February 22, 2023
The Secretariat Racing Into History #2/2 monument by Jocelyn Russell is making great strides toward coming home to Virginia!
The Town of Ashland and Randolph-Macon College have entered into a lease agreement on a location for the magnificent bronze sculpture on the R-MC campus next to the CSX train tracks.
Per the lease signed by the town and college, when and if funds are raised by the Secretariat for Virginia committee to purchase the monument, R-MC has agreed to lease the selected property to the town. Once the monument is in place, the town and college will share fiduciary responsibilities for the maintenance of this public artwork.
"Secretariat is a beloved American figure, and the Town of Ashland is very proud of our connection to him and the Chenery family,” said Steve Trivett, Mayor of the Town of Ashland. “We are pleased to join with Randolph-Macon College in presenting an accessible, high-visibility placement for this impressive work of art. Secretariat will bring long-term tourism benefits and further enhance our town motto as the Center of the Universe."
"Randolph-Macon College deeply values our long-standing ties to the Chenery family, many of whom attended RMC, and with Meadow Stable,” said Robert Lindgren, RMC president. “This magnificent monument to Secretariat will be an exciting attraction for the public on our campus next to downtown Ashland, and an excellent reminder of the equine history of this region."
The Chenery family who owned and raced the legendary Thoroughbred has deep ties to Ashland. Christopher Chenery grew up in Ashland, attended Randolph-Macon College, and in 1936 founded Meadow Stable in nearby Caroline County where Secretariat was born in 1970. His daughter, Penny Chenery, who managed Secretariat’s spectacular career, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the college in 2011. Her daughter, author/speaker Kate Chenery Tweedy, a resident of Ashland, is leading the Secretariat For Virginia group.
“Secretariat's story truly would come full circle if the monument is placed in Ashland," said Ms. Tweedy. "How fitting it would be to see this happen during this milestone Triple Crown anniversary."
“I have always wanted this second edition of “Secretariat – Racing into History” to come home to Virginia,” said Ms. Russell. “This is literally where his history started.” The first version of the monument was placed in Lexington, Kentucky in 2019. If the funding goals are met, this would be the first and only monument to Secretariat in Virginia.
The cost of the Secretariat monument is $550,000, including transportation to the site. Installation and landscaping are additional costs, for which the group hopes to obtain in-kind contributions. SECVA is accepting pledges online and donations through the Ashland Museum, also a partner in the project.
If you have any questions on the monument or would like more information on how you can help make this movement to bring Secretariat home to Virginia a reality, please contact us and become part of "Friends of Secretariat for Virginia (SECVA)." You can also join our email list for updates on our progress. We look forward to hearing from you!