March 31 Secretariat Event May Be Moved

Event center in Doswell, Virginia, that housed former Meadow Farm has closed.

Organizers of a March 31 event to celebrate the birthday of legendary Secretariat and the 40th anniversary of stablemate Riva Ridge’s victory in the Kentucky Derby are scrambling to find a new location after The Meadow Event Place closed its doors.

Located in Doswell, Va., The Meadow Event Place was the former home to the Chenery family’s Meadow Farm and the birthplace of Secretariat. Tickets for the March 31 event, which was to include an appearance by Penny Chenery, were to have gone on sale March 8.

In addition to possible cancellation or relocation of the Secretariat-Riva Ridge celebration, the development also brought to the fore questions about the future of the historic property.

On March 7, SFVA Inc., the not-for-profit organization that produces the State Fair of Virginia, announced it had converted its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in Richmond District Court.

In a release, the organization said, “As a proposed resolution to emerge from the Chapter 11 process, SFVA offered to buy the 360-acre Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia from the lender group of secured creditors (made up of lead lender Arbor One, 13 farm credits and the USDA). On March 5, the lender group rejected the offer and refused requests to produce a counteroffer. Because of the secured creditors’ decision not to accept the offer, SFVA Inc. was forced into bankruptcy.”

The bankruptcy also meant the SFVA would not longer produce events that included the Strawberry Hill Races, the State Fair of Virginia, and the Meadow Highland Games & Festival.

“As chairman of SFVA, I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the lenders’ decision,” G. William Beale, SFVA board chairman and CEO of Union First Market Bank, said in a statement. “We worked diligently with multiple parties to present the secured creditors with a reasonable offer to purchase The Meadow, and thus allow the 156-year-old tradition of the State Fair of Virginia to continue. Unfortunately, that offer was rejected. Apparently, the secured creditors have other unknown plans for the property,”

Any updates on the March 31 event and impact of the bankruptcy on the future of the historic Meadow property are being posted at the “Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend” website.