Ashland, Virginia Is In the Running for the Secretariat Monument #2/2
Our SECVA team is excited to announce that the town of Ashland, which has deep family ties to the great champion, is in the running for the larger-than-life bronze sculpture entitled “Secretariat – Racing into History,” #2/2.
This is the second of two such monuments, identical except for the saddlecloths, cast by the renowned sculptor Jocelyn Russell of Washington State. The first edition, with the saddlecloth number 1A for the Kentucky Derby, was placed in Lexington, Kentucky in 2019. The second edition, which is also 21 feet long and 12 feet tall, displays the saddlecloth number 2 as worn in Secretariat’s spectacular Belmont Stakes.
Before this last “Secretariat – Racing into History” finds a permanent home, it may make a series of special appearances in Kentucky, Maryland and New York during the Triple Crown season. Ms. Russell has pledged to trailer the Secretariat bronze to Ashland next spring so the community can see it before the cross-country tour. It may return to Ashland later in the year.
“I have always wanted this second edition of “Secretariat – Racing into History” to be able to come home to Virginia,” said Ms. Russell. “This is literally where his history started.” She says Virginia has first dibs, even though other states have also shown interest.
Our civic group called Secretariat for Virginia (SECVA) has been working for months with Ms. Russell and her colleague, author/fundraiser Robin Hutton, to find a permanent home for the monument in Virginia. SECVA consists of fans and individuals linked to the Secretariat legacy, including author/speaker Kate Chenery Tweedy, whose family owned and raced Secretariat; Virginia publisher Wayne Dementi; and author/speaker Leeanne Meadows Ladin. Ms. Tweedy’s grandfather, Christopher Chenery, grew up in Ashland, attended Randolph-Macon College and later founded Meadow Stable in nearby Caroline County where Secretariat was born. Her mother, Penny Chenery, who managed Secretariat’s spectacular career, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the college in 2011.
On October 18, members of the SECVA team formally presented a request to the Ashland Town Council to accept this public-private project, emphasizing the long-term tourism benefits and extensive media exposure the Secretariat monument would bring to the area.
Randolph-Macon College and the Ashland Museum have both expressed support for bringing the monument to Ashland. Should the project move forward, the Secretariat for Virginia group will help coordinate fund-raising, publicity, and community engagement. The cost of the Secretariat monument is $550,000, including transportation to the site. Installation and landscaping are additional costs, for which the group hopes to obtain in-kind donations. SECVA is accepting pledges at this time.
Read about SECVA, Secretariat’s roots in Virginia, the creation of the first monument, and more at www.SecretariatForVirginia.com.