Barbaro was a young American thoroughbred horse that won the 2006 Kentucky Derby. On May 20, 2006, he ran in the Preakness Stakes as a heavy favorite, but he fractured three bones. Barbaro underwent surgery but he soon developed laminitis in his left rear leg. While his right leg eventually healed, a final risky surgery on it proved futile because the colt soon developed further laminitis in both front legs. It then became clear he could not be saved, and Barbaro was euthanized (source: Wikipedia, image: Godolphin Arabian).
A NY Times article comments on drug use in horse racing and different training styles used on both sides of the Atlantic:
"Horses racing in America are allowed to be injected with various drugs on race day, the most common being Lasix, a powerful diuretic, and phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory medication.
“A horse will try his hardest,” Dr. Stewart, head of veterinary regulation for the Hong Kong Jockey Club said, “and if he can’t feel pain he will run through it, increasing the risk of injury.”
Barbaro was running on Lasix in the Preakness, and there is no evidence that this had anything to do with his accident. But his story became a rallying point for improving safety for thoroughbreds."
As an interesting fact, all modern thoroughbreds carry the genetics of three Arabian stallions imported to England from the Middle East in the 17th and 18th centuries: the Darley Arabian, to whom 95% of today's thoroughbred pedigrees trace, the Godolphin Arabian, and the Byerly Turk. (Source: Wikipedia).
I’m Not Barbaro, for Lots of Reasons. NY Times.
Death and Disarray at America’s Racetracks - 24 horses a week die at racetracks around the country - NYTimes, 2012.
Veterinarian Says Goodbye to a Patient. NY Times.
Barbaro from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Still Caring for Barbaro. NYTimes, 05/2007.
Image source: Wikipedia, public domain.