Despite the fact that Barbaro was undefeated prior to the 2006 Kentucky Derby, the majestic horse stunned many with his commanding victory. Barbaro created an overnight fan base and a buzz was heard, "this horse has a shot to win the Triple Crown."
Two weeks later Barbaro burst through his starting gate at the Preakness. He ran so hard at the start of the race he shattered his right hind leg. The injuries were so severe that some initially thought Barbaro would be euthanized on the race track. But he lived.
Barbaro had six surgeries in 2006. His right leg eventually healed, but he soon developed further laminitis in both front legs. His veterinarians and owners concluded that he could not be saved, and Barbaro was euthanized on January 29th.
The racing industry reacted quickly to the death of Barbaro with the creation of the Barbaro Memorial Fund, an initiative to raise money for research into laminitis and other equine health and safety issues. Forbes reports the funds raised will go into existing equine health charities such as the Laminitis Fund, established by the University of Pennsylvania and the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.