Barbaro winning the Kentucky Derby

Barbaro winning the Kentucky Derby

I have noticed that some people remember things.  Some don’t.  I am poor at recalling people’s names.  I can remember faces, I can remember what item I bought at what garage sale, how to get there – all conveniently stored in my brain.  I should mention that these sales  were not from yesterday, last week, or even last year…….I mean like in 1982.  Interesting at times, in my family I am known as the queen of useless information.  Of course this ties in perfectly with what I preseme to be my photographic memory.  For example,  I know where everything is in WalMart.  I mean EVERYTHING.  If I have walked down that asile,  if I saw the item there in that particular spot, well, it goes into that heap of information in my head.  It really screws me up when they decide to “redo” the store,  be it the WalMart, or the supermarket we go to, Safeway.  However it is a short lived botherment, as all it really takes is one cruise around and I know where the pipe cleaners are.  (I don’t ever need those – the ones for cleaning pipes, not the craft item ones).  Or perhaps the packages of dried spices, like the dried cactus flowers. (on the wall opposite the produce dept, now obscured by the giant water dispensing machine and it’s crocks and plastic jugs, just in case you needed to know).  But people’s names ?  Forget it.  I can repeat verbatim songs in a foreign language too.  Finnish ? No problem.  North Korean ?  no problem……. etc.   So, when people obsess about recalling a certain date, well, ok.  Today is one such day.  I read a horse racing forum board, devoted to the “would have been great” horse  Barbaro.  For those of you who may have missed this particularly bad story, he won the Kentucky Derby.  He went to Pimlico in Baltimore Maryland to run in the Preakness Stakes.  All presumed that he would become the first horse since my pal Affirmed to win horse racings Triple Crown title, including me.  But that is always preceeded in my mind by the words “barring any unforseen event”.  Well that event did indeed happen, Barbaro broke through the starting gate before the starter sprang the gates for the field.  He was pulled up and circled back around….but not walked off in a straight line.  In my opinion, had they done that, it would have been apparent he had already injured himself. Sadly, no vet check, only reloaded and the gates opened.  He was only able to go 14 strides by my count before he suffered a catastrophic breakdown.   I have been involved in racing since 1971.  Never before had I seen a horse gallop out on three legs.  Mostly due to the wonderful training that Michael Matzdoes with his horses at Fairhill.  His horses are true athletes – they do long gallops in hills, all different terrain.  Anyway, because of Barbaro’s willingness to be an excellent patient, his rear leg was plated, pinned wrapped, glued supported and he lived, patched together from that day in May until the following January 29th – when the dreaded disease Lamanitis claimed his legs and he was euthanized.  Horses are on precarious ground so to speak when they have four good legs.  Tiny bones, 1200 plus pounds and energy to spare.  When there are only 3 good legs to share that weight, the circulation suffers and well, it usually spells the end.  Think Secretariat ?  Affirmed ? Both euthanized due to lamanitis.   Barbaro joined an very long list of horses who didn’t make it due to lamanitis.  There is ongoing research at New Bolton Vet hospital in PA, and I hope one day they can figure out how to stop it from occurring.   Barbaro had the spirit, the owners and the money to put him back together again, but it didn’t help in the end.  Dr.Richardson, his vet learned a lot from it, so hopefully in the future it will help other horses.  So, today I remember Barbaro, and those horses gone before and since.  They give their all, and while the industry is changing to help place the Thoroughbreds after they are done running,  more needs to change.  I can only hope.  Of course there are just as many jubilant moments I participated with in racing……..but for now I am happy to look out at my rescued Thoroughbreds and remember the past.

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