Barbaro_1 Barbaro is gone. The Kentucky Derby winner was euthanized in his stall this morning, ending his fight to survive the catastrophic injury he suffered during the May 20 Preakness Stakes.

Devotion from his cyberfans lasts forever. On Tim Woolley's horseracing site, some comments reflect strangely deep sorrow:

I must admit that on hearing the sad news of Barbaro's passing, the only other times that I have felt so empty and so devastated was when President Kennedy was assassinated, and when the World Trade Center Twin Towers collapsed.

Philebrity breaks into regularly scheduled programming to link Bob Dylan's "All The Tired Horses."

"You Were a Good Horse," says The Phillyist. "May you rest in peace in that great stud farm in the sky."

Philadelphia Will Do wonders how long before the great horse's miracles are documented.

Author Jane Smiley writes in the Washington Post: A horse's hoof is wondrous structure -- the outside horn is lined with delicate membranes and blood vessels that feed and support the bones of the foot. The bones of the foot are analogous to a person's finger tips, since a horse's knee is analogous to a person's wrist -- the race horse carries a thousand pounds at thirty-five or forty miles per hour using a few slender bones supported by an apparatus of ligaments and tendons that have no analogues in human anatomy.

So what's this all about? If you have two minutes, watch this, which could be called, "And here comes Barbaro." One more time, the 132nd Running of the Roses, and his nearly seven-lengths romp. Some horse.

Posted 01/29/2007 10:39:36 PM

A horses' knees are not fused until they are 7 years old. The US cavalry knew this in the 1700's which is why they only took horses 7 or older - their legs can't take stress until then. The victim here is, of course, the colt. Run them at 2 - every racetrack in the country has a boneyard behind it filled with 2 year old colts. The racing commission could do a lot to prevent this kind of sadness - but again, corporate america wins out.

Paul Burke
Posted 01/30/2007 09:30:28 AM

Awesome post by Marty. A few thoughts on "what's going on here" - The horse is a majestic animal - slaughtered for meat in the U.S. but not eaten here - (unless you go to Sizzler's) - this love affair has deep roots in our DNA. Stealing a mans horse was a federal crime (I believe)and after Stonewall Jackson died his horse toured repeatably with carnivals from town to town, and lived to some outlandish old age very well taken care of a hero in it's own right. Look at what the loss of the family pet does to a household now magnify that nationwide even world wide. Adults treat each other like crap, but the worst of us love our pets. In the absence of blind ambition for power, money and fame we are left with a simpler kind of humanity one personified in our animal friends that doesn't hate based on color, creed or culture. We have over complicated our lives with the trappings of consumerism and the packaging and the marketing and the fashion that goes along with it. A horse doesn't care about what car you drive or your address or the color of your cell phone, what music you listen to or how you walk, talk or look. But they do have a sense of humor and they love to run. It's the basic instincts of our better nature to be drawn in especially by such a heroic horse. Barbaro had Triple Crown written all over him. We love a winner but more than that we love a battler and Barbaro and those who worked feverishly to take care of him battled for us. Wrap all of that up together and it's easy to see why we feel (at times) more towards our pets than each other in general. Unfortunately for humans we are too easily led astray by the fabricated importance of consumerism and fashion and power and control as opposed to our kindred animal spirits who just love to be. It's hard to articulate in words but has a lot to do with unconditional love. Maybe one day we will try it on each other (globally) until then we express our love and humanity to those we know won't use it against us.

Posted 01/30/2007 10:47:47 AM

"Heroic horse" might be an overstatement. After all, the horse really had no choice in the post-race efforts. He was an unwitting participant. And, while it might be cold, horse racing wouldn't exist if there was no wagering. in fact, it surprises me a bit that the animal welfare people haven't attacked it much as the humans do boxing. It's an interesting story, but tinged with grief. Although it's difficult to feel a real sense of loss. The real loss is felt by the owners. People of priviledge (perhaps) certainly more than I, whose great payday was cut short by the fragility of the animal on whom they pinned their hopes.

Posted 01/30/2007 11:55:52 AM

Paul - Thank you so much for your eloquently written post. I could not put my finger on why I felt so strongly about this horse and why I was so upset when I heard the sad news yesterday but you helped me understand why. Thank you!!! Janet

Posted 01/30/2007 01:36:48 PM

Did anybody catch this? I swear, the ideas people come up with: