I watched this happen Saturday, and it was awful:
Barbaro’s racing career is over, but a valiant and costly effort was made Sunday to repair the right hind leg of the horse that sustained a catastrophic ankle break before an audience of millions early in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
On Sunday night at the University of Pennsylvania’s George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals, Barbaro emerged from an operation that lasted more than four hours and a post-operation recovery that took another three.
While the surgeon who performed the operation, Dr. Dean Richardson, was pleased enough with how things went to remark that Barbaro “practically jogged” to his stall, his prognosis was more grave. “To be brutally honest, there’s still enough chance for things going bad that it’s still a coin toss even though everything went well,” Dr. Richardson said.
Immediately after the injury, my brother, an avid sports fan and a vegetarian, called me, and he was irate- “If this horse has to be destroyed, then I do not see how we can not consider this sport cruel to animals.”
I tend to agree- and only a very smart jockey saved any hope for Barbaro. Given the world today, horse racing is a pretty low priority on the things to change, but I have a hard time arguing that if animals are trained to run to the detriment of their own health, I can’t help but think there is something barbaric about that.