Today the intersection of Old Frankfort Pike and Alexandria Drive in Lexington resounds mostly of local vehicle traffic, but in the not-so-distant future, it will echo the hoofbeats of Secretariat when a life-plus-half size bronze sculpture of the 1973 Triple Crown champion is erected in the center of the roundabout.
A preview of the statue will be revealed Oct. 12, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at Cross Gate Gallery, 509 E. Main St. in Lexington. The Friday evening public unveiling will kick off the 2018 Secretariat Festival and will feature a wine reception with the artist Jocelyn Russell, known for her animal sculptures at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and her statue of Korean War horse Sgt. Reckless that recently debuted at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The approximately one-fifth size clay maquette of the Secretariat monument will also be on display Saturday, Oct 13, from 9 a.m. to noon at The Thoroughbred Center, located at 3380 Paris Pike, during the Festival’s Saturday events.
Commissioned by the Triangle Foundation, the sculpture will depict Secretariat running in the Kentucky Derby with jockey Ron Turcotte aboard. Triangle Board Chairman Edward Barr said the organization supports projects that promote the Bluegrass region’s rich heritage. The monument project is scheduled to be completed and installed in the fall of 2019.
“As the Derby’s fastest champion, whose breeding influence continues to reverberate today, Secretariat exemplifies the importance of the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry to central Kentucky,” said Barr. “We are looking forward to unveiling this much anticipated endeavor at the Secretariat Festival and seeing it become an area landmark and gateway into Lexington along this notable horse country corridor.”
Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery, will join Russell for the anticipated unveiling of the maquette at the Cross Gate reception.
“We are appreciative and delighted that the unveiling can take place in conjunction with the Triangle Foundation during the Secretariat Festival and that we can offer this sneak peek to our guests,” Tweedy said. “The statue was one of the last projects approved by Mom before she died and as a longtime resident of Lexington along with Big Red, who stood at nearby Claiborne Farm, she would have been thrilled to see such an important civic undertaking come to fruition. On behalf of our family and racing fans across the nation, we would like to thank the Foundation for paying tribute to the legacy of Secretariat and the entire Meadow Stable team for generations to come.”
The Secretariat Festival, which celebrates the life and legacy of the 1973 Triple Crown champion, launched in 2008 in Paris, Ky., and marks its 10th renewal this year. Event details can be found at Secretariat.com.