The 10th renewal of the Secretariat Festival is returning to Bluegrass country Oct 13-14 and will be celebrating the 45th anniversary of its namesake's historic Triple Crown championship. Appealing to Secretariat fans of all ages, the event will showcase the region's rich Thoroughbred heritage and offer racing enthusiasts unique access to celebrities, equine athletes and some of area's most special Thoroughbred experiences.
Festival-goers will gather at The Thoroughbred Center on Saturday, Oct. 13, and Keeneland Race Course on Sunday, Oct. 14, and will have the opportunity to view behind the scenes of both of these working Thoroughbred operations.
The entire weekend will be filled with celebrity appearances as they meet and greet fans, host tours and sign autographs. Among those scheduled to attend are Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery and family historian; jockeys Eddie Maple, Pat Day, Mike Manganello and Chris McCarron; turf journalist Steve Haskin; Meadow Stable hotwalker Steve Jordan; Disney's Secretariat actors and jockeys Otto Thorwarth and Keith Austin; and author and handicapper Bill Doolittle.
The Festival also will feature tours of Adena Springs Farm, Calumet Farm and Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility as well as the renowned Claiborne Farm, where Secretariat was both a resident attraction and important stallion for 16 years. The Bourbon County landmark is also where visitors today can view Big Red's final resting place.
“We are excited about the continuance of the Secretariat Festival and the opportunity to welcome his fans to the farm for this unique day of tours,” said Allison Bishop of Claiborne Farm. “Secretariat is a special part of our story, and it is important to us to celebrate his accomplishments and keep his memory alive. We are particularly looking forward to welcoming Kate Tweedy to co-host a brand new tour featuring our broodmare and foaling division.”
Another highlight of this year's festivities will be a preview of the Secretariat monument that is planned for the intersection of Old Frankfort Pike and Alexandria Drive in Lexington.. Tweedy along with artist Jocelyn Russell will present this sneak peek of the Triangle Foundation civic project at a wine reception on Friday, Oct. 12, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Cross Gate Gallery, 509 E. Main St. Russell also will be sharing the clay maquette with Festival guests on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at The Thoroughbred Center.
Leonard Lusky, president of Secretariat.com and Festival co-founder, said the Secretariat Festival took a one-year Kentucky hiatus to participate in the inaugural Equestricon last year in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., but returns to the Lexington area with a commitment to bringing fans together annually to celebrate the life and legacy of Secretariat.
“We think Secretariat fans and horse lovers will be very excited about the event schedule and its one-of-a-kind access opportunities,” Lusky said. “With an array of tours and celebrity appearances, plus live racing at Keeneland, this year's Festival will be more than just an event, it will offer an insider's experience that guests will long remember.”
Doors open on Saturday at The Thoroughbred Center at 7:30 a.m., and admission is free. Other event details and tour reservations can be found at Secretariat.com with continued updates on the Festival's official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.
The Secretariat Festival, which celebrates the life and legacy of the 1973 Triple Crown champion, launched in 2008 in Paris, Ky. In the decade since, thousands of attendees have gathered in the heart of the Bluegrass to toast the sport of racing and one of its most beloved champions. Proceeds from the event have benefited the area charities as well as the Secretariat Foundation, which is committed to funding equine-related causes that enhance the welfare of the Thoroughbred community.
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