July 20 - Horsin' Around
For the past several weeks I have sat glued to the sports headlines waiting
anxiously in anticipation for the next Barbaro text message update to be
magically teleported onto the screen of my Motorola Razr. My heart racing like
a Major League Baseball player in front of a Grand Jury I would anxiously flip
open the phone each time the accented German voice long overdosed on
cigarettes and psychedelics shouted “Hello Moto.” What is the next chapter in
this mysterious hero’s saga I wondered practically holding back tears of
excitement. I became more and more affixed with each arriving excerpt.
Maybe I should mention that my knowledge of sports often exceeds my
knowledge of my own immediate family members, whereas my knowledge of
horse racing ended on a fateful night in Reno at age seven. That night I lost that ball-rolling
horseracing game at Circus Circus to a Hells Angel working part time as a mime. The whole story
goes somewhat like this...
1st text : Barbaro is on top of the world, wins his sixth consecutive title
Big deal I thought as I scrolled past the headline to click on an embedded hair loss ad which in turn
deposited a virus on my phone, invading my internet browser like unstoppable rebel force. (Moto
voice unaffected by invasion)...
2nd text: Barbaro breaks his leg...ends career
Wow, talk about a news story...Who is this magnificent warrior?
3RD text : Barbaro is fitted with fiberglass cast and 27 screws
27 screws? This is one finely-tuned machine of an athlete. Now I’m interested...
4TH Text : Barbaro on road to recovery, is back to checking out the mares
What an inspiration I thought. He’s got 27 screws and a cast up his whole leg and he’s still a ladies
man. I completely over-looked the mares part. For all I thought Mares could be a new hip term : hottie,
babes, shorty, mares - sounds about right. Plus this Barbaro was living the dream and I was lucky
enough to have Moto keeping me abreast...
5TH text : Barbaro fitted with glue on horseshoe IN an attempt to reduce infection
Strange, but so tough of an athlete - even standard healing is not enough for this warrior I thought.
Besides after receiving instant updates, I was too busy and especially too lazy to do any research on
my own to investigate...
6TH text : Hundreds of apples and flowers arrive for Barbaro as fans pay visit
7TH text : Barbaro gets infection in his leg -transfered to intensive care stall. Outlook not good - on
more drugs and painkillers than my friend Cruz in Vegas on a Friday night
The last part the Moto guy left out, but possibly debatable...
8TH TEXT : Barbaro shares stall with half brother Man in Havana
Story is beginning to seem very suspect, but I figured most foreign athletes go by one name :
Maradona, Pele, Man in Havana - it all checks out...
9TH TEXT : Barbaro has a normal heart rate, normal temperature, he's eating like crazy, sixth cast
My new found hero was the athlete I always dreamed of being as a young child. He was the warrior
that every athlete strives to be. He was the hero that...
10TH TEXT : Barbaro making lots of manure , he looks happy
My hero is a horse. The proud and immortal warrior I envisioned fighting emotionally for his freedom
alongside “the Spaniard” in “Gladiator” proudly donning the name of Barbaro or famous Italian
superstar athlete capturing the heart of a generation was nothing more than Mr. Ed without the witty
11TH TEXT : I tossed my Moto in a nearby ravine. I could hear the fading sound of my old friend, Moto
who had delivered me instant salvation many times as he came to rest next to a rotting animal
carcass and empty Budweiser bottle. I felt like an idiot…
Ok, so maybe I did know about the ongoing saga of Barbaro, but I kept receiving these updates on my
phone, and found it rather comical that a horse could dominate the sports headlines. I know Barbaro
had the world at his finger tips, or hoofs rather, and Mares’ faces became florid simply at the site of
this magnificent stallion, but an intensive care stall? Is there really such a thing? I’m still researching
online to see exactly what sort of amenities an intensive care unit stall comes equipped with
compared to a normal stall, but I’m pretty sure it comes with free HBO and I’m almost positive the hay
tastes nothing short of pure bliss.
As a casual horse racing fan, my first question was why would Barbaro be spared when all other
horses that suffer similar injuries be given a one-way ticket to Dr. Kevorkian’s house? The main
reason of course is money.
In most cases, when a horse breaks a leg it causes laminitis, a painful disease brought on by
uneven weight distribution to the limbs. In almost all cases it is fatal. However, due to Barbaro’s
achievements on the track his potential stud value was so high that great measures are being taken
to save him. In layman’s terms, Barbaro must impregnate a mare which in turn equals lots of money
for a potential Barbaro, Jr
The next question I had was why can’t a mare be artificially inseminated? After researching online I
came to the startling findings that The Jockey Club will not register a foal as a thoroughbred if it is not
conceived "by the physical mounting of a mare by a stallion.” So, that means that romantic music,
scented hay and old re-runs of Mr. Ed no longer will get the job for the once dapper Barbaro.
Hopefully, he will regain his charm otherwise the only mare who will be attracted to him will be an
elderly run-down donkey like the one I traveled up the Santorini cliffs with in Greece. She seemed
more interested in stopping to smell and sometimes eat the other donkeys manure than in getting
me up the hill.
No one knows what the future holds for Barbaro, but we can only hope that it doesn’t parallel a
washed up high school football star who was headed for certain greatness, but ended up working the
ball machine at a local bowling alley. This strong stallion will most likely make a miraculous recovery
and enjoy an early retirement relaxing with Man in Havana at the farm by the trough with more than
enough Mares to go around until the end of his days. His legacy will be remembered.
In all seriousness, Barbaro is on his way back to a full recovery after recent developments caused
many to worry if he was going to make it at all. The whole situation really is a tragedy for the world of
horse racing. Laminitis did set in and doctors have done an amazing job trying to heal this
magnificent colt. This horse truly is a warrior and has surprised many doctors with his strength and
will power to survive. He is currently in stable condition and the outlook is looking better with each
passing night and I wouldn’t have written this had his condition been worsening. He is definitely
worthy of any text message update and is in many people’s prayers...
Barbaro’s Stats :
- Won 2006 Kentucky Derby SPACE by 6 ½ lengths for his sixth straight win
- Top Earning horse in 2006 prior to injury (over $2.20 million)
- Trainer : Michael Matz Jockey : Edgar Prado Owner : Lael Stables