On Saturday evening we decided to go out for Chinese food, but I wanted to watch the Preakness at 6:15, so we agreed to wait until after the race was over.
What a tragedy. Edgar Prado did a wonderful job of trying to pull up the injured Barbaro, but 1,300 pounds of adrenaline-soaked horse in pain takes a while to stop. I thought immediately of Go For Wand in the Breeders' Cup stretch and Ruffian in her match race against Foolish Pleasure and couldn't watch it any more.
I was actually more traumatized by it than I realized. The rest of the weekend, I kept flashing back to the sight of the colt, standing surprisingly calmly while being tended by the track vets and his trainers, holding his broken ankle in pain. I kept checking the internet for reports from the New Bolton Center on when his surgery would be performed and how he was doing.
And I'm not the only one. Even today, three days after his injury, Google News lists over 2,500 news articles about Barbaro. The Edmonton Oilers, one win away from becoming the Stanley Cup Champions, only have about 1,000 stories. People are coming in droves to leave presents and messages for the stricken horse at the University of Penn large animal hospital and the media is following intently the daily press conferences with his surgeon and owners.
As one article notes:
In fact, in some perverse way, you can make the case that the sport might be attracting more attention now than if Barbaro had actually won the Preakness, on his way to a possible Triple Crown.
That's winning and losing. This is life and death. Roles have reversed. Stripped of what he does best, Barbaro is now an underdog fighting long odds.
"What makes Barbaro's plight so heartbreaking is that he exuded such joy in his extraordinary gift for running, and now he has been cheated of it," (Laura) Hillenbrand said. "He has lost the thing that defined him, and it was something so beautiful and so precious and rare. I don't think anyone can look upon that and not feel moved.
His owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, live just outside of Philadelphia, and have bred horses for many years. Mrs. Jackson summed up what I think most people are feeling about this horse who was relatively unknown to the world until the first Saturday in May:
"My only hope for him is that he lives a painless life. Whether that means he'll be a stallion and we're lucky enough to see little Barbaros, that would be a supreme hope for him."
[I hope we get to see little Barbaros too.]
SAVE YOUR CORKS!!
[Only 7,208 more needed for our wine cellar wall.]
Quote du jour:
"Hope is a gift we give ourselves, and it remains when all else is gone."
Naomi Judd (1946 - ____) US singer
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