KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. (AP) – Barbaro has become comfortable enough following recent surgery on his left hind hoof that the Kentucky Derby winner’s surgeon has reduced the colt’s pain medication.

Barbaro had surgery on his laminitis-stricken hoof Saturday, and has been making steady progress since, said chief surgeon Dean Richardson of the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center.

“Barbaro’s comfort level is improving steadily, and we are gradually tapering off his pain medication,” Richardson said in an update issued Thursday by New Bolton. “His vital signs are stable, and his appetite is good.”

Earlier in the week, Richardson said Barbaro had improved considerably from a procedure that removed a section of the hoof.

Barbaro has been recovering at New Bolton since shattering three bones in his right rear leg at the start of the Preakness Stakes on May 20.

Last July, Barbaro developed severe laminitis, an often fatal hoof disease caused by uneven weight distribution in the limbs, in his left hind hoof.

Eighty percent of that hoof was removed.

AP-ES-01-18-07 1248EST