INDIANAPOLIS, IN. (Feb. 21, 2023)— The Jim Irsay Collection, based in Indianapolis, has acquired the saddle used on legendary racehorse Secretariat when he won the coveted Triple Crown of horse racing – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – 50 years ago in 1973.
Secretariat is considered by many to be the greatest racehorse of all time and the most recognizable name in Thoroughbred racing. After setting track records winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1973, the extraordinary colt won the Belmont Stakes by an amazing 31 lengths in world record time, perhaps the single greatest racing performance ever. Retired to stud in Kentucky, Secretariat sired more than 600 foals, and his descendants continue to impact the racing world today.
The collection acquired the piece from Ron Turcotte, the renowned Hall of Fame jockey, now 81, who rode Secretariat to the Triple Crown win 50 years ago this year.
“This special saddle represents a most magical time in my racing career and its personal significance to me and my family goes beyond words,” said Turcotte from his home in New Brunswick, Canada. “I have had the privilege of keeping it safe and secure for nearly 50 years, and now it’s time to let others enjoy the treasures in my collection as well. I am grateful to The Jim Irsay Collection for recognizing the saddle’s historical importance and making it and the Secretariat story available to current and future generations.”
The saddle will be on display for the first time on March 4, 2023, at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center during a free, one-night-only performance of The Jim Irsay Band and exhibition of The Jim Irsay Collection. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. To reserve a ticket, visit jimirsaycollection.com.
About the Collection. Irsay’s passion for rock music led him to assemble instruments and items owned and used by some of the greatest artists in music history, including Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Prince, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Sir Elton John, Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia, Les Paul, Bo Diddley, David Gilmour, Jim Morrison, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and John Coltrane.
Also, Irsay’s love for American history and pop culture led him to grow his collection with items such as:
• An 1823 William J. Stone printing of the Declaration of Independence, one of the first exact “facsimiles” of the final signed document;
• Artifacts and signed documents from numerous U.S. Presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy;
• Handwritten documents and artifacts from women’s suffrage pioneer Susan B. Anthony;
• The original manuscript for Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book, the organization’s founding document;
• Renowned American author Jack Kerouac’s original 119-foot On the Road scroll;
• Original handwritten script and notes for the movie Rocky by Sylvester Stallone;
• A Jackie Robinson game-used bat from 1953 (the founding year of the Colts); and
• Muhammad Ali’s championship belt from his victory over George Foreman in the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” and his boxing shoes from the 1975 “Thrilla’ in Manilla” vs. Joe Frazier.
An active philanthropist, Irsay regularly loans items to museums, nonprofits and other organizations for display and research. Items have been displayed at the U.S.’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), The Lincoln Memorial, the world-famous Beverly Hills Hotel, and the Indiana State Museum; as well as at The Centre Pompidou (Paris), the British Library (London), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome) and other locations around the world.
Irsay also has hosted free exhibitions of the collection in Nashville, Tenn., Washington, D.C., Austin, Tex., Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Indianapolis, and San Francisco. More dates are planned for 2023 and beyond.