AP Blog: Barbaro Gets Giant Get-Well Card

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 24, 2006; 4:53 PM

-- With the race for the Triple Crown underway, AP writers will be filing periodic, behind-the-scenes reports from all the important tracks across the country:

WEDNESDAY, March 24:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. _ Entering Gate 10 to Churchill Downs there sits an usher, someone taking tickets and a few stray fans.

But today there's something different: a 6-foot poster board with a picture of Barbaro across the top. By noon, more than 100 signed the board. Churchill Downs staff will send this to owners Gretchen and Roy Jackson, hoping it will cheer up the 3-year-old colt.

"To get well is love," said Diane Homnrich of Louisville. "I feel like that horse already knows he has a lot of love from his trainers because of what they did for him so quickly."

Jim McMillan of Louisville and others like him say their heart goes out to Barbaro, who has a broken cannon bone above the ankle and a broken long pastern bone below the ankle.

It's obvious visitors want to write long, meaningful messages, but after many signatures, there's no space. Lucky patrons like Julie Chesser of Louisville found enough space for their message.

"We basically told Barbaro that we're praying for a full recovery, and I signed it from my husband and I and our horse," she said.

Horse trainers and enthusiasts know under normal circumstances a racing horse would be put down. For the trainers, there's a stallion's chance, and for fans, Barbaro lives on. And for this, the animal-lover inside smiles.

Louisville fans expect a slow yet complete recovery, but don't know if Barbaro will ever run again.

The show must go on for Churchill Downs. Patrons continue to bet and riders push horses to the limit. However, a heart full of hope goes out to Kenneth Square, Pa., from Louisville.

_AP Writer Khristopher J. Brooks

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