Meadow Birthday Celebration 2020

Meadow Birthday Celebration 2020

Fan-Friendly Gathering to Honor Birth of 1973 Triple Crown Champion

In light of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Secretariat 50th Birthday Celebration at The Meadow on March 28 has been cancelled. The birthday events on March 27 and 29 in Ashland have also been cancelled. This difficult decision was made in consideration of the well-being of our guests and the directives of local authorities. Due to the uncertainty about the duration of the virus, no plans are in place at this time to reschedule.

If you have a pre-paid reservation for any of the events, you will receive a refund or the option of store credit at, where select Secretariat 50th Birthday memorabilia is now available for purchase. Additionally, several rare and special items in the Birthday Celebration Auction are still intended to be offered online at a later date.



The milestone Secretariat 50th Birthday Celebration spans the weekend of March 27-29 with festivities planned at his historic birthplace at the Meadow in Doswell, Virginia, and surrounding areas. The Secretariat Birthday Celebration has become an honored tradition for Big Red fans who gather together to enjoy the many festivities held in the Meadow’s historic and pastoral setting.

Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of the Meadow’s Penny Chenery, will headline the 2020 event with acclaimed sports journalist Steve Haskin as well as Steve Jordan, assistant to Secretariat’s trainer Lucien Laurin. These luminaries all had a front-row seat to the historical magic that was the Meadow during the early 1970s and will share their personal experiences and provide an insider’s perspective with guests. Joining them will be jockey and actor Otto Thorwarth, who played Ron Turcotte in Disney’s Secretariat, and Leeanne Meadows Ladin, resident historian and co-author of the award-winning books Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend and Riva Ridge – Penny’s First Champion, will co-host.

The Celebration’s main activities are planned for Saturday, March 28, at the Meadow in Doswell, Virginia, where the 1973 Triple Crown champion was born on March 30, 1970. The property is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register and is a premier destination in central Virginia.

Friday, March 27 – Secretariat 50th Birthday Celebration Kickoff Party
The party begins at the Iron Horse Restaurant in downtown Ashland, Virginia. A community landmark and slice of Americana, the Iron Horse is located in a century-old building at the charming intersection of Main Street and Railroad Ave. Iron Horse will host the Celebration Kickoff, where attendees can mingle with fellow Big Red fans and meet new ones. From 5:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m., Birthday Celebration guests will be treated to light hors d’oeuvres and enjoy happy hour specials including an assortment of specially themed Secretariat libations from the famed Corner Bar! Click Here for Advance Ticketing – $20 per person, $25 at door.

Developed as a mineral springs resort in the 1840s and officially incorporated in 1858, Ashland, Virginia boasts a variety of eclectic shops and local restaurants, as well as the Henry Clay Inn, Ashland Theatre, Randolph-Macon College, and much more, all centrally located within a few blocks of the downtown area, and ideal for walking visitors and site seekers.

Saturday, March 28 – Secretariat 50th Birthday Celebration at the Meadow
Saturday’s celebration begins with a giveaway bang as the first 250 paid attendees will receive a free collectible memento, courtesy of Colonial Downs, home of the nationally acclaimed Secretariat Turf Course. Events get underway during the “Family Fun” time, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, featuring an array of activities for all ages throughout the day including:

  • Narrated tours of the Meadow’s historic grounds
  • Autographs, book signings and photo opportunities
  • Visits with Groundshaker, the last horse bred and raced by Penny Chenery
  • A Kiddie Corral with “horsey activities for kids
  • Display of original training saddles worn by Secretariat and Riva Ridge
  • Secretariat: A Horse of Dfferent Color Art Exhibition by contemporary equine impressionist Lisa Palombo
  • Tribute Display for Lady’s Secret, Secretariat’s champion daughter
  • Silent and Online Auction of photography and rare memorabilia to benefit the Secretariat Foundation and Secretariat Heritage Center Barn Restoration Fund
  • Meadow Champion Gallery Exhibit showcasing the Chenery Collection of rare Meadow Stable memorabilia
  • An extensive selection of official Secretariat merchandise for purchase

Additionally, premium VIP tour options will be available for purchase. Kate Tweedy, Steve Haskin and Otto Thorwarth each will host a VIP tram tour of the historic farm during the morning. Afternoon activities beginning at 4:00 p.m at the Meadow mansion will feature a cocktail reception, live entertainment, and a trio of custom-designed Secretariat birthday cakes created by nationally acclaimed Virginia baker Amanda Richardson, whose confectionary talents have been featured on The Food Network.

Featured presentations in Meadow Hall will include Kate Tweedy’s memorial tribute to the individual members of the Meadow Team and “Disney’s Secretariat: Fact & Fiction” – with panelists Steve Haskin and Otto Thorwarth, where guests will get an insider’s perspective of the differences between the silver screen portrayal and the actual events. This fascinating interactive discussion invites guests into the conversation and is a must-do for any Secretariat fan. The evening concludes with a very special champagne toast at Secretariat’s original foaling shed. For Saturday Ticketed Activities, Please Visit the Meadow Event Park Website

Sunday, March 29 – Big Red Breakfast & Chenery Family Tours
The celebration continues on Sunday with a Big Red Breakfast at the historic Hanover Tavern, 13181 Hanover Courthouse Rd. (Route 301) in Hanover, Virginia (approximately 15 minutes from Ashland). The Hanover Tavern is one of only a few surviving colonial-era taverns in the United States and has served renowned figures in American history such as George Washington and Patrick Henry, as well as both Confederate and Union troops during the Civil War. The Big Red Breakfast begins at 9:00 a.m. and offers gracious hospitality in a warm, historic setting along with an exceptional culinary experience featuring a sumptuous Southern-style buffet. Host Kate Chenery Tweedy will greet guests and preside over a special fan recognition presentation, raffle, and more! Limited seating available.

Following the breakfast, Ms. Tweedy will host the insightful Chenery Family Tour departing from Ashland via private motorcoach that features a stop at her grandfather’s childhood home in Ashland and will culminate with a visit to the final resting place of her mother, Penny Chenery, where guests can pay their respect to the luminary “Mistress of the Meadow.” The Breakfast and Chenery Family Tour require reservations and are available for purchase separately or as a package. Chenery Family motorcoach tour will depart from the Ashland Main St. Visitor’s Center at 11:15 a.m. Breakfast and Tour tickets are available separately or as a package. Click Here for Breakfast and Chenery Family Tour Tickets

For those traveling to the 50th Birthday Celebration, The Meadow Event Park is located 30 minutes north of Richmond, off I-95 at Exit 98 (Doswell), 1.5 miles east of King’s Dominion theme park.  A diverse selection of accommodations can be found in Ashland, Virginia, eight miles south of Doswell along U.S. Hwy. 1. Special Birthday Celebration rates are being offered at the Henry Clay Inn, Hampton Inn, Country Inn and Suites, and the Quality Inn.


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