Veterinarians in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania have successfully fused the shattered right rear leg of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.
The announcement came Sunday night after more than five hours of surgery. It left room for cautious optimism that Barbaro, who sustained what was described as a "life threatening injury" in Saturday's Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, could survive.
After surgery the three-year-old colt awoke calmly from anesthesia and was able to walk back to his stall for something to eat. But despite the successful surgery, University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center chief of surgery Dr. Dean Richardson says Barbaro's chances of survival are "still a coin toss."
Richardson worked with six other doctors in a surgery requiring a metal rod and 23 screws to stabilize several bones that had shattered into more than 20 pieces. The surgeon says the horse is comfortable but must still avoid infection, circulation problems and other dangers during his recovery.