07/20/2006 12:00AM

Barbaro's condition holds


Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro continued to hold steady at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center on Thursday, a situation that chief surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson expects the colt could maintain for weeks as he recovers from fractures and laminitis.

Barbaro was in stable but serious condition at the center Thursday, much as he has been all week. He has been in the equine hospital's intensive care unit since May 20, when he shattered his right hind leg in the Preakness Stakes. Last week, the colt also developed a life-threatening complication, the hoof disease laminitis, in his left hind leg, requiring Richardson to remove about 80 percent of the damaged hoof wall. The colt now has casts on both hind legs and spends hours a day in a sling that allows him to remain upright while shifting his weight off of his injured legs.

In a statement issued Thursday by the university, Richardson said Barbaro "is comfortable. His vital signs are good, and his attitude remains positive."

In an interview with the Associated Press published Thursday, Richardson said, "His condition is not likely to change really fast any time soon. We're in a marathon at this point. The issue is months, not days."