As for Barbaro's mental condition, Richardson said the colt "couldn't look a whole lot better in that regard. He's very active in his stall, and when a horse walks by the outside window, he's peeking out there trying to see who it is. If you were to look at this horse, I believe an objective person would not believe that this horse looks depressed. Michael Matz and (owners) Roy and Gretchen Jackson have been here every day and have looked the horse over, and I think they'd agree that he's bright and happy."Richardson also said it is possible for Barbaro to go two or three months and still not be completely healed. "There are multiple elements to this injury, and to be perfect he's got to fuse his fetlock joint and his pastern joint, and we have to make sure he has no major problems with infection, drainage from the sight, and foundering from the other side. So those things still could go wrong even at two or three months out."It is possible for his bones to heal to the point where they're very, very strong. What won't function on him is that he won't have normal mobility. He will never be able to do a dressage test, and he won't be able to gallop strongly or jump. At the very best, he'll have a hitch in his giddy-up. He will not be quite right, but there are lots of horses who can walk, trot, canter, gallop, spin around, and somewhat importantly, mount a mare; those things that you use your hind legs for. Yes, it is possible he'll can be active enough to do all that, but we're not even close to being at that point yet."In the meantime, Barbaro's connections have been attempting to return to their normal lives, but that likely won't happen in its entirety until the son of Dynaformer is proclaimed out of danger, which won't be for another couple of months."We're hanging in there," trainer Michael Matz said May 26. "It's a big loss to fill, but what can we do? It was pretty hard on Sunday looking into that empty stall. But it makes it better when I can go over and see him and know that he's doing well. I thought he might lose some day, but I never thought he'd lose that way.Matz, like most everyone, can only wonder what might have been. "Who knows how good that horse really was?" he said. "I felt we still had a lot left in the horse, and I was just sure he was going to win the Triple Crown. It's hard to take, and now I just feel bad for the racing public that they didn't get a chance to see him continue. This could have been one of the great ones. He looked like he was just starting to come into himself, the way he won the Derby and the way he was coming into the Preakness. Edgar said when he was warming him up, he was bucking, and he just felt so good."Matz said he was informed by Pimlico officials that a frame-by-frame study of the incident shows Barbaro being struck by Brother Derek just before the accident."The stewards and Dr. David Zipf, watched the slow motion replay," Matz said. "They said it looked like Brother Derek's right foot hit him in the pastern. The front foot was stuck way out and as soon as it happened he head went up. If he was struck, he suffered no cuts at all. They basically said they're 80% sure he was hit someplace where he went off balance. We thought the condylar fracture might have happened first, but maybe it was just the opposite where the pastern went first and then it went up to the condylar fracture."Although Matz said he wasn't able to see it as clearly as Pimlico officials, Lou Raffetto, the track's president and chief operating officer, said it was "pretty conclusive.""We didn't want to make a big deal of this, because what happened happened, and you can't change that," Raffetto said. "We're not trying to defend ourselves; we don't feel we have anything to defend. We just watched it and sent the DVD to Michael, and he hasn't had the time to really look at it carefully. You have to look at it frame by frame to really appreciate it, which is what we did. We watched the head-on, the pan, and the stills."It's clear that Barbaro is inside of Sweetnorthernsaint in the three path before they get to the shadow of the building. And then he's clearly behind him two jumps later, and you can see that he drifts out from the head-on. Then when you go to the pan, you can see Brother Derek two or three lengths behind him and running up to the field. He runs into a spot just as Barbaro drifts out into the same spot. As they come to where the shadow of the building crosses the track, near the eighth pole, you see Brother Derek reach out with his right front foot, and just when it appears to make contact with Barbaro's right hind, Barbaro's head goes up, and you see (Alex) Solis (on Brother Derek) pull out with his right shoulder. And when Barbaro's head goes up, you can see his right hind leg twist out sideways and he puts the leg down awkwardly."By putting all the pieces together and watching it as closely as we did, we're pretty confident that's what happened. If this were pro football, they'd probably say it was inconclusive. It's probably 80% so, but it doesn't change anything. We just sent it to Michael to let him form his own conclusions. You talk about the racing gods, if Barbaro doesn't drift out this never happens. If Brother Derek doesn't break slowly this never happens."When asked about Pimlico's findings, Prado said, "It's a mystery no one will ever know for sure. There's nothing we can do about the past. We just have to look to the future."Solis, however, refuted Pimlico's claim. "There's no way he could have struck Barbaro; I would have felt it," Solis said May 30. "We were close behind him, but not that close. Getting that close to him and going that speed, if I had struck him I would have gone down. It was just one of those things that happened. I could hear his leg snap, and thank God I had enough space and time to get out of there. Luckily I wasn't that close to him and I was able to react quickly. Horses are like any other athlete. You can have a basketball player going for a rebound and he twists or breaks his leg. And you've got skiiers going over jumps and breaking bones. It happens."Matz is amazed at the amount of support he and everyone connected with the horse has been getting, and the number of e-mails that have come pouring in to the horse from all around the world. "I'll bet we received more than a thousand e-mails, and letters are coming in all the time," he said."I might never get another horse as good as him," Matz said, "but I look at this way: I'm lucky enough to have had him when I did. It's tough, but we just have to go on, and hopefully, we'll get there again.For Prado, the steady stream of tears the days following the injury have for the most part dried, but thoughts of Barbaro are always with him. His spirits were lifted after he visited the horse for the first time May 30."I'm still heartbroken, and I will be for a long time, but I definitely feel a lot better after seeing him," Prado said. "It's been tough to concentrate on anything this past week, but I had to go forward. I just wanted to come visit him to show him I still care for him. He looks very bright and strong. He even wanted to get out of his stall. All we can do now is pray for him to have a speedy recovery and for him to enjoy the rest of his life."Saturday was a nightmare," Prado said last week. "I reacted pretty quickly and I tried to hold him together. The horse did his job by not fighting with me. I stopped thinking about the race and the Triple Crown right away. The only thing I could think of was him. I wanted to pull him up and comfort him as soon as I could. Each second felt like an hour. He's an intelligent horse. He knew he was hurt and he knew what he wanted -- he wanted to survive."The hardest part of my life was when I lost my mother (this past January). Saturday was the toughest day of my career. It was love at first sight with Barbaro. He's very special horse. It goes to show you that in America, everything is possible. The technology here is superior to so many other countries. You have a better chance to survive any kind of injury or illness here than you do anywhere else. I'm glad he's getting what my mother didn't: a chance to survive.
"Of all the tears I have cried, if tears could heal a wound, Barbaro would be healed by now. I've been thinking about him and I've been crying on and off. I can't do any more."In addition to all the cards and letters, Barbaro has received apples, carrots, fruit baskets, stuffed animals, and even religious statues from a compassionate public that has embraced the colt and his fight for survival. Many of the gifts are displayed all along the fence outside the clinic.Two of the signs pretty much sum up people's feelings. One reads, "Believe in Barbaro," and the other, "Believe in Miracles."
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