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Penny Chenery’s last racehorse to be star attraction at festival

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secretariatSecretariat great-great-granddaughter Groundshaker will be coming to her ancestral home as the star attraction of the annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration during the Virginia Horse Festival April 1-3 at The Meadow Event Park.

Efforts are underway to eventually welcome the retired Thoroughbred as a permanent resident at the historic property in Caroline County.

Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner and daughter of Meadow Stable founder Christopher T. Chenery, said it was only fitting for Groundshaker to play a role in ongoing preservation of The Meadow’s heritage.

“Groundshaker needed a new job and a new home,” Chenery said. “She is the last horse I bred and raced, so her stay at The Meadow will bring our story full circle. As we mark the 80th anniversary of my father’s founding of Meadow Stable in 1936, Groundshaker will be a living, breathing, beautiful thread to that treasured past.”

Groundshaker is related to Secretariat through her dam (mother), Cotton Anne. Cotton Anne is a granddaughter of Terlingua, one of Secretariat’s daughters.

“Thanks to Penny’s generosity, Groundshaker will be a tremendous boost to our Hoofprints of History tour program and help perpetuate the Meadow Stable legacy,” said Leeanne Meadows Ladin, The Meadow’s Secretariat tourism manager and resident historian. The venue will launch a fundraising campaign to build a functional barn and pasture fencing for Groundshaker, and to eventually restore the 1930s-era Meadow Stable barns listed on the state and national historic registers.

Fans can meet Groundshaker throughout the Secretariat Birthday Celebration, which also will feature appearances by members of the Secretariat team like former exercise rider Charlie Davis and author Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery. Also planned are exhibits of rare Secretariat and Meadow Stable memorabilia, narrated tram tours of the historic property and Secretariat merchandise.

The Secretariat Birthday Celebration, a collaboration with Secretariat.com, is a major highlight of the Virginia Horse Festival, which celebrates horses and riding disciplines of all types. Fans can enjoy three days of clinics and demonstrations with top clinicians; a parade of breeds; and 60,000 square feet of indoor shopping for horse lovers.

Festival tickets will go on sale Feb. 12 at VirginiaHorseFestival.com.

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