Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was euthanised this evening after vets were unable to save the horse from the complications resulting from a shattered hind leg suffered in the Preakness Stakes last year.

Veterinarians went to great lengths to save the horse, which won the most famous contest in U.S. horse racing by a whopping 6 1/2 lengths on May 6. He was attempting to win the second leg of the sport’s triple crown three weeks later at the Preakness Stakes when he pulled up lame.

Barbaro, who had been undefeated as a 3-year-old in his career, was hurt after the opening paces of the Preakness as millions of race fans watched on television, and the story of his painstaking recovery drew intense interest from animal lovers, horse-racing fans and the general public.

The racing association’s chief executive reported the death in a statement, expressing condolences to the owners who paid his medical bills and thanking the veterinarian who tried to save Barbaro’s life, Dean Richardson.

“I would also like to express condolences — and thanks — to the millions of fans whose hearts were touched by Barbaro during his brilliant racing career and throughout his gallant struggle to recover,” CEO Alex Waldrop said in the statement.

Source: Reuters