Meadow Birthday Celebration
SECRETARIAT BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION TO BE HELD AT THE MEADOW IN VIRGINIA MARCH 29-30
Penny Chenery and Ron Turcotte Scheduled to Attend to Kick Off 40th Anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown
Doswell, VA – Commonwealth Fairs & Events (CF&E) of Virginia and Secretariat.com of Louisville, Kentucky are pleased to announce they are co-hosting the Secretariat Birthday Celebration at The Meadow on March 29-30. The event will be held at The Meadow in Caroline County, Virginia where Secretariat was born on March 30, 1970. The property, now known as Meadow Event Park, is owned by CF&E and the Virginia Farm Bureau and is also the site of the State Fair of Virginia. Secretariat.com is the official website for the legendary Thoroughbred champion and oversees the development and management of Secretariat-related merchandise and events.
The celebration will also mark the kickoff of the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s historic Triple Crown of 1973. Secretariat’s remarkable performances in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes remain the benchmark for the sport of racing, and his record-breaking times in each of three jewels in the crown still exist today.
“Commonwealth Fairs and Events and the Virginia Farm Bureau are very excited about partnering with the Secretariat Team to present the Secretariat Birthday Celebration at The Meadow,” said Jeff Dillon, President of the State Fair of Virginia. “We Virginians feel enormous pride in Secretariat, who was born and raised here and became ‘America’s Super Horse.’ This important event, the first of more to come, demonstrates our sincere commitment to preserving and enhancing The Meadow’s singular heritage as the birthplace of Secretariat. Together with Secretariat.com, we can offer the legions of Secretariat fans a richly memorable experience during this milestone anniversary year.”
The major highlight of the Secretariat Birthday Celebration will be the return of Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner, to the birthplace of her legendary stallion. Revered as the “First Lady of Racing,” Ms. Chenery is slated to be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs. She was portrayed by noted actress Diane Lane in the Disney movie “Secretariat” and even had a cameo role in the film, which has created a whole new generation of fans.
Hall of Fame jockey, Ron Turcotte, who piloted “Big Red” to his Triple Crown victory, is expected to join Ms. Chenery at the birthday celebration as well as Charlie Davis, Secretariat’s exercise rider. The former grooms and exercise riders who worked with the young Secretariat and his stable mate Riva Ridge (winner of the 1972 Derby and Belmont) at The Meadow will be on hand to share their experiences. Penny’s daughter, Kate Chenery Tweedy, will sign copies of the award-winning “Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend,” and “Riva Ridge – Penny’s First Champion,” both of which she co-authored with Leeanne Meadows Ladin.
“I am delighted to join Ronnie and Charlie on Secretariat’s birthday at The Meadow to kick off the celebration marking the 40th anniversary of his 1973 Triple Crown,” said Penny Chenery. “Virginia holds such fond memories for me and I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.”
The Secretariat Birthday Celebration at The Meadow will begin on Friday, March 29 with a “Winner’s Circle” reception that evening. This will be followed by a public showing of the Disney film “Secretariat,” after which Ms. Chenery, Mr. Turcotte and other special guests will participate in a panel discussion.
An all–day program is in store for Saturday, March 30, including autograph sessions; sale of official Secretariat merchandise; narrated tram tours of the farm featuring historic barns and Secretariat’s original foaling shed; meeting local Secretariat descendants; and a “Taste of Virginia” showcase. Many other activities for fans and families will be announced leading up to the event. A portion of the proceeds from the Secretariat Birthday Celebration will go toward the preservation of the historic barns at The Meadow.
Schedule of Events
FRIDAY, MARCH 29: WINNERS CIRCLE RECEPTION AND SECRETARIAT MOVIE NIGHT (enter via Gate 2)
5:00 – 6:45 pm at the Meadow Mansion: Winner’s Circle Reception honoring Penny Chenery, Kate Chenery Tweedy, Ron Turcotte and Charlie Davis. Mingle with the Secretariat Team, Virginia horse industry leaders and our event sponsors in the stately Meadow Mansion. Enjoy Meadow Mint Juleps, delicious hors d’oeuvres and a custom-designed “Big Red” birthday cake! Proceeds benefit the Historic Barn Restoration Fund. Business attire. Free parking. Limited number of tickets available. $100 per person; $120 with movie ticket.
7:00 – 9:30 pm at the Meadow Pavilion: Movie Night – A unique opportunity to watch the Disney movie “Secretariat” with Penny Chenery, Ron Turcotte, Charlie Davis, and Kate Chenery Tweedy on the grounds of Big Red’s birthplace. The Secretariat Team will discuss the movie afterward. Free parking and free popcorn. Concessions available. Casual attire. Seating is limited. $25 per person; $10 for children 12 and under.
SATURDAY, MARCH 30: ALL DAY CELEBRATION AT THE MEADOW (enter via Gate 2)
11:00 am – 5:00 pm at the Meadow Pavilion. Free parking, souvenir program, and Secretariat birthday button; free self-guided walking tours of farm. $10 general admission.
Outside activities: (weather permitting)
- Caroline Hunt presents horses and hounds on front lawn 2-3 times during day
- Meet officers and horses of Richmond Mounted Squad
- Secretariat descendants Covert Action and Rainaway meet fans
- Narrated tram rides around property (tram ticket sold on premises)
- Self-guided walking tours of farm
- Special signing area for Penny Chenery, Ron Turcotte, Charlie Davis, Kate Chenery Tweedy
- Extensive display of Secretariat merchandise and memorabilia
- Meet former Meadow grooms and employees and hear their stories about Secretariat and Riva Ridge as colts
- Secretariat and Riva Ridge’s first training saddles on display
- Horse industry vendors/industry groups
- Local vendors and displays by State Fair, Farm Bureau, and Caroline County Tourism
- Kiddie Corral with activities for kids such as petting mini horses, making a Secretariat birthday card
- Secretariat’s races shown on screen throughout the day
- Concessions available
3:00 PM – Special Program on stage to include: Recognition of all special guests and sponsors; presentation to Penny of resolution adopted by Virginia General Assembly recognizing Secretariat; presentation by VA Dept of Historic Resources. Program concludes with special live music performance in honor of Secretariat.
5:00 PM – Birthday Celebration concludes
For continuous updates on the event, see www.secretariatsmeadow.com and its Facebook page.