Secretariat’s Birthplace For Sale

On Tuesday, May 22 Secretariat’s Birthplace is going on the auction block. Christopher Chenery, an engineer and business owner, bought the 2,798-acre Meadow Farm in 1932, 25 miles north of his birthplace in Richmond, Virginia, for the purpose of breeding thoroughbreds. In 1968 he became ill and was admitted to a New York hospital, where he stayed until his death in 1973. At the time of his hospital admission his daughter, Penny Chenery, took over management of the farm, resulting in her decision to breed Meadow Farm’s mare Somethingroyal to Bold Ruler for two breedings. The second foal was Secretariat. Secretariat was trained on the farm and became the Triple Crown winner in 1973 after the death of Christopher Chenery the same year. Although Penny registered her breedings under the name of her father, it was her knowledge of genetics that brought her to the decision for the historic pairing. In 2003 the farm was purchased by The Virginia State Fair.

Today, at 331 acres, the property has foreclosed and is being put up for auction. During the tenure of the Virginia State Fair, additional structures were added to the property. Structures include four residences, three being used as offices and one the elegant 12,850sf manor house, completely restored and currently being used for special events. In addition there is a 76,130sf Exhibition Hall, a campground with RV hookups and the Meadow Pavilion at 9,735sf providing additional exhibition space. The Equestrian Facility is comprised of a large new stable, arena and four riding rings, among other miscellaneous small structures for storage. The original stables and training barn belonging to the manor house are where Secretariat was born and trained.

Contact the auction house for bidding details for this rare opportunity to own a part of racing history.



The property sold for $5.35 million Tuesday at auction, purchased by Mark Lovell of Universal Fairs. Lovell’s business is based in Tennessee and produces and promotes fair and expositions.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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