(Edited press release)
The public unveiling of a bronze statue to celebrate the life of 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro will take place at Churchill Downs April 26. The announcement came 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. 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.
“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 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 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.