Kate Chenery Tweedy, co-author of “Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend” will speak about Secretariat and hold a book signing at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum on Friday, March 18 at beginning at 5:30 pm. Copies of the book will be available with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Hall of Fame. Those who wish to pre-order a copy of the book may do so by contacting 803-643-2121. This event is free and open to the public.
“Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend” illustrates how this 1973 Triple Crown winner represented the culmination of two centuries of history, a direct legacy of both the land on which he was born and of the people who bred and raised him.
It traces the rags to riches to racing saga of Christopher Chenery, who defied the skeptics and transformed the dilapidated farm into a showplace of Thoroughbred champions. It shows how his dutiful daughter, Penny, took over the stable and took racing’s most coveted prize. It tells the untold stories of the champion racehorses, such as Hill Prince, Cicada and Riva Ridge, who preceded Secretariat in the limelight. Moreover, the book reveals the inextinguishable spirit of a piece of land, dating back to 1805, that has been and continues to be a wellspring of dreams.
Adding to the richness of the story are the vivid memories of family historian, Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery and granddaughter of Chris Chenery. Kate spent many childhood summers at The Meadow and learned to ride her first pony there. She was twenty when her mother’s horse captured the Triple Crown and the nation’s heart. Kate’s personal recollections, along with access to the extensive records of Meadow Stable and the Chenery family private collection of photographs and papers, give this book unmatched authenticity.
Horse lovers as well as history buffs will appreciate the never-before published photographs in this unique pictorial history. The exclusive interviews with family members and former Meadow workers such as the African-American grooms who tended to the stable’s champions provide an intimate behind the scenes glimpse of the famous farm not found in print or film.
“Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend” is a story of family allegiance and equine lineage, of overcoming long odds and going the distance. It’s about dreams thwarted and dreams surpassed. But most of all, it’s how this piece of land in Virginia, so near the fountainhead of where Thoroughbred racing in the United States began, gave rise to an American legend whose legacy lives on in the record books, in the blood of great racers today and in our hearts.
Also making an appearance will be Charlie Davis who will talk about his experiences as Secretariat’s exercise rider, Davis has enjoyed a lifetime of adventures in horse racing – from the day he got on his first Thoroughbred at the age of 10, to working fast racehorses before he was old enough to drive a car, to helping Secretariat make racing history. But the stories don’t end there. Now 70, Davis remains a part of the racing game, working with newborn foals and frisky colts at a breeding farm in Ocala, Florida – while periodically hopping a jet to fly off to another event honoring Secretariat.
The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Hopelands Gardens at 135 Dupree Place (off Whiskey Road) and celebrates Aiken’s contributions to equestrian sports. The Racing Hall of Fame is open September – May, Tuesday–Friday from 2-5 pm, Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 2 – 5 pm, weather permitting. For more information, call 642-7631, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Hall of Fame website at www.aikenracinghalloffame.com.