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Barbaro was expected to break the Triple Crown drought in 2006 by becoming the first colt to claim the illustrious title in nearly 3 decades. He handily won the Kentucky Derby and was the favorite to win the Preakness Stakes.
Stumbling out of the starting gate at Pimlico Race Course on May 20, he fractured three bones in and around the fetlock of his right hind leg. The very next day, he arrived at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center where equine surgeon Dean W. Richardson reconstructed the limb. Equine veterinarian Andrew van Eps remembers the day vividly. He was working on another horse that had been brought in with a critical condition when Barbaro arrived.
“Barbaro had a terrible hind limb fracture,” he says. “The expertise, the equipment and the facilities for recovery that these horses have make it quite possible to fix complex fractures.”