07/18/2006 12:00AM

Barbaro has both casts changed


Barbaro had the casts changed on both of his rear legs on Monday, then spent a restful night, and was reported in stable condition on Tuesday by the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, where the Derby winner is being treated for life-threatening injuries.

"Yesterday afternoon we changed his right hind leg cast to take new radiographs and to examine the incision," Dr. Dean Richardson, the chief of surgery at New Bolton, said in a press released issued Tuesday. "The radiographs looked good; the plates we placed on July 8 to fuse the pastern are intact, and the fetlock fusion is unchanged. The leg and the incision looked as good as we could have hoped."

Barbaro fractured his right hind leg in and around the ankle - or fetlock - in the Preakness Stakes on May 20. He had more surgery on July 8 during a stretch of days when his condition caused his cast to be changed several times. The current cast extends from the colt's foot to just below his hock.

Barbaro also is suffering from laminitis in his left rear hoof, a more recent but extremely dire development. He had a foot cast placed on that hoof during surgery last week. The modified foot cast, which acts like a bandage on Barbaro's left hind foot, was also changed Monday, according to New Bolton. The foot cast is rigid and provides stability and support, but will be changed often so that the hoof can be treated, New Bolton's release said.

Both cast changes were performed with Barbaro lightly sedated in a sling. He has adapted very well to being managed as needed in the sling, according to New Bolton.

"He is a very intelligent horse," Richardson said.