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Barbaro statue marks finest moment

April 27, 2009

The gravesite and memorial for 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was unveiled at Churchill Downs on Sunday. © Churchill Downs/Jennifer Stevens

A bronze state has been unveiled at Churchill Downs racecourse, celebrating the finest moment of champion racehorse Barbaro.

The bronze statue depicts Barbaro in mid-stride as he pulled away from the field to win the 2006 Kentucky Derby.

It shows him with all four feet off the ground.

The 680kg bronzue statue, sculpted by Alexa King, shows jockey Edgar Prado atop the horse.

The statue was unveiled on Sunday morning in Kentucky, just inside Gate 1 at the course and near the entrance to the Kentucky Derby Musuem.

The work memorialises a horse whose already considerable fan base grew enormously after the horse shattered a hind leg moments after the start of the Preakness Stakes.

Fans watched Barbaro's progress over the following eight months as veterinarians worked to repair the damage and manage ongoing complications from laminitis.

In the end, with the laminitic complications growing worse, the decision was made to euthanize the horse.

Barbaro's fight brought attention to issues surrounding track safety and the need for more research into laminitis. A fund in his name has been set up to fund laminitis research.

The unveiling was attended by Barbaro's owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson, as did several hundred fans who were moved by Barbaro's fight for survival.

Dr Dean Richardson, who oversaw Barbaro's rehabilitation, was also in attendance.

Barbaro's ashes are interred beneath the base of the statue.

The 2009 running of the Kentucky Derby will be on May 2.



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