Keeneland is hosting the Secretariat Festival this weekend, an annual event that celebrates the beloved Triple Crown winner. This morning, the Secretariat Bronze Monument created by Jocelyn Russell and commissioned by the City of Lexington – and set to be permanently located in the roundabout at Old Frankfort Pike and Alexandria Drive in Lexington – was unveiled outside the Keeneland Sales Pavilion, where events are taking place from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is free.
The 2019 Secretariat Festival will offer a picture-perfect autumn backdrop where fans can gather to share the legacy of Secretariat and experience the Bluegrass region's rich Thoroughbred heritage and live racing at one of Kentucky's legendary racetracks.
The Festival remains committed to bringing fans together annually to celebrate the life and legacy of Secretariat. Over the years, the event has evolved to emphasize fan favorites and adapted after the passing of Penny Chenery, Jim Gaffney, Charlie Davis and Bill Nack — all who contributed to the Secretariat legacy and had been a focal points of the event. One thing that has not changed is the organizers' commitment to celebrate the legendary 1973 Triple Crown winner as well as provide fans with a unique opportunity to experience equine-related activities and access to the sport of horse racing.
This year's renewal will be highlighted by the debut of the Secretariat Monument commissioned by the city of Lexington and created by famed equine artist Jocelyn Russell. The larger-than-life size depiction of Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby with Hall of Fame jockey Ron Turcotte aboard will be installed at one of city's roundabouts but only after it is previewed to the public during the Festival — and toasted by Secretariat's biggest fans! Unfortunately Ron Turcotte cannot attend the Festival this year. However, his brother Gaetan will represent the Hall of Fame jockey along with Kate Chenery Tweedy, Penny Chenery's daughter and family historian. Together, they will welcome Festival-goers throughout the weekend. Other special guests, such as Marvin Moorer, former groom and son of Eddie Sweat, Disney's Secretariat actor/jockey Otto Thorwarth, 92-year-old esteemed veterinarian Dr. Robert Copelan who treated Secretariat in 1973, and acclaimed racing journalist Steve Haskin are expected to be on site to greet attendees and provide their own wonderful memories of Big Red and that magical 1973 Triple Crown season.
Jockey appearances and signing sessions have become a Festival marquee event and a dream destination for autograph seekers of all ages. Riders expected to attend this year include famed Kentucky Derby winning riders Chris McCarron, Mike Manganello, as well as Triple Crown winning jockeys Steve Cauthen and Jean Cruguet — all who will share their personal racing experiences individually with fans.
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