05/21/2006 12:00AM

Surgery commences for Barbaro


Surgery for Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner who was seriously injured in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico, began shortly after 12:30 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa.

Barbaro was taken to New Bolton on Saturday night, hours after suffering multiple fractures in his right hind leg.

On Saturday, it was announced that Barbaro had a fracture to the cannon bone above the ankle, and to the long pastern bone below the ankle. But shortly before the surgery on Sunday, Dr. Dean Richardson, the chief of surgery at New Bolton, said there were additional, serious injuries.

Specifically, Richardson said Barbaro also had a fractured sesamoid bone, and that the right hind ankle was dislocated at the fetlock joint. Richardson said he expected the surgery to take more than three hours.

"It's a very complicated procedure," Richardson said. "We'll be attempting to fuse the entire joint. I don't want to give any prognosis for success until further review during the surgery.

"It is very unusual to have three catastrophic injuries all together. I've never seen this exact fracture and I never tackled one before."

Bernardini, the Preakness winner, returned to Belmont Park early Sunday morning. His owner, Sheikh Mohammed, will decide whether he runs back in the June 10 Belmont Stakes, trainer Tom Albertrani said.

Sweetnorthernsaint, who was second, suffered a minor hoof injury, trainer Mike Trombetta said. He is unlikely to run in the Belmont.

Hemingway's Key, who was third in the Preakness, will come back in the Belmont, trainer Nick Zito said.

Brother Derek, who was fourth in both the Derby and Preakness, was scheduled to return to California on Sunday and will not contest the Belmont, according to Cisco Alvarado, the assistant to trainer Dan Hendricks.