The Meadow Event Park to host Secretariat Birthday Celebration

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The Meadow Event Park, historic Caroline County birthplace of the 1973 Triple Crown champion, will present its annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration on March 30. The festivities will include a 50th-birthday tribute to stablemate Riva Ridge. The 1972 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner was known as the “horse that saved Meadow Farm.”

Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of the late Penny Chenery, who owned both Thoroughbreds, will be the celebrity host for the event, which will also feature acclaimed sports journalist Steve Haskin, and Steve Jordan, an assistant to trainer Lucien Laurin. Having had front-row seats for The Meadow’s racing magic of the early 1970s, the team will be available to share their experiences with event guests and sign autographs. Additionally, the Secretariat Birthday Celebration will offer opportunities for fans of all ages to experience The Meadow’s many attractions, learn about its racing heyday and toast the stable’s famous champions.

“The Secretariat Birthday Celebration was always a Virginia homecoming for my mother, and she would have been glad that this year’s renewal is celebrating both of The Meadow’s favorite four-legged sons, Secretariat and Riva Ridge,” Tweedy said. “Mom called Riva her ‘Golden Boy,’ because he saved the farm and paved the way for Secretariat’s Triple Crown. We are delighted to celebrate his 50th birthday and his racing career here at The Meadow, where he was raised and first trained.”

The party will start with “Family Fun” from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with horse-related activities for children. Highlights will include celebrity autograph sessions; visits with Groundshaker, the resident Secretariat great-great granddaughter, and her buddy, Mia the miniature horse; and narrated tram tours around the historic barns. Guests also will be able to see a display of original training saddles worn by Secretariat and Riva Ridge, make cards for the birthday boys and watch footage of their races. They also can view the Meadow Champion Galleries, Triple Crown Room and Chenery Collection of memorabilia, and enjoy birthday cake. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children.

The story of Riva Ridge will be the focus of a cocktail reception and program from 3-7 p.m. in Meadow Hall. Tweedy and special guests will share personal memories of the almost-forgotten champion, and The Meadow will screen a new short film by John Tweedy, Chenery’s son.

The celebration will culminate with the live televised broadcast of the Florida Derby, with Haskin offering his picks and analysis of the Kentucky Derby hopefuls. Guests can enjoy a cocktail buffet with signature drinks named for Secretariat and Riva Ridge, as well as a silent auction of exclusive Meadow Stable memorabilia. The price of $50 per adult covers the entire Secretariat Birthday Celebration and Riva Ridge tribute.

Program and ticket information is available at

The Secretariat Birthday Celebration is a major program of the Secretariat Birthplace Tours in collaboration with Secretariat’s birthplace at The Meadow is listed on the state and national historic registers and offers year-round narrated tours by reservation.

Media: Contact Leeanne Meadows Ladin, Secretariat tourism manager, at 804-363-1683.

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