(Edited press release)
This year’s second-place Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) finisher Eight Belles will be memorialized in a ceremony Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Kentucky Derby Museum’s gardens.
“We hope our memorial service will serve as a lasting tribute to this great filly, and remind every visitor who walks through our doors of the incredible passion and ability she showed here in the Kentucky Derby,” said Lynn Ashton, executive director of the Kentucky Derby Museum of the filly, who experienced a fatal breakdown following her Derby effort.
Eight Belles’ owner, Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farm, accompanied by family members, will unveil a plaque honoring the filly during the ceremony. The plaque, contributed by Churchill Downs, will be mounted under a magnolia tree where the filly’s remains will be interred.
Porter said, “Eight Belles seemed to give me a look at the Keeneland sales that begged me to be her owner. She blossomed as a race horse just when Hard Spun retired. We will never forget her kind disposition. Now, she will rest in a place of honor, and her story will be shared with visitors from around the world at the Kentucky Derby Museum. She was a magnificent steel gray filly who will live in our hearts forever.”
During the ceremony, additional remarks will be made by Porter, along with Eight Belles’ trainer Larry Jones.
The ceremony will close with “Candle in the Wind,” chosen by the Porter family and performed by the local Briargate Presbyterian Church’s bell choir.
The public is welcome to attend the event, and no museum admission will be required for the ceremony.
In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place in the museum’s Great Hall.
For more information about the Kentucky Derby Museum, visit www.derbymuseum.org.