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Secretariat Festival 2021

2021 SECRETARIAT FESTIVAL – Oct. 15-17

The 2021 Secretariat Festival is planned for Oct. 15-17 with Saturday’s activities based at the internationally esteemed Kentucky Horse Park. The weekend will offer a picture-perfect autumn backdrop where fans can gather to share the legacy of Secretariat and experience the Bluegrass region’s rich Thoroughbred heritage.

The Festival remains committed to bringing fans together annually to celebrate the life and legacy of Secretariat with unique opportunities to experience equine-related activities and access to the sport of horse racing. We are very excited that this year’s renewal returns as an-person event. However, as we all know well now, the Festival is subject to COVID mitigation policies of our venues and local authorities, and we ask for continued patience as we plan for an enjoyable but safe experience for both our fans and celebrity guests. Please be sure to check back here for the most up-to-date information and announcements.

The Kentucky Horse Park will be the hub for Saturday’s Festival activities. Centered at the Park’s spacious International Museum of the Horse, Festival-goers will have an opportunity to enjoy numerous impressive Thoroughbred racing exhibits, including Secretariat’s trio of 1973 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont trophies as well as the Cartier Triple Crown trophy reunited for the first time in nearly a quarter century. 

The Festival will feature a short walking tour to view the bronze statues of both “Big Reds.” The Man o’ War monument has been a landmark at the Park since its inception, and the Secretariat statue, commissioned by his luminary owner Penny Chenery, was installed with great fanfare in 2004. Other onsite activities during the day will include visits with the Horse Park’s retired Kentucky Derby winners Funny Cide and Go For Gin (at 30, now the oldest living winner of a Triple Crown race), as well as dual classic winner Point Given and venerable two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile champion Da Hoss.

Throughout the day, Festival attendees will also have the opportunity to visit the Secretariat Center located on the Park grounds and named in honor of the 1973 Triple Crown champion. Enjoy very special tours of this equine retraining facility considered the gold standard in Thoroughbred re-schooling and meet its select group of adoptable equestrian trainees.  

Festival weekend also coincides with the annual Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover at the Horse Park. The largest Thoroughbred retraining competition in the world for recently retired ex-racehorses, the Makeover features multiple days of equestrian competition, with entrants vying for more than $100,000 in prize money. The Makeover is the only national gathering of the organizations, trainers, and farms dedicated to serving retrained horses when they retire from racing.

Among the many sights of the Horse Park, jockey appearances and signing sessions have become a Festival marquee event and a dream destination for autograph seekers of all ages. Riders expected to attend this year include several famed Kentucky Derby winning riders Steve Cauthen, Pat Day, Mike Manganello, Don Brumfield, and Hall of Famer Sandy Hawley— all who will share their personal racing experiences individually with fans.

CLICK HERE FOR QUICK REFERENCE SCHEDULE

Our full schedule of events is as follows:

FRIDAY, OCT. 15 |Secretariat Festival Pre-Party at the Sedona Taphouse, 1950 Newtown Pike. The weekend of true Bluegrass hospitality kicks off with this friendly gathering beginning at 5 pm where Big Red fans can see old friends and meet new ones. This brand new restaurant located at the Clarion Hotel features wood-grilled steaks, seafood, and a variety of house specialties as well as an impressive selection of  craft beer and Kentucky bourbon, of course!

 

SATURDAY, OCT. 16 | International Museum of the Horse | Kentucky Horse Park, 4089 Iron Works Parkway in Lexington – Founded in 1978 and dedicated to celebrating the relationship with horse through education, exhibition, engagement and competition, the Kentucky Horse Park is a premier destination for horse lovers of all ages. Owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Park welcomes over 500,000 visitors annually from around the world, and for the first time, will host Saturday’s Secretariat Festival events.

Secretariat Festival Advance Ticketing is now available for purchase and features a discounted price of $15 per person that includes admission to the Festival’s on-site activities as well as full access to the Horse Park’s regularly scheduled attractions. For children 12 and under, admission is free. Museum doors open at 9 a.m.

Saturday Festival Farm Tours – Guests will again have the much-anticipated opportunity to participate in our special tours to the most illustrious horse farms in the world. Please click on the links below for prices and reservations for Saturday’s tours, which are ticketed separately:

  • Claiborne Farm Tour, 8:30 a.m. – Saturday gets underway with an offsite morning visit to the famed breeding operation where Secretariat lived out his life as a stallion and is buried in his hallowed grave. Enjoy the Festival’s special private Legacy Tour departing the Kentucky Horse Park via motor coach at 8:30 a.m. and returning at 10:30 a.m. Stallion viewings will include internationally renowned War Front, champions Blame and Runhappy, and newcomers Catholic Boy and War of Will among others. Please check in for the Claiborne Legacy Tour outside the Horse Park’s Visitor Center main entrance.
  • Spendthrift Farm Tour, 12:45 p.m. – This special tour to one of Kentucky’s most distinguished breeding operations offers the unique opportunity to see two of Secretariat’s most popular current descendants — America’s leading sire Into Mischief and 2020 Secretariat Vox Populi winner Authentic as well as the young sires Omaha Beach, Vino Rosso and Mitole. This private tour departs via motor coach at 12:45 p.m. and returns at 2 p.m. Please check in for tour at the Horse Park’s Visitor Center main entrance.

Saturday Festival Forums – These complimentary presentations will feature insider stories and discussions with our celebrity guests. Forums will take place on the Museum’s lower level with access to an outdoor patio, weather permitting. 

“The Kid is Affirmed” 10 a.m.- Meet 1978 Triple Crown winning jockey Steve Cauthen, who will share the fascinating backstory about the Affirmed/Alydar rivalry and his experience winning the Kentucky Derby at the age of 18, as well as his prolific career overseas. Approximately 40 minutes, beginning at 10 a.m. with Q&A session to follow.

“Racing ‘Day’ Memories” 2 p.m. – Enjoy Hall of Fame rider Pat Day, who will share his remembrances of three of his most memorable races: the 1984 inaugural Breeder’s Cup aboard Wild Again, the 1989 Belmont Stakes with Easy Goer, and 1992 Kentucky Derby aboard Lil E. Tee. Approximately 40 minutes, beginning at 2 p.m. with Q&A session to follow.

The Festival also will feature all things Secretariat and a wide variety of official merchandise and racing-related products for Secretariat enthusiasts and horse lovers to enjoy. A perennial favorite, the Secretariat Festival Auction features an assortment of items from the Secretariat/Meadow Stable Archives, including artwork and photography hand-signed by Penny Chenery herself and other select racing memorabilia. 

 

SUNDAY, OCT. 17 | Farm Tours – The Secretariat Festival continues on Sunday with another selection of tours to fabulous horse farms. Please click on the links below for prices and reservations:

  • Godolphin Darley Stud/Old Friends Retirement Farm, 8 a.m. – This private tour provides a double dose of illustrious stallions and former racing stars. The early morning tour makes its first stop at Godolphin at Jonabell Farm renowned for its international flavor and home of Darley Stud. Darley’s impressive stallion list includes Kentucky Derby winners Nyquist and Street Sense as well as the popular sires Medaglia d’Oro, Hard Spun, and Frosted. From there, the tour will pass the new Secretariat Bronze Monument on scenic Old Frankfort Pike on its way to the equine haven Old Friends Farm. Here, founder Michael Blowen will personally introduce guests to some of America’s most famous retired racehorses including 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, Touch Gold, Game on Dude and Alphabet Soup.  UPDATE: We are delighted to announce the Old Friends portion of this tour will now feature the “coming out party for Old Friends’ newest equine debutante, Groundshaker – the last horse bred and raced by Penny Chenery and the Meadow Stable. The Godolphin/Old Friends tour departs via motor coach from the Newtown Pike Embassy Suites at 8 a.m. with return at approximately 11:30 a.m.
  • Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa, 1028 Stoney Point Road, Paris, KY, 1 p.m.NOW SOLD-OUT We are delighted to incorporate this bonus afternoon tour to perhaps the most beautiful horse farm in Kentucky and what is often called “the Biltmore of the Bluegrass.” The historic and storied property, tracing its origins to 1827, features a renowned stallion roster that includes two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, leading sires Ghostzapper and Kitten’s Joy, 2013 Secretariat Vox Populi Award winner Mucho Macho Man, and the promising newcomers Good Magic and Charlatan. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy a private behind-the-scenes tour hosted by Hill ‘n’ Dale’s own stallion manager Larry Walton. Please note this is an individual party tour with attendees providing their own transportation to the farm. Check in upon arrival at the Stoney Point Road entrance to Breeding Shed parking.

 

The 2021 Secretariat Festival will be a charming and most memorable gathering for horse lovers of all ages to share the region’s proud horse heritage and celebrate racing’s most popular champion. Please check back for more details, information and updates. In the meantime, make your plans to attend this FAN-tastic gathering!

 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE FESTIVAL ADMISSION TiCKETS, FARM TOURS, AND OFFICIAL MERCHANDISE

 

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

Lexington Accommodations: A diverse selection of hotels can be found in Lexington. The Embassy Suites Lexington is our preferred hotel with a limited number of rooms currently reserved for Secretariat Festival attendees. Accommodations can also be found at: Clarion Hotel Lexington, Griffin Gate Marriott, Ramada Lexington North HotelFairfield Inn Lexington North, and the Four Points Sheraton Lexington. Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport, located across the road from Keeneland Race Course, is serviced by Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

Live Racing: We encourage all Festival-goers to experience the thrill and excitement of racing at beautiful and historic Keeneland Race Course while they are in Lexington for the weekend. Post time at is 1:05 p.m. daily Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Directions: The Kentucky Horse Park is located at 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511, a half mile east of I-75 off Iron Works Pike (Kentucky Hwy. 1973) at Exit 120. (Please use “4089 Iron Works Pike” — not “Parkway” — as the street address when utilizing GPS and mapping software.)


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