Horse racing is an ancient sport with a dedicated following across the globe. However, it also has a band of detractors who argue against the evils of sports gambling and animal rights. The horse racing industry in the United States has been most responsive to public concerns, and strives to improve matters to the extent possible.
Injuries are part and parcel of every sport, and the natural surfaces of race tracks often cause unfortunate accidents involving horses and riders as well. There have been important breakthroughs in recent years with respect to providing better insurance cover and emergency services for jockeys. Now, we have the important though sad case of an adverse incident involving a legendary race horse.
Who in the world of horse racing, has not heard of the handsome and heroic Barbaro? It was left to the Preakness Stakes to bring down the hitherto unbeaten colt. Barbaro, who has the Kentucky Derby under his illustrious mane, was once considered a favorite for the coveted Triple Crown. The Preakness was witness to an accident in 2005, and it was Barbaro’s unfortunate turn this year. He stumbled in a race witnessed by more than 100 thousand enthusiasts. His right rear ankle was dislocated and three bones in the area shattered in to some 20 pieces. Such an adverse incident would have resulted in any horse being quickly put down in the past, but it is to the credit of modern horse racing that Barbaro was given timely surgical treatment of the highest order.
It will be some time before we can be certain that Barbaro has been saved. Certainly, he has weathered the long surgery with characteristic bravado, and behaves as per last reports, as though he has not missed a trick! Though he can never race again, his eminent blood line will certainly make him a celebrity stud for many years to come! The best part, whether the surgery is successful or not, is that no effort has been spared to save Barbaro. It is a fitting tribute to a great 21st century champion and to horse racing as well!
Horse racing has kept pace with new developments on a number of fronts. Simulcast wagering is one of the more profitable and enjoyable outcomes, but the case of Barbaro shows that medical technology can also be out to humane use in all kinds of equine sports. Owners have a crucial role to play, committing themselves to lifetimes of the best care for their magnificent and brave animals. The glorious traditions of this noble sport deserve no less.
Science and Technology are not enough for recovery and Barbaro has no shortage of well-wishers and admirers who drop in with gifts and good wishes for his welfare. He is at the Bolton Center in Chester County. Rumors have it that a group of attractive mares have been amongst his long queue of visitors, and that Barbaro has responded in true stud fashion! Let us hope that his progeny continue from he has left his illustrious racing career, and join us in praying for his early recovery.