- A quiet Memorial Day weekend for Barbaro, who continues to do extremely well. He’s not out of the woods yet of course, and the doctors maintain that it could be months before they know whether Barbaro will survive. [Bloodhorse]
Meanwhile, the flood of news stories continues. Yet another major piece in the NY Times today, this one requiring merely the free registration. Maybe there is something to this “no such thing as bad publicity” thing. The article today ranks as the second most emailed sports story, behind only the Bobby Bonds news. This piece is by Bill Finley, and it’s a comprehensive look at the relationship, if any, between Barbaro’s false start and the injury. Much of it is a rehash of debates we’ve been hearing for a week. But it includes this fascinating theory by a Dr. Sid Gustafson, a Montana-based veterinarian.
"In regard to the Preakness, as unfortunate as it was, and albeit in retrospect, the examining veterinarian should have scratched Barbaro after he broke out of the gate before the starter began the race......The horse tweaked something somewhere as a result of the tremendous force required to break open the gate, and as a result, he was most likely getting off his front end as Edgar tried to jockey him forward early in the race, a slight asynchrony that ultimately put undue forces on the right hind ankle resulting in the horse's breakdown."Well, it’s not that unusual to see horses break through the gate and then reload and race. So he’s really saying that any horse that breaks through the gate should be scratched due to a risk of overcompensating for some likely tweak caused by the act of exerting enough force to open the gate. Seems like a reasonable idea (though I’d be interested to see some statistics supporting his idea – exactly how many horses that break through the gate end up breaking down during the race?), and something concrete that the industry can point to and show that it has learned something from the Preakness. It would likely come to be known as the Barbaro rule.
He continued: "The breakout cannot be eliminated as a causal effect in my opinion, and although it may have been coincidental, that is unlikely. But you can imagine the politics of such a veterinary scratch with the Triple Crown at stake, taking the favorite out of the race. The veterinarian's hands were tied, and he/she was by and large prevented from taking the horse out."
- Trainer David Donk took the 4th at Belmont on the grass with Tiverton in the gelding’s first race since November. Last week, he sent out Fishy Advice to win on turf off of a similar layoff, and did the same with Peg’s Prayer earlier this month.