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Alysheba returns to Kentucky

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Photos and audio by David Stephenson, Story By Janet Patton

The return of the native: Lexington-born Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alysheba officially came back to Kentucky and public life on Friday.

The son of the late Alydar moved into the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions after eight years in Saudi Arabia. He returned to the U.S. as a gift to the American people from Saudi King Abdullah.

“We are grateful that King Abdullah entrusted one of his favorite horses to the care of the Kentucky Horse Park, as stewards of his gift to the people of the United States,” said John Nicholson, horse park executive director, in a release. “Throughout history, the horse has transcended nations and brought cultures together. Alysheba is a symbol of good will between people and nations. He will be appreciated and cherished by the nearly one million guests who visit the Kentucky Horse Park each year, and by racing fans across the country for many years to come.”

The park hosted a reception and hundreds of fans turned out to welcome “America’s Horse” home on Friday Several old friends were there to greet him, including jockey Chris McCarron, trainer Jack Van Berg, and breeders Preston and Anita Madden.

Alysheba will have some big horse shoes to fill – he’s moving into the heated stall of the late John Henry, who was also a big fan favorite. Alysheba will be living near Cigar, who is also a previous winnings recordholder, so maybe the two retired racehorses can swap stories.

The park is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through March 14. Winter admission is $9 for adults, $7 for children ages 7-12, and children 6 and under are admitted free of charge.  Meeting Alysheba is included with park admission, according to a park news release.

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3 Responses to “Alysheba returns to Kentucky”
  1. Teri DeRome says:

    David ~ Preston and Anita Madden are great friends of mine. I was at the Derby with them the day that Alysheba won. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to e-mail me a photo you took of Alysheba from this piece, looking out a stall door I presume, wherein the light is so wonderful. I would love to paint it with your permission.

    Thank you.

  2. Jan says:

    What a beauty this horse was.

  3. Anne Castle says:

    WHat a loving look Alysheba is getting from his old pal,Chris. You can almost hear a converstion between the two of them. How much they missed each other and how great a derby that was and ….it just goes on….As if the 8 years away never happened. He was going to be my first stop this Spring for the Keeneland meet.
    RIP buddy! You will never be forgotten in this old girls heart or mind.

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