It just happened this way, but it is hard not to see providence at work when Kentucky Derby Week will start off Sunday at Delaware Park with a celebration by hundreds of Barbaro fans on the occasion of what would have been the 2006 Derby winner's fourth birthday.
The FOB (Fans of Barbaro) will gather in the Grove at DelPark at around noon. Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, said they plan to be there during the day. A number of events are planned, culminating with NBC's showing of its Barbaro documentary late in the afternoon. The show airs at 5 p.m. on Channel 10.
Barbaro became much more than a racing story after the colt broke down in the Preakness on May 20. It was the attempt to save the colt's life from the day he was injured until he was put down on Jan. 29 that created so many fans who felt (and still feel) so passionate about Barbaro.
FOBs also are gathering at many other tracks around the country, including Lone Star Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Hollywood Park, Golden Gate Fields and Thistledown.
Churchill Downs announced yesterday that it will honor Barbaro and the Jacksons on Derby Day (May 5), between the sixth and races. A replay of Barbaro's Derby win, the most dominant in 60 years, will be shown on the track's huge infield video boards. The track plans to donate $25,000 to the Barbaro Memorial Fund for horse safety and research. Blue rubber bracelets, with the phrase "Riding with Barbaro" will be available for $2. All proceeds will go to the fund.