07/13/2006 11:00PM

Barbaro has 'calm' night

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Barbaro, the gravely ill Kentucky Derby winner, had a "calm, restful night" on Thursday night, but his condition remains "extremely serious," Dr. Dean Richardson, the chief of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, said Friday.

"While his condition is stable, it remains extremely serious," Richardson said in a press release put out by New Bolton.

At a press conference on Thursday, Richardson revealed that Barbaro had developed the hoof illness laminitis in his left rear hoof, which compounded the issues facing the colt, who fractured his right hind ankle in the Preakness Stakes on May 20. Barbaro has been aided in recent days by a sling, which helps support him when he shifts weight from one foot to another.

"Barbaro was out of his sling for more than 12 hours yesterday, and he had a calm, restful night, sleeping on his side for more than four hours," Richardson said Friday.

Barbaro was taken to the New Bolton Center the night of the Preakness, and had his initial surgery to his right-hind leg on May 21.

The recent development of laminitis caused Richardson on Thursday to describe Barbaro's chances of recovery as "poor." Still, Richardson - in consultation with Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson - said they will continue unless Barbaro is suffering.

Jockey Edgar Prado, who rode Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby and pulled him up a furlong into the Preakness, visited the colt Friday, driving down from New York.

"I fed him, walked with him, and he put his head on my shoulder and fell asleep," said Prado.

"He looked much better than I thought he would. . . . He has the will to overcome this."