Doswell, Va.—Secretariat’s great-great granddaughter, Groundshaker, will be coming to her
ancestral home as the star attraction of the annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration at The Meadow April 1-3.
The celebration is a major highlight of the Virginia Horse Festival, which attracts thousands of horse lovers from all over the Mid-Atlantic. Efforts are underway to eventually welcome the retired racehorse as a permanent resident at the historic birthplace of the Triple Crown champion.
Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner and daughter of Meadow Stable’s founder Christopher T. Chenery, said it was only fitting for Groundshaker to play this role in the ongoing preservation of The Meadow’s heritage.
“Groundshaker needed a new job and a new home,” said Chenery. “She is the last horse I
bred and raced, so her stay at The Meadow will bring our story full circle. As we mark the 80th anniversary of my father’s founding of Meadow Stable in 1936, Groundshaker will be a living, breathing, beautiful thread to that treasured past.”
Groundshaker, a regal, 17-hand bay mare, is by Quiet American, sire of 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet. Her link to Secretariat comes through her dam, Cotton Anne, who is a granddaughter of Terlingua, one of Secretariat’s best daughters and the dam of Storm Cat. Groundshaker is five years old.
“We are beyond thrilled that Penny chose to send Groundshaker to The Meadow,” said Leeanne Meadows Ladin, Secretariat tourism manager and resident historian. “Her gesture was enormously generous, as we have wanted to have a Secretariat descendant here for a long time. Groundshaker, a living link to Secretariat and Penny’s last racehorse, will be a tremendous boost to our heritage tourism program and help us perpetuate the Meadow Stable legacy. Once our facilities are ready for her, we plan for Groundshaker to assume her role as hostess to our ‘Hoofprints of History’ tour guests.”
Ladin noted that Groundshaker will not only help educate visitors about the history of The Meadow, but also help them learn more about horses. The Meadow will soon launch a fund-raising campaign to build a functional barn and pasture fencing for Groundshaker, and to eventually restore the 1930s-era Meadow Stable barns listed on the state and national historic registers.
Groundshaker, along with members of the Secretariat racing team, will be a VIP guest at two ticketed evening events during the Secretariat Birthday Celebration: an April 1 Paddock Party and a special 80th Anniversary Program on April 2. A portion of the proceeds for each of these events, as well as a special silent auction of Secretariat items, will benefit the barn fund.
Additionally, Groundshaker will greet guests throughout the three-day event, where fans will also enjoy:
• Celebrity appearances with Charlie Davis, Secretariat’s exercise rider and Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery and co-author of “Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend” with Leeanne Meadows Ladin,
• Special displays of rare Secretariat and Meadow Stable memorabilia,
• Farm tram tours, including VIP tours with the Secretariat team,
• Official Secretariat merchandise for purchase and more.
The Secretariat Birthday Celebration, a collaboration with Secretariat.com, is a major highlight of the Virginia Horse Festival, which celebrates horses and riding disciplines of all types. Fans can enjoy three days of clinics and demonstrations with top clinicians; a parade of breeds; 60,000 square feet of indoor shopping for all horse lovers; special events like the Colt Starting Challenge USA and much more. Festival hours are Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m; and Sunday 9 a.m.– 5 p.m.
Festival and Birthday Celebration evening event tickets go on sale Feb. 12 at VirginaHorseFestival.com. General admission tickets are $12 in advance (online only) and $15 at the gate. The April 1 Paddock Party tickets are $35 and the April 2 anniversary reception and program tickets are $75. Tram tour tickets will be sold onsite. See VirginiaHorseFestival.com for complete ticket information and the full program schedule.