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NFB Produces Turcotte Documentary

Published: April 27, 2013 1:07 pm ET

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Canadian horse racing legend Ron Turcotte makes his triumphant return to the Kentucky Derby, the first leg in his 1973 U.S. Triple Crown victory with Secretariat, for the world premiere of Phil Comeau’s National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentary Secretariat’s Jockey, Ron Turcotte.

Produced by the NFB’s Maryse Chapdelaine, this touching film follows Turcotte as he returns to the people and places that have marked his storied life. It provides an insider’s view of horse racing as well as an intimate glimpse of this resilient and legendary jockey, whose marvelled 16-year career ended in 1978 when a fall left him paraplegic.

Few jockeys have won America’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Only three have won in the last 65 years. Canadian Ron Turcotte is one of them. In 1973, this legendary jockey from New Brunswick rode Secretariat — considered by many to be the greatest racehorse of all time — to victory in the three most prestigious races in the United States. But a fall in 1978 left Turcotte a paraplegic and put an end to an illustrious 16-year career of over 3,000 victories.

With 2013 marking the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown victory and the induction of "Big Red" into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of fame, Secretariat’s Jockey, Ron Turcotte tells the remarkable story of a living legend in the sport of horse racing. As Turcotte returns to the people and places that marked his life, the film provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the horse racing world. Comeau’s film also features never-before-seen shots of Secretariat and appearances by Triple Crown winners Steve Cauthen and Jean Cruguet, as well as Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner.

The Canadian premiere of Secretariat’s Jockey, Ron Turcotte will be screened in its French version in Turcotte’s home province of New Brunswick on May 29 at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton and the following night on May 30 at the Grand Cinema 3 in Grand Falls (both English and French versions will screen). Turcotte and Comeau will be present at both screenings, which will be free and open to the public. People attending these events will also have the first chance to purchase a DVD of the film and souvenir mini-posters, and get signed autographs.

Ron Turcotte, along with Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, and acclaimed filmmaker Phil Comeau, as well as other racing celebrities, will attend the world premiere of Secretariat’s Jockey, Ron Turcotte during Kentucky Derby week at the Baxter Theatre in Louisville on May 2, presented by the Kentucky Derby Museum and the Secretariat Foundation.

On May 14, in conjunction with the Preakness Stakes, the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Springs, Maryland, will hold another public screening of Secretariat’s Jockey, Ron Turcotte with special guests Ron Turcotte and Penny Chenery.

The film will also be shown in New York, during the final leg of the Triple Crown — the Belmont Stakes — at a time and location to be determined.

As of May 31, following the film’s Canadian launch, consumers will be able to order a DVD or download the film at the NFB’s online store.


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