Triple Crown winner Secretariat’s birthplace to be auctioned

Secretariat statue at the Kentucky Horse Park

The former Meadow Farm, in Caroline County, Virginia will go on the auction block on May 22, 2012. It was purchased by the State Fair of Virginia Inc. for $5.3 million in 2003. Now called the Meadow Event Park, the state fair has been held there since 2009. The site has been host to other events including the Strawberry Hill Races, and the Meadow Highland Games and Celtic Festival. When the park was developed to host the fair, Secretariat’s foaling shed was relocated and restored, making it an attraction at the Meadow Event Park. Secretariat or ‘Big Red’ as he was known to many a race fan was born on March 30, 1970 at Meadow Farm in Doswell, Virginia. There is a sign marking it as the birthplace of 1973 Kentucky Derby winner Secretariat.

Heavy debt has forced fair organizers to liquidate under federal bankruptcy law. The 331+ acre complex is to be auctioned May 22, 2012 as a 4 to 7 tracts or as an entirety (to be determined). The remainder of the personal property will be offered via an online only auction which will close on May 24, 2012.

The main house is described as “an exceptional Southern style mansion surrounded by stately old trees and pastoral settings. The grand ballroom is ideal for weddings, meetings or conferences while the second floor can accommodate separate breakout or pre-event functions. Featuring a marble entry and beautiful mahogany paneling throughout, the Union First Market Bank Hall has all of the modern amenities to make your next event an exceptional affair.”

Last spring, The Meadow Event Park began offering guided tours of “Big Red’s” famed birthplace in Doswell, Virginia. Highlights of the tour include involve a tram ride, some walking and an indoor presentation which features video clips. People saw the foaling shed where Secretariat was born; the yearling and training barns with the stalls where Secretariat and Riva Ridge (Meadow Stable’s first Kentucky Derby winner in 1972) stayed as young colts; the stallion barns; the fabled Cove, where the broodmares and foals grazed and a horse cemetery.

Secretariat was the Muhammad Ali of racehorses, a brash and charismatic champ who was the breakaway winner of the 1973 Triple Crown. In 21 career starts, the big chestnut colt finished first 16 times and earned a total of $1,316,808. He set a track record of 1:59 2/5 in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, won the Preakness Stakes, and won the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, by an astonishing 31 lengths. After his three-year-old season he was retired to stud at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. Secretariat died at the young age of 19; he was euthanized when a chronic foot disease called laminitis became too painful for him to bear. Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner came to lunch with our Kentucky Derby Tours group many times over the years.
See the most recent photos at