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Spoofs & Satire

Fragments From Horse’s Mouth! the Musical

It wasn’t long into the nation’s mourning for Barbaro that Broadway’s top producers hatched a plan to preserve his fame. But who knew purgatory was meant for horses?

BARBARO:
Dog babies are called puppies
Cats have kittens, right?
Baby horses are called foals
And I was foaled one clear spring night.

Sired by Dynaformer
My dam was La Ville Rouge
My sire’s sire was Roberto
My prospects? They were huge.

NEARBY MARES:
His prospects? They were huge.
His prospects? They were huge.

BARBARO:
They started me off
In Delaware Park,
October, 2005
I balked at the gate,
I wouldn’t load in:
I felt too much alive.

But when I got out
Onto the track
I knew there’d be
No looking back.
Caraballo was aboard,
Or maybe Prado,
I don’t know. I didn’t look up.
Just listened to my hooves
As they made an ostinato
On the ground.
The rhythm kept me strong, I found.
I had the speed; I had the moves;
I won it by a nose—
If your nose is eight and a half lengths long.

NEARBY MARES:
Eight and a half lengths long.
Eight and a half lengths long.

BARBARO:
I won my first five races.
I won on turf, I won on dirt,
I won if the track was sloppy or firm,
I won even if my fetlocks hurt.
I won because I was a winner,
Not because I was lucky.
In May 2006
I got in the trailer and went to Kentucky.

Have you heard of Brother Derek?
No? I didn’t think so.
He was the post-time favorite.
Where is he now? I don’t even know.

NEARBY MARES:
Doesn’t even know.
Doesn’t even know.

BARBARO:
At the last turn I seized control
And jetted down the straightaway.
I won the Derby by seven lengths.
A legend was born on that fine day.

I kept on going at full speed
Past the finish line.
Galloped out to 20 lengths
Victory and fame were mine.

NEARBY MARES:
Dark days ahead.
Dark days ahead.

BARBARO:
And then, two weeks later, the Preakness.
They loaded me into the gate.
My heart was racing before I was—
I felt like I couldn’t wait.

I false-started, was reloaded,
The gun went off, the race began.
And then it happened, all at once.
The fall of horse is like the fall of man.

I broke my cannon bone above my ankle,
The pastern bone below it,
The sesamoid bone behind it, too.
I was afraid but I tried not to show it.

NEARBY MARES:
Happened all at once.
Happened all at once.

BARBARO:
I always had music in my head,
But it quickly became a dirge, you see.
I was brought to Kennett Square
For unprecedented surgery.

They fused the joints in my injured leg,
Gave me a locking compression plate.
For a while there, I was filled with hope
But you can never outrun fate.

NEARBY MARES
Outrun fate.
Outrun fate.

BARBARO:
Abscess on my other foot.
Laminitis, too.
For the want of a hoof the horse can be lost,
No matter what the doctors do.

My hind feet were in such grave pain,
They could not bear my weight.
I could not stand
To be that way,
In that awful state.

And so, as January ended
I was euthanized.
I can’t say I didn’t cry—
All goodbyes are sad goodbyes.

I would like to paint you a picture
Of a race in the great hereafter,
And a racetrack filled with cheers
With excitement and with laughter.
But that would be a deception
And I am beyond deceit
The truth is all that permits me
To stand on my own four feet.

NEARBY MARES:
His own four feet.
His own four feet.

BARBARO:
Picture a pitch-black stable
Now picture a still deeper darkness
If you are even able.
It is terrible, this starkness.
A single horse stands
In the middle of that void
He tenderly puts weight
Upon his sesamoid.

I passed from the earth in 2007.
Thus concludes my tragic story
Horses do not go to heaven,
They remain in purgatory.

NEARBY MARES:
Cannon, pastern, sesamoid.
All destroyed, all destroyed.
 

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