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Secretariat Festival 2020

2020 SECRETARIAT (Virtual) FESTIVAL – Oct. 10-11

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Yes, the 2020 Secretariat Festival is a “go,” and planned for the weekend of Oct. 10-11! However, this year’s event will take place in virtual format due to COVID concerns and restrictions. The 2020 Festival digital experience will be free for all to enjoy as a streamlined version of our annual fan gathering while featuring some of our perennial favorite fan activities.

While the Festival will still include a virtual visit to Claiborne Farm for a Big Red-related tour of the famed breeding operation where Secretariat is buried, we will also be able to branch out from our Bluegrass roots in Lexington, thanks to the power of the Internet. This year’s Festival will encompass an intercontinental assembly from the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, New York, to the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and even a visit to the town of Grand Falls in New Brunswick, Canada – home of Secretariat’s beloved jockey Ron Turcotte.

And speaking of Mr. Turcotte, he will headline an impressive list of virtual guest celebrity appearances during the Festival weekend, including his fellow Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Maple, who rode Secretariat in his final career start; Kate Chenery Tweedy, Penny Chenery’s daughter and family historian; Disney’s Secretariat actor/jockey (and soon to be author) Otto Thorwarth, with many more surprise special guests planned.

Once again our popular Fan Forums will provide fans access to discussions with our special guests along with the opportunities to ask questions and hear insiders’ perspective on many Secretariat-related topics. Fan forums will take place through the electronic meeting technology of Zoom, and will be offered with limited capacity as an optional ticketed event. 

This year’s Festival will also provide the virtual debut of the Secretariat Press Photo Gallery, where Secretariat fans can view original circa 1972-74 press photos that chronicled the happenings of Meadow Stable heroes Riva Ridge and Secretariat, who were responsible for some of the biggest sporting news stories of the time. Better still, these very scarce photos will be part of the Secretariat Festival Auction (beginning Oct. 1 on eBay and ending Oct. 11 at the conclusion of the Festival) along with several other select items and memorabilia from the Secretariat/Meadow Stable Archives, including photography hand-signed by Penny Chenery herself.

While the challenges of 2020 have been substantial on several fronts, and we can never replicate the in-person fellowship that has emerged during our previous Festival events, we remain committed to bringing fans together annually to celebrate the life and legacy of Secretariat and hope you will join us in our perpetual mission to keep the Big Red flame burning.

 

SATURDAY, OCT. 10: We are delighted to present virtual opportunities that will intercontinentally celebrate Secretariat and the Meadow Team. Free sessions will be live-streamed via Facebook Live on our @SecretariatFestival Facebook page, while ticketed Fan Forums require pre-registration and will use Zoom. Although we will make every effort to keep the schedule, times are subject to change and are for Eastern Daylight Time. Please verify start times here or on @SecretariatFestival social media.

Facebook Live Events: Find these events on our @SecretariatFestival Facebook page (You will need a Facebook account to access the page.) For technical assistance, please contact @SecretariatFestival through Facebook Messenger. 

Fan Forums on Zoom: Register at the links provided. Moderated sessions are estimated to last 45 minutes with an opportunity for participants to ask questions. We recommend downloading the Zoom app on your phone, tablet or desktop prior to the event. Registrants will receive the link in an email. For technical assistance, please email info@secretariatfestival.com.

Please review the schedule below to plan for your experience:

  • (TICKETED) “Derby Dreams” 9:00 a.m. – What is it like to win the Run for the Roses… Hear stories from the legendary Kentucky Derby trails of winning jockeys Pat Day (Lil E. Tee, 1992) and others. 
  • (FREE) Claiborne Farm Virtual Tour 10:30 a.m. – Enjoy this live-steamed tour of the famed breeding operation in Paris, Kentucky and home to Secretariat for 16 years following his racing career. Hosted by Claiborne Farm grooms, hear more about Big Red’s life as a stallion and view his hallowed grave, as well as those of his sire Bold Ruler, and stable mate Riva Ridge. Tour-goers will also get to visit with one of Claiborne’s current stallions which include Derby winner Orb, champion Blame, and the internationally accomplished stallion War Front among others. Tour lasts approximately 40 minutes.
  • (TICKETED) “Meadow Men” 11:30 a.m.Join the discussion with Hall of Fame jockeys Ron Turcotte and Eddie Maple sharing their experiences riding Secretariat and Riva Ridge, including when the two Meadow Stable champions competed head to head in the 1973 Marlboro Cup Invitational. A wonderful opportunity to hear racetrack tales from these two luminary riders.
  • (FREE) Ron Turcotte Hometown Virtual Tour 1:00 p.m. – This afternoon tour will transport viewers north of the border, all the way to Ron Turcotte’s home town in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada. This tour will showcase the Secretariat monument installed in Mr. Turcotte’s honor in 2015 as well as the bridge named for the famed rider. Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. 
  • (FREE) National Museum of Racing Virtual Tour 1:45 p.m. – This unique tour will visit the newly refurbished Museum located in the famed racing community of Saratoga Springs, New York. This tour will allow viewers to see specific Secretariat-related artifacts residing within the Museum’s renowned collection, and learn more about the historical perspective associated with them. Tour highlights include Secretariat’s original Jockey Club registration papers, Hall of Fame displays for the Meadow team members, and of course the famous John Skeaping bronze monument of Secretariat located in the Museum courtyard. Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes.
  • (TICKETED) “Memories of Meadow Farm” 2:45 p.m. – Kate Chenery Tweedy and Leeanne Ladin, authors of Secretariat’s Meadow: The Land, the Family, the Legend, will host this discussion that features never-before-seen film interviews with former Meadow grooms. Hear all the stories about the famed Virginia farm, its future racing stars, and the often overshadowed efforts of those that made it all possible, and who ultimately helped reshaped racing history.

 

SUNDAY, OCT. 11: We are delighted to present a second day of virtual opportunities that will celebrate Secretariat and the sport of horse racing. Free sessions will be live-streamed via Facebook Live on our @SecretariatFestival Facebook page, while ticketed Fan Forums require pre-registration and will use Zoom. Although we will make every effort to keep the schedule, times are subject to change and are for Eastern Daylight Time. Please verify start times here or on @SecretariatFestival social media.

Facebook Live Events: Find these events on our @SecretariatFestival Facebook page (You will need a Facebook account to access the page.) For technical assistance, please contact @SecretariatFestival through Facebook Messenger. 

Fan Forums on Zoom: Register at the links provided. Moderated sessions are estimated to last 45 minutes with an opportunity for participants to ask questions. We recommend downloading the Zoom app on your phone, tablet or desktop prior to the event. Registrants will receive the link in an email. For technical assistance, please email info@secretariatfestival.com.

Please review the schedule below to plan for your experience:

  • (TICKETED) “Secretariat’s Last Race” 9:00 a.m Join Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Maple and Woodbine racetrack executive Dave Stevenson as they reminisce about the 1973 Canadian Invitational. How did Woodbine attract the 1973 Triple Crown winner for his last race? And what was it like for this young and upcoming jockey to get the opportunity to pilot the superhorse in this historic race?
  • (FREE) Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Virtual Tour 10:15 a.m – This live-streamed tour of Old Friends, the non-profit Thoroughbred retirement center in Lexington, Kentucky, will be personally hosted by its founder Mike Blowen. The popular farm is situated in the heart of the Bluegrass and is a “living history museum of horse racing.” Meet some of America’s famous retired runners including Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, 2011 Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award winner Rapid Redux and several of the treasured Secretariat descendants frolicking in the pastures of this equine haven. Tour lasts approximately 40 minutes.
  • (TICKETED) “10th Anniversary Special: The Making of the Movie” 11:30 a.m– Disney’s Secretariat producer Mark Ciardi and actor/jockey Otto Thorwarth lead a fascinating discussion about the behind-the-scenes stories of the film’s human and equine Hollywood stars. Also get an advance preview of Mr. Thorwarth’s new book “No Ordinary Champion” recounting his movie experience. 
  • (FREE) Kentucky Derby Museum Virtual Tour 1:00 p.m. – Viewers for this specially created tour, located in the shadows of the iconic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky will learn more about the long and storied history of the “Run for the Roses” and Secretariat’s still existing track record time of 1:59 2/5 for American racing’s most coveted race. Tour-goers will also see one of the largest collections of Secretariat artifacts on public display among the many fascinating exhibits and interactive displays. Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes.
  • (TICKETED) “Rivals 2:30 p.m. – Join this exclusive discussion with Hall of Fame jockeys Ron Turcotte and Laffit Pincay Jr. as they share their thoughts of the famed rivalry between their respective colts, Secretariat and Sham, and their personal accounts of each of the individual races comprising the 1973 Triple Crown campaign.

 

THROUGHOUT FESTIVAL WEEK – A perennial favorite, the Secretariat Festival Auction features select items from the Secretariat/Meadow Stable Archives, including photography hand-signed by Penny Chenery herself and other rare racing memorabilia. This year’s auction will also feature the individual original photographs currently on display in the Press Photo Gallery. The 10-day Festival Auction will take place on eBay, beginning Oct. 1 at 8:15 p.m. EDT and ends Oct. 11.

The 2020 Secretariat Festival will be a new but still most memorable experience for horse lovers of all ages to share in Thoroughbred racing’s proud heritage and celebrate racing’s most popular champion.

 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE FESTIVAL MERCHANDISE AND FAN FORUM TICKETED EVENTS

The Secretariat Festival, which celebrates the life and legacy of the 1973 Triple Crown champion, launched in 2008 in Paris, Ky. In the decade 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. Updates for this year’s festivities and future announcements will be posted on the Secretariat Festival’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.

 

 

Please check back for more information and updates…

 


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