Secretariat Mural Unveiled in Paris, KY

Secretariat Mural

A three-story mural of the great Secretariat was unveiled November 19th in the stallion’s hometown of Paris, Kentucky. The Paris community choir sang “My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight,” and a stereo played Chic Anderson’s memorable call of the 1973 Belmont Stakes, in which he declared that Secretariat was “moving like a tremendous machine!”

The bronze statue will show Secretariat galloping through the fields at Claiborne Farm.

The mural was painted by Jaime Corum onto the side of The Baldwin Hotel at the site of the future Secretariat Park, which honors the 50th anniversary of Big Red’s Triple Crown achievement. The image features Secretariat with jockey Ron Turcotte, who is decked out in Penny Chenery’s checkered blue silks. The park will also feature a life-sized bronze statue of the stallion galloping in the fields at Claiborne Farm.

The mural took five and a half weeks to complete and in addition to Corum, several people who had known or worked with Secretariat were invited to add brushstrokes to the artwork, including Dr. Copelan, who treated the great horse, and Billy Purcell, who worked at Claiborne when Secretariat stood at stud there.

The painting is huge — an apt portrayal of the racehorse who remains a larger-than-life legend in horse racing. He appears to be exploding from the brick wall.

Equine artist Jaime Corum was chosen to paint the mural at Secretariat Park. Although she’s painted horses for many years, most are “normal” sized oil paintings.

It’s an honor to paint Secretariat and Ron Turcotte on a scale that comes close to matching their greatness. The size of the mural gives it a heroic quality, just like we remember them on the racetrack.

It’s also really special to create this painting in Paris, where the spirit of Secretariat is so strong. It lives on in the memories and stories told by the people and can be seen throughout the town in photos and artwork everywhere! Almost 50 years later, Secretariat still means so much to so many.

The paint I’m using is the highest-grade exterior latex paint, which is intended to be in the elements and keep its color. I’ve only used two brushes so far, both of which are 1″ filbert art brushes. The filbert shape brush is rounded at the tip and allows me to stuff the paint into the brick, because the brick is so porous. I also use a brush with a sharp edge to make clean lines when I need to.

I think the sheer scale of the mural makes people reflect on Secretariat’s greatness. The mural takes on an “X factor” because of its size and creates a sensory impact much like the sensation he created on the track — sheer power!

Artist Jaime Corum
Artist Jaime Corum started with the hooves and then worked up.
Much of the mural had to be painted from a bucket truck, up to 60 feet in the air.

What an amazing tribute. I can’t wait to see the rest of the park.

2 thoughts on “Secretariat Mural Unveiled in Paris, KY

  1. Paris is my home town. I had the honor of meeting Secretariat face to face… Or rather, watching him run straight at me at race speed, then sliding to a stop just feet away. Unforgettable.

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