The public unveiling of a larger-than-life bronze statue to celebrate the life of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro will take place at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on the morning of Sunday, April 26. The announcement comes on the second anniversary of Barbaro’s passing on Jan. 29, 2007.
“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 Churchill Downs 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 at Churchill Downs. It will be placed outside Churchill Downs’ Gate 1 and near the entrance to the Kentucky Derby Museum along with Barbaro’s ashes, which will be interred beneath the bronze. Currently, a bronze marker, featuring Barbaro’s likeness, marks the location of the future memorial site beneath a large magnolia tree.
The April 26 ceremony will take place at the memorial site before live racing begins that day. Churchill Downs’ 2009 Spring Meet opens Saturday, April 25, and the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands is scheduled for Saturday, May 2.
“Gretchen and I are very much looking forward to the public ceremony this April,” said Roy Jackson, who bred, raised and raced Barbaro with his wife Gretchen. “We’re absolutely thrilled that Barbaro will be honored 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 renowned equine sculptor Alexa King. Her design will showcase Barbaro and jockey Edgar Prado in mid-flight between strides nearing the finish line in the 2006 Kentucky Derby. The statue will be attached to a horizontal bronze rail that will support the 1,500-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.
Earlier this year, Gretchen Jackson said of the statue: “Roy and I want to portray Barbaro as we remember him best – a beautiful racehorse and an athlete.”
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009. The track’s 2009 Spring Meet will take place from April 25 through July 5. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5 and 6, 2010. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
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