The annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration at the Virginia Horse Festival will honor not only “Big Red,” but also his birthplace.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of Meadow Stable in 1936 on the grounds of what is now The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. The Meadow is where the Virginia Horse Festival will be held April 1-3.
Meadow Stable was founded by Christopher T. Chenery as a Thoroughbred horse farm. It was there that he established the bloodlines that produced the legendary 1973 Triple Crown champion. Chenery’s daughter, Penny, continued his work, and Meadow Stable’s Riva Ridge won the 1972 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. In 1973, Secretariat became the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown and the only champion to break all three track records, which still stand today.
Today the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation owns The Meadow Event Park, where it preserves the property’s equine heritage with a variety of horse-related events. This year’s Secretariat Birthday Celebration will include celebrity appearances and autograph signings by members of the Secretariat team. It also will feature local Secretariat descendants and screenings of the Disney film Secretariat. Participants will be able to take narrated tram tours of the property, which is listed on state and national historic registers.
“We would not be celebrating Secretariat’s birthday here at The Meadow if not for the vision of Christopher Chenery 80 years ago and the determination of Penny Chenery to keep her father’s dream alive,” explained Leeanne Ladin, Secretariat tourism manager. “Their Virginia farm produced an American legend, and we are proud to preserve and promote that historic legacy.”
Secretariat was born at The Meadow on March 30, 1970. He was raised and first trained there as a young colt. Today, The Meadow offers year-round narrated Hoofprints of History tours; details are available at MeadowEventPark.com.
The Virginia Horse Festival and Secretariat.com of Louisville, Ky., will co-host the birthday celebration. The festival also will feature horses and riding disciplines of all types with three days of clinics and demonstrations with top clinicians; a parade of breeds; and extensive shopping opportunities with equine industry vendors. Tickets will go on sale soon at VirginiaHorseFestival.com.