Millions of moviegoers saw the screen version of The Meadow, Secretariat’s Virginia birthplace, in the Disney movie “Secretariat.” Soon fans of “Big Red”will be able to visit the very grounds where the immortal 1973 Triple Crown winner was born. This spring, The Meadow Event Park, owned by SFVA, will begin offering guided tours of “Big Red’s” famed birthplace in Doswell, Virginia, just north of Richmond.
I am very excited about this because I will be the guide! As co-author of the book “Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend,” with Kate Chenery Tweedy (Penny Chenery’s daughter) I have lived and breathed the history and the mystique of The Meadow for several years. I will share behind-the-scenes stories about the circa 1805 farm, its famous stallions and broodmares, and the people who lived and worked there during its heyday.
Highlights of the tour will include seeing the foaling shed where Secretariat was born on March 30, 1970; the yearling and training barns with the stalls where Secretariat and Riva Ridge (Meadow Stable’s first Kentucky Derby winner) stayed as young colts; the stallion barns; the fabled Cove, where the broodmares and foals grazed (pictured in our blog headline); a horse cemetery; and much more!
Secretariat’s Meadow Tours will involve a tram ride, some walking and an indoor presentation which features video clips of Secretariat’s 1973 Triple Crown races. Tour guests will have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of Secretariat’s Meadow. Proceeds from the tours will benefit the future Museum of the Virginia Horse to be built at The Meadow.
There will be two types of tours: customized tours for groups which may be booked from March to December; and a limited schedule of tours for the general public. The customized tours are available for groups which may be renting The Meadow Event Park facilities for meetings, trade shows, horse shows and other functions, as well as for groups such as historical societies, civic and alumni organizations, book clubs and the like. The basic cost is $10 per person, with a 40 guest minimum. Other special features can be added to the tour for additional fees. For instance, a group could add a lunch or reception or perhaps a horseshoeing demonstration by a farrier. We can even arrange for a “photo op” with Rainaway, Secretariat’s great-grandson who lives on the property. The basic tour takes about an hour and advance registration is required.
The general public tours are slated for March 27, May 7 and July 23. The public tour cost is $10 per person, $5 for children under 12, with a 40-guest minimum. Advance registration is required. More public tour dates may be added to the schedule as demand warrants.
You can read more details about the customized group tours and the public tours at www.meadoweventpark.com. The Meadow Event Park is located off I-95, exit 98 to Doswell, 1.5 miles east of King’s Dominion, about 25 miles north of Richmond.
You can learn more about the history of The Meadow and its famous Thoroughbreds at our website www.secretariatsmeadow.com (and order our book!)
Leeanne Meadows Ladin