12/20/2006 12:00AM

Barbaro's hoof examined


An equine hoof specialist, Dr. Scott Morrison, examined Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's laminitic left hind foot on Tuesday. But few details were available regarding his assessment or advice, and the colt's surgeon reiterated that there is no timetable for releasing Barbaro from the University of Pennsylvania's equine hospital.

Morrison, an equine podiatrist at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., flew to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to assess Barbaro's laminitic hoof and offer advice.

"Barbaro is stable and comfortable, although we remain concerned about the long-term management of his left hind foot," Barbaro's surgeon, Dr. Dean Richardson, said in a statement released Wednesday by the University of Pennsylvania. The release noted that Morrison "did some minor work" and "made recommendations concerning the management of that foot."

A university spokeswoman, Jennifer Rench, said Richardson declined to provide additional details. The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday that Roy Jackson, who bred and owns Barbaro with his wife, Gretchen, said Morrison "supplied some answers about how the hoof might be trimmed to provide more balance."

Also in the university statement, Richardson said: "There is no timetable at this moment concerning Barbaro's discharge from the hospital. His comfort on both hind limbs is good, and his overall condition is excellent."

Barbaro has been in the New Bolton Center's intensive care unit since breaking his right leg in the Preakness on May 20. He had surgery to repair the fractures on May 21 and later developed laminitis in his left leg, prompting Richardson to remove most of that hoof.

Richardson sparked intense speculation that Barbaro could be released soon when he said in a Dec. 13 press conference that he could envision the colt leaving New Bolton "in the not-so-distant future."