Barbaro Memorial dedicated outside Churchill Downs

April 26, 2009 5:49:55 PM PDT
Nearly three years after the injury that eventually lead to his death in January 2007, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro has become an icon to thousands. Many are non-racing fans who were moved by his valiant struggle for survival. They've inundated owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson with cards, flowers and memorial Web sites, a wave of public support that has hardly faded with time.

And Churchill Downs on Sunday unveiled a 1,500-pound bronze statue of the horse. The sculpture, created by Alexa King, shows Barbaro flying down the track with all four feet off the ground as he carries Prado to glory. The statue, which has Barbaro's ashes in the base, is placed outside a gate at the venerable track so the public can visit him at any time.

The unveiling is the final chapter of a story that began the second Barbaro took that fateful bad step early in the Preakness. During his eight-month battle at New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., the public outpouring overwhelmed the center as fans sent treats, flowers and well-wishes.

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