At the Secretariat Festival in Bourbon County, Kentucky there was a stablefull of things to do, a herd of people to meet, and bands of horses trotting out their talents. And of course, there were plenty of items featuring Secretariat.
Attendees could purchase Secretariat photographs, Secretariat bourbon, Secretariat T-shirts, Secretariat statues, Secretariat paintings, and even Secretariat ice cream. “The central Kentucky festival celebrates the life and legacy 1973 Triple Crown champion as well as the Commonwealth’s pride in its Bluegrass heritage,” explains Secretariat.com.
It all began on September 20 with the world premier release of “Penny & Red: The Life of Secretariat’s Owner” documentary. Guests mixed and mingled over drinks and hors d’ouevres with “The First Lady of Racing” Penny Chenery, the jockey who rode Secretariat to victory, Ron Turcotte, actor / jockey Otto Thorwarth (who played Turcotte in the Disney movie “Secretariat”), exercise rider Charlie Davis, and author Bill Nack. Then, it was show time, with an introduction by documentary creators and Chenery family members.
On September 21, a morning rain did not discourage fans and horse lovers as the festival went into full force. Along with Chenery, Turcotte, Thorwarth, Davis, and Nack, people were able to meet famous jockeys Angel Codero, Jr., Jean Cruguet, Pat Day, Mike Manganello, Eddie Maple, Chris McCarron, Jose Santos, Jorge Velasquez, and Jacinto Vasquez. A parade of horses took place, with Friesians, miniature horses, Arabians, ponies, Thoroughbreds, and the Kentucky Mounted Patrol. Miniature horses greeted kids and adults, retirement horses accepted carrots and apples, and there was food: tamales, barbeque, hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks and (can you believe?) Secretariat Ice Cream! Vendors sold memorabilia, artwork, clothing, and a silent auction had people hovering, watching favored items closely. The auction included Secretariat Bourbon, memorabilia, art, derby day hats, home décor, and more, all benefiting the Secretariat Foundation’s nonprofit endeavors. The nonprofit supports equine welfare, health research, and rehabilitation / retirement of racing horses.
There was a 5K run / walk, tours of famous Claiborne Farms, Bourbon tasting, and more. The festival offered many things for everyone.
Ron Turcotte told examiner.com, “I knew Secretariat was going to be a Triple Crown winner. I knew he had the Belmont” where the “Super Horse” won by 31 lengths. “He was that good of a horse.” It appears everyone who attended the Secretariat Festival agreed.
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Credit: photo of Judith Yates
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