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Barbaro statue to be unveiled in April

January 31, 2009


Barbaro with Dr Dean Richardson. © Jennifer Rench

A bronze statue commemorating the life of Barbaro will be unveiled in April at Churchill Downs racecourse - scene of the thoroughbred's greatest triumph.

Barbaro convincingly won the 2006 Kentucky Derby but two weeks later shattered a hind leg at the start of the Preakness Stakes.

Eight months of intensive treatment saw Barbaro's shattered bones healed but he was eventually euthanized because of laminitic complications.

The announcement of the April 26 public unveiling came on Januuary 29 - the second anniversary of Barbaro's death.

"Churchill Downs will provide additional details about the public unveiling as they become available, but we wanted to make certain that Barbaro's worldwide legion of fans were made aware of the ceremony's date," said the course's general manager Jim Gates.

"Churchill Downs is proud to have been chosen as Barbaro's final resting place and this outstanding memorial is certain to become a popular year-round gathering place for horse lovers throughout the world."

The statue will become the focal point of Barbaro's official memorial and burial site.

It will be placed outside Churchill Downs' Gate 1 and near the entrance to the Kentucky Derby Museum along with Barbaro's ashes, to be interred beneath the bronze.

A bronze marker, featuring Barbaro's likeness, currently marks the spot of the future memorial site beneath a large magnolia tree.

Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who bred, raised, and raced Barbaro, said they were very much looking forward to the public ceremony this April.

Roy Jackson said: "We're absolutely thrilled that Barbaro will be honoured at Churchill Downs with a magnificent statue at the site of his greatest race."

Production of the bronze statue is nearing its final stages with equine sculptor Alexa King.

Her design will show Barbaro and jockey Edgar Prado in mid-flight between strides nearing the finish line in the 2006 Derby. The work will be attached to a horizontal bronze rail that will support the 1500-pound artwork, creating the impression that Barbaro and his rider are suspended in air.

It is the first time that an equine statue of this size and scope has been presented in this manner, with all four of the horse's feet off the ground.

 

 

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