LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The saddle
rode when he took Barbaro to victory in the Kentucky Derby now belongs to the colt's owners.
"Well, it's Edgar's saddle; he just used it on Barbaro," co-owner Gretchen Jackson said after a book signing Saturday at Churchill Downs. "We just love the idea that it's going to be back with us."
The saddle was sold for $220,000 on Friday, and the money will go to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys' Fund.
Gretchen Jackson and her husband, Roy, claimed the saddle after some backroom negotiations with Dwight Manley, national manager of the Jockeys' Guild. Manley thought he was the highest bidder and accepted the saddle, only to be approached by the Jacksons as he walked off the stage.
After a brief discussion, the Jacksons received the saddle, with Manley throwing in an additional $80,000 for the fund.
"I actually told them I really wanted it," Manley said. "I just thought it was the coolest thing. But it is appropriate and fitting that they have it."
Manley's only request was the Jacksons put the saddle in a museum one day. The money raised will support the 58 disabled jockeys who rely on the fund.
The Jacksons made a bittersweet return this weekend to Churchill Downs for the first time since Barbaro won last year's Derby by 61/2 lengths - the largest winning margin in 60 years.
The Jacksons took part in a special ceremony honoring Barbaro between yesterday's sixth and seventh races. They will receive a $25,000 donation from Churchill Downs Inc. to the Barbaro Memorial Fund, which benefits the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., where Barbaro spent his rehabilitation after breaking down in the Preakness.
Fans were also wearing blue rubber bracelets with the phrase "Riding with Barbaro" on them. Money from the bracelets, available for $2 apiece, will go to the Barbaro Fund.