Secretariat Festival October 11-13 at Keeneland

Secretariat statue at Kentucky Horse Park

Secretariat statue at Kentucky Horse Park

The 11th renewal of the Secretariat Festival is returning to the Bluegrass Oct. 11-13 to showcase the region’s rich Thoroughbred heritage with unique access to celebrities, equine athletes and some of area’s most special Thoroughbred experiences. This year, the event will feature the unveiling of Lexington’s Secretariat Bronze Monument.

Commissioned by the Triangle Foundation, the life-plus-half size bronze sculpture, crafted by artist Jocelyn Russell, captures Secretariat in the 1973 Kentucky Derby with jockey Ron Turcotte at the reins. The monument will debut on Saturday, Oct. 12, 10:45 a.m. at the Festival, located at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion terrace, and greet guests throughout the weekend before moving to its permanent home in the roundabout at Old Frankfort Pike and Alexandria Drive in Lexington.

Historic and picturesque Keeneland was a filming location for the 2010 Disney Pictures’ Secretariat and will serve as a hub for the Festival, where guests can experience live racing along with a full slate of Festival activities.

“We are excited to again welcome Secretariat fans to Keeneland and to host the unveiling of Lexington’s monument depicting this great champion,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason. “Even 46 years after his Triple Crown victories, Secretariat’s legacy lives on, attracting new generations of fans and elevating our sport. We are proud to be the site of this historic moment for our community.”

Throughout the weekend, racing luminaries will meet Festival guests, host tours and sign autographs. Among those scheduled to attend are Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery and family historian; Triple Crown jockeys Steve Cauthen and Jean Cruguet; Kentucky Derby winning riders Chris McCarron and Mike Manganello; turf journalist Steve Haskin; and Secretariat actor and jockey Otto Thorwarth.

The Festival also will feature tours of Lane’s End Farm, Spendthrift Farm and Calumet Farm as well as the renowned Claiborne Farm, where Secretariat was both a resident attraction and signature stallion for 16 years. The Bourbon County landmark is also where visitors today can view Big Red’s final resting place.

“The Secretariat Festival has evolved to be a celebration of not just Big Red but of others, human and equine, who have contributed to the beauty and thrill of horse racing,” said Kate Tweedy. “I am very much looking forward to returning this year, to reconnect with fans, and to celebrate the unveiling of the Secretariat Monument, which was one of the last projects that my mother approved. I know she will be there in spirit.”

Monument artist Jocelyn Russell, known for her sculptures at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and her statue of Korean War horse Sgt. Reckless at the Kentucky Horse Park, will dis-cuss the Secretariat project with fans at a Festival Forum. Other featured speakers will be Kentucky equine veterinarian Dr. Robert Copelan, who treated the abscess that resulted in Secretariat’s Wood Memorial loss, and Marvin Moorer, horseman and son of Secretariat’s groom Eddie Sweat. Additionally, Kate Tweedy, Steve Haskin and Otto Thorwarth will compare the Disney silver screen portrayal of the Secretariat story with actual events.
Festival Forums as well as all other activities located at the Sales Pavilion are free to at-tend. Festival gates open Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m. Other event details and tour reservations can be found at with continued updates on the Festival’s official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.

General admission for live racing at Keeneland is $5 with post time at 1:05 p.m. and additional options for premium seating and dining experiences.

The Secretariat Festival, which celebrates the life and legacy of the 1973 Triple Crown champion, launched in 2008 in Paris, Ky. In the years 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.

Press Release