Lexington will be several lengths ahead of the rest of the country in getting to see Secretariat, the Disney film about the 1973 Triple Crown winner.
The film is scheduled for a nationwide release Oct. 8, but there will be a premiere screening at The Kentucky Theatre on Oct. 3.
The film tells the story of Secretariat owner Penny Chenery and her champion horse.
"The spectacular story of Secretariat is tightly woven into the horse legacy of Kentucky. Truly, this film could not have been made anywhere else but here in the horse capital of the world," Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday in announcing the premiere.
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Beshear credited legislative incentives available to film companies for the shooting of the movie in Kentucky. Portions of the film were shot at Keeneland in Lexington and at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
"I worked hard to create film credits as part of our new economic development incentives package that will attract movie projects like Secretariat, and our efforts have clearly paid off," Beshear said. "I speak for the citizens of the commonwealth when I say we can't wait to see Big Red on the big screen."
Chenery is played by Oscar-nominated actress Diane Lane, and the two spent a lot of time together, particularly at the Kentucky Derby, where Lane and Chenery were grand marshals of the Pegasus Parade in downtown Louisville.
"The fact of attempting to live up to Penny's legacy with regards to Secretariat — the tenacity and belief in herself and self-sacrifice ... and the willingness to go up against the odds was something that was irresistible as a story," Lane said at a news conference during Derby Week. "So to read a screenplay that contained all of that was an opportunity I couldn't resist."
The screening will be a benefit for the Secretariat Foundation, which supports charities that serve the Thoroughbred industry through activities including veterinary research and Thoroughbred retirement. Tickets begin at $125, which will include admission and a cocktail reception at Portofino. A $250 ticket will include premium seating and access to an exclusive area of the cocktail party.
Tickets will be available starting Wednesday, at Secretariat.com or by calling (502) 893-7997.
Hollywood movies that have been filmed in Kentucky during the past decade traditionally have made the journey back for a premiere screening. Seabiscuit screened at The Kentucky in 2003 with its major producers in attendance. In 2005, Elizabethtown premiered in the title city (although much of the film was shot in Versailles) and Louisville, with director Cameron Crowe and stars Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst in attendance.