For reasons known only to God, I have been obsessing over the fate of Barbaro. Before Saturday, I had no idea who Barbaro was. I didn't know that he'd won the Kentucky Derby or that he had a shot at horse racing's Triple Crown. In fact, I didn't know that he was a he. If you'd asked me who "Barbaro" was, my first response would have been, "That lumpy kid who acted all tough on our little league team that time."
I was scared of him, naturally.
However, as a sports watcher, I would inevitably cross paths with Barbaro. He ran the Preakness on Saturday, in search of the second leg of the Triple Crown. Instead, less than one furlong (sp?) into the race, Barbaro pulled up short. 200 yards in, he'd snapped his right rear ankle.
I'm not a horse racing fan, though naturally, as a "misunderstood artist," I've often thought it would be cool to be a guy who hung out at the track, betting on the ponies. Still, after seeing the video of Barbaro's mishap, knowing the usual outcome for horses who snap a stick on the track, I became rivited.
So, apparently, were actual race fans. Witnesses had them crying as Barbaro was loaded up into his horse ambulance and carted off.
From there, Barbaro was flown to New Bolton Center, the veterinary hospital affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. The put him in a huge sling.
It is now Tuesday, and Barbaro is not out of danger. Recent reports say he is doing very well, but the big challenge for gimpy horses is giving the break a chance to heal. Barbaro is used to running. Now he has to stand still.
That he has come this far is a testament to modern veterinary medicine. When Ruffian broke her leg during a match race with Foolish Pleasure, on July 7, 1975, they had to put her down on the spot. It is also, naturally, a testament to Barbaro's value. Thousands of horses with less severe injuries are put down each year, because their owners either can't afford or can't justify the time and expense of horse rehab.
Again, I have no interest in horses, and Sandra Bullock finds it strange that I have become obsessed with this one. When I was the Jawa's age, my older sister, Noodle's Mom, took horseback riding lessons out at some tin barn. Everyone assumed that I would follow in her footsteps, but there was no way I was getting near those beasts. Not even when I saw my third grade teacher, Miss Tedesco, there, was I swayed. She was smoking, by the way.
And now, with my niece, Noodles, completely consumed by horses -- to the point where she enthusiastically wears the t-shirt we bought her that reads "No Boys. Horses." -- I again spend time in tin barns watching little girls ride around in circles. Still no interest. I ignored Derby Day, though it sounds like a good party. But for Barbaro, horses would occupy less than 1% of my total thoughts. That 1% is maybe a little high, too, based as it is on an assumption that I will be watching Noodles ride around in circles again soon.
I kind of wish that Barbaro would galvanize people like Baby Jessica did when she fell down a well. I'd love to be able to share Barbaro talk with my peers, if only as a distraction from housing prices, PG & E and the dreaded soccer controversy. Instead, I keep vigil alone.
Barbaro is doing well, but he has not yet turned the corner. Each positive report get him one step further from the glue factory. Unfortunately, I must now turn my thoughts to Legos, as the Jawa has lost interest in creating his Lego City alone.