Secretariat’s hometown prepares to commemorate 50th anniversary of Triple Crown victory

Secretariat, photographed in stallion at Claiborne Farm. Via Wikipedia (WP:NFCC#4).

The city of Paris, Kentucky will pay tribute to legendary racehorse Secretariat with a life-size bronze sculpture and three-story mural depicting his victory in the 1973 Kentucky Derby.

The project is a long-time dream for the community where Secretaria lived most of his life and where he is buried. It is scheduled for completion on November 11, 2023, exactly 50 years after Secretariat arrived at Claiborne Farm in Paris for his breeding run, and on the 50th anniversary of his Triple Crown Run.

Secretariat Park, at 525 Main Street, will be transformed into a green garden with lush landscaping, benches and accent lighting. The centerpiece is a life-size bronze of the Secretariat, by Jocelyn Russell of Washington State, who also sculpted the bronze of the Secretariat in Lexington. The Paris sculpture will be different from other Secretariat sculptures because she represents him at Claiborne, where she lived from 1973 until her death in 1989, rather than compete. Russell’s inspiration for the bronze is a photo taken by 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. Work on the mural on the side of the old 1933 Baldwin Hotel, which has been historically renovated, begins in October.

The project was announced by a group of Bourbon County citizens and the Hancock family of Claiborne Farm.

“The Secretary will always have a lasting influence on Claiborne Farm for many reasons,” said Walker Hancock, president of Claiborne. “It is wonderful that people from all over the world can visit our city and this initiative is a great way to further commemorate a sports legend.”

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

Secretary exercised with another pony in preparation for the Canadian international bets.  Secretariat Park in Paris, Kentucky, will honor the legendary racehorse and commemorate the 50th anniversary of his Triple Crown victory with a life-size bronze sculpture and three-story mural.
Secretariat photo by Archives Of Ontario

Photographer Bobby Shiflet, owner of Frames on Main Gallery in Paris and a member of the committee that planned the project, said that Secretariat was the most famous racehorse of all time, “and, to many people, the only Thoroughbred whose name It’s known all over the world.”

“We are creating this park to honor the legend of this hometown, and to have a place on Main Street for people to learn about the Secretariat for generations to come.”

Paris-based Blue Grass Federal will donate $25,000 to the project and will match other donors, dollar for dollar, up to an additional $25,000.

The project is part of a broader effort to rebuild central 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 that contribute $100 or more will be recognized in the park.

» Those who wish to donate and double their dollars can send donations to The Secretariat Park Foundation, PO Box 8, Paris, Ky. 40362.

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