KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. – In eight months of waiting for Barbaro’s shattered bones to heal, the horse’s owners and his veterinarian said they had not seen the Kentucky Derby-winning colt become so uncomfortable that he would refuse to lie down and rest. Until Sunday night.

So yesterday morning, the owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, and veterinarian, Dr. Dean Richardson, decided enough was enough. At 10:30 a.m., Barbaro was euthanized, ending an extraordinary effort to save the life of a remarkable racehorse whose saga had gripped people around the world.

Many had watched in early May as Barbaro dispatched 19 opponents in the Kentucky Derby in dominating fashion, by a six and a half lengths. His resume summoned memories of Affirmed, Seattle Slew and Secretariat, the last three winners of the Triple Crown. But two weeks after that triumph, on May 20, many more were horrified when Barbaro pulled up in the opening yards of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. His fractured right hind leg dangled awkwardly while his jockey, Edgar Prado, tried to soothe him.

In recent weeks, Barbaro’s ailments had become overwhelming: complications with his left hind leg lingered, an abscess in his right hind heel was discovered last week and, finally, a new case of the painful and often fatal condition called laminitis developed in both of his front feet.

“That left him with not a good leg to stand on,” Richardson said yesterday at an emotional news conference here at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals. “He was just a different horse. You could see he was upset. That was the difference. It was more than we wanted to put him through.”

The Jacksons were red-eyed as they explained that it had become clear their horse could not live without pain after a setback over the weekend that required a risky surgical procedure on his right hind leg. The couple had spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to save Barbaro’s life.

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