I have always enjoyed reading Kalle Oakes in the Sun Journal sports section. However, Oakes’ column Jan. 31, “A Little Horse Sense, Please!,” was nothing more than his attempt to fit 100 pounds of hogwash into a 50-pound bag.

In his column about the life and death of Barbaro (last year’s Kentucky Derby winner who suffered a catastrophic leg injury in the Preakness and lost his brave battle for survival recently) Oakes took numerous cheap shots, and made several false accusations against Barbaro’s doctors, owners and thousands of horse racing fans and animal lovers everywhere.

In a leap that Evel Knievel would have never attempted, Oakes tried to legitimize his caustic and mean-spirited comments about Barbaro into some sort of “Let’s feel sorry for Muhammad Ali/Johnny Unitas/Tony Conigliaro instead” trifecta (pun intended).

Thoroughbred racehorses are supremely conditioned, magnificant, majestic athletes. Anybody who watched Barbaro dominate the Kentucky Derby last year, and witnessed his horrific injury during the Preakness, not only saw tragedy, but saw athletic greatness cruelly cut short.

To the doctors, owners and all the other people who, despite insurmountable odds, did everything in their power to save Barbaro, I say thank you for allowing all of us horse racing fans and animal lovers to share in the triumph and tragedy of a great four-legged athlete named Barbaro. Sports “heroes” aren’t limited to two-legged athletes.

Barbaro had the heart of a lion, and I, for one, will never forget him.

Steve Troup, Rumford


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