Festivities start on March 29 with a cocktail party and continue through March 30. At all events will be Helen “Penny” Tweedy, his owner; Ron Turcotte, his jockey; and Charlie Davis, his exercise rider. Missing will be Secretariat’s trainer Lucien Laurin. We are sure that he will be smiling from that racetarack in the sky. He would be so proud of the way that Secretariat’s legacy has continued.
“It really is a historic reunion,” said event director Leeanne Ladin. “I don’t think that Penny and Ron and Charlie have ever been together at The Meadow, much less with the original grooms and riders who helped raise and train Secretariat.”
In winning the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the Preakness at Pimlico and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, “Big Red” set speed records that still stand today. He was on the cover of many magazines and won international adoration that is still strong even 40 years later.
“Forty years, and people still love this horse like it was yesterday,” said Ladin, who co-wrote with Tweedy’s daughter a book titled “Secretariat’s Meadow” that was released at the same time as a Disney movie about the horse in 2010. “And Penny, at 91, is still so involved with his legacy.”
Penny Tweedy Chenery (she reclaimed her maiden name after a divorce) definitely stood out in horse racing’s male-dominated world when she brought The Meadow back, taking an active role in the running the farm, breeding decisions and racing.
A bay colt named Riva Ridge was her first champion in 1972, winning two legs of the Triple Crown. A year later, Secretariat swept all three legs of the Triple Crown. “Back to back, they won five out of six of those races, which no other stable has ever done,” Ladin said.
Tickets to events must be purchased in advance. The party gets started with a cocktail reception March 29, followed by a showing of the movie and a panel discussion featuring Chenery, Turcotte and Davis.
The big party at The Meadows on March 30 will be autograph signings, tours of Secretariat’s foaling barn and stalls, displays of the training saddles worn by Secretariat and Riva Ridge, tram tours and two of Secretariat’s descendants.
Where: The Meadow Event Park, 13111 Dawn Blvd., Doswell, Va.
When: March 29 cocktail reception at 5 p.m., movie and panel discussion from 7 to 9:30 p.m.; March 30: birthday celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Tickets to all events must be purchased in advance at www.secretariatsmeadow.com Tickets are limited. Reception: $100. Reception plus movie: $120. Movie-panel discussion: $25 adults, $10 ages 12 and under. General admission March 30: $10.