Edited press release
Roy and Gretchen Jackson and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the New Bolton Center have been honored with the 2006 Special Eclipse Award. The Special Eclipse Award, which is presented by the National Turf Writers Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association honors outstanding individual achievements in, or contributions to, the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
The announcement was made Jan. 16.
The Jacksons, owners of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro, and the representatives from the New Bolton Center,who were responsible for the horse's emergency surgery and continued recovery will be presented the Special Eclipse at the awards dinner Jan. 22 at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.
In the hours that followed the near fatal injury to Barbaro in the May 20 Preakness Stakes (gr. ), the nation's attention was focused on the Jacksons--who campaigned Barbaro with trainer Michael Matz and jockey Edgar Prado--and the veterinary staff at the New Bolton Center, led by chief of surgery Dr. Dean Richardson. In the difficult first hours of the crisis, the Jacksons took every reasonable measure to save Babaro’s life as an outpouring of gifts and well-wishes flowed in to the New Bolton Center from around the world.
"We’ve tried to do the right thing from the start," Roy Jackson said. "It has been a surreal journey for us since the start of 2006 with a lot of ups and downs, but it is a real highlight in this journey to be recognized by the industry in this fashion. It’s not just for ourselves, but also for Barbaro. He’s been the one taking us on this journey."
Commenting on the New Bolton Center, Jackson said: "They have been remarkable throughout the whole process. Dean Richardson has done a wonderful job in explaining Barbaro’s condition to the general public in layman's terms. Barbaro has brought them to the forefront, but they've been able to do remarkable things through combined research between the medical school and the vet school. They are leaders in their field."
On May 21, led by Dr. Richardson, the New Bolton medical team operated for nine hours on multiple fractures to Barbaro's right hind leg, as well as a dislocated fetlock. The surgery required a metal rod and 23 screws to help stabilize a long pastern bone that had shattered into more than 20 pieces.
Photographs of Barbaro being lifted out of the recovery pool at New Bolton that evening became an enduring symbol of the long hours of the operation. In the weeks following his recovery, Barbaro was struck with acute laminitis in his opposite hind foot, requiring the doctors to place Barbaro in a sling for nearly 12 hours at a time. Barbaro pulled through the crisis, but remains in the intensive care unit at New Bolton.
"Penn Vet is honored to represent the veterinary profession by receiving this extremely prestigious award from the Thoroughbred racing industry," said Dr. Joan Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn dean of veterinary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "As veterinarians, we are grateful for the expressions of confidence in the care we provide and are appreciative of the outpouring of support we have received from around the nation during the past year. I am proud of our profession's role in improving the racing industry."