Enjoy a unique opportunity to tour Meadow Hall during the 2016 State Fair of Virginia. Not normally open to the public, Meadow Hall is an elegant facility for weddings, parties, or corporate functions. Enhancing the mahogany paneling and marble floors is a collection of artwork from the Virginia Museum of the Horse. Meadow Hall sits in the footprint of the Chenery family’s home and your tour will be led by Meadow Farm and Secretariat experts. Tour guides will take guests through the vital role horses played in Virginia’s history before hearing how Meadow Farm became the birthplace of “America’s Super Horse,” Secretariat. Historic photographs of Meadow Farm broodmares, the original Chenery home, and Secretariat's victorious 1973 Triple Crown may be seen during the tour. After your tour, enjoy self-guided historic stops throughout The Meadow Event Park, including the original yearling and stallion barns built in the 1930s just steps outside of Meadow Hall.
Proceeds benefit The Historic Barn Renovation Fund to restore the barns which are now part of The Meadow Event Park's listing on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
Penny Chenery, whose father Christopher T. Chenery founded the racing stable in 1936, recently sent several items to The Meadow from her family's personal collection. They are on loan specifically for the Secretariat tourism program.
“Since 2016 marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of Meadow Stable, this seemed the right time to let these special pieces return to the farm so the public can enjoy seeing them,” Ms. Chenery said. Revered as the “First Lady of Racing,” Ms. Chenery owned and raced Secretariat, whose track records in his historic 1973 Triple Crown have never been broken.
- The Black Riding Boots of Christopher T. Chenery – Known as a “bold rider who went bold places,” the visionary founder of Meadow Stable was a superb horseman. An accompanying photo in the exhibit shows him mounted on one of his favorite horses and wearing the boots.
- The complete foxhunting attire worn by Mr. Chenery when he rode to hounds with the Deep Run Hunt Club.
- The Starter's Bell from Meadow Training Center – The clang of this bell taught Secretariat, Riva Ridge and other Meadow Stable champions to leap from the starting gate at the farm's mile-long training track.
- Hill Prince Horse of the Year 1950 Plaque – Hill Prince was Meadow Stable's first big champion, winning the 1950 Preakness, Jockey Club Gold Cup and over $422,000 in his racing career.
- Christopher T. Chenery Breeder of the Year 1950 Plaque – presented by the New York Turf Writers' Association. This recognized Mr. Chenery for breeding Hill Prince, 1950 Horse of the Year.
- Riva Ridge Horseshoe 1972 Plaque – Riva Ridge was the first Meadow Stable horse to win the Kentucky Derby, a lifelong dream of Mr. Chenery. Riva also won the Belmont Stakes in 1972.
- Hildene Virginia Equine Hall of Fame 1992 Plaque – This was presented by the Virginia Thoroughbred Association in honor of Hildene, Mr. Chenery's first great broodmare.
- Saddle Blankets – These brightly striped woolen blankets belonged to Mr. Chenery, who used them with his personal riding horses.
The Secretariat tourism program at The Meadow has also acquired:
- The Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder of 1973, the year Secretariat won the Triple Crown.
- A set of gold and blue enamel Triple Crown cufflinks owned by Howard Gentry, the farm manager of Meadow Stable from 1946-1976.
- Framed photos of champion racehorses First Landing and Cicada.
*State Fair of Virginia admission must be purchased separately in order to take a tour. Visit www.statefairva.org for more info. Purchase State Fair admission at statefairofvirginia.eventbrite.com. Tour times are non-transferable. No refunds. No rainchecks. Limited tour spaces available.
The State Fair ticket office may be reached at 804-994-2800 or at email@example.com.