In Colonial days, Caroline County, Virginia was famed as the “cradle of American racing.” On March 30, 1970, it became the cradle of “America's Super Horse,” the legendary Triple Crown champion Secretariat, who was born at Christopher Chenery's Meadow Stable.
Now known as The Meadow Event Park and the home of the State Fair of Virginia, this storied farm has started its next chapter. Owner and operator Commonwealth Fairs & Events LLC (CF&E), subsidiary of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, announced that The Meadow will be an official licensed affiliate of Secretariat.com, which oversees the development and management of Secretariat-related enterprises for the Chenery family. This agreement solidifies a plan for the historical preservation of the property and its development as a heritage tourism destination highlighting the original 1930s Meadow Stable barns, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
“Our collaboration with the Chenery family and Secretariat.com will help us present an even more enriched and engaging experience for Secretariat fans who come from all over the country to see his birthplace,” said Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe, vice president of operations for CF&E and The Meadow Event Park. “These combined efforts will insure that The Meadow's special place in both Virginia history and horse racing history can be more fully appreciated and preserved.”
Secretariat's owner, Penny Chenery, said that she and her family have been pleased to partner with CF&E in this endeavor. “My children and I have been delighted with CF&E's vision to preserve the property and its history and to share it with racing fans and the people of Virginia,” Mrs. Chenery said.
Renamed the “Secretariat Birthplace Tours,” the current program includes the historic barns as well as galleries and exhibits, an annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration during the Virginia Horse Festival and a “Salute to Secretariat” at the State Fair of Virginia. The star of the tour is Groundshaker, a great-great granddaughter of Secretariat. Mrs. Chenery retired the 6-year- old Thoroughbred, the last she bred and raced, to The Meadow, and also provided many rare items of Meadow Stable memorabilia for display on the tours. Future plans call for careful restoration of the barns to authentically portray the history of Meadow Stable, along with more interactive exhibits and special events.
“Our family is very excited about this project,” said Kate Chenery Tweedy, family historian and co-author of the acclaimed book Secretariat's Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend. “The Meadow is such a beautiful, special place that has so much to say and share. I am happy to lend my voice to an effort that will take the visitor experience to a new level.”
Leeanne Meadows Ladin, Secretariat tourism manager, coordinates The Meadow Event Park's Secretariat-related efforts and events. As co-author of Secretariat's Meadow, she serves as resident historian and chief tour narrator. For further information about the Secretariat Birthplace Tours, see www.meadoweventpark.com.
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