The nation watched as Barbaro rose, supported him as he struggled and collapsed with him when he fell. Now, three months later marks what would have been the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner’s fourth birthday. In remembrance, NBC sports will air a special one-hour documentary commemorating his fight for life, before finally succumbing to laminitis.
“Barbaro: A Nation’s Horse” also includes new footage of his baby brother, who was born just last week. The yet-unnamed foal shares both parents with the late Derby champion.
“It’s extremely rare that an athlete stirs the depth of emotion among people that Barbaro did,” says Dick Ebersol, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics chairman and the film’s executive producer. “We were lucky enough to have a front row seat to witness the rise of this remarkable horse to win the most prestigious event in Thoroughbred racing, the Kentucky Derby. Sadly, we were also there for his devastating fall at the Preakness Stakes, and we were there to document why his subsequent struggle to live touched so many people.”
“Barbaro: A Nation’s Horse,” which began production in January, includes rare footage of Barbaro preparing for last year’s Florida Derby, as the colt was beginning to display his athletic abilities. The documentary also includes interviews with Roy and Gretchen Jackson, Barbaro’s owners; Michael Matz, his trainer; Edgar Prado, the jockey who rode Barbaro during both his winning run at the Kentucky Derby and at the Preakness; Dr. Dean Richardson, the head of surgery at the George D. Widener Hospital for large animals at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, who cared for Barbaro through his final hours; Peter Brette, Matz’s assistant trainer who worked most closely with Barbaro.
DVDs of “Barbaro: A Nation’s Horse” will be sold on NBCSports.com, with 50 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Barbaro Fund and the Laminitis Fund at the New Bolton Center. The Barbaro Fund was created when an anonymous donor made an extremely generous donation to the New Bolton Center; the Barbaro Fund supports ongoing patient care and expansion of the George D. Widener Veterinary Hospital, at the University of Pennsylvania. The Laminitis Fund is specifically geared toward researching this incurable disease that took the life of both Barbaro and the great Secretariat.