As a child I was never a big fan of horse racing. I didn’t understand why adults were so fascinated with horses running around a track. It wasn’t until I turned 18 and my mom took me to Churchill downs that I understood the fascination. Growing up in Louisville KY, the horse racing capital of the world, made me familiar with horses. My grandma owned several Tennessee walkers, and I was always amazed at how smart and competitive and powerful they were. As I stood at Churchill, the home of the Kentucky Derby, I only had to look around me to know what made horse racing great. The sense of excitement, the tradition of watching some of nature’s most competitive animals stretch and gallop was exhilarating. The sense of togetherness was amazing, and as I laid down my first bet, a $5 dollar bill, I knew I would forever be a fan of horse racing.
I was sitting in the movie theatre the first time I saw the preview for “Secretariat.” My mother and I had gone to see an early showing of “Toy Story 3,” and as the familiar sound of hoof pounding hard packed earth filled the room, I looked to my mom and smiled, for we both knew the sound well. I watched in fascination as the story of the Triple Crown winner Secretariat and his owner Penny Chenery unfolded before us. I was already familiar with the extraordinary lady, and with the equally amazing horse; told that only specially raised thoroughbreds could win the greatest horse race in the world, Penny stood strong, training Secretariat from her father’s small farm, knowing that he was something special. Of course he went on the win, and once again the spirit of the underdog and the perseverance of the human spirit prevailed.
Of course we had known for weeks about the movie because the cast was shooting at Churchill downs, right down the road from us, but seeing the story of such a strong Kentuckian still made me proud. I was especially excited when I learned that “Secretariat” would have its own special movie exhibition at the Kentucky Derby Museum from September 24 2010, all the way through March 27, 2011. The exhibit was something important to almost everyone in Louisville because a movie exhibition was a way to not only show people a piece of our history, but also to preserve the cinema milestone that is the movie “Secretariat”.
The exhibition will feature many of the props used on the movie, including Diane Lane’s “winner ‘s circle” dress, and a specially made replica of Penny Chenery’s gold pin. But the real treat is the actual historical artifacts from the real Secretariat’s life, and from his now famous race. Original magazine covers from “Big Red’s” win will be featured, along with the actual Kentucky Derby Triple Crown trophy. The exhibition is a chance for people to see the amazing strength behind the horse and its owner, and to see the magic of making movies for the silver screen. The price of the exhibit, which is located on the 2nd floor of the Kentucky Derby Museum, is included in daily admissions.
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