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Barbaro will be laid to rest at scene of greatest victory

January 30, 2008

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell was among those who visited Barbaro during his recovery, along with Dean Joan Hendricks and Dr. Dean Richardson.

Photo: Sabina Louise Pierce/University of Pennsylvania

The ashes of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro will be interred at the historic Churchill Downs Racecourse, the scene of his greatest victory.

The champion racehorse had stormed home for a six-and-a-half length win in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, raising hopes of a possible clean sweep of the Triple Crown.

The dream shattered just seconds after the start of the Preakness Stakes, with a catastrophic three-bone fracture of the colt's hind leg.

Extensive surgery followed and the bones healed, but veterinarians could not save the horse from the complications of laminitis, and Barbaro was euthanized nine months after the accident.

On the anniversary of Barbaro's death, owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson announced at a press conference that Churchill Downs would be the horse's final resting place.

His ashes will be placed in a large, elevated brick enclosure near Gate One at the racecourse.

A larger-than-life statue of Barbaro will mark the spot, with a temporary bronze marker being used until a suitable work is commissioned and completed.

The Jacksons explained to media that they had been pondering the best place to lay Barbaro to rest and described Churchill Downs as "an obvious site for us".

"It was here that he ran his best race," Roy Jackson said. "It was here where we spent our most memorable day as horse owners and breeders. It was here where his racing fans could visit daily, and it was here at Churchill Downs where he was cordially invited to rest."

Churchill Downs president Steve Sexton said: "Churchill Downs is deeply honored to be selected as the final resting place for Barbaro, who first captured our hearts with his impressive win in the 132nd Kentucky Derby and who demonstrated strength and determination in his long battle to overcome both injury and illness."

Barbaro will be the first winner of the great race to have his remains placed inside the Churchill Downs course. The remains of four other Kentucky Derby winners - Brokers Tip, Carry Back, Sunny's Halo and Swaps - reside at the adjacent museum.

Barbaro has left a significant legacy. A memorial fund in his name has raised close to $US3 million to aid laminitis research.



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