After an emotional meeting between several World War II veterans and Kentucky Derby runner Normandy Invasion, owner Rick Porter felt moved to honor the four men who visited his horse on Kentucky Oaks morning.
Porter named Normandy Invasion in honor of the troops who fought at the famed battle in World War II, and gave several of those troops the chance to watch the colt run for the roses earlier this spring. Now, he's named a 2-year-old in his barn for each of the four veterans who shared the experience with him.
Perhaps the most moving of the four is a filly named Mary Rita. Mary Rita was named for the late wife of World War II veteran Bill Wilch. Wilch met the equine Mary Rita for the first time on Friday, where Porter surprised him by arranging to name the eighth race the Mary Rita Classic.
Evan Downing, assistant to winning trainer Kellyn Gorder, insisted that Wilch keep the trophy.
Read more at the Louisville Courier-Journal
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