Barbaro happy, stable, napping; Prado still trying to cope

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KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. (AP) – Barbaro enjoyed a restful nap and a few crunchy treats Wednesday, another small step toward recovery from a shattered hind leg for the Kentucky Derby winner.

The 3-year-old bay colt broke bones above and below his ankle at the Preakness on Saturday, ending his Triple Crown bid and racing career.

At Belmont Park in New York, Barbaro’s jockey Edgar Prado said he spent the past few days in tears over the colt’s horrific breakdown. “Of all the tears I have cried, if tears could heal a wound, Barbaro would be healed by now,” Prado said.

on the New York Racing Association’s Web site. “I’ve been thinking about him and I’ve been crying on and off. I can’t do anymore.”

Prado won three races Wednesday after the track was closed the past two days.

“Saturday was a nightmare,” Prado said. “I was heartbroken Monday and Tuesday. The busier I stay, the better it will be for me.

“I have never ridden a horse that broke down that was as special as Barbaro,” Prado added. “A lot of people thought this was the year there’d be a Triple Crown. All we can do now is pray for him to have a speedy recovery and for him to enjoy the rest of his life.”

Fans have delivered “expressions of apples and baskets and stuffed animals and religious statues,” Sweeney said. “It’s just amazing the depth of the concern and the warmth that comes out.”

Dr. Dean Richardson, who performed the six-hour surgery Sunday, called his famous patient’s condition excellent, though he has cautioned that Barbaro remains vulnerable to infection and other life-threatening complications.

“He is stable and happy,” Richardson said Wednesday afternoon.

Barbaro’s pastern bone was shattered in more than 20 pieces. Doctors inserted a plate and 27 screws to repair the severe damage.

Barbaro’s owners Gretchen and Roy Jackson have praised Prado for being able to pull up Barbaro a few hundred yards after he was injured at the start of the race.

“I reacted pretty quickly and I tried to hold him together,” Prado said. “The horse did his job by not fighting with me. He’s an intelligent horse. He knew he was hurt and he knew what he wanted – he wanted to survive. I think he’ll make it through. He’s a very special horse.”

AP-ES-05-24-06 2218EDT

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