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It's almost that time of the year again, when Santa hitches Barbaro to his sleigh and delivers gifts to all the good boys and girls throughout the world (except France). What happened to Santa's reindeer? All we'll say: Don't look in the freezer.

Thanks to Barbaro's legion of certifiable devoted fans, his story has grown to near mythic proportions; we're sure it's only a matter of time before Rankin-Bass produces a Barbaro Christmas Special. But until then, we'll have to make due with his medical updates (the cast is off!). And of course the many letters from well-wishers, some of which are chronicled below.

• Barbaro-You have changed the face of racing and transcended the sport with your sphere of influence! How could you not be Horse of the Year? — Karen Leasure; Fort Worth, TX, USA

• Hi Barbaro - or should i call you the horse version of Lance Armstrong!!? LOL. Your such an inspiration, and you give strength to so many. Your the reason why I was able to come out of the closet, thank you! God Bless.. — Terence Doran, 31; West Village NYC, NY.

• Precious Barbaro:please send us one of your personal emails with your photo which would be a pleasure to receive. God Bless Palm Island, the horse who has gone to be with the Lord after a weekend Breeders Cup race this weekend. Go Barbaro!!! — Karen Hoover, 57; El Paso, TX, USA

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• B is for beauty, A is for awesome, R is for Real Awesome Beauty! O is for Only Horse in my Eyes! BAR-BA-ROHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! — George Popadopolous, 63; New York, NM, usa

• Barbaro, Woud you please request new photos of yourself for the UPenn web page. Your fans would like new pics as soon as you are put in a splint. Thank you, — Terri Slayton, 48; Amarillo, TX.

And remember, grow hoof grow!

Barbaro Message Board [Penn Veterinary Medicine]
Big Step: Doctors Remove Barbaro's Cast [MSNBC]