06/03/2008 12:00AM

Eight Belles to be interred at Derby museum


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Eight Belles, the 2008 Kentucky Derby runner-up who was euthanized after suffering a catastrophic breakdown moments after the race, will be interred at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, the track announced Tuesday.

The Churchill Downs Foundation and Eight Belles’s owner, Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farm, also announced that each will contribute $25,000 to the Eight Belles Memorial Fund, established by Thoroughbred Charities of America, for continued research into racehorse injuries and toward the retraining of retired Thoroughbreds.

“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,” Porter said in a release issued from Churchill Downs.

Churchill Downs further announced it is renaming the $150,000 La Troienne Stakes in honor of Eight Belles. A Grade 3 stakes race for 3-year-old fillies, it will continue to be run on the Kentucky Derby Day. The track also plans a ceremony on Kentucky Derby Day in 2009, in memory the Eight Belles.

The Kentucky Derby Museum will inter Eight Belles’s remains at the base of a tree to be planted in the her honor. The memorial will be located within the museum’s courtyard near the gravesites of four Kentucky Derby winners – Sunny’s Halo, Carry Back, Swaps and Broker’s Tip.

2006 Kentucky Derby Barbaro, who was euthanized Jan. 29, 2007, following complications from a breakdown in the 2006 Preakness, is scheduled to have his ashes interred at Churchill Downs in 2009, although within the track itself, not on the adjacent museum grounds.

An interment date for Eight Belles has not been determined.