Secretariat Fans – send us your favorite memories for our Big Red Birthday Party!

In Virginia, we are proud that we can celebrate Secretariat’s birthday on the very land where he was born and raised – The Meadow in Doswell in Caroline County. This year’s Big Red birthday celebration on Sunday March 27 will be even bigger and better and we can’t wait to announce the activities and special guests!  

From the moment his feet touched the ground on March 30, 1970, Secretariat made an impression on people.  His vet, the late Dr. Olive Britt, said he was born “practically standing up” and that “he was red as fire.” 
Kate and I hear so many wonderful stories from fans  at our book events and wish that we could capture them all.  So we’d like to collect fans’ favorite memories and share them at the birthday party. Hopefully we will be able to record stories at the party on video  as well, then share them on our website or this blog.

You can share your Secretariat story by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing your story and any photos to

In the meantime, enjoy these stories that fans have shared with us:

My wife and I had the thrill to see “Big Red” at Claiborne Farm on a cold February day in 1986. We were the only ones to visit the farm that day and we had Secretariat to ourselves. As we approached his paddock the handler called out “Hey Red”. Secretariat was at the far side of the paddock when he heard the call. He charged across the paddock running at a quick pace. He pulled up as he got to the fence where we were. Then he struck a pose and looked at us as if to say here I am the one you came to see. The handler led him out and he posed for pictures. Unfortunately, the day was so overcast and the camera had low speed film so the images were not good, but the memories are just as fresh as if it happened last week.   From Laurie Mulligan
I also got to see “Big Red” at Claiborne Farms. It was in the summer of 1986 when my friend toured all the horse farms in Lexington. We walked up to him and he came running to the fence. He wanted us to scratch his back. We did and when we stopped he turned his head as if to say, “Why did ya stop?” He then turned to the other side and let us scratch his other side. We even got to brush him a little and the groom there let us each have some of his hair off the brush. I still have that in a plastic ziplock bag along with my Breyers models on the wall in my living room. He was such a beautiful horse and a ham at that.  from Karen Coleman
My husband,our two sons and I went to Claiborne Farms in 1977 to see Secretariat. We were led through the stable and Big Red was brought out. I stood in awe as the groomsman so kindly took our picture beside him. I even still have a lock of his mane. I saw the movie this year and couldn’t help but believe I was the only person in the theater who had actually touched this great horse! It is my all-time favorite memory!! This past Christmas I started crying when I opened one of my presents — it was the book “Secretariat’s Meadow,” a movie DVD and the book by William Nack. Big Red will never be forgotten — not only did he provide the most exciting horse race in history; he gave many of us a lifetime memory!  from Barbara McIntosh


by Leeanne Meadows Ladin

copyright 2011



One thought on “Secretariat Fans – send us your favorite memories for our Big Red Birthday Party!

  1. I was 9 years old when I first saw the Kentucky Derby, and I got a charge out of watching Secretariat win. Then, I remember seeing him at the Belmont on TV. I remember the great sense of security, fondness, security, and thrill watching him. It was like as if George Washington was re-born as a race-horse. He was big; all of America loved him; he made the headlines; he would always come from behind to win; he loved the spot light; he brought America together. Long live the memory of Secretariat!

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