Giving credit to everyone but himself, Dr. Dean Richardson, the surgeon who operated on and has since tended to the daily care of Barbaro, graciously accepted another honor Monday, the Big Sport of Turfdom presented by the members of the Turf Publicists of America.
At the group’s 41st annual gathering in Beverly Hills, Calif., just a few blocks and a few hours before the Eclipse Awards are presented, Richardson thanked the owners of the winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Roy and Gretchen Jackson, as well as the staff at the University of Pennsylvania Widener Hospital at New Bolton.
“Roy and Gretchen define what is great about Thoroughbred racing; with their class, compassion, and love of the animal,” Richardson said. “This is about the relationship with the horse and each decision has been what is best for the horse.”
Then he thanked Barbaro, saying, “The athlete is this partner in our sport. We’re being honored for the effort to save Barbaro, not the accomplishment.”
As he has repeatedly said, Richardson noted again, “We have not accomplished anything yet,” alluding to the still tough road ahead Barbaro has recovering from surgery to repair his fractured right rear leg and the laminitis that struck his left rear leg.
“We have not accomplished anything yet other than to let the public know what veterinarians can accomplish.”
Later in the evening, Richardson will present an Eclipse Award and the Jacksons and New Bolton will be honored with a Special Eclipse Award.