Park Honoring the Legendary Secretariat to be Built in Downtown Paris, Kentucky

Park Honoring the Legendary Secretariat to be Built in Downtown Paris, Kentucky

Bronze Sculpture and Three-story Mural to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

PARIS, Ky. (Sept. 1, 2022)A life-size bronze sculpture of Secretariat running in the field at the legendary Claiborne Farm – along with a three-story mural of him winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby – are the centerpieces of a new park planned on Main Street in downtown Paris, Kentucky to mark the 50th anniversary of the thoroughbred’s storied Triple Crown Run.

Details of the project were announced today 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. The project will be completed on November 11, 2023 – exactly 50 years after Secretariat arrived at Claiborne Farm for his breeding care.

“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.”

The project is privately funded by local citizens and businesses, with Claiborne Farm as the presenting sponsor.

“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.”

Blue Grass Federal offers community challenge grant

Blue Grass Federal, based in Paris, has announced a community challenge grant for the project. Blue Grass will donate $25,000 to the project and will match other donors, dollar for dollar, up to an additional $25,000. People who wish to donate and have their dollars doubled may send donations to The Secretariat Park Foundation, PO Box 8, Paris, Ky. 40362.

“Blue Grass Federal is so proud to make this commitment to our Paris-Bourbon County community,” said Blue Grass Federal President & CEO Shanda Smith. “As the local downtown bank, we’re excited about the opportunity to help our community thrive by supporting this important legacy project that will draw additional visitors and attention to our special hometown.”

“We hope everyone will consider making a donation of any size,” Smith added. “Working together, we can further revitalize downtown Paris.”

The artist is Jocelyn Russell of Washington state, who also sculpted the bronze of Secretariat in Lexington, Ky. 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.

It will be painted on the side of the former 1933 Baldwin Hotel, which has been historically renovated.

The project is part of a broader effort to redevelop downtown Paris, the entirety of which is on the National Register of Historic Places. In recent years, numerous Main Street buildings have been renovated and new businesses have opened.

All individuals or businesses who contribute $100 or more will be recognized at the park.

The Secretariat Park Foundation is a non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible.


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