The 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, was euthanized this morning after complications from his breakdown in the Preakness Stakes last May proved too painful for the 4-year-old colt. A recent abscess in the right rear leg required additional surgery over the weekend to insert two steel pins into a bone to eliminate all weight bearing on the right rear hoof. After an uncomfortable night on Sunday, owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson, with chief surgeon Dean Richardson, made the decision to euthanize Barbaro this morning.
"We just reached a point where it was going to be difficult for him to go on without pain," Roy Jackson said. "It was the right decision, it was the right thing to do. We said all along if there was a situation where it would become more difficult for him then it would be time."
After shattering three bones in his right rear leg in the Preakness Stakes, Barbaro underwent an initial five-hour operation at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., on May 20, 2006, that fused two joints and stabilized his leg with steel pins.
Despite the development of laminitis in his left rear leg in July--which required removing 80 percent of his hoof--Barbaro was on the mend until the development of the abscess last week. The racehorse lived eight months after sustaining his injury.