Breyer model horse maker Reeves International contributed $126,500 to the Laminitis Fund, created in memory of Barbaro, during the annual Alibi Breakfast Thursday at Pimlico Race Course.
Company president Tony Fleischmann presented a check for the donation to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, the beneficiary of the Laminitis Fund. The fund for laminitis research was established by Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson.
The donation was from profits from Breyer’s special Barbaro model and increased the company’s total contribution from sales of the model to $241,000.
The Alibi Breakfast is a traditional event linked to the running of the Preakness Stakes, the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Barbaro, the unbeaten Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner and favorite in the 2006 Preakness (gr. I), suffered catastrophic injuries to his right rear leg in the opening yards of Pimlico’s marquee race. He underwent major surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center to repair the multiple fractures. His struggle for survival became a national story that transcended sports.
In late January, Barbaro was euthanized after he was stricken with laminitis, an often-fatal ailment that affects the flow of blood to a horse’s hooves.
“For over 50 years now, Breyer’s has been celebrating the horse by making the finest models of the most famous and beloved horses,” Fleischmann said. “But seldom have we experienced the level of excitement and interest that we, and indeed the entire nation did, with the courageous and wonderful Barbaro.
“In fact it was due to the overwhelming number of passionate requests for a Barbaro model, which continued long after our initial program had ended, that moved us to go back into production.”
Fleischmann said his company is proud to be connected with the fight against laminitis.
Dr. Dean Richardson and jockey Edgar Prado, important players in the story of Barbaro, each received a Special Award of Merit during the breakfast.