Metro Meteor, the famous painting ex-racehorse, was stricken over the weekend by sudden blindness in both eyes.
The 13-year-old bay Thoroughbred, who became a media sensation after owner and portrait artist Ron Krajewski taught him to grip a paintbrush in his teeth and create abstract acrylics on canvas, was initially diagnosed with equine uveitis in his left eye. Then suddenly, over the weekend, the blindness had spread to both, Krajewski says.
He is under the care of his veterinarian Dr. Kimberly Brokaw, DVM, of Maryland, but was expected to travel to the New Bolton Hospital sometime today to see a specialist, Krajewski says.
Race name: Metro Meteor
Sire: City Zip
Dam: Here Comes Nikki
Foal date: March 13, 2003
Earnings: $299,420Though Metro became panicked and required sedation as his condition worsened, Krajewski was holding out hope that the blindness could be reversed with medical intervention.
“Today (Saturday) he’s blind. He can’t see a thing. But, I’m confident that his eyesight will come back,” he says, noting that he plans to take aggressive action to save Metro’s vision. By Sunday afternoon, Krajewski reported on the Painted by Metro Facebook page that Metro appeared to be slightly improved during a brief hand walk outside the barn. Though Metro appeared very cautious in a video posted to the page, his footsteps clearly uncertain, he willingly followed his handler.
Krajewski broke the news of Metro’s deteriorating eye condition over the weekend, after a week spent attending to the OTTB’s sudden development of a “squinty” left eye.
As the world grew dimmer for Metro, the horse began to panic; at one point requiring sedation and confinement to his stall.
“He can’t see and he doesn’t understand what’s happening to him,” Krajewski says.
An appointment was scheduled with an ophthalmologist for 11 a.m. today.
“Having a celebrity horse helped,” says Krajewski, who notes it was a real relief to get the call. “I don’t think we’ll get the police escort that Barbaro got, but I know he’ll get great care.”
The plan now is to get a specialist’s opinion on Metro’s sudden vision loss, and to chart a course of action. Krajewski notes he has spent his limited free time reading up on surgical procedures that can possibly restore vision, and he has been holding out hope that his painting horse will be okay.
Krajewski, a pet portrait artist, taught his Thoroughbred to “paint” years ago. In a specially equipped stall/studio, Metro holds paint-dipped brushes in his teeth and swipes them across a canvas. The acrylic works have generated revenue to support Metro’s ongoing health needs, and the charity New Vocations Racehorse Adoption. And in the process, Metro has become a celebrity horse, who has been featured on national television shows and in major publications.
With over 55,000 followers on Facebook, Metro is a real life example of the worthiness of off-track Thoroughbreds. Krajewski says he just hopes Metro is able to conquer this sudden medical crisis.
“I feel so bad for him,” he says. “He’s a racehorse who couldn’t run anymore, and now he’s an artist who can’t see.”