO AND ALWAYS WILL even today his death hurts. People say that "Time heals all wounds" and I wonder if it will someday !

God Bless America and every caring person.

02 Jan 2010 6:09 PM

Kat, you are so right about Rachel and her was what she needed and I for one will go watch her run on March 13, 2010. May this beautiful horse win Horse Of The Year 2009 and if not I love Zenyatta too.  

02 Jan 2010 6:14 PM

Thank you for recognizing our beloved hero with this tribute.  It is most deserving.  Barbaro lives on forever in our hearts and souls.

02 Jan 2010 6:37 PM

Thanks, for your pictures and everything you have noted over the past year. when I say my nightly prayers, I always ask GOD, if I may see Barbaro immediately when I arrive, GOD'S reply, "Barbaro is right over there", Tonight, I will request a special blessing for you and others that are so kind..

02 Jan 2010 6:38 PM

That was touching Steve.

I have never seen a horse such as Barbaro with a strong will to live! That is (besides his races) what made him a true champion!

02 Jan 2010 7:58 PM

I remember Barbaro well and will for the rest of my life. He gave me my father back. See, my father (bless his soul) was 93 years old in 2006. My invalid father (no dementia--"sharp as a tack") had given up on life for about 2 yrs. Nothing interested him. But being an avid horse lover and owner all of his life, even riding a horse to school named Jerry, I "poked" him into getting interested in the Derby trail & subsequently Barbaro, the next Triple Crown winner! We were certain. My father hadn't seen a TC win since watching Affirmed. My father had the privilege of being in the presence of great horses, his favorite? Northern Dancer. Then it became Barbaro. Oh how he loved Barbaro. The fateful day we watched Barbaro breakdown, I screamed NO NO NO NO NO at the top of my lungs. My father, who I had only see cry 3 times in his long life, started to wail/cry. He knew. We followed Barbaro's progress daily and prayed together daily for his recovery for 8 months. Every detail.  Every day I printed out any article I could find on the internet for him to read.  He wanted to be alive and read again! Any news on T.V. we watched. Barbaro brought me close to my father, as I never had been.  We learned to love each other and see each other in a different light, just because of this beautiful horse.  Barbaro's courage gave my father when he got ill, he wanted to live again, and he would fight. My father had my mother call me at the office the day it was announced that Barbaro was gone . . . Pa died 8-31-07 and I know that he is in heaven racing/riding Barbaro against the other great ones.  Even if no one read this to the end, I had to write it even though I've never been able to put it on paper how much that horse meant to me and my family.  Pa, thank you for giving me the gift of the love of horses/animals.

02 Jan 2010 8:27 PM
Lise from Maine


The year 2006 was a horrible year for me but Barbaro kept me going.

I was away from my home during the summer of 2006, and friends and relatives sent me articles written

of Barbaro.

I cherished those articles and still have them, and I prayed everyday that he would make it but that was not to be, and I kept his photo by my bedside and looked at it numerous times a day.

Additionally, I focused my attention on Barbaro and his recovery rather than on myself, and that is what kept me going everyday.

Strange as it may be, I healed and Barbaro did not, and I was devastated when I learned on the evening of January 29, 2007 that he had died.

I will forever love Barbaro, and be grateful to him for my survival. Barbaro is still in my heart,and I will never forget him.

Sometimes the wounded can make a connection with another wounded one.

Love to Barbaro, and his siblngs.

02 Jan 2010 8:33 PM

My favorite from my Barbaro DVD is when Roy Jackson said "he ate all his grass" such emotion was present on his face it really got to me.It has made a difference to me I have a dog and a cat and I know when there time comes I want to have the strength like the Jacksons did to be right with them till they go to see Barbaro!

02 Jan 2010 8:35 PM
Sharon M


Along with everyone else here I want to thank you for the beautiful tribute to Barbaro.  His story is indeed the story of the decade I think in ALL of sports in the last 10 years!  I had the privilege of seeing him win the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby, and what a thrill it was! I am also brought to tears again with the memories of what happened to such a beautiful, courageous animal.  My vivid memories of the Preakness Stakes and my sense of foreboding when he broke through the front of the starting gate before the race will always stay with me.

I still have the NBC broadcast of the KD that day.  At the very beginning of the broadcast, they reported the story of the crash in Iowa that occurred years earlier that Michael Matz and his wife was on.  Ironically, the story began with the words "We don't choose our own destiny, it chooses us."  Unfortunately, it was not Barbaro's destiny to win the Triple Crown or the Breeders Cup Classic or even the Horse of the Year crown that year.  It was his destiny through his courage and struggle to survive to bring the devastating disease laminitis into the spotlight and generate thousands of dollars from groups like FOB to fund research to find a cure.  It was his destiny to bring in a whole new group of fans to this sport we love so much.  It was also his destiny along with Eight Belles to shine the spotlight on the increased need for the uniform safety guidelines to decrease catastrophic injuries on the track such as the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.

His life and his story has transcended his accomplishments on the track.  If we could have him back would it really have been the best thing for horse racing?  As the tears roll down my face my heart says yes, absolutely I would have him back!  But, ultimately his sacrifice has and will continue to improve our sport in the years and decades to come.

02 Jan 2010 11:18 PM

Thank you Ragsy!

Me too. What is there not to love about Zenyatta?!

May 2010 be as exciting a year as this one past.

02 Jan 2010 11:18 PM

Such moving comments from all of you have prompted me to write again without anything new to say, other than thank you all for sharing your stories, your memories of Barbaro.  I wonder if any other horse has ever created such a phenomenal sense of family and community among so many different people, and it is continuing on these three years after his passing.  You are all such dear people - thank you.  Thank you, Steve, for bringing us here together.  Besides the continuation of research into laminitis, the saving of many horses from slaughter, another outreach of Barbaro's legacy, if you want to call it that, is bringing people together - united in the love of a beautiful bay horse.

02 Jan 2010 11:29 PM


This is a case that the owners are unfit to properly care for an equine. Period. An animal control warden needs to be contacted, ASAP. Please keep us informed on this site. Thanks so much.

03 Jan 2010 12:14 AM

Let us not forget the horrible and unpredictable condition, laminitis, commonly called founder. It is sneaky and often caused by seemingly simple injuries. I lost my first horse to it. Education and research are essential. Thanks to Barbaro's family for all the research funding.

03 Jan 2010 12:41 AM

Vikingblood, I was a Northern Dancer fan, like your Dad. I'm glad he got to know and see the great Barbaro.

03 Jan 2010 12:47 AM

By the way, remember to pray for Kip Deville who is fighting for his life in a battle with laminitis.

03 Jan 2010 12:55 AM

Tracy. That gets me all the time about the grass.  I can't begin to imagine what they felt when they gave Barbaro that grass.  I would have dropped right there from a broken heart.  :(  I still cry to this day over him.  That is prolly why I make vids of him.  Not letting him go.  That is Final!  ♥

♥Barbaro♥ "I'll be there, just call my name & I'll be there"......

03 Jan 2010 1:37 AM


WOW your post is beautiful.  It is obvious to me that you "Get It".  :)  

03 Jan 2010 1:40 AM

It is with the deepest appreciation that I express my heart-felt appreciation to Steve Haskin for writing and adding to this poignantly-told and inspiring story of the great and golden hearted Barbaro, for it is truly the story of the decade, at least for horses, horse racing, and all those who became involved with the story of the gallant Barbaro. Barbaro touched the hearts of so many, including those closest to him, horse and racing fans, and much of the public-at-large, and he still does to this day and will continue to do so into the future. We must never forget the lessons taught and learned from his story, for they comprise some of the most basic lessons of courage, tenacity, grace-under-pressure, kindness, creativeness, appreciation, correct priorities, hope, grief, wisdom, love, and many more lessons beyond price for our world to learn and benefit by applying every day.

Having been around and loved animals virtually my whole life, I have learned much of value and what the true values in life are from my family of animals, others I have known, and others I have been blessed with knowing about, including Barbaro, of course. While I have had my moderate share of medical issues, some serious but only one (acute appendicitous when I was 2 or 3), life-threatening, no matter how temporarily painful, annoying, or frustrating these issues have been or continue to be, I try to remind myself that they are but a grain of sand compared to what many others, including Barbaro and some of my cats, have endured with the best spirits possible under their extremely dire circumstances. If I remind myself of these individuals and their valiant battles, I find I am certainly a better person for having known them. And I am better able and willing to cope with my own relatively minor problems with the perspective gained from considering deeply upon their lives.

Thanks to The Blood-Horse for providing this article and blog, and the warmest of wishes to all of the contributors, many, many of whom have deeply and truly touched my heart and soul with their stories, just as Barbaro and his Family have touched and affected so very many in a multitude of positive ways!

03 Jan 2010 8:34 AM

Sharon M., Vikingblood, and all of you who mentioned the "grass-eating" story: Thanks so much for your great posts. (Not that every one on here was not wonderful: these are simply 3 which especially impressed me and which I happened to be reminded of as I read them shortly after finishing my first post.)

Ragsy, God Bless you! I just know you will be able to help that horse because you will not give up until you do all that you can! The person who told you to document with photos and a log, that is good advice. Please let us know how you and the horse are doing--we care about both of you.

03 Jan 2010 8:53 AM

WONDERFUL article.... Barbaro will always be remembered.

SWAPS & MARIAH'S SONG ....Some horses do survive serious leg injury.  I am so thankful that they did try to save him and generate all of the interest.


03 Jan 2010 9:52 AM

Horswld, thats where it is terrible, the little fella just looked at the apple wondering what to do with it..had to cut it up and give to him. Sweet little on.  I will watch after him and if he goes to auction I will buy him.

All I have to do is read the comments and I cry and its ok.

03 Jan 2010 10:27 AM


Anything and all things are possible through the love of a noble steed, one of God's most wonderous creations.

Thank you for your special story. You and your Pa are one of the many beautiful reasons that God sent us Barbaro.

03 Jan 2010 10:42 AM


You, yourself, are a dear person. When I see your name I always am sure to read your blog. I know that I will enjoy it. Isn't it something how the love that we share for these equine gifts from God bring total strangers together. Even though there is much strife that this world suffers, it makes me feel good when all of us, basically strangers, can see the same light through the eyes of a horse.

03 Jan 2010 11:00 AM


You are so right.  I was at a horse therapy place & they did not even know what laminitis was.  They had no shoes on their horses and they gave them as much alpalpha as they wanted (which is another way to get laminitis and colic).  I asked them about it & tried to educate them & they got really mad at me.  It wound up in a legal mess with my attorney & the cops going out there to check the horses out.  They were so way over weight, poor things.  No shoes walking on gravel.  They knew about handicapped people and how to deal with them but as for horses, they knew nothing about the care of a horse.  It is really sad..   :(

03 Jan 2010 12:23 PM
Jeanette Cavalier

Barbaro was nothing but pure "perfection in motion".  I have always felt that Barbaro was too perfect for this world.  God chose His special horse to be live among us for the too few years he was here to bring together the people that would carry on Barbaro's Legacy.....The Fans of Barbaro.   We have dedicated ourselves to Barbaro's equine to family... to save them from abuse and the horrors of slaughter.   We campaigned to close down the 3 horse slaughter plants in our own USA and now we will continue to fight to pass the Federal Ban to keep our horses from being taken to Mexico and Canada where they are being transported in horrible conditions and slaughter very inhumanely.  All horses, even pregnant mares.....we need to stop this madness.   Barbaro's purpose was not to win the Triple Crown but to make us aware that his equine family needs us now more than ever.  May 2010 be the year that "horse slaughter is finally HISTORY"!    Love you my beautiful bay and forever.

03 Jan 2010 1:51 PM

Thank you for this tribute to Barbaro who exposed for all to see the great qualities of equines.  

03 Jan 2010 2:20 PM

Just as note about how Barbaro "ate his grass" the day he was euthanized.  I had many e-mails with the coordinator-Leonard-about my 2 cents for Barbaro's memorial. I thought of the idea to plant the species of grass that Lael farm grows as Barbaro was bright enough to know the difference-he knew the taste of the grass from home.  Instead, a plant "Little Joey" was placed at the base of the memorial, but it would have been a nice personal touch to have the Lael farm grass growing year round at his memorial.  Some of you bloggers are totally correct; we were meant to have Barbaro for only a short time just as other equine legends were with us briefly too. Amazing.

03 Jan 2010 9:12 PM

Steve, again as usual you have just perfectly captured what BARBARO did for us as a nation......he showed us what HEART is all about and maybe we could all take a little piece of that into ourselves.   BARBARO also showed the public what those of us who are owned by these creatures go through on a more private scale when one loses a great horse to this horrible disease.    When you've spent all you can and tried all the avenues of treatment only to realize it is all in takes a little piece of your soul away when you realize you have to make that decision for your "best friend".  There is a "soul connection" with our equine family members that nothing else comes close to.....not even human to human relationships have the quality that this deep connection has.   I've been owned by these creatures for most of my 50+ yrs on this earth, and while letting them go is one of lives hardest moments, I cannot imagine my life without them.     Maybe the public took a little of THAT away from the saga that was/is BARBARO.

04 Jan 2010 10:59 AM

This was such a great story - I never stop thinking about Barbaro - he was so beautiful and loved seeing him run - and although there willl be many a great horse to come there will never be another Barbaro - I urge everyone to read Edgar Prado's book - it will move you beyond words and for a moment put you in his place - he loved the horse so much - Thank you for remembering Barbaro - I personally will never forget him - I have several framed pictures of him hanging in my home - I look at constantly.  

04 Jan 2010 11:36 AM

Thank you, Steve for writing such a beautiful article about Barbaro. When I think of the word, Courage and Brave I see Barbaro. When I think of the word Love, I see the Jacksons' Michael Matz, and Edgar Prado. When I think of the word, Dedicated I see Dr. Dean Richardson. And when I think of the word Caring, I see all of Barbaro's Fans. TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Pray for a Cure to Laminitis and for others like Kip Deville. RIP Brave and Courageous Barbaro, may you Gallop Forever in Heaven.

04 Jan 2010 12:51 PM

Joanne,I have a picture of Barbaro it is the first thing I see when I walk into my home and on the adjoining wall is the rest of the family and soon to be added the next brother and sister.I even have one of Dynaformer thanks to Jen at Three Chimneys.I love them all.

04 Jan 2010 3:42 PM


When did they say they were going to take this horse to the auction.

Are they not willing to sell it now.

04 Jan 2010 4:13 PM

I'm not surprised that we have some very well read folks on this blog.

Thanks to all who followed up on the Lewis quote - and Da3Hoss - make sure you get a chance to see "Shadowlands" - the brilliant play and film about CS and Joy's amazing relationship.  It will inspire, revive and break your heart all at the same time.  The film starred Anthony Hopkins and Deborah Winger - and is well worth the rental.

And to the quotation on the Barbaro statue - yup - that's in "Chariots Of Fire" and spoken by the Littel character. I think they may have shortened it for the screenplay, though.  "God made me to run - he made me to run fast." It was so great in that Scottish burr...

I think Ian Charleston played him in the movie (Littel - not Barbaro)

04 Jan 2010 5:21 PM

I remember Barbaro flattening out in the stretch in the KD, and just moving away from the other horses like they were standing still. He ran so effortlessly. He knew who he was.

When he broke through the starting gate at the Pimlico track, I felt already that it was a very dark omen, and was surprised they let him run after that.

04 Jan 2010 8:36 PM
Lupe Aranda

Thank you, Steve, for bringing up the awesome tale of a Legend, Mr. Barbaro!  Yes, he is the reason I looked deeper into the Race Horse and their amazing and stunning athletic abilities.  I am captivated by the "Sport of Kings" and all it's details/stories...I go to half price book store and hunt for the horse most favorite book (there ae other great ones)is "Secretariat, the horse God built" by Mr. Scanlan; he acknowledged ALL that is part of the Race Horse world, the groom for pete's sake who "refinishes the diamond buried deep in that awesome animal"...anyway, you see how crazy I am now and its all because of Mr. Barbaro!  Thank you for bring it up, its is only fitting at the end of the year...

Lupe, a horse lover in Texas

05 Jan 2010 10:42 AM

Wow...Greg J.. you always share the most awesome information. I had never seen that quote before. I am finally taking my first trip to the derby this year. I will see it then. Thanks for all your wonderful posts.

05 Jan 2010 12:05 PM

Horswld, their plan is to take him at 1 year old and sell him.  I offered 150.00 for the horse but was declined, If he sells for 50 at auction I would be suprised.  poor little tyke.

He can't go to auction...

I have taken pictures of his surroundings and the place where he is tied to a fence without food or water,the fella is expected to eat the tall dead grass for food.

I have to laugh, he eats apples  now and seems to like those baby carrots. I will look up a diet for him at and talk with my dogs Doctor.  

I try to touch him as much as possible when I visit and he seems to like it.

Maxine, many thanks for your kind encouraging words...

05 Jan 2010 7:30 PM

I am one of the many people who had his life touched by this magnificent animal. His spirit and courage off the track was truly remarkable. Just as it was on it during race day.

Mr. Haskin's article does the spirit of Barbaro well and will speak to future generations about this grand champion and how his feats off the track transcended his brilliance one beautiful May afternoon.

05 Jan 2010 8:45 PM

I'm the biggest CURLIN fan; but Barbaro was very special to me as well - so special, in fact, that I insisted on adopting a purebred silver Bengal cat born on Barbaro's birthday - 4/29.  There were several kittens available born on various dates; but I wanted this kitten because of the special date he'd share with Barbaro.  Irony has it that the 29th of the month was when Barbaro and my kitten were born; the 29th was also when Barbaro and my grandmother died.  You can bet I always pay attention to the 29th.  1/29/07 was one of the saddest days I can remember.  And Gretchen Jackson's words "Grief is  surely the price we pay for love" have rung so true for me every time I have lost one of my beloved cats since.  My silver Bengal is named Curlin, but he's especially special for sharing his birthday with Barbaro; and my Lil Curlin was born in 07 - 4 months to the date after Barbaro died.  Life is cruel and ironic at times.  I - like so many others - was so touched by Barbaro's story! fantastically written, Steve! Thank you!

I also made a special trip from Michigan last summer - primarily to visit CURLIN - but, of course, also to see the amazing Babaro statue at CD - wow! It's spectacular!And the Derby Museum tribute to him is impressive and touching.  I was lucky to make it to the museum only 2 weeks before the flooding.

Again, thank you, Steve, for your great blogs.  They're truly well written, interesting, adn informative.

Keep up the good work!

Happy New Year to all!

06 Jan 2010 7:45 AM

to Cgriff: I read the blogs and only one person other than you mentioned the false start Barbaro made. And when he broke down shortly after coming out of the gate, my father said,"What a lousy vet; I bet he didn't even look at him Barbaro)." And we were thoroughly disgusted. That was my father's opinion. He lived to be 93 and was around horses his entire life so it is my opinion that there may have been validity in his vet statement. I never saw a vet go near him. They just put him back in the gate from what I could see. It isn't going to change history, but I will always wonder if they had scratched Barbaro because he may not have been sound after the false start (or he MAY have been) we'll never know.  At least someone had the horse sense to scratch Quality Road, even though he was a favorite also, just like Barbaro. Whatever was meant to be was meant to be--but I have cried literally buckets of tears over the suffering he went through & everyone else that suffered, the Dr., groom, Prado, you, etc.

06 Jan 2010 8:45 PM


This treatment of this poor creature can't go on like this. I realize that you are doing all that you can and bless you for that.

These owners need to be reported. And the pictures taken (great job by the way) need to be shown to the right people such as those that I mentioned before. I don't know the way that the legal system works were you are from, but I can't imagine that they would or could let this travisty continue. I beleive that it is possible that the system could actually grant you this horse by demanding that these criminals forfit it in order to avoid criminal charges. You should push for this.

If not ask these people just how much they want for the poor horse and I will do whatever it takes to help you out. Understand that I want to help you and this poor animal and if money is the problem please don't consider it a problem anymore. We will find a way out for him.

Please keep me updated. And has my permission to give you my e-mail address because I don't know if I'm allowed to give it out on this blog. God bless you.

07 Jan 2010 1:41 AM

Ragsy, I would chip in $50 for the colt as well. That's what I can afford. You might remember me as ConcernedFan from the Barbaro's Brothers blog. I am still concerned, and I am still a fan. You can email me at sdpokey at hotmail dot com if you can come to an agreement with these horse "owners," and I will write you a check or get a money order, if you prefer. I really would rather not see these people profit from their animal neglect and abuse, but whatever it takes to get this poor baby away from them is worth the cost. May I echo Horswld when I say, God bless you.

07 Jan 2010 11:38 AM


You can e-mail me at horswld at yahoo dot com. Please let me and the others that are willing to help know what we need to come up with. No matter what, we can do what it takes.


God bless you too, my friend, and you are more than welcome to e-mail me so that we can figure out how to go about saving this poor baby. I wish more people could come together like this. I know that there are so many others out there that need help but right here, right now is as good a place as any to start. Once again, God bless you, my friend, because through him anything is possible.

07 Jan 2010 1:01 PM

I remember screaming in anguish, don't put Barbaro back in the gate... don't do it.  He's lost his stride, he could be hurting.

Its a moment I thought of for a very long time.

Yes, I wanted and prayed for the happy ending until I actually saw Barbaro "walking" with Dr. Richardson.  I shuddered.

Thank you, Steve, for acknowledging Barbaro's story in a most heartwarming  tribute.

10 Jan 2010 2:46 PM

I just keep comming back to re-read your stories to me, Barbaro was so much like a fairytale, one so beautiful,full of life and so full of himself that I watched every one of his races and wondered about the possibility of greater things to come.

Just to watch the horrow that would follow.  Never, will I understand why that had to happen to him, why Barbaro, is still in my thoughts today I believe his story will forever be in peoples hearts and mind.

14 Jan 2010 7:19 PM

Remembering Barbaro always.  Today, congratulations to his little brother Lentenor. As fans we hope to see a little of Barbaro in his brothers. Thank you.

20 Jan 2010 8:16 PM
Denise Williams

My heart goes out to the Jacksons over Barbaro's death.  More so because I have a better understanding than most the heartache than comes with that terrible disease Laminitis.  My own pony suffered a very bad attack of it when he was just six years of age.  I was advised by Veterinarians that he was in such distress that he should be euthenized.  However I took the decision to fight for him.  My fight was successful and he is now thirty two years old and my proudest moment was seeing him win a jumping class in a show.  He proved there can be life after Laminitis but I look at what the Jacksons have been through and I cannot help but think there but for the grace of God go I.

20 Jan 2011 1:33 PM

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