07/06/2006 12:00AM

New cast for Barbaro

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Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro underwent a cast change Wednesday at the University of Pennsylvania's equine hospital in Kennett Square, Pa., in an effort to relieve discomfort, his veterinary team reported Thursday.

It was the third cast change since surgery to repair the colt's shattered right hind leg May 21, the day after he was injured in the Preakness. The procedure Wednesday was to replace a cast he received on Monday.

"Barbaro was not comfortable with the second cast [change], so we decided it would be best to replace it sooner rather than later," said Dr. Dean Richardson, chief of surgery at the New Bolton Center's George Widener Large Animal Hospital, in a statement. "His appetite is healthy, and we are continuing to monitor him closely for an elevated temperature or other signs of discomfort."

Barbaro had shown a slightly elevated temperature last weekend as well as a slightly altered stance. That prompted the cast change Monday. In addition, Richardson replaced two screws and implanted three others to provide support to the pastern area while the colt was under anesthesia. "The screws are bridging the pastern joint," the statement Thursday said. "They are not part of the repair of the primary fractures."

The statement noted continued progress in his healing.