Eight Belles, the filly that ran second to Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby and died moments later after breaking both front ankles during the gallop out, will be honored in several ways, officials at Churchill Downs announced yesterday.
The filly's remains will be buried in the courtyard of the Derby Museum near the base of a tree that will be planted in her honor. Four Derby winners are buried in that area. The Barbaro statue and his remains will eventually be placed at a site nearby.
Eight Belles' owner Rick Porter, of Wilmington, and the Churchill Downs Foundation each will contribute $25,000 to the Eight Belles Memorial Fund that will be run by Thoroughbred Charities of America.
The $150,000 La Troienne Stakes, an annual race for 3-year-old fillies on the Derby undercard, will be renamed in honor of Eight Belles.
"The past month has been a time of indescribable highs and crushing lows for me and my family," Porter said in a statement released by Churchill Downs. "We watched Eight Belles run the race of her life in the Kentucky Derby and that should have been our proudest moment as well as hers. Instead, it all changed in an instant.
"We're still grieving and struggling to accept her loss, but even in the midst of our sorrow, we are determined to see something positive come from her death." *