Laura Hillenbrand, author of the best-seller "Seabiscuit," spoke with ABC NewsNow about Barbaro's injury, his great Kentucky Derby run, his injury and his place in thoroughbred racing history. Here is a complete transcript of what she said:
After I stopped screaming, I was absolutely devastated, I thought the chances that they would even try to save him were very, very slim. I have to say, when I saw him win the Kentucky Derby I was crying because Barbaro was demonstrating all that racing has to offer, and when I saw the Preakness I was crying because he was demonstrating all that can be taken away. It was really devastating to see him in such pain, in such distress.
He really embodies everything ... I thought he would be a Triple Crown winner. I thought his Derby was one of the greatest ever, and to see such a sound horse, so well-managed, end up like this right at the start of the race, it was stunning, it hasn't sunk in yet.
I think everybody in America loves horses to some extent. They are very tied up with our history and the Kentucky Derby becomes the icon of horses in America.
And his Derby win was very heavily covered because it was so emphatic, and it was so easy and beautiful and effortless, and I think we all had good reason to believe this was a Triple Crown winner we were looking at. We've been waiting a long, long time, and to see this beautiful creature stricken in the middle of the racetrack, its something I think grabs everyone's heart, and everyone in America is pulling for him right now.
I think this horse was a story capturing everyone's heart. The trainer had a wonderful story himself, he had rescued three kids from a plane crash, and the horse was such a gorgeous creature, and unbeaten. Everyone can be attracted by that kind of story -- the unbeaten horse and, boy he looked like the horse for the ages.
He's got it all, he had the pedigree, the beauty, the great trainer. He was good right out of the box. He was never beaten until Saturday. He really, he had it all, he was the glamour boy of the sport.
The Kentucky Derby is such a difficult test because it requires a horse to have so many elements of greatness in them, they have to have speed and stamina and courage and daring and maneuverability.
They've got to be able to do a lot all at once, in two minutes, and you've got to do it in front of 150,000 hysterical people, and this horse had it all, he did it so effortlessly, I don't think, I'm not sure about this, I don't think any horse has won the Derby without being urged -- he was not urged. He really, he had it all and, and I think he was one of the greatest Derby winners in history.
He was my pick to win the Derby, yeah, it was a very tough race, there was a lot of very, very good horses in the field, but when I actually looked at the numbers and handicaps and looked at the films, this horse stood out to me as the one that was going to do it.
There's has been a lot of speculation about whether or not him breaking out of the gate early and coming back to break again did injure him. He had a veterinarian watching him every step of the way, and they are required to go over any horse that breaks through the gate early to make sure they weren't injured in the process.
There was a veterinarian walking behind him as he was walking back to the gate to make sure his gait was OK. The vet was looking right at that leg that a moment [later] was going to break down, and saw nothing.