Museum is `a matter of when'

Horse racing

February 14, 2007|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Reporter

Two weeks ago, shortly after Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was cremated, owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson said they would take their time determining where Barbaro's ashes will rest.

Among the ideas they are considering is a local or regional museum honoring horses from southeastern Pennsylvania -- such as Derby winners Barbaro and Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex, who won the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

Charles Zacney, a partner in Cash Is King Stable, which owns Afleet Alex, said yesterday he believes the museum will become a reality.

"I think it will happen," he said. "It is just a matter of when, a matter of taking the next step, which I think is a face-to-face meeting or a conference call among all the interested parties to discuss how to go about doing it."

Zacney said he has been contacted by an organizer about getting the project under way and added that the feedback he has heard, especially from Pennsylvania breeders, has been positive.

As for the cost, Zacney said: "I don't know, but it's an idea that can come together through fund-raising projects. It's just a matter of someone taking the forefront."

That someone, Zacney suggested, could be Gretchen Jackson.

"Mrs. Jackson would be perfect," he said. "It was more her idea, but we haven't discussed it formally. I think the Jacksons would be perfect out in front because of the recognition they've gotten from Barbaro."

The Jacksons also have been offered the option to place Barbaro's ashes at the Kentucky Horse Park or at the Kentucky Derby Museum, where four deceased champions rest.

"We haven't heard anything yet about their plans," museum director Lynn Ashton said. "The Jacksons are taking their time, and good for them. They're not rushing into anything.

"While we would be excited and look forward to having him here, we'd support any decision they'd make."

The Jacksons did not return messages yesterday. Meanwhile, the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania announced Barbaro's owners donated $3 million to endow a chair in the name of Dr. Dean Richardson, the surgeon who handled Barbaro's care for the eight months he was hospitalized after his catastrophic injury in the Preakness.

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