Several hundred school children will converge at the Kentucky Horse Park on Tuesday for a re-enactment of the famous 1938 Seabiscuit – War Admiral match race in the Pimlico Special.
Live Thoroughbreds, period costumes, music from the era, antique cars, and real jockeys – including Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron – will add to the experience for the 900 first-graders, starting at 10.15am on April 10.
The event will be the highlight of a reading program created by the Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program. The students have been participating in the program since earlier this year when a horse from the park delivered Seabiscuit books to area schools. When the students received their books, they also got to try on real jockey silks and goggles, put their heads through photo boards and pretended to be jockeys on the home stretch.
Now that they have read the book, the first-graders from 15 schools in Fayette, Magoffin, Scott, and Woodford counties will be rewarded with an interactive experience at the park that will be based on the true story of Seabiscuit. The students will also have the opportunity to enjoy the rest of the Kentucky Horse Park after the show.
Among the show’s performers will be a professional equestrian showman, Dan James, of Australia, who will perform for the students. First Lady Jane Beshear will also participate, as she did for the fourth-grade show.
“As an admirer and supporter of both literacy and the equine industry, I am truly pleased to see hundreds of Kentucky first-graders taking advantage of this unique opportunity at the Kentucky Horse Park,” Beshear said.
“The Horse Park is an asset to central Kentucky and the entire Commonwealth, and I want to thank them for sponsoring quality community programs like this one. I encourage even more students to get involved in the project next year.”
About 6000 students from 55 schools in Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Grant, Madison, Montgomery, Scott, and Woodford counties are in enrolled in this year’s Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program, which combines horse-themed books and experiences with live horses to inspire a life-long love of horses and reading. In March, the fourth-graders in the program were also treated to a live equine presentation at the park based on their reading assignment, “War Horse,” by Michael Morpurgo.
To date, the program has distributed more than 22,000 books to more than 17,000 first and fourth- grade children in 11 counties. One of the goals of the Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program is to expand to other grades, as well as to broaden literacy and the love of horses to a greater number of schools in more counties.
The Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program is a project of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation and is funded entirely through private donations and led by a dedicated group of community volunteers. The program’s 2011-2012 sponsors include: Kentucky Bank; Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky; UKHealthCare Kentucky Children’s Hospital; Kentucky Thoroughbred Association; PNC Foundation; HRTV; HRTV.com; CaféPress Inc.; and the Little Foundation.