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Barbaro's condition unchanged

| Monday, July 17, 2006, 12:00 p.m.

KENNETT SQUARE -- Barbaro spent another "comfortable" day in the intensive care unit at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals, and his veterinarian reports the Kentucky Derby winner's attitude "remains positive."

There was no indication Barbaro's condition had improved since 80 percent of his left rear hoof wall was removed Wednesday to combat the often-fatal disease laminitis. For the third straight day, though, Dr. Dean Richardson said the colt's condition remained stable.

"His vital signs are good, and his attitude remains positive," Richardson in a statement released by the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center. "He is acceptably comfortable today, and his appetite remains excellent."

Barbaro had another restful night, Richardson said Sunday, and assistant trainer Peter Brette emerged after a morning visit and said the colt "is in a good frame of mind."

"He was bright," Brette added. "He sort of at least had a bit of sparkle in his eye."

Brette, who exercised the colt daily for trainer Michael Matz, has been visiting Barbaro almost every day since the colt shattered his right hind leg a few yards after the start of the Preakness Stakes on May 20.

"We're still very worried," Brette said, "but it's very good for me to go in and see him like this."

Barbaro has casts on both rear limbs. The cast on the colt's right hind has been changed at least four times in the last two weeks. A smaller cast is on the left rear hoof, and the bandages protecting it were changed Saturday, and are likely to be changed again in the coming days.

Barbaro has been listed in stable condition since Friday, the day after Richardson said the colt had laminitis "as bad as it gets" and termed his chance of survival poor.

While Barbaro's condition is being constantly monitored, it was a relatively quiet weekend around the New Bolton Center. Residents and interns tended to their rounds, checking on the many other animals in their care.

The weekend brought an outpouring of sentiment from Barbaro fans. Baskets filled with apples, carrots, mints and packages of sugar cubes and several flower arrangements were delivered for the third straight day after Richardson said Barbaro had laminitis.

A couple from Hershey made a side trip to the hospital and left a get-well card at the front desk before heading to the races at nearby Delaware Park.

So many people are rooting for Barbaro to make it -- he was going to be our Triple Crown winner," Dawn Templin said a few minutes after admiring the get-well cards, flowers and fruit baskets on display in the lobby. "We came here to leave a card and just see the place where they're trying to save his life."

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