Filmmakers working on Disney’s Secretariat movie in Kentucky will be at the Bourbon County Secretariat Festival on Saturday, and one lucky horse might just fill a final slot in the stable of thoroughbreds playing the super horse.
The film’s lead wrangler, Rusty Hendrickson, will be a judge in the annual Secretariat look-alike contest along with Secretariat’s exercise riders Charlie Davis and Jim Gaffney and Ron Turcotte, who rode Secretariat to his Triple Crown victory in 1973. Three horses out of a field of 20 will share the $5,000 prize in the competition and one horse could be selected to be in the movie.
Hendrickson has already chosen four horses out of a field of more than 700 hopefuls for the film.
Horse films typically use a stable of horses to portray equine characters because they can tire from multiple takes and some horses are better at portraying certain types of scenes than others. The horse that looks great streaking to the finish line may not portray relaxing in the stable or interacting with people as well. When Seabiscuit filmed in Central Kentucky in 2002, there were more than half-a-dozen horses each to portray the title character and War Admiral when their historic match race at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course was recreated at Keeneland.
In addition to the look-alike contest, Secretariat producers Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray of Mayhem Pictures will attend the festival along with a film crew working on a behind-the-scenes feature about the film.
“We are thrilled to be going to the Secretariat Festival this year,” Ciardi said in a news release. “It is an exciting opportunity for us to not only be able to talk about this film and its compelling story with Secretariat’s most devoted fans but it will also be delightful to share in the enduring enthusiasm for this magnificent star athlete in the heart of horse country.”