The world awoke Sunday morning, dreading to hear bad news from New Bolton, though it felt inevitable. Richardson awoke, thinking about the radiographs he had seen on Saturday night and trying to piece Barbaro’s leg together in his mind.

Barbaro had weathered Saturday night in relative comfort, his leg still splinted and immobilized in the same Robert Jones bandage put on by Dreyfuss and the other vets at Pimlico. Doctors reinforced the splint when Barbaro arrived at New Bolton to hold him over until surgery Sunday afternoon, but otherwise nothing else had been done to his leg. His temperature was normal; his heart rate back to where it belonged; his system functioning just as it should.

This was no longer the stressed-out horse last seen standing a few yards past the finish line at Pimlico, wired by adrenalin and pain. No, this was more like the Barbaro the world had come to expect, the one presiding over his barn at Fair Hill or looking over the training track ready for a gallop at Keeneland.

Barbaro ate dinner Saturday night and had managed to lie down in his stall, taking some weight off his leg and catching a little deep sleep. Although horses are able to sleep standing up, their deepest slumber comes when lying down, and Barbaro was able to maneuver well enough to lie down and get up again.

Sleep and appetite would play crucial roles in any chance of recovery, and at least for now he was eating and sleeping like a healthy horse.

Outside of Barbaro’s peaceful confines, New Bolton had turned into Times Square. It became part vigil, part stakeout as Saturday night turned into Sunday morning, then Sunday afternoon, and finally Sun