March may come in like a lion but it’s going to go out like a Thoroughbred!
In honor of Big Red’s birthday (March 30) and the celebration at The Meadow (March 27) we will be posting stories about his birthplace and his descendants all month.
We’ll start with a descendant who actually lives at The Meadow…a great-grandson named Rainaway.
The chestnut gelding, born in 1994, was sired by Summer Squall, winner of the 1990 Preakness. Summer Squall’s dam was the very successful broodmare Weekend Surprise, a daughter of Secretariat. Rainaway earned over $90,000 during his racing career before retiring at the age of six in 2000.
Somehow he ended up on a farm in Blountville, Tennessee on the verge of starvation with several other hapless horses. In 2007, the farm’s owner was arrested for animal cruelty and the rescue organization, Horse Haven of Tennessee, mercifully took over the care of Rainaway and his stablemates.
HHT nursed the emaciated horse back to health. He gained weight and his dull coat regained its bright chestnut shine. That he could recover from such unconscionable neglect speaks to the stamina inherent in his famous genes, as well to the excellent care he received from his rescuers.
HHT found him a new home as the “mascot” of The Meadow, the birthplace of his great-grandsire in Doswell, Virginia. In September 2008, Rainaway made his first appearance at the State Fair of Virginia, which owns The Meadow. He lived at a nearby farm while the State Fair completed its move from the old fairgrounds in Richmond to the rolling green fields of Caroline County. By 2009, Rainaway was settled in at The Meadow, free to gallop in his spacious paddock and play with his beloved companion goats.
Today he continues to greet visitors at the annual State Fair and events such as the Equine Extravaganza and now Secretariat’s birthday party. Rainaway will also be available to make an appearance during the customized group tours now offered at The Meadow.
From his paddock, Rainaway has a panoramic view of The Meadow and the historic land where a bold young chestnut stallion once galloped. Surely Rainaway can see that he’s home.
Our next post will be about Secretariat’s grandson Covert Action, who lives in nearby Goochland County. Both he and Rainaway will be at the birthday party on March 27.
Leeanne Meadows Ladin