Barbaro statue planned for Churchill entrance

May 02, 2008|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- This time next year, the face of the main entrance to Churchill Downs will be that of the late 2006 Kentucky Derby champion Barbaro.

Yesterday, the horse's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, unveiled a 1:3 scale model of the 10-foot bronze statue of the horse and his jockey, Edgar Prado, that will be mounted in front of Gate 1, the main gate to Churchill Downs.

"We chose the work of [equine sculptor] Alexa King because this work made my heart pound," Gretchen Jackson said. "It was how I think of him and want him remembered."

The bronze work will depict Barbaro with all four hooves in the air and his left knee up in that unusual, recognizable high-stepping style he had.

Barbaro's ashes and the memorial will be placed in a garden area in front of the gates. Barbaro died in January from complications of laminitis after breaking his leg in the Preakness.

"We think it's fitting that Barbaro is coming home and will be welcoming all who come to Churchill Downs," said Lynn Ashton, executive director of the Kentucky Derby Museum.

"Every horse that has won the Kentucky Derby is special, but when you look at Barbaro and what he has done and continues to do for the equine industry, in terms of research funds for laminitis, and the battle he fought, he showed us his heart," Ashton said. "He fought the good fight and taught lessons of fortitude not only to thoroughbreds, but to people."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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