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Derby Day at the Meadow celebrates Secretariat

secretariatThe first Derby Day at the Meadow promises much more than mint juleps. “We’re celebrating not only the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, but also the 45th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown,” shared Leeanne Ladin, Secretariat tourism manager.

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at James River is co-hosting the event on May 5 at The Meadow Event Park.

Highlights of Derby Day include a cocktail reception in Meadow Hall mansion, tram tours around the historic barns, a derby hat contest and more. Proceeds will benefit James River TRF and the Meadow Historic Barn Restoration Fund.

Two Secretariat descendants will represent their famous ancestor at the Derby Day party: Covert Action and Groundshaker. Covert Action, a grandson of Secretariat, is the “spokeshorse” for the James River TRF, a symbol of the organization’s mission to help retired racehorses find new homes and new careers. Groundshaker, a great-great granddaughter of Secretariat, is the star attraction of the Secretariat Birthplace Tours at The Meadow, which are led by Ladin.

She said the celebration will recognize that Secretariat’s Derby record still stands after 45 years, as well as his track records in the Preakness and Belmont. She noted that of the 20 horses competing in the “run for the roses” in Louisville, 16 of them have Secretariat in their pedigree. Those descendants are:  Magnum Moon, Audible, Noble Indy, Bolt D’Oro, Enticed, Mendelssohn, Justify, Flameaway, Solomini, My Boy Jack, Promises Fulfilled, Free Drop Billy, Lone Sailor, Hofburg, Firenze Fire and Combatant.

“This certainly shows that the legend lives on,” noted Ladin.

For more information on Derby Day and where to buy tickets, visit


augusta free press
augusta free press