A new superstar appeared on the American sports landscape in the spring of 2006: Barbaro, a three-year-old racehorse, won the Kentucky Derby by six and a half lengths, the largest margin of victory in sixty years. Barbaro's impressive performance immediately stirred talk of a possible Triple Crown. But in the opening yards of the Preakness Stakes two weeks later, the horse suffered a catastrophic leg injury that ended his undefeated career and left him fighting for his life.
Edgar Prado, a native of Peru and one of the world's top jockeys, rode Barbaro to glory and then stood beside him for months as the horse valiantly struggled to survive and millions of fans held their breath. Having ridden in more than twenty-five thousand races over the previous two decades, Prado thought he had been around too long to fall for any one horse, but Barbaro—intelligent, charismatic, and resourceful in sickness as well as in health—stole his heart.
In My Guy Barbaro, Prado recounts his own story, a tale of grit and dreams that moves from his impoverished childhood in Lima, Peru, to the winner's circles of the greatest racetracks in the world, and memorably chronicles his emotional time with Barbaro before, during, and after the horse's breakdown. Their bond was special and immeasurable. With Prado still reeling from a wrenching personal loss, Barbaro lifted his spirits by giving him “the ride of a lifetime” in the Derby. When the tables turned and the horse needed support two weeks later, Prado was there, going out of his way to make a succession of visits to the New Bolton Center, the animal hospital in Pennsylvania where Barbaro underwent more than two dozen surgeries and was ultimately put down.
Barbaro made worldwide headlines for eight months, and now Prado's poignant, clear-eyed narrative takes us where no reader has gone before—onto Barbaro's back in the heat of a race and into the intensive care suite where Barbaro's life-and-death drama played itself out. My Guy Barbaro is a heartwarming, unforgettable story of a man and his love for a beautiful animal and an irreplaceable teammate.
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Edgar Prado is one of the world's premier jockeys. In February 2008, he became the sixteenth North American jockey to win six thousand races. Later that year he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. Born in Lima, Peru, Prado now splits his time between Hollywood, Florida, and Elmont, New York.
John Eisenberg is a former sports columnist for the Baltimore Sun and is the author of six books, including the acclaimed Native Dancer and The Great Match Race. He lives in Baltimore.
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