SBD/Issue 175/Sports Media

HBO's Barbaro Documentary Receives Positive Reviews

HBO’s “Barbaro” Documentary Airing Tonight
HBO Sports debuts the documentary “Barbaro” tonight at 10:00pm ET. Liev Schreiber narrates the 60-minute show, Mary Carillo serves as story editor, Margaret Grossi as producer and Helen Russell as associate producer. THE DAILY presents a roundup of reviews.

THUMBS MOSTLY UP: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes the documentary is a “hero’s journey told with respect.”  It is “restrained as it shifts from the derby victory to [Barbaro's] breakdown at the Preakness” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/6).  The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s Irv Letofsky writes the show is a “straightforward, dutiful recitation of the Barbaro story, with touching commentaries from the owners, the trainer, horse historians, etc.” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/6).  In Orlando, Jerry Greene writes the presentation “is excellent. Producers, writers and editors build a sad tale of ill-fated love, making the people the focus. And Liev Schreiber is one of the best narrators in the biz” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/6).  In DC, Dick Heller wrote “good taste ... is very much in evidence here,” as the documentary only shows one replay of Barbaro’s breakdown at the Preakness (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/3).  In Houston, David Barron wrote NBC’s "Barbaro" documentary, which ran the weekend of the Kentucky Derby, “was a creditable job, but HBO’s effort feels more like the definitive word.” The “star of the show" is Barbaro’s co-owner, Gretchen Jackson. Carillo “seemed to get something out of her that others didn’t” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/4).  

LOOKING FOR MORE: In Illinois, Ted Cox wrote under the header, “HBO’s ‘Barbaro’ Barely Scratches Surface Of Tragedy.” Cox: “It never delves into what made Barbaro burst out of the starting gate before the bell at the Preakness a year ago. It accepts the Pimlico doctor’s story that he then examined the horse and found him sound.” But it is “not as if ‘Barbaro’ is going to disappoint anyone who watches it" (ILLINOIS DAILY HERALD, 6/1).

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