The famous racehorse Secretariat is being honored in Ashland, Virginia where he was born. Renowned equine artist Jocelyn Russell is traveling to the historic town to kick off the national 50th-anniversary celebration of the Triple Crown of 1973.
The family that raised and raced Secretariat is excited to welcome the horse's status in the small town of Ashland. Kate Chenery Tweedy, the daughter of Penny Chenery, who managed Secretariat's career said:
"This is his hometown, he was born just up the road at Doswell, our farm. My whole family grew up here. This is really sort of a home base for Secretariat."
Statue of Secretariat
The unveiling of the 3,500-pound bronze statue of Secretariat and jockey Ron Turcotte will take place in front of Ashland's Town Hall on April 1, 2023. The statue is 21 feet long and 11.5 feet tall. It is the largest monument of Secretariat in existence, and the first one to come to Virginia.
Ashland Mayor Steve Trivett said:
"Bringing Secretariat here we know will bring more tourist attraction and will broaden the scope of why people come."
A permanent location for the statue
After the unveiling, the status of Secretariat will be placed on Randolph-Macon College's campus, right beside the CSX train tracks in the heart of Ashland. That location is the perfect spot for the statue.
President Robert Lindgren talked about the connection the school has had with the Chenery family and with Secretariat.
"We have a very long connection with the Chenery family, going all the way back to Chris Chenery, who owned Secretariat and Meadow Farm. Penny Chenery was awarded an honorary degree back in 2011 just after the movie, Secretariat, came out. And I developed so much respect for her interest in tradition and the importance of horse racing and the very important role that Secretariat has played in that long history.”
Cost of a permanent place for the statue
Kate Chenery Tweedy lives in Ashland and is carrying on the Secretariat legacy. She is chairing the Secretariat For Virginia Committee to raise more than $550,000 needed to place the Secretariat monument permanently in Ashland.
Tweedy said the permanent placement will allow the story of Secretariat to come full circle.
“Ashland is known as the center of the universe, that’s its own monicker for itself. But it’s also the center of the Secretariat story, so you know, what could be better than to have a great big statue of Secretariat in the center, of the center of the universe."