Wednesday, May 28, 2014

International Museum of the Horse Opens Ted Bassett Exhibit



Lisa Jackson



Thoroughbred Racing Industry Icon Shares Memories, Items from Personal Collection in Exhibit 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2014) - The Kentucky Horse Park's International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate, announces the opening of the "Ted Bassett: A Kentucky Legend" exhibit on Thursday, May 29, as an addition to the "Calumet Farm: Five Decades of Champions" exhibition. The existing Calumet Farm collection is located in the James E. (Ted) Bassett III Gallery, named after the iconic equine industry leader who worked to save the famous farm's trophies from the auction block.

The new, permanent exhibit includes memorabilia and awards from Bassett's personal collection, including his 1996 Eclipse Award of Merit, and Breeders' Cup Recognition Trophy. Also on display is a video chronicling Bassett's  life and achievements, narrated primarily by Bassett himself.  

"Since 1981, when Ted Bassett helped the park secure the loan of the Calumet trophies and paintings, he has been a steadfast supporter and friend of the Kentucky Horse Park," said Bill Cooke, director of the International Museum of the Horse. "I sincerely believe that there was not another man in America who could have successfully led the fight to raise the funds to later keep the Calumet collection at the International Museum of the Horse. Having admired and worked with him for the past three decades, I can't tell you how pleased and proud I am to have this tribute to a truly great man in our museum."

Bassett served as the first chairman of the board for the Kentucky Horse Park, from 1980-1983, and was instrumental in bringing the champion Thoroughbred geldings Forego and John Henry to the Hall of Champions. He also oversaw the construction of four event barns and passed the bond issue which approved the building of the Covered Arena. Bassett's best-known contribution to the park was his 1997 campaign to save the Calumet Farm trophies and bring them to the International Museum of the Horse. 

Bassett served in World War II as a member of the Marine Corps, and was awarded the Purple Heart. Besides his work at the Kentucky Horse Park, his equine career history includes president of the Keeneland Association, president of the Thoroughbred Racing Association, and president of Breeders' Cup Ltd. Bassett also served as the director of the Kentucky State Police in the 1960s. 

The "Ted Bassett: A Kentucky Legend" exhibit may be seen in the International Museum of the Horse daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the Kentucky Horse Park's regular daily schedule. Park admission is $16 for adults and $8 for children 7-12, and includes "Next Day Free" admission. Children 6 and under are always admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult. Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate; and the "Showplace for Saddlebreds" - The American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop. More information is available at or at



The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man's relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and hosted more than 800,000 visitors and campers, as well as 18,400 competition horses in more than 200 special events and horse shows in 2013. The park is home to the National Horse Center, which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations.  Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses. Information about the park's programs and activities can be found on-line at, and on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.