The ill-fated Barbaro, winning the Florida Derby, will be the subject of an HBO documentary.

The ill-fated Barbaro, winning the Florida Derby, will be the subject of an HBO documentary.

Associated Press

'Barbaro' Documentary by HBO Sports to Air in June

Edited press release

HBO Sports has begun production on a documentary that explores the triumph and tragedy of Barbaro. It will air June 6, three days before the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time.

Tracing the colt’s significant accomplishments and setbacks, Barbaro, a “Sports of the 20th Century” documentary, will chronicle his medical treatment after the 2006 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) as well as the resolute character of his eternally optimistic owners and trainer.

“The story of Barbaro is extraordinarily dramatic,” HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said. “We will tell the complete story of his remarkable life journey. One year ago, he emerged at Churchill Downs as the best 3-year-old Thoroughbred with a genuine chance at greatness. Fourteen days later, on May 20, all that changed when he suffered the devastating leg injury at the Preakness.

“The film explores this engaging animal’s will to survive and the deep love affair that many of us have with horses.”

With the cooperation of Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, Barbaro explores the many facets of the story, including the exceptional compassion displayed by trainer Michael Matz and the uncommon trust between Matz and the Jacksons.

Barbaro captures his spectacular victory and promising future; the heartbreaking events two weeks later at Pimlico Race Course; and the challenging medical procedures used to try and save the horse’s life.

Despite the odds, the Jacksons remained dedicated and never relinquished hope, with the medical expertise of Dr. Dean Richardson at the New Bolton Center enabling Barbaro to survive in the wake of his accident. On Jan. 29, Barbaro’s valiant struggle came to an end when he was euthanized after the pain from his injuries and subsequent surgeries became too great to sustain.

The executive producers of Barbaro are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; the producer is Margaret Grossi; and the story editor is Mary Carillo. It was written by Frank Deford, with original music composed by Brian Keane.