Derby Winner Barbaro Euthanatized: "Difficult For Him to go on Without Pain"

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was euthanatized Monday (Jan. 29) after complications from his injury at the Preakness last May.

"We just reached a point where it was going to be difficult for him to go on without pain," co-owner Roy Jackson said. "It was the right decision, it was the right thing to do. We said all along if there was a situation where it would become more difficult for him then it would be time."


Dr. Dean Richardson, Barbaro's surgeon.

Owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson were with Barbaro on Monday morning, with the owners making the decision in consultation with chief surgeon Dean Richardson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS.
It was a series of complications, including laminitis in the left rear hoof and a recent abscess in the right rear hoof, that proved to be too much for the gallant colt, whose breakdown brought an outpouring of support across the country.
"I would say thank you for everything, and all your thoughts and prayers over the last eight months or so," Jackson said to Barbaro's fans.
On May 20, Barbaro was rushed to the New Bolton Center, about 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia in Kennett Square, hours after shattering his right hind leg just a few strides into the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The bay colt underwent a five-hour operation that fused two joints, recovering from an injury most horses never survive. Barbaro lived for eight more months, though he never again walked with a normal gait.
The classic winner suffered a significant setback over the weekend, and surgery was required to insert two steel pins in a bone--one of three shattered eight months ago in the Preakness but now healthy--to eliminate all weight bearing on the ailing right rear foot.
The procedure on Saturday was a risky one, because it transfered more weight to the leg while the foot rests on the ground bearing no weight.
The leg was on the mend until the abscess began causing discomfort last week. Until then, the major concern was Barbaro's left rear leg, which developed laminitis in July, and 80% of the hoof was removed.

Richardson said Monday morning that Barbaro did not have a good night.

Visit our sister publication,, to view a slide show tribute to Derby winner Barbaro including photos taken during his brave recovery attempt.

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The Associated Press

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