Secretariat Birthday Celebration at The Meadow Set for March 27-29

by | 01.26.2015 | 10:34am
Secretariat following the 1973 Kentucky Derby

The annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County will have extra horsepower this year. Fans can enjoy an even bigger celebration for “Big Red” at his birthplace as a major highlight of the new Virginia Horse Festival, March 27-29.

The expanded schedule of birthday festivities will include:

•    Celebrity appearances and autograph signings by members of the Secretariat team
•    A VIP reception and program in Meadow Hall mansion
•    Visits with local Secretariat descendants
•    An extensive selection of Secretariat merchandise for purchase
•    Special Secretariat and Meadow Stable memorabilia on display
•    Narrated tram tours of the farm, including special VIP tours with members of the Secretariat team
•    An Open House at Meadow Hall featuring the Meadow Champion Galleries, Triple Crown Room and Museum of the Virginia Horse

An exciting new feature this year is the Meadow Descendants Gathering. Horses who have Secretariat or other famous Meadow champions in their pedigrees will parade into the show ring for a “family reunion.” They will be greeted by members of the Secretariat team, who will pose for photos with the horses.

“This gathering will pay homage to the Meadow Stable bloodlines, as well as highlight the versatility of retired racehorses, many of whom have found new careers off the track,” said Leeanne Meadows Ladin, Secretariat tourism manager at The Meadow and co-author of “Secretariat's Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend.”

The event is being presented by, the Retired Racehorse Project, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at James River and the Secretariat tourism program at The Meadow. See for more information and an entry form for the Meadow Descendants Gathering, as well as for birthday event updates.

Several of the birthday activities are included in general admission to the Virginia Horse Festival, which is $10 online at and $15 at the gate. Tickets go on sale in early February.  The VIP reception and program requires a separate ticket, available on the festival website.  Tram tickets will be available each day onsite at the birthday event.

The Virginia Horse Festival celebrates horses and riding disciplines of all types with three days of clinics and demonstrations with top clinicians; a parade of breeds; an exhibit hall full of equine industry vendors; special events; and much more.

Secretariat was born at The Meadow on March 30, 1970. He was raised and first trained there as a young colt. In 1973, he made history as the only Triple Crown champion to break all three track records, all of which still stand. Today, The Meadow offers narrated “Hoofprints of History” tours of Secretariat's birthplace from March to December.  See for more info.

The Virginia Horse Festival and of Louisville, Ky., are co-hosting the Secretariat Birthday Celebration at The Meadow. The Meadow Event Park is owned by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. oversees the development and management of all official Secretariat-related merchandise and events. Additional support for the event is provided by Caroline County Department of Tourism.

  • Richard C

    The iconic trifecta in the rich history of U.S. sports — Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Secretariat.

    • 4Bellwether666

      Don’t ever leave the “Immortal Citation” (1948 TC Champion) out of anything sports in North American History…Please…

  • Esme

    Kudos Lorraine!

  • Chris Miskell

    Get off it Lorraine. Plenty or respect and admiration still is accorded Man O’ War, but the difference is that Man O’ War has faded into legend while Secretariat is still with us through videos on YouTube and the more recent movie. Thousands visited him at Claiborne and had their pictures taken with him. He also had the advantage of having an owner who was attractive, articulate and gracious in tv interviews. How many people are still around that were alive when Man O’ War raced?

  • Ida Lee

    If you know anything about horses and horse racing, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Man O’War and know his history, legend and position as one of the great athletes ever. But I wasn’t around to see Man O’War. I saw Secretariat race and no athlete has ever come close to his accomplishments and IMHO never will. I’m forever grateful that there are people out there that are keeping his legend alive not just for those of us who still adore him but for the new fans of the sport. P.S. Of course, Ms. Penny gets a really big shout-out for her successful efforts in keeping this great Champion of Champions before the public eye year after year.

  • Gaye Goodwin

    How nice that much of this has been preserved.

  • yes master

    Lorraine they didn’t have this stuff to promote horses 75-100 years ago. We all agree Man O’ War was phenomenal as a racehorse and a sire. But Secretariat was our horse of our age. I remember watching all three triple crown races and the memory is indelible in my brain. And the Belmont, no words describe that race better, than the race call….so don’t rain on our fun and enjoyment. Allow us to enjoy all that Mrs. Penny has brought us. Because we are grateful.

    • Millermore

      I very much enjoyed seeing Secretariat race. But, respecting history, Man O’War has no equal!

      My regret about Man O’War was the loss of his male line. And, it’s sad because War Relic was not the horse that War Admiral was and Admiral produced the females and Relic produced the males none of whom were outstanding.

      What’s even more disheartening is when you go through the progeny record files, you readily see that ManO’War produced some males that per pedigree observation should have been par excellence stallions but were never used to produce; thus the due-out factor of his male line.

      There’s traces of him through Tiznow, Relaunch; Pancho Villa — but, it’s going to take some very focused matador breeding to get the coefficient of inbreeding back up high enough that that bloodline’ genes will surface sufficiently to make a difference.

  • DDAmasa

    Different times is all. Remember Man O’ War’s funeral was quite a national event. He lied in state for days, had thousands of mourners lining up to pay their respects and his funeral was broadcast live over the radio. I would never mock his fans lining up to see a horse’s corpse. They wanted to pay their respects to greatness. Why mock those who would celebrate another horse’s birth for the same reason?

  • 4Bellwether666

    “Citation” was the greatest race Horse that ever breathed oxygen in North American T-Bred racing history and would have kicked Man O’ War’s *** just like ‘Seabiscuit’ did to his son ‘War Admiral’!!!…Book It!!!…While Secretariat (One of the Greatest) is the most well known and most loved T-Bred race Horse in North American history to this day!!!…Bar none!!!…ty…

  • Would like to see the film of the Belmont digitally restored. Truly the greatest moment ever in our sport, yet each year the film seems to lose quality. There must be a way to preserve this for future generations.

    • DDAmasa

      The “Penny and Red” DVD supposedly has his TC races digitally remastered, but I haven’t seen it myself so I can’t speak to the quality. I’ve only seen the ones available online and it’s too bad the quality is so poor and grainy.

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