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Barbaro develops 'potentially serious' complications

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. -- Barbaro's road to recovery has been
slowed by recent infections, but his owners remain hopeful those
are only minor setbacks for the Kentucky Derby winner.

"He was definitely not comfortable and they found the source of
the discomfort and did something about it. He was a lot more comfortable yesterday and, as I understand it, even better today."
Owner Gretchen Jackson

After a relatively smooth recovery, Barbaro underwent three
procedures in less than a week, the latest for a new infection and
"potentially serious" complications to his injured right hind
leg.

"He was definitely not comfortable and they found the source of
the discomfort and did something about it," owner Gretchen Jackson
said Monday. "He was a lot more comfortable yesterday and, as I
understand it, even better today."

Barbaro developed an infection in the leg in which a titanium
plate and 27 screws were inserted after he shattered three bones at
the start of the Preakness on May 20.

After Barbaro showed discomfort and had a "consistently" high
fever, the plate and screws were replaced and the infection treated
late Saturday night.

"It's one of those setbacks that we've prepared ourselves for
as best we can," Jackson said. "Sure it's disappointing, but
we've been warned. ... But a lot of bone has healed, a lot. There's
a lot of good stuff. And the horse is incredibly strong, healthy
and we've got to keep the faith."

Surgery was performed by Dr. Dean Richardson at the University
of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, where Barbaro has been
recovering in the intensive care unit.

In a statement released by the hospital Sunday, Richardson
emphasized that the complications are "potentially serious."

"Barbaro had developed some discomfort and a consistently
elevated temperature so we believed it was in his best interest to
remove the hardware and thoroughly clean the site of the
infection," Richardson said. "We also applied a longer cast on
that leg for additional support."

Last Monday, Barbaro had the cast on his injured leg replaced
and three new screws inserted. On Wednesday, another new cast was
applied after the horse showed discomfort. Barbaro is also being
treated for a small abscess on the sole of his left hind hoof,
according to the hospital.

Richardson said Barbaro's main fracture is healing well, but the
pastern joint -- located above the hoof, which was shattered into
more than 20 pieces -- continues to be a concern. The joint, which
doctors are attempting to fuse, was stabilized with "new implants
and a fresh bone graft."

"Maybe we've been lucky that we haven't had any big problems,"
owner Roy Jackson said. "Then a little problem like this crops up.
The whole recovery is a difficult thing."

Barbaro took longer to recover from the anesthesia from
Saturday's procedure. Richardson said the colt was back in his
stall and receiving pain medication, antibiotics and "other
supportive care."

The Jacksons, who live in nearby West Grove, Pa., and trainer
Michael Matz continue to visit twice daily, the statement said.

"He looks all right," Roy Jackson said. "He looks fairly
bright."

Doctors have said it could be months before they know if the
colt can survive what has been called catastrophic injuries that
leave him vulnerable to infection and other life-threatening
complications.

Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby by 6½ lengths, was unbeaten in
six races and expected to make a Triple Crown bid before his
misstep early in the Preakness ended his racing career. He was
taken to the New Bolton Center hours after breaking down at Pimlico
Race Course and underwent five hours of surgery the next day.

At that time, Richardson said the chances of the horse's
survival were 50-50.