On Sunday, April 18th, following re-opening of the Kentucky Derby Museum, a ceremony to unveil the Eight Belles Gallopalooza horse will be held in her honor in the museum’s back garden. The ceremony will take place at 2:30 p.m. and begin with the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” by bugler, Steve Buttleman.
Eight Belles, the runner-up in Kentucky Derby 134 was euthanized after suffering a catastrophic injury moments after the race in 2008. Her remains were interred in September of 2008 at the Kentucky Derby Museum and she was honored during the dedication of a magnolia tree planted in her honor on the museum grounds. The donation of the Gallopalooza horse to the Kentucky Derby Museum was made by Louisville Eight Belle’s fan, Janet Penick in conjunction with the filly’s owners, Rick and Betsy Porter of Fox Hill Farm.
“I was there the day she died- I’m a big animal lover and it just broke my heart,” says Penick. “She was so beautiful and I wanted to do a tribute to her, since her ashes are there it seemed a fitting place to give her this honor.”
All fabrication of the Eight Belles sculpture was donated by local artist Tony Viscardi who waived his commission for the project.
Limited Edition posters of the Eight Belle’s artwork will be available following the ceremony. The posters have been created exclusively for the Kentucky Derby Museum by artist Tony Viscardi.
The Eight Belles horse has been on display at the Starks building in downtown Louisville. Proceeds from the purchase of the horse will be used for community beautification projects implemented in partnership with Brightside, Louisville's "clean and green" program. The horse will stand in a permanent place of honor in the Derby Museum’s garden to be shared with all visitors.
Click here for more information about the museum’s re-opening.
For background information behind the Gallopalooza horse:
Description of Horse Design, created by Janet Penick: This design was created to honor the great filly, Eight Belles, as a tribute to her life and great achievements while here on earth. The statue is painted charcoal grey, almost black and the horse is poised mid-stride. She wears 8 bells on each side made of thin brushed aluminum. Her mane and tail were enhanced with shreds of twisted aluminum. She wears an aluminum halo above her head, curled aluminum eyelashes, and bands of silver aluminum with 2 bells around each hoof. She is meant to appear luminescent and angelic -- as we imagine she is today "racing on the other side".
About the artist: Tony Viscardi's mediums of brushed aluminum and neon come from a lifelong fascination with interchanging light and the love of Art Deco design. He is a self-taught artist who began in his garage and worked his way into a studio. While experimenting with different media, he found working with metal fascinating and was amazed that such an industrial form could be transformed into a work of art. He enjoys seeing his various sanding techniques cause the metal to "come to life".
The Derby Museum thanks the many generous contributors involved in this project to preserve the legacy of Eight Belles.