(Edited press release)
The Maryland Jockey Club announced May 14 it will honor Barbaro, the late winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, his jockey Edgar Prado, and his surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson at Pimlico Race Course during the week leading up to the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The colt captured last year's Run for the Roses, but was euthanized earlier this year due to injuries suffered in the 2006 Preakness. His story has since captured international attention from thousands of fans.
“Preakness 131 also introduced us to the courage and class of Barbaro,” said Maryland Jockey Club chief executive officer Joseph A. De Francis. “People across the country were moved by his enduring legacy. Barbaro touched our hearts and reminded us of what an incredible athlete and tremendous inspiration he was, and still is, to legions of fans world-wide.”
On December 20, 2006, the Maryland Jockey Club announced that in honor of Barbaro, the former 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton Stakes had been renamed the Barbaro Stakes, now the 9th race on the Preakness undercard.
"We thought it was the right thing to do," said Maryland Jockey Club president and chief operating officer Lou Raffetto. "Barbaro became the most popular racehorse in the country because of his courageous battle to try and overcome such a severe injury. Roy and Gretchen Jackson should be commended for their outstanding dedication to Barbaro. This change will allow the next generation of race fans to reflect upon this magnificent and beloved champion during Preakness day at Pimlico."
On May 17, Pimlico will honor Prado and Richardson with the Special Award of Merit during the annual Alibi Breakfast, the time-honored awards breakfast featuring media and horsemen in celebration of the Preakness. The award is given annually to someone who has made a positive impact on the racing industry. Past recipients have included Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim McKay, Daily Racing Form columnist Joe Hirsch, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, and NBC Sports.
On May 18, Pimlico will feature a book signing with Sean Clancy, author of Barbaro: The Horse Who Captured America’s Heart and a Barbaro print signing with artist Christine George. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association will be on hand throughout the week to help raise funding through sales of blue “Riding With Barbaro” wristbands.
The wristband sales will benefit the NTRA Charities – Barbaro Memorial Fund, which creates awareness and raises support for equine health and safety research in Barbaro's name, and specifically funds laminitis research. Sales of NBC’s DVD tribute, “Barbaro: A Nation’s Horse” will benefit the Barbaro Fund at New Bolton Center.
On Preakness day, the inaugural running of the Barbaro Stakes Presented by the Maryland State Lottery will take place. Prior to the race will be an appearance of the Wings of Blue, the United States Air Force's elite parachute jump team. One jumper will carry a flag designed with the colors of the Jackson’s Lael Stable and commemorating Barbaro, which the Air Force will present to the Jacksons in a special winner’s circle ceremony.