A documentary celebrating the life of Ron Turcotte, Secretariat's jockey, will premier in Louisville Thursday night at Baxter Theater.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Hollywood made certain the world remembered Secretariat's greatness on the racetrack. Now, the National Film Board of Canada is making certain that nobody forgets the remarkable work that jockey Ron Turcotte did while riding Secretariat to the Triple Crown 40 years ago.
The result of their work, a 75-minute documentary titled, "Secretariat's Jockey: Ron Turcotte," will premier Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Baxter Theater. The film blends a look at Turcotte's riding career with nostalgic trips he made to Churchill Downs and the other two Triple Crown tracks last year.
"I'm very excited," said Turcotte, a visitor at the Churchill Downs barn area Wednesday morning. "I'm always thrilled to talk about Secretariat."
This movie focuses on Turcotte, 71. He won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont on Riva Ridge in 1972 and then backed that up by navigating his way to the Triple Crown on Secretariat in 1973.
Turcotte was only 36 when a fall at Belmont left him paralyzed in both legs, ending his racing career. He has remained active in racing by working for the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund. He's become a fixture on the Triple Crown scene to share his memories of Secretariat.
Although racing has not celebrated a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, Turcotte is convinced that another horse will join the club. He simply won't do it the way Secretariat did it, but crackling to record times in all three races.
"The Triple Crown is not meant to be easy," he said. "You need a special horse.
"What I mean by a special horse is that you need a good horse. Not necessarily the best horse is going to win a Triple Crown race. You'd better school them right so they can go between horses. He's got to be able to run from the lead or run from behind. You need a good team.
"There hasn't been a more versatile horse than Secretariat. You could ride him on the lead. You could ride him from last. Maybe you move him on the first turn. He was a versatile horse. There is never going to be a Triple Crown won that way. All three races he won with a different style."
General admission tickets for the movie are available for $50 at www.Secretariat.com or by calling 502-893-7997. Jockeys Pat Day and Jean Cruguet are expected to attend the premier, along with director Phil Comeau.
Tickets proceeds will benefit the Secretariat Foundation, the Kentucky Derby Museum and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.