Like the Anna Nicole Smith saga, Barbaro's tragic story just drags pitifully on. Here it is, nearly 12 months since he raced, over three months since he died, and the opportunists are selling anything with his name on it that they can get their hands on. Do we have another Seabiscuit in our midst - a presence more lucrative as a ghost than alive?
The word from Churchill Downs today is that the track plans to honor the Barbaro team on Derby day. Between the sixth and seventh races, the boozefest in the grandstand will subside for a tear-jerking eulogy. Won't it be swell - celebrating the horse's demise and subsequent glory from his grave as opposed to the promise of another champion?
Even before Derby Week dawns, "Barbaro: A Nation's Horse" will be televised. On Sunday, April 29, this one-hour NBC-television documentary will trot out the same cast of characters for the umpteenth time. Perhaps this time, owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson, trainer Michael Matz and Dr. Dean Richardson can explain why America fell head over heels with Barbaro in the first place.
Horses often die as a result of injuries sustained on the racetrack. But does the empathy for Barbaro carry on because he was a Kentucky Derby winner? Or, is it because tragedy is better at the box office than comedy?