11/14/2006 1:00AM

Barbaro's leg bearing his weight


Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro continues to show improvement and is bearing his weight on his right hind leg without problems a week after veterinarians removed the cast he had worn for six months.

Barbaro shattered his lower right hind leg in the May 20 Preakness. He had surgery to repair the leg at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center equine hospital the next day and has remained there since.

In a release issued Tuesday, Barbaro's surgeon, Dr. Dean Richardson said, "Barbaro's strength on the right hind limb has been gradually improving. . . . He is capable of bearing full weight on the previously fractured right hind leg even without the supporting soft bandage."

Much of Barbaro's left hind hoof was removed in July after the horse developed a serious case of laminitis, a potentially fatal condition, and Richardson said in the release that the hoof "continues to slowly grow."