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Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: The Sicilian ()
Date: January 30, 2007 05:32

little queenie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> prevention is the best medicine

It could not be prevented. Well maybe if the horse was not racing.

I trained harness race horses for a few years in the late 70's and 80's. It is a tough, time consuming business. But you do become attached to some of the horses. However they are there for a reason and it is a business.

Re: OT:R.I.P.Barbaro`
Posted by: J.J.Flash ()
Date: January 30, 2007 05:59

little queenie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> button_your_lip Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Well I had to weigh in here. Truly a champion
> with
> > a big big heart. Breaks your heart.
> >
> > Queenie not sure what you meant by
> > prevention...but having raised quarter horses
> for
> > cutting and reining events, where they spend a
> lot
> > of time pounding their front legs and sitting
> back
> > on their haunches, extremely physical
> sport...Age
> > is a factor. I would say that racings biggest
> > problem is below.
> >
> > Eclipse Award for Outstanding 2-Year-Old Male
> > Horse
> >
> > Two years old..training before they are
> > 2...economically viable for owners.
> > How many are ruined before they make it to
> their
> > first race?
> >
> > ok taking pedestal down now.
>
>
> well, stargroves and i have been discussing this
> offline a little bit after i posted about more
> concerts at churchill downs - i am surprised at
> how many people on the board are involved in horse
> racing and other competitions.
>
> by prevention, i mean to ask why did barbaro break
> his leg to begin with? there are so many broken
> legs i hear about, i'm not surprised about
> barbaro.
>
> stargroves and i did touch upon racing at a young
> age (was barbaro too young or was he started
> young?). we also discussed having too many horses
> racing at one time (during jump racing,
> specifically) and the nature of the track. it
> seems like maybe the physical design of the horse
> plays a role (and makes healing a break very
> difficult).
>
> i guess the bottom line is, if people care so much
> about their horses, why subject them to such
> dangers?


Barbaro's injury was preventable. In a normal race if a horse breaks through the starting gate early, the vet is called in to look over the horse and most are scratched. I've only seen problems when they're not scratched. barbaro broke through the gate and they just put him back in! No vet! As soon as I saw this and the gates went up for the race I thought to myself "he's in real trouble". 1 block of running later and blammo! Broken leg! They're too worried about the big race and greed and the poor champion horse is now a memory.

Re: OT:R.I.P.Barbaro`
Posted by: button_your_lip ()
Date: January 30, 2007 06:01

good point.

Re: OT:R.I.P.Barbaro`
Posted by: The Sicilian ()
Date: January 30, 2007 06:08

J.J.Flash Wrote:

> Barbaro's injury was preventable. In a normal
> race if a horse breaks through the starting gate
> early, the vet is called in to look over the horse
> and most are scratched. I've only seen problems
> when they're not scratched. barbaro broke through
> the gate and they just put him back in! No vet! As
> soon as I saw this and the gates went up for the
> race I thought to myself "he's in real trouble". 1
> block of running later and blammo! Broken leg!
> They're too worried about the big race and greed
> and the poor champion horse is now a memory.

I'm no expert at thoroughbred racing by any means and you may be correct to some degree, however, a good rider should know his horse and if there was a problem he would have alerted someone to it. Also rules of racing are very strict, believe me on this, if proper procedure required a vet to check the condition of the horse it would have happened no matter what the circumstances or money involved.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: J.J.Flash ()
Date: January 30, 2007 06:18

I'm no expert either, but I've seen problems occur when a horse breaks through the gate and still races. either injury or a real bad race. And no, they didn't even check him (because of the $ involved)

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Debra ()
Date: January 30, 2007 15:53

button_your_lip, you sound like a real sweetheart so ok, here's a story just for you. I grew up around race horses because my neighbor raised them! He had a son I was in love with and we dated when I was 13-16 but more importantly, I fell in love with a horse called Whirl' n Deal or DEALER for short. He was a big horse with chocolate colored coat and white blaze, alot like Barburo. At night, I'd sneak down into the stales and sit and talk to him, feed him carrots and brush him. My Dad would have had a fit because Dealer was a bit wild but he loved me! One day on the way to school, traffic was stopped at the end of my street because Dealer had broken down his stale and was running all over the road, on ice. I jumped out of our car, my Dad was yelling for me to come back but I was already across the field where I walked slowly up to Dealer, I told him he had to go back to the barn and he just walked up to me, I took his halter and we walked back to the owner, into the stale! Everyone just stood there with their jaws dropped! It was cool! MY HORSE! It was the Spring after that winter that a fox spooked Dealer and as he tried to get out of his stale, away from the fox, he broke his back leg and had to be euthanized on the spot. I found out much later that day....to say I was devastated is a huge understatement. Again, I was sick, but REALLY REALLY SICK over this horse, for years. Sorry to bring you down further but the story is so appropriate for today. We always remember special animals and that's as it should be.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Stargroves ()
Date: January 30, 2007 17:30

Sad to hear that Babraro has lost his fight, his connections have my sympathies.

As Little Queenie said, this is something we've been enjoying debating off-list since a posting about Churchhill Downs on the board. LQ I know I owe you an email, it's been a bit busy here!

I do not know enough about US racing to make informed comments on it, but I can tell you that the major cause of injury is the dirt track that is your traditional surface. Michael Dickinson, who the UK readers of this may know as the man who trained the first 5 home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, has invented a new surface that will save the lives of many horses which has been installed at some tracks. Polytrack, which is the product of a company just a mile up the road from me, also reduces injuries.

This quote comes from an article about Barbaro: "But after a year of racing on Polytrack at Turfway Park in the Cincinnati suburbs, track officials there contend they have proof that their new surface is safer.

From September 2004 through April 2005, there were 24 catastrophic breakdowns of horses on Turfway’s dirt track. On Polytrack in the same period a year later, there were only three.

“There is absolutely no way we can ensure the safety of the animal — from a clipped heel to a prior injury not known,” said Turfway President Bob Elliston. “We can’t be so naive to believe we’re going to eliminate injuries, but there’s good evidence we can reduce the number.”

Barbaro's death seems to have brought this issue to a head and I understand dirt tracks are due to be replaced by all-weather tracks across the US.

Sometimes the best for an animal is not what you expect! I have always felt uneasy about 2year old horses being raced, I feel they are still babies, physically and mentally. Turns out I am wrong. About 5 years ago, there was a veterinary paper published which showed that the route I felt was ideal, leaving them to grow on before backing them and not running them until they are four or five, results in more injury. A horse will mature stronger and better if it is started and trained from an early age. Being "kind" and, to anthorpomorphise, giving it a childhood to grow up in, will make it more susceptible to injury. I am not talking about horses who run on dirt here, I am talking about National Hunt horses who run on grass tracks, so the research may not apply to this.

To those who say that horses are run for the $$$$, all I can say is that owning a racehorse is akin to setting alight bundles of £20 notes at daily intervals. You can get a lot of fun, a lot of heartbreak, but very few UK owners cover their costs, never mind get rich!!

I could go on about this all day, but in the meantime I would like to put Barbaro's death into proportion, with 2 stories from today's Racing Post:


Firstly: "DAMIEN MURPHY, the young Irish jockey who earned both praise and popularity when switching his career to Australia, has died following an horrific mid-race fall.

Murphy, who was 23, lost his life at 9am GMT on Sunday after his life support system was turned off following the arrival at his bedside of his mother Mary McGaar and sister Annie.

Formerly a resident of Kildare, Murphy was riding Ajay's Luck for trainer Dennis d'Arcy in a race at the New South Wales track Wellington when his mount clipped heels, stumbled and fell. The jockey suffered massive head injuries and a heart attack and was immediately airlifted to Sydney's Nepean Hospital, where he was pronounced brain dead.

McGaar told Australia's News Ltd: "Damien had a few accidents at home, but I never thought he'd lose his life. I never thought we'd lose him so young." Racing New South Wales chief executive Peter V'Landys, who escorted McGaar to the hospital, said: "Despite the highly emotional circumstances surrounding the visit and seeing Damien,Mary made the decision to ensure Damien's organs can be donated to help other people. It was the most admirable thing I've ever seen. She wants others to be touched by Damien."

Murphy rode 12 winners in Ireland, where he was apprenticed to Kevin Prendergast from 2001 until moving to Declan Gillespie in 2004. He rode his first winner on his first ride on the Francis Flood-trained Newhall at Down Royal in July 2001 and his last Irish winner on Lake Andre for Gillespie at Naas in April 2005, the same year he moved to Australia.

Tracey Bartley, to whom Murphy was once indentured in Australia, drove 400 kilometres to be at the rider's bedside and described him as "a lovely guy, just one of the laughable characters".

Funeral details have yet to be confirmed."


and Rhonda's awful injury here last week: "RHONDA GRIFFITHS, a former apprentice jockey, will be in Stoke Mandeville Hospital for up to three months after damaging her spinal cord when an Ian Wood-trained colt she was putting through stalls reared over backward and crushed her on Lambourn’s Mandown gallops.

She had no feeling below her hips in the days after the incident but, while doctors have told her they are hopeful she will be able to walk again unaided, they warned on Friday that full sensation was unlikely to return to her legs.

Griffiths, 25 and the mother of a four-year-old, Bradley, is undergoing intensive physiotherapy following the incident, for which details of her insurance cover have yet to be confirmed.

“My back is painful, and there’s lots of bruising and inflammation in that area,” she said.

“I’ve damaged the lower section of thespinal cord, and there’s no feeling below my hips, but the experts are confident I’ll be able to walk and run again, though it may take some months.

“I know I’m in the best place in the world for such an injury. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that eventually everything comes right, and that someday I’ll be able to ride again.” She added: “My mother has come down from Yorkshire to look after Bradley, and she brings him in to visit me whenever possible.

“It’s obviously a very difficult time for everyone, but I’m very grateful to Brian Holmes of Racing Welfare, who has visited three times and is doing his best to help.”

A previous employee of Mark Johnston, Brendan Duke, Roger Curtis and Nicky Henderson, Griffiths had five ridesfor Anthony Jones, but since last spring has ridden out on a daily basis for Wood, for whom her boyfriend, Wally Hagger, is head groom.

Recalling the accident, she said: “I was putting Jonny Behave into the stalls, but he was being difficult and Mr Wood was out the back with a long Tom. The colt reared over on top of me, and then rolled over me again as he attempted to get up, kicking me in the head. I was conscious throughout.”

Wood did not wish to comment on the incident when contacted by the Racing Post on Monday.

“I am hoping I am covered under Mr Wood’s accident insurance policy,” Griffiths added. “If I am not, I don’t know what I will do.” "

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: little queenie ()
Date: January 30, 2007 20:06

Stargroves Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> I could go on about this all day, but in the
> meantime I would like to put Barbaro's death into
> proportion, with 2 stories from today's Racing
> Post:
>
>
> Firstly: "DAMIEN MURPHY, the young Irish jockey
> who earned both praise and popularity when
> switching his career to Australia, has died
> following an horrific mid-race fall.
>
> Murphy, who was 23, lost his life at 9am GMT on
> Sunday after his life support system was turned
> off following the arrival at his bedside of his
> mother Mary McGaar and sister Annie.
>
> Formerly a resident of Kildare, Murphy was riding
> Ajay's Luck for trainer Dennis d'Arcy in a race at
> the New South Wales track Wellington when his
> mount clipped heels, stumbled and fell. The jockey
> suffered massive head injuries and a heart attack
> and was immediately airlifted to Sydney's Nepean
> Hospital, where he was pronounced brain dead.
>
> McGaar told Australia's News Ltd: "Damien had a
> few accidents at home, but I never thought he'd
> lose his life. I never thought we'd lose him so
> young." Racing New South Wales chief executive
> Peter V'Landys, who escorted McGaar to the
> hospital, said: "Despite the highly emotional
> circumstances surrounding the visit and seeing
> Damien,Mary made the decision to ensure Damien's
> organs can be donated to help other people. It was
> the most admirable thing I've ever seen. She wants
> others to be touched by Damien."
>
> Murphy rode 12 winners in Ireland, where he was
> apprenticed to Kevin Prendergast from 2001 until
> moving to Declan Gillespie in 2004. He rode his
> first winner on his first ride on the Francis
> Flood-trained Newhall at Down Royal in July 2001
> and his last Irish winner on Lake Andre for
> Gillespie at Naas in April 2005, the same year he
> moved to Australia.
>
> Tracey Bartley, to whom Murphy was once indentured
> in Australia, drove 400 kilometres to be at the
> rider's bedside and described him as "a lovely
> guy, just one of the laughable characters".
>
> Funeral details have yet to be confirmed."
>
>
> and Rhonda's awful injury here last week: "RHONDA
> GRIFFITHS, a former apprentice jockey, will be in
> Stoke Mandeville Hospital for up to three months
> after damaging her spinal cord when an Ian
> Wood-trained colt she was putting through stalls
> reared over backward and crushed her on Lambourn’s
> Mandown gallops.
>
> She had no feeling below her hips in the days
> after the incident but, while doctors have told
> her they are hopeful she will be able to walk
> again unaided, they warned on Friday that full
> sensation was unlikely to return to her legs.
>
> Griffiths, 25 and the mother of a four-year-old,
> Bradley, is undergoing intensive physiotherapy
> following the incident, for which details of her
> insurance cover have yet to be confirmed.
>
> “My back is painful, and there’s lots of bruising
> and inflammation in that area,” she said.
>
> “I’ve damaged the lower section of thespinal cord,
> and there’s no feeling below my hips, but the
> experts are confident I’ll be able to walk and run
> again, though it may take some months.
>
> “I know I’m in the best place in the world for
> such an injury. I’m just keeping my fingers
> crossed that eventually everything comes right,
> and that someday I’ll be able to ride again.” She
> added: “My mother has come down from Yorkshire to
> look after Bradley, and she brings him in to visit
> me whenever possible.
>
> “It’s obviously a very difficult time for
> everyone, but I’m very grateful to Brian Holmes of
> Racing Welfare, who has visited three times and is
> doing his best to help.”
>
> A previous employee of Mark Johnston, Brendan
> Duke, Roger Curtis and Nicky Henderson, Griffiths
> had five ridesfor Anthony Jones, but since last
> spring has ridden out on a daily basis for Wood,
> for whom her boyfriend, Wally Hagger, is head
> groom.
>
> Recalling the accident, she said: “I was putting
> Jonny Behave into the stalls, but he was being
> difficult and Mr Wood was out the back with a long
> Tom. The colt reared over on top of me, and then
> rolled over me again as he attempted to get up,
> kicking me in the head. I was conscious
> throughout.”
>
> Wood did not wish to comment on the incident when
> contacted by the Racing Post on Monday.
>
> “I am hoping I am covered under Mr Wood’s accident
> insurance policy,” Griffiths added. “If I am not,
> I don’t know what I will do.” "

Hi Stargroves - I'm glad you chimed in here - thanks for the info about the track improvements and about racing age.

It's sad to hear the stories about the jockies too...of course everyone knows about Christopher Reeve (who also spoke out about various animal issues before his accident). The only difference between the horse and human tragedies is that the humans choose to take such chances.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Raoul Duke ()
Date: January 30, 2007 21:58

I think this dead horse has been beaten enough over the past year. Seriously, it's a freaking horse!

I am not in the habit of shedding tears over animals whose rightful place is my local butcher's shop. They do taste great though. Try the horse salami if you get a chance. Raw, thinly shaved horse meat over a rucola salad is also pretty hard to beat.

Too bad I can't have my Barbaro steak. I understand there is probably not going to be any feasting on his carcass after the lame state funeral they are likely to give him.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: little queenie ()
Date: January 30, 2007 22:26

Raoul Duke Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am not in the habit of shedding tears over
> animals whose rightful place is my local butcher's
> shop.

so you eat cats and dogs too? humans are animals too so we'd better get over to our "rightful" place...

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: madmaxx ()
Date: January 30, 2007 23:10

It is sad when any animal dies like this.

I realise this is a very emotive subject but ...

As far as Horse racing goes these horses would never have been bread/born or had any life at all if there was no racing.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Stargroves ()
Date: January 30, 2007 23:25

OK Raoul
Different cultures, different habits, but not necessary to make your comment. Maybe it might be an idea for you to have a Barbaro meal. You might enjoy it, but with all the medication he would have been on, you'd better enjoy it, it would be your last...

Raoul Duke Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>> I am not in the habit of shedding tears over
> animals whose rightful place is my local butcher's
> shop. They do taste great though. Try the horse
> salami if you get a chance. Raw, thinly shaved
> horse meat over a rucola salad is also pretty hard
> to beat.
>
> Too bad I can't have my Barbaro steak. I
> understand there is probably not going to be any
> feasting on his carcass after the lame state
> funeral they are likely to give him.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: little queenie ()
Date: January 30, 2007 23:54

madmaxx Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It is sad when any animal dies like this.
>
> I realise this is a very emotive subject but ...
>
> As far as Horse racing goes these horses would
> never have been bread/born or had any life at all
> if there was no racing.

i've heard that reasoning for animals raised for food - but since animals raised for food (in factory farms which has taken over most "family farms") are kept in tiny, filthy quarters and their behavioral needs are completely ignored, their lives are not worth living.

i realize that race horses are not factory farmed, but the point is, did the suffering outweigh the enjoyment (there's no enjoyment in factory farming).

however, horses raised to supply urine for the hormone replacement drug "premarin" are kept pregnant and immobilized so they can extract the urine easily (there are non-animal based hormone replacement drugs out there). mary tyler moore has a campaign again premarin.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2007-01-31 00:03 by little queenie.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: sweetcharmedlife ()
Date: January 31, 2007 01:27

madmaxx Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It is sad when any animal dies like this.
>
> I realize this is a very emotive subject but ...
>
> As far as Horse racing goes these horses would
> never have been bred/born or had any life at all
> if there was no racing.


Hey Maxx,thanks for putting this into perspective.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Debra ()
Date: January 31, 2007 01:50

Raoul, you sound like a real jerk.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: stanbooth ()
Date: January 31, 2007 04:43

It's a horse. C'mon people!

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: little queenie ()
Date: January 31, 2007 05:42

stanbooth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It's a horse. C'mon people!

what is that really supposed to mean - humans shouldn't bond with or care about non-human animals?

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Raoul Duke ()
Date: January 31, 2007 07:26

little queenie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> what is that really supposed to mean - humans
> shouldn't bond with or care about non-human
> animals?

Ride them, hunt them, skin them, chop them up, and eat their succulent meat - possibly rare and dripping large amounts of blood.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: sweetcharmedlife ()
Date: January 31, 2007 07:32

Raoul Duke Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> little queenie Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > what is that really supposed to mean - humans
> > shouldn't bond with or care about non-human
> > animals?
>
> Ride them, hunt them, skin them, chop them up, and
> eat their succulent meat - possibly rare and
> dripping large amounts of blood.

Hey Raoul. If you want to come on here and say stupid shit,then at least have the BALLS to do it when the people who are challenging your stupid crap are online. Instead of doing the hit & run late at night.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Raoul Duke ()
Date: January 31, 2007 07:47

sweetcharmedlife Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hey Raoul. If you want to come on here and say
> stupid shit,then at least have the BALLS to do it
> when the people who are challenging your stupid
> crap are online. Instead of doing the hit & run
> late at night.


It's not late at night here genius. It's 1PM in Bangkok.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2007-01-31 07:50 by Raoul Duke.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Debra ()
Date: January 31, 2007 21:36

Raoul, you give HUMANITY a bad rap.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: little queenie ()
Date: January 31, 2007 22:14

Raoul Duke Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> sweetcharmedlife Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Hey Raoul. If you want to come on here and say
> > stupid shit,then at least have the BALLS to do
> it
> > when the people who are challenging your stupid
> > crap are online. Instead of doing the hit & run
> > late at night.
>
>
> It's not late at night here genius. It's 1PM in
> Bangkok.


bad raoul, no stones show for you - ha-ha!

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Raoul Duke ()
Date: January 31, 2007 22:17

little queenie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> bad raoul, no stones show for you - ha-ha!

I am still holding out some hope, but it does look increasingly unlikely.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: little queenie ()
Date: January 31, 2007 22:21

Raoul Duke Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> little queenie Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > bad raoul, no stones show for you - ha-ha!
>
> I am still holding out some hope, but it does look
> increasingly unlikely.

that's what you get for disrespecting animals...i had a chat with charlie about you and he's not pleased - not pleased at all.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Raoul Duke ()
Date: January 31, 2007 22:33

> little queenie Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------

> that's what you get for disrespecting animals...i
> had a chat with charlie about you and he's not
> pleased - not pleased at all.


Didn't know Charlie was a member of PETA. But I don't know whether it would have been such a great idea for them to come here to begin with. They may be able to get a few thousand people to come to the show, but am not sure they would be able to fill a good-sized venue. There is a large contingent of expats here, that's for sure. But the Thai people who can afford the tickets seem to be into the local pop scene (a horrendous one at that) and some of our very own hip-hop crap more than anything that even approaches what our guys have to offer.

I hope I am wrong. And if they do come, I will make sure to sneak into the venue a bag of those delicious deep-fried crickets, cockroaches, and grasshoppers that people love to eat here.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2007-01-31 22:36 by Raoul Duke.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: 1cdog ()
Date: January 31, 2007 23:15

Barbaro = An inspiration to mankind.

Here is a really good article from yesterday's Washington Post newspaper.

A 'Bottomless' Heart

By Sally Jenkins
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; E01

In diagnosing the public's unreasoning love for Barbaro, maybe it comes down to the fact that he never lied to us. Human nature seems like a sorry, wastrel thing, compared to that horse. No doubt, we idealized him, but the fact is, we could have used a happy ending for Barbaro, given some of the Gilded Age characters who parade safely through public life into retirement. His survival seemed like one good thing, a balm for foreign wars, domestic deceit, and the bimbo cocktail party circuit, ruthless wealth-swappage, and cross-entouraging that we lately call American culture.

Barbaro was an honest, blameless competitor. Our ridiculously soft feeling for him was based at least partly on that fact. Unlike so many people in the sports pages, he was neither felonious, nor neurotic. He let us place burdens on him, whether a saddle, a bet, or a leg brace, and he carried them willingly, even jauntily.

On the track, his trainer and jockey reported that there seemed no end to what he was willing to give. "Bottomless," was how they described his heart. He obviously raced for pleasure, and he ran with such dynamic abandon that he made circling a track seem an impetuous act. His effort was always sincere and supreme, and when he won the Kentucky Derby by 6 1/2 lengths, the largest margin in the race since 1946, it was less of a surprise than an affirmation to the people who had reared him. "Why shouldn't we have felt that way? Every time he had run before, he never let us down," trainer Michael Matz said to the Thoroughbred Times. "His will to win was obvious in whatever he did."

Also, he was handsome. On display in his stall, he had the calm expression of an inveterate star, and a preening stance that suggested he'd heard the roar of the crowd and knew he'd won the big one. Even his doctor, Dean Richardson, who hardly saw him at his best, noticed this. When he was asked why Barbaro excited such affection from perfect strangers, a choked Richardson replied, "He was good looking."

We followed his medical reports like they were our own. Phrases like "laminitic area," and "deep subsolar abscess" became familiar, as did the anatomy of his horribly damaged hind leg, the shattered pastern and sesamoid, and the pinned cannon bone.

There have been continual attempts to analyze why Barbaro's fight to survive so captivated the public, but maybe it's fairly simple: He had both innocence and greatness and it's not often you find those ephemeral qualities alive in the same creature. What's more, anyone who watched Barbaro run in the Derby felt that they saw traces of a distinct character: He was winsome. This gave his suffering specificity. We felt we knew him.

Possibly, this is anthropomorphic, and some have rightly pointed out that we should care as much about human beings. But it's not anthropomorphic to say that horses are irreproachably benevolent creatures, and this is surely one of the causes of our grief over Barbaro. It's a fact that of 4,000-odd animal species, only a very few are tame-able, none more so than horses. They are peaceful grazers by nature, and willing by disposition. Despite their considerable size advantage, they tolerate us and even bear burdens for us. While thoroughbreds can certainly be fearsome, their misbehavior is a flight response, not sadism, or outlawry. They have followed us, and favored us with their gifts to an extent that few other animals do, and partnered with us throughout history, from Persia to the Pony Express. "Gallant" is a word often applied to them, and it's apt.

Barbaro seems to have had all the virtues of his breed, and a few more besides. His character wasn't a matter of wishful projection, it existed, and was quite vivid to those who cared for him. He was indefatigable and had a high tolerance for pain. He was mettlesome without being spiteful -- and how often do you find that? He was expressive. In a lovely piece a few weeks ago by John Scheinman of The Washington Post, one of his night nurses described him as "mouthy." He befriended another patient at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa.: a cow. When he slept, his night nurse would pet him.

Despite pain and confinement, he wasn't mean. Among the things that caused his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, to give up hope yesterday was that, in the grip of wounded exhaustion, he finally tried to bite the hand of his doctor, Richardson. It was a first in eight months of treatment.

Novelist Jane Smiley wrote a strange and wonderful book a couple of years ago called "A Year at the Races," in which she explained, with an articulacy missing here, that the human engagement with horses is nothing less than a love story. If you were wondering why the death of Barbaro hurts so, there is the answer:

"A love story, at least a convincing one, requires three elements: the lover, the beloved, and the adventures they have together," Smiley wrote. "If the lover isn't ardent, then the story isn't a love story. If the beloved isn't appealing, then the lover just seems idiosyncratic or even crazy; and if they have no adventures, then their love is too easy, and they have no way of learning anything important about themselves and one another."

Barbaro was appealing, and he was obviously beloved by the public, and by his owners. If the public learned anything from him, it was that with enjoyment of thoroughbreds comes responsibility for doing the right thing by them. One of the few consoling results from the Barbaro tragedy was an anonymous gift of $500,000 for the establishment of the Barbaro Fund, for animal care at the hospital where he died. Yesterday, it was Gretchen Jackson who best summed up the public outpouring for a horse. "Certainly, grief is the price we all pay for love," she said.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: Stargroves ()
Date: January 31, 2007 23:42

1cdog Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Barbaro = An inspiration to mankind.
>
> Here is a really good article from yesterday's
> Washington Post newspaper.
>
> A 'Bottomless' Heart
>
> By Sally Jenkins
> Tuesday, January 30, 2007; E01
>

Thanks cdog, great article. The many discussions and heartsearching I've had about racing and whether it is acceptable crystallise into one sentence: to reach the highs in life one must also suffer the lows. That's what Barbaro's connections are now experiencing.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: little queenie ()
Date: February 1, 2007 03:11

Raoul Duke Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Didn't know Charlie was a member of PETA....

i don't know if he donates money to PETA or to any of the other millions of animal protection organizations but he is a vegetarian and he and his wife rescue dogs.

1cdog Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Barbaro = An inspiration to mankind.

the article does sum up well what people are feeling...but what does he inspire people to do?

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: 1cdog ()
Date: February 1, 2007 04:10

little queenie Wrote:
>
> 1cdog Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Barbaro = An inspiration to mankind.
>
> the article does sum up well what people are
> feeling...but what does he inspire people to do?

Queen,

How about these quotes from the article:

"Despite pain and confinement, he wasn't mean."

"He had both innocence and greatness and it's not often you find those ephemeral qualities alive in the same creature."

"Barbaro was an honest, blameless competitor."

"maybe it comes down to the fact that he never lied to us."

I find all of those traits inspiring.

Re: R.I.P.Barbaro
Posted by: sweetcharmedlife ()
Date: February 1, 2007 04:15

1cdog Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> little queenie Wrote:
> >
> > 1cdog Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Barbaro =
>
> Queen,
>
> How about these quotes from the article:
>
>
>
> "maybe it comes down to the fact that he never
> lied to us."
>
> I find all of those traits inspiring.

Maybe I missed something. Did the horse talk?

"It's just some friends of mine and they're busting down the door"

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