Churchill Downs has been selected as the final resting place for 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who was euthanized one year ago after a lengthy battle with laminitis. The announcement was made Tuesday by Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, at a Churchill Downs news conference.
Barbaro’s remains were cremated following his death on Jan. 29, 2007, and his ashes will be interred outside of Gate 1 at Churchill Downs, in a large elevated space enclosed by bricks that is currently used as a garden. The site, which will be open to the public, will include a larger-than-life-sized bronze statue of the Kentucky Derby 132 winner that will be commissioned by the Jacksons and loaned to Churchill Downs as part of Barbaro’s official memorial site.
“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,” said Steve Sexton, president of Churchill Downs and executive vice president of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “Barbaro took his place in history on the first Saturday in May 2006 with a brilliant Kentucky Derby victory, but his accomplishments as a racehorse are certainly rivaled by the courage and resolve he displayed after his injury. We are grateful to the Jacksons for entrusting their beloved Derby champion to us.”
“Gretchen and I are pleased to be collaborating with Churchill Downs in this wonderful project,” said Roy Jackson. “In the year that has just preceded, we have spent much time thinking about Barbaro’s memorial and where it would be best placed. Churchill Downs became the obvious site for us. It was here that he ran his best race. 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. We look forward to working with Steve Sexton and his team.”
In the coming weeks, Churchill Downs will install a bronze marker in the garden outside Gate 1 to designate the area where Barbaro’s ashes and bronze statue will be located.
The Jacksons are currently considering a select group of artists for the project and plan to make a final decision on the artist and statue design in the next few months. The Jacksons and Churchill Downs anticipate the statue’s completion and the formal unveiling and dedication of the Barbaro memorial site sometime in 2009.
To date, Barbaro will become the only horse buried on the grounds of Churchill Downs. The adjacent Kentucky Derby Museum has the remains of four Kentucky Derby winners interred on its property -- Sunny’s Halo (1983), Carry Back (1961), Swaps (1955), and Broker’s Tip (1933).
Following today’s news conference, the Jacksons participated in an autograph signing session at the Kentucky Derby Museum, which was open to the public.
Leonard Lusky is managing the Barbaro memorial project and artist selection for the Jacksons. Lusky can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] or via telephone at (502) 473-1036.
Roy and Gretchen Jackson will participate in a media teleconference from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST for media who cannot attend the morning news conference. Media representatives should dial 1-877-989-2155 and enter the pass code 4988703 at least five minutes prior to the start of the teleconference. Following brief remarks, the Jacksons will respond to questions from the media.
Churchill Downs will provide a satellite feed with b-roll and interviews from the Jan. 29 news conference from 2-2:15 p.m. EST. Feed coordinates are as follows:
AMC-1 Transponder 23A Horizontal KU
Downlink Frequency 12145
Data Rate 6.5
Symbol rate 4.232
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 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2008. The track’s 2008 Spring Meet is set for April 26 through July 6. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.