Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro has been euthanized. Calling it the “right decision”, the owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, said the horse was euthanized after a series of ailments following the shattering of his right hind leg on May 20th of last year. He had a 5 hour surgery to repair and fuse two joints in his hind leg.
What followed Barbaro’s original injury were several complications that quickly became news around the country. People from all over the country sent an outpouring of love and support for the horse. He suffered from an abscess in his right rear hoof, and laminitis in the other 3 hooves at various times. He underwent several surgeries throughout his ordeal, including removing 80% of his hoof on his hind left leg due to the laminitis. He spent time in fiberglass casts, slings, and an ICU stall.
This past weekend, Barbaro suffered yet another setback and had to have steel pins inserted in his leg after another abcess appeared causing him discomfort. When the owners realized that he would unlikely be able to live without discomfort, they consulted his surgeon, Dr. Dean Richardson, and they all agreed to euthanize him.
“It hinged on what we said all along, whether or not we thought his quality of life was acceptable. The probable outcome was just so poor.” said Dr. Richardson.
To many, Barbaro was a hero, a symbol of hope. He was not really expected to survive until surgery, much less survive his original surgery. Since that day when he shattered his leg only a few steps into the race at the Preakness Stakes, just two weeks after winning the Derby, he fought to survive, prompting cards, gifts and flowers form all over the country. $1.2 million dollars was raised to help fund his recovery.
Davis Switzer, the executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association called Barbaro a hero and said that the owners went above and beyond to save him. “It’s an unfortunate situation, ” he said, “but I think they did the right thing in putting him down.”
The Jacksons, who have been in the horse business for thirty years, spent thousands of dollars trying to save the horse and let him live a good life. The couple, who own some 70 horses, saw something special in Barbaro. They also knew he was a winner.
“I would say thank you for everything, and all your thoughts and prayers over the last eight months or so,” Roy Jackson said to the public.
Barbaro was born in Kentucky. He won his first three races, going on to win the Holy Bull Stakes, the Florida derby, and the Kentucky Derby. Before his disasterous break in May, he earned over $2.3 million dollars.