Officials break ground on Secretariat Park in Paris

Officials break ground on Secretariat Park in Paris
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:35 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Almost 50 years since arriving in Bourbon County, one of the most famous Thoroughbreds to ever touch the racetrack will have a park named after him.

His name is Secretariat, and the city of Paris wants to fill Secretariat Park with a life-sized statue and a three-story mural right in the middle of downtown.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in Paris and Bourbon County that’s not a fan of Secretariat,” said Betty Anne Allen with the Secretariat Park Foundation.

He won the Triple Crown in 1973 and stood at stud at Claiborne Farm in Bourbon County that same year.

“Over 10,000 people a year come to Claiborne Farm and lots of times request, ‘is there a statue? Is there something else we can make our picture made with?’” Allen said.

Next year visitors will get that statue in the form of a life-sized bronze sculpture of Big Red. Artist Jocelyn Russell brought a small-scale clay model of the horse.

“You can’t imagine how hard it is to pull a community together, so all of you people here are to be commended, and look at the turnout, I couldn’t be more honored to be your sculptor for the project,” Russell said.

Kentucky artist Jaime Corum will paint a three-story mural of the champion horse on a brick wall near the corner of Fifth and Main Street.

“He brought the world together back in 1973 when he did that miraculous feat, so he deserves this park, this treatment as a total. Legend and a hero for our time,” Corum said.

One of the greatest to ever do it died in 1989, and more than 30 years later, race fans still honor him with a coin and a visit.

The cost of Secretariat Park is $300,000, and so far the half the money has been raised. Completion is scheduled for November 2023, which will be Big Red’s 50th anniversary arriving at Claiborne Farm.