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WHEREAS, Secretariat was born on March 30, 1970, at Meadow Stable in Caroline County, Virginia, where he was raised and first trained, and which farm was founded by Christopher T. Chenery in 1936 and later managed by his daughter Penny Chenery; and
WHEREAS, in 1973, Secretariat became the first Thoroughbred in 25 years to win the Triple Crown – the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, the Preakness Stakes in Maryland and the Belmont Stakes in New York; and accomplished the unprecedented feat of breaking the track records in all three Triple Crown races, records that remain unbroken 45 years later; and
WHEREAS, in 2019, the 100th anniversary of the Triple Crown, Secretariat holds the singular distinction of being the only one of the 13 Triple Crown winners in history to break all three track records; and
WHEREAS, Secretariat’s 31-length win in the Belmont Stakes is still regarded as one of the most acclaimed sporting events of the 20th Century; and
WHEREAS, as a stallion he has achieved a lasting impact on Thoroughbred breeding through his outstanding daughters and grandsons, whose lines have produced the last two Triple Crown winners – American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018 – and a host of other highly successful progeny that dominate racing today; and
WHEREAS, the original barns of Secretariat’s birthplace are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register, and his birthplace at The Meadow, now known as The Meadow Event Park, currently attracts fans from all over the United States with a year-round program of tours and events; and
WHEREAS, a concerted effort is underway to create the Secretariat Heritage Center at The Meadow Event Park with the mission to celebrate Secretariat as an emblem of excellence, to preserve and present the history of the Chenery family, Meadow Stable, and the local community, and to educate the public about Virginia’s role in producing an American legend; and
WHEREAS, using existing historic assets, special events and interactive exhibits, the Secretariat Heritage Center will provide a unique and compelling experience for visitors, as well as educational programs that highlight not only this storied farm, but the vital role of the horse in Virginia; and
WHEREAS, the Secretariat Heritage Center will establish his birthplace as a national heritage tourism destination and equine-focused educational hub that will ensure that the legend and the legacy of Secretariat and Meadow Stable will live on and continue to inspire people everywhere;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize March 30, 2019, as SECRETARIAT HERITAGE CENTER LAUNCH DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.