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'America's horse' is back

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 24-year-old son of the late Alydar moved into the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions after eight years in Saudi Arabia. He returned to the United States as a gift to the American people from Saudi King Abdullah.

The park hosted a reception and hundreds of fans turned out to welcome "America's Horse" home 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, a fan favorite. Alysheba, who won the Derby in 1987 and the Breeders' Cup the next year, will be living near Cigar, also a previous winnings record-holder, so maybe the two retired racehorses can swap stories.

Meeting Alysheba is included with horse park admission. For information, go to www.kyhorsepark.com.

Janet Patton

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