Barbaro's medical condition is 'potentially serious'

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. -- Barbaro's condition turned "potentially serious" again Wednesday, a day after the Kentucky Derby winner's veterinarian gave a more upbeat report, saying the colt was stable and resting comfortably.

Dean Richardson, the chief surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, also said the colt faced "tough odds" and that doctors were looking at all possible treatments to keep the 3-year-old comfortable.

"Our entire staff is determined to do all they can for this magnificent horse," Richardson said in a statement issued by the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals.

A New Bolton Center spokeswoman said there will be an update on Barbaro's condition at a news conference Thursday.

Barbaro, who shattered three bones in his right hind leg at the start of the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course on May 20, has undergone three surgical procedures in the past week. In the most recent one Saturday, Richardson replaced the titanium plate and 27 screws and treated two infections -- one in the injured leg and a small abscess on the sole of his uninjured left hind hoof.

"Today we will focus on further diagnostics and keeping our patient comfortable," Richardson said.

Doctors are also keeping watch for any signs of laminitis, a potentially fatal disease sometimes brought on by uneven weight balance.

A major concern centers on the infection in the right rear pastern joint -- located above the hoof that was shattered into more than 20 pieces. While most of the fractured bones have healed, the joint that connects the long and short pastern bones remains problematic.

Barbaro's recovery had been going smoothly until this recent series of setbacks. Saturday's surgery lasted three hours, and Richardson replaced the hardware that had been inserted into the leg the day after the Preakness.

"He's facing tough odds, and his condition is guarded," Richardson said.

Owner Roy Jackson said the sudden changes in Barbaro's condition made this a tough week.

"We've been concerned all along," Jackson said Wednesday. "It's just one of those things. It's very difficult to climb the mountain when something like that happened."