12/14/2006 1:00AM

Barbaro's surgeon sees colt's transfer


Public comments made by the surgeon for Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro have raised the possibility that the colt might be nearing the end of his long stay at the New Bolton Center, where he has been receiving treatment since shattering his right hind leg during the Preakness Stakes on May 20.

According to an Associated Press report, Dr. Dean Richardson, chief surgeon at the equine hospital at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, said Wednesday at an event at the the center that Barbaro could be released "in the not-so-distant future."

"His departure from here depends on many things," said Richardson. "In my mind's eye, he can leave in the not-so-distant future."

Richardson did not give an estimate of when Barbaro, a 3-year-old Dynaformer colt, might be released from the hospital but reiterated that the colt's overall condition remains good. Richardson said Barbaro no longer is wearing a cast on his right hind leg, which he broke on May 20 during the running of the Preakness Stakes. His right hind foot has been fitted with a special shoe with an extended heel that is designed to help the right hind leg bear weight.

"As soon as we believe he can be managed as well somewhere else, he will go somewhere else," Richardson said according to the reports.

Richardson called Barbaro "a happy horse" but added that "he will not be allowed any kind of free exercise for a long time."

Richardson spoke as part of a ceremony in which the New Bolton Center's Barbaro Fund received a $114,710 check from Breyer Animal Creations, which has contributed a percentage of sales of its commemorative Barbaro model horse. The Barbaro Fund raises money toward "improving the equipment and services of the New Bolton Center for treating animals like Barbaro," according to the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school's website.

Barbaro remains in intensive care at the New Bolton Center's equine hospital. On May 21, he underwent a lengthy surgery to insert 27 titanium screws and a compression plate in an effort to stabilize his shattered lower right hind leg, and in mid-July, Barbaro developed laminitis.