The legendary racehorse, Secretariat, is being honoured with his own park in Paris, Kentucky to mark the 50th anniversary of his storied Triple Crown run.
The iconic chestnut stallion was the ninth winner of the Triple Crown, where he set the fastest times in all three races – The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, and The Belmont Stakes – records that still hold today. His incredible outing at the Belmont, where he won by an astonishing 31 lengths, is considered one of the greatest races in history.
A life-size bronze sculpture of Secretariat running in the field at Claiborne Farm, where he stood at stud – along with a three-story mural of him winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby – are the centerpieces of the park planned on Main Street in downtown Paris, KY.
“Secretariat will forever have a lasting influence on Claiborne Farm for many reasons,” said Walker Hancock, president of Claiborne. “It is wonderful that people from all around the globe can visit our town with this initiative being a great way to further memorialize a sports legend.”
Details were announced by a group of Bourbon County citizens and the Hancock family of Claiborne Farm. The project is a long-time dream for the community where Secretariat lived most of his life and where he is buried.
The park is an homage to Secretariat’s career as the most famous thoroughbred in history. “Secretariat is the most famous racehorse of all time – and, for many people, the only thoroughbred whose name is known worldwide,” said photographer Bobby Shiflet, owner of Frames on Main Gallery in Paris and a member of the committee planning the project. “We are creating this park to honor this hometown legend – and to have a place on Main Street for people to learn about Secretariat for generations to come.”
The artist is Jocelyn Russell of Washington state, who also sculpted the bronze of Secretariat that stands at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
The Paris sculpture will be different from other Secretariat sculptures because it depicts him at Claiborne, where he lived from 1973 to his death in 1989, rather than racing. Russell’s inspiration for the bronze is a photo taken by the celebrated thoroughbred photographer Tony Leonard.
The park also includes a three-story mural of Secretariat winning the Derby by celebrated Kentucky equine artist Jaime Corum. The mural will be painted on the side of the former 1933 Baldwin Hotel, which has been historically renovated.
Work on the mural begins in October. The redesigned park and the bronze will be completed late next year, on Nov. 11, 2023 – exactly 50 years to the day Secretariat arrived at Claiborne for his breeding career.
People can follow the park’s progress on Facebook here and Instagram @SecretariatParkInc