Happy 44th Birthday to Secretariat!

Secretariat statue at Kentucky Horse Park

Secretariat statue at Kentucky Horse Park

44 years ago Triple Crown winner Secretariat was born at The Meadow on March 30. Despite the passage of time, legions of devoted fans are still celebrating the birthday of “Big Red”.

The annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration was held last Saturday at The Meadow in Doswell, Virginia. Despite rain, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Three jockeys who rode “Big Red” at the peak of his spectacular racing career were together at the event for the first time. Hall of Fame jockeys Ron Turcotte and Eddie Maple and exercise rider Charlie Davis all participated in the event.

Turcotte piloted the legendary Thoroughbred to his unforgettable Triple Crown victory in 1973, breaking the track records in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. He also guided Meadow champion Riva Ridge to glory in the 1972 Kentucky Derby and Belmont. Maple guided Secretariat to victory in his final race, the Canadian International at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. He also was aboard Riva Ridge in a second place effort to Secretariat in the prestigious 1973 Marlboro Cup. Davis exercised Secretariat during his morning gallops and developed his own close relationship with the great horse.

Joining the event was Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery and co-author of the award-winning Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend and Riva Ridge – Penny’s First Champion, which she wrote with Leeanne Meadows Ladin. Ladin, as author/historian, is now Secretariat tourism manager at The Meadow.

The Secretariat team was on hand for a VIP reception and exclusive screening of the film “Secretariat’s Jockey –Ron Turcotte” at 5:00 p.m. Capping off the festivities later that evening was the inaugural Secretariat Birthday Champagne Toast, which took place at the original foaling shed at The Meadow with Turcotte, Maple, Davis and Tweedy.