11/06/2006 1:00AM

Barbaro's cast removed

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Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital removed the cast from Barbaro's right hind leg on Monday and said the Kentucky Derby-winning colt "used all of his legs quite well" following the procedure, according to a release from the clinic.

Barbaro's right hind leg has been in a cast since shortly after the leg's cannon bone was shattered early in the Preakness Stakes on May 20.

Following the removal of the cast, the 3-year-old colt was exercised in the clinic's pool and was then led back to his stall, according to Dr. Dean Richardson, the chief of surgery at the clinic.

"He had a perfect pool recovery and immediately stood," Richardson said. "He walked easily back to his stall."

While the cast was being removed, doctors also examined Barbaro's left hind foot to check for any complications as result of laminitis, a potentially fatal infection, but found "no new problems," according to the statement. Shortly after surgery to repair the right foot, Barbaro developed laminitis in the left foot, requiring the removal of 80 percent of the hoof wall.

Richardson said that Barbaro will have to remain at the clinic for several more months as the hoof in the left foot regrows "before we will know how much foot structure and function will be recovered."