The eighth annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration at Meadow Event Park in Virginia March 24-26, 2017 promises to be another memorable gathering for “big fans of Big Red.” Where else can you celebrate the birthday of the legendary Triple Crown champion at his actual birthplace, The Meadow, with the members of the Secretariat team?

Slated to join the festivities are Charlie Davis, Secretariat’s entertaining exercise rider; Otto Thorwarth, the professional jockey who played Ron Turcotte in the Secretariat movie;  and Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery and co-author of the award-winning Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend, with Leeanne Meadows Ladin.






Here is the schedule for the weekend birthday activities:

DAILY:  (admission to Virginia Horse Festival required)

  • Celebrity appearances and autograph signings by the Secretariat Racing Team in the Exhibit Hall.
  • Meet and greet with Groundshaker, our resident Secretariat great-great granddaughter, and her new companion, Mia the mighty mini, who will be decked out like a “little Big Red.”
  • Also meet Covert Action, a grandson of Secretariat and “spokeshorse” for the local Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. (paddock area near mansion)
  • An extensive selection of official Secretariat merchandise for purchase in the Exhibit Hall
  • Self-guided tours of the historic barns
  • Photo ops at the World’s Largest Horseshoe, a giant 600-lb. replica of Secretariat’s racing shoe, located by the yearling barn
  • Narrated tours of Meadow Hall mansion at 12, 1 and 2 pm. ($5) Tickets will be sold in advance online and also onsite at the Secretariat Tourism booth in the Exhibit Hall for remaining open time slots. Walk through stately Meadow Hall and  step back in time to the glory days of Meadow Stable. See the Meadow Champions Galleries, the Triple Crown Room and the exclusive Chenery Collection of Meadow Stable memorabilia.  The narrated tour lasts 45 minutes.

Friday March 24 

BARN APPETIT   7 – 10 pm Meadow Hall   Tickets:  $80 

BARN APPETIT launches a new series of farm-to-fork dinners designed exclusively for Meadow Event Park by one of the region’s most acclaimed chefs, Jason Alley of Pasture Restaurant.  It’s a totally fresh new tasting and tourism experience to highlight local artisan foods and craft libations at this historic landmark site.

The evening also marks the debut of the first Secretariat craft beer produced in Virginia.  It’s “Secretariat’s Meadow,” an Imperial Red India Pale Ale produced by Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery of Goochland. Join the Secretariat Team in lifting a glass to this tasteful tribute to Big Red!

A portion of proceeds will benefit the Historic Barn Restoration Fund at The Meadow. Includes a Silent Auction of rare Secretariat memorabilia.

Saturday March 25

All day – display of original training saddles worn by Secretariat and Riva Ridge, and meet and greet with former Meadow Stable grooms (Exhibit Hall)

BIG RED ON THE BIG SCREEN   7-10 pm Meadow Hall  Tickets:  $25 adult; $10 per child age 5-12; age 4 and under free  

Bring the family and enjoy the beloved Disney film “Secretariat” at his birthplace with members of the Secretariat Team! They will share behind the scenes stories about the making of the movie and about Big Red himself.  Popcorn and lemonade/tea included with admission.  Additional items available at Two Kings Concessions. Also includes a Silent Auction.


Note:  If you are planning to attend only Barn Appetit on March 24 or Big Red on the Big Screen on March 25 and not the Virginia Horse Festival, you do not need to pay admission to the Horse Festival.

The Secretariat Birthday Celebration is co-hosted by the Virginia Horse Festival and of Louisville , KY. At the festival, horse lovers can enjoy three days of clinics and demonstrations with top experts like Guy McLean; a parade of breeds; special events; and over 60,000 square feet of indoor shopping for boots and saddles, barn supplies, horse trailers, jewelry, clothing, equine art and more.

Tickets for the Virginia Horse Festival and Secretariat Birthday events ARE ON SALE NOW. For ticket info and the complete weekend schedule, see the horse festival website. Also watch our Secretariat’s Meadow Facebook page for frequent updates on the birthday events.

The Meadow Event Park is located off I-95 at exit 98 (Doswell) 1.5 miles east of King’s Dominion theme park.






event image


March 30, 2013

                     PHOTO GALLERY