Churchill Downs has been selected as the final resting place for 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who was euthanized on Jan. 29, 2007, after a lengthy battle with laminitis. The announcement was made today by Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, at a Churchill Downs news conference.
Barbaro’s ashes will be interred outside of Gate 1 at Churchill Downs. The site, currently used as a garden, will be open to the public and will include a larger-than-life-sized bronze statue of the Kentucky Derby winner.
“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. “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.”
The Jacksons plan to make a final decision on the sculptor and statue design in the next few months. Churchill Downs anticipates the formal unveiling and dedication of the Barbaro memorial site sometime in 2009.
“Gretchen and I are pleased to be collaborating with Churchill Downs in this wonderful project,” said Roy Jackson. “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.”
Barbaro will be the first horse interred on the grounds of Churchill Downs. The adjacent Kentucky Derby Museum contains the remains of four Kentucky Derby winners: Sunny’s Halo (1983), Carry Back (1961), Swaps (1955), and Broker’s Tip (1933).