The news appears to be improving for Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner who went down during the Preakness with a broken hind leg. Not since that Joe Theisman video did we recoil quite so much during a sporting event (we were all sad when they had to shoot Joe in the lockerroom afterwards, weren't we?). After a six-hour surgery, Barbaro is back munching oats, although they say his chances to survive are still "50-50." One thing that caught our eye, from the AP story:
When he came out of surgery, Barbaro was lifted by sling and placed on a raft in a pool so he could calmly awake from the anesthetic.
This would not have a calming effect on us.
It's estimated that 375 thoroughbreds die each year in the U.S. due to race-related injuries; more than one per day, in case you thought Barbaro's injury was an anomaly. Also, we've always wondered, what happens to all the thoroughbreds that don't make it? For every Barbaro, there's got to be a hundred or so that are bred, but aren't good enough to race. Horses don't exactly make great house pets. We'd like to think that they're running around in a pasture somewhere, as Robert Redford stops by occasionally to chat with them. But that seems naive. Hmm, horse racing. We're not sure we get it.