A groundbreaking ceremony was held at 11 AM on February 7th, ahead of the March 30th installation of the Secretariat statue in Ashland.
But why Ashland? The answer goes back to the owner of Meadow Stables and Secretariat, Christopher Chenery. Chenery grew up in Ashland and attended Randolph-Macon. After amassing wealth in New York, Chenery bought Meadow Stables in 1936 with an enthusiasm for horse racing.
While Meadow Stables (now Meadow Event Park) is in Caroline County, Chenery lived in Ashland and wanted to give back to the community. His generosity helped support St. James the Less Episcopal Church and founded Ashland youth leagues.
In 1953, the inaugural Camptown Races were run at Meadow Stables. The races were originally set up as a WWII memorial, but the memorial was quickly paid for due to their popularity. The popularity and crowds forced Camptown to be moved to Mannheim Farms just north of Ashland. Proceeds raised helped support Ashland Fire and Rescue squads.
Fast-forward to 2018, when sculptor Jocelyn Russell approached Kate Chenery Tweedy (Christopher’s granddaughter) about creating and installing a Secretariat statue. Ashland was selected as the site, specifically on the corner of Randolph-Macon, at the intersection of Railroad and England avenues.
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