Monthly Archives: March 2023

A monument to Secretariat is coming to Ashland – maybe permanently

Originally posted on 3/12/2023 on, Written by Bill Lohmann

Fifty years ago in May, Secretariat began his incomparable run into horse-racing history and American lore.

The legendary horse’s dominating sweep of the Triple Crown in 1973 — he still holds the records for fastest time in all three races — ensured he would be remembered as a horse for all time. His name has grown to be synonymous with greatness, his achievements mythic.

And, for those who might not recall, Secretariat was a Virginian.

Caroline County-born Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner, is led by his groom, Eddie Sweat, into the paddock area at Aqueduct Raceway in New York on Nov. 6, 1973.DAVE PICKOFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Secretariat was born on March 30, 1970, at what was then The Meadow, a horse farm in Caroline County, that is now The Meadow Event Park, where the State Fair of Virginia is held each fall.

Nearby Ashland also lays claim to Secretariat’s heritage and, to celebrate its native son, is hosting a series of events on Saturday, April 1, most notably the official unveiling at the Ashland Town Hall of a visiting monument to the horse known as “Big Red.”

The “Secretariat Racing Into History” bronze monument is 21 feet long, 11 1/2 feet tall and weighs 3,500 pounds, and will arrive in Ashland in late March following a 1,300-mile journey on a flatbed trailer from the Oklahoma foundry where it came to life. It is scheduled to leave later in April when it will be loaded on the back of the truck again and will continue its Triple Crown anniversary tour to the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

The monument could return for good to Ashland later in the year if a local group, Secretariat for Virginia, raises sufficient funds — about $600,000 — to purchase it. The town and Randolph-Macon College have agreed to provide a permanent site for the statue in the middle of town at the intersection of England Street and Railroad Avenue, just down the tracks from the town’s train station.

Spearheading the effort is Kate Chenery Tweedy, granddaughter of Chris Chenery, who in the 1930s purchased The Meadow and founded Meadow Stud, the breeding operation, and Meadow Stable, the racing operation, and daughter of Penny Chenery, who took charge of The Meadow when her father fell ill in 1968. Penny Chenery was running the place when Secretariat came along.

Kate Chenery Tweedy shows the exhibition of Secretariat at the Ashland Museum on Wednesday. She is spearheading an effort to bring a monument of Secretariat to Ashland. DANIEL SANGJIB MIN, TIMES-DISPATCH

Tweedy said it just seems right for the statue to have its permanent home in Virginia in general and in Ashland in particular, and not only because she relocated there in 2018. Her grandfather grew up in Ashland, and several members of her family, including her grandfather, attended Randolph-Macon.

Tweedy grew up in Colorado, but visited The Meadow as a child and became familiar with Ashland. She started visiting the area again about 15 years ago when she was co-writing the book “Secretariat’s Meadow” with Leeanne Meadows Ladin and fell in love with the place.

“When it’s time for me to retire,” she decided back then about Ashland, “that’s where I’m going to retire.”

While working on the book, she also fell in love with the Virginia part of Secretariat’s story, she said.

“Since others have amply covered his achievements at the track and his retirement in Kentucky, I felt it was important to highlight his home state and our great history with horses.”

Her mother always said that “Secretariat couldn’t talk so she wanted to do it for him, and she worked really hard to keep his legacy alive. I traveled with her and helped her at her events meeting fans. I saw how much they loved him and her as well. Now that Mom is gone, I am the main one of our siblings to carry on Mom’s mission and to add my own.”

Kate Chenery Tweedy holds a front page of Time magazine with a photo of Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing in 1973. Tweedy is the granddaughter of Chris Chenery and the daughter of Penny Chenery, who owned Secretariat.DANIEL SANGJIB MIN, TIMES-DISPATCH

The monument is the work of Jocelyn Russell, a wildlife and equine artist living in the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest. It is the second of two almost identical statues of Secretariat that Russell has created; the first was commissioned by a Kentucky group and installed in 2019 at a traffic circle in Lexington, Kentucky.

A maquette of Secretariat is placed at Ashland Town Hall. Kate Chenery Tweedy is spearheading an effort to bring a monument of Secretariat to Ashland.DANIEL SANGJIB MIN, TIMES-DISPATCH

The one coming to Ashland is slightly different in that the Lexington version features “1A” on the saddle cloth and jockey arm number, which was Secretariat’s number at the 1973 Kentucky Derby. The second casting bears a “2” — the number Secretariat wore for his record-breaking run at the Belmont Stakes, perhaps his most famous race as he galloped across the finish line an astounding 31 lengths ahead of the second-place horse.

Russell says it was an honor to memorialize Secretariat in bronze because he was “not just a racehorse. He’s the racehorse of all time.”

She deeply researched Secretariat before creating the monument, including traveling to Canada to visit with jockey Ron Turcotte, who was aboard Secretariat on his Triple Crown run. The finished product depicts Secretariat in full stride.

The first monument was delivered via flatbed trailer to Lexington, amid considerable fanfare, Russell said, with even a helicopter following it into Lexington. On the trip to Ashland, she will be driving behind the trailer, and she expects the same sort of attention for a statue roughly 1 1/2 times the actual size of the horse, uncovered and visible, racing along the interstate.

At its Feb. 21 meeting, the Ashland Town Council unanimously approved a plan to lease the proposed site for the monument at the intersection of England Street and Railroad Avenue from Randolph-Macon — at $10 per year — “when and if funds are raised by the Secretariat for Virginia” committee to purchase and install the statue.

Having the site conditionally approved allowed the fundraising to commence, said Wayne Dementi, with the Secretariat for Virginia committee. Dementi and Tweedy, among others, are confident they will raise the necessary money.

A photo of Kate Chenery Tweedy and her mother, Penny Chenery, is printed on Tweedy’s book, “Secretariat’s Meadow.”DANIEL SANGJIB MIN, TIMES-DISPATCH

No town funds would be used to acquire the statue. If the purchase comes to pass and the monument is placed permanently in Ashland, the town would own the statue, while Randolph-Macon would maintain ownership of the land.

The monument would be “in the center of things,” said Ann Martin, chairman of the board of the Ashland Museum, which is serving as the sponsoring nonprofit organization for the fundraising effort.

“It will be seen by lots of people who travel on England Street, as well as those who go up and down Railroad Avenue. People will see it from the train.”

The monument would be “another boost for the town in terms of bringing outsiders into our community,” she said. “Anytime you have people visiting the town, it helps the entire town economically. We have a healthy downtown, but it would certainly make it thrive more.”

The museum features a Secretariat exhibit — Tweedy is on the museum board and provided much of the memorabilia — and Martin said the town is proud of its connection to the horse.

“It will just be raising the funds to make it happen, so we need everybody who loved Secretariat or has any interest in horses to support us in whatever way they can,” she said.

Besides the unveiling of the statue on April 1 at 2 p.m. at the Ashland Town Hall Pavilion, other events that day include a free showing of the Disney film “Secretariat” at Ashland Theatre. Tweedy will be on hand to talk about her behind-the-scenes experience on the movie set.

From 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., there will be a number of displays and children’s activities at the Town Hall and lawn area, including a presentation by Russell on sculpting the monument.

In an interview for a 2010 story on the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s birth, Tweedy talked about the “magical memories” she had from her visits to The Meadow when she was young. Among them was the first time she saw Secretariat. The big chestnut colt was barely a year old, but even as a teen she could tell there was something exceptional about him.

“He was striking … both in size and personality,” Tweedy said in the 2010 interview. “He had something in the eye that really made you say, ‘Whoa, who’s this character?’”

When reminded recently of those comments, Tweedy said Secretariat was “bigger and so beautiful, always” and further described him as “very smart and inquisitive and kind of mischievous — not bad or mean, but just a smart and lively foal.”

“He had this regal presence,” Tweedy said. “Mom would always say that his mother was the queen of that herd, kind of the alpha mare. Just by virtue of that, he inherited this mantle of, ‘Hey, I’m something special.’

“And he was.”

Photos: Secretariat

Secretariat with Ron Turcotte up, won the 99th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 1973, two and half lengths in front of Sham ridden by Laffit Pincay, Jr. (E. Martin Jessee/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT) E. Martin Jessee
FILE – In this Dec. 5, 1977, file photo, Mark J. Gerard, center, is brought into the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola, N.Y., where he was arraigned on charges in connection with the alleged switching of race horses at Belmont Park. Gerard, the veterinarian for champion horses Secretariat and Kelso whose racing career was ruined when he ran a ringer in a 1977 race at Belmont, died June 21, 2011. He was 76. (AP Photo/File) Anonymous
Secretariat, a two-year-old meadow stable red chestnut colt, shown in 1972, was named Horse of the Year on December 19, in a poll by the thoroughbred Racing Association board of selection, the staff of the Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers’ Association. The colt’s trainer, Lucien Laurin, thinks it has an excellent chance of winning the 1973 Triple Crown. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Penny Chenery, owner of Secretariat, hugs jockey Ron Turcotte in Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 5, 1973 after Turcotte rode Secretariat to a record win in the 99th Kentucky Derby. Lucien Laurin, Secretariat’s trainer (behind Ms. Chenery), and Eddie Sweat, groom (behind Secretariat), share the happy moment. (AP Photo) Anonymous
KRT SPORTS STORY SLUGGED: DERBY-SPORTSPLUS KRT FILE PHOTOGRAPH BY LEXINGTON HERALD LEADER (KRT17-April 29) Secretariat approaches the finish line to win the 1973 Belmont Stakes by a record 31 lengths. Many consider the performance to be the greatest ever by a thoroughbred. His Triple Crown was the first in 25 years. (LX) AP, PL (jak32052) 1998 (B&W ONLY) (Additional photo available on KRT/PressLink or upon request.) (Editor’s Note: 1973 File Photo) BOB COGLIANESE
FILE – In this May 6, 1978, file photo, Affirmed, jockey Steve Cauthen up, crosses the finish line to win the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky. Secretariat is the early 7-2 favorite for this weekend’s virtual Kentucky Derby, an animated race pitting all 13 Triple Crown winners on the day the Derby would have been held before the coronavirus pandemic postponed it. Citation, who won the 1948 Triple Crown, was made the 4-1 second choice. Seattle Slew and Affirmed, the 1977 and ’78 Triple Crown winners, were each listed at 5-1 odds. (AP Photo/File) STF
FILE – In this May 7, 1977, file photo, Seattle Slew, with Jean Cruguet up, crosses finish line to win the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Run Dusty Run, left of Seattle Slew, finished second, and Sanhedrin, just to right of Seattle Slew, finished third. Secretariat is the early 7-2 favorite for this weekend’s virtual Kentucky Derby, an animated race pitting all 13 Triple Crown winners on the day the Derby would have been held before the coronavirus pandemic postponed it. Citation, who won the 1948 Triple Crown, was made the 4-1 second choice. Seattle Slew and Affirmed, the 1977 and ’78 Triple Crown winners, were each listed at 5-1 odds. (AP Photo/File) Anonymous
Groom Clay Arnold stands with the 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, May 7, 1975 after giving him hiss daily bath. Old super horse has sired 27 foals since retiring to Claiborne farm in eastern Kentucky and his first offspring will be ready for the track in 1977. (AP Photo) Anonymous
Triple Crown winner Secretariat jumps and runs in the bluegrass at the Claiborne Farm near Paris, Kentucky, May 3, 1974. The four-year-old won the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness in 1973. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty) Bob Daugherty
Secretariat, Triple Crown winner in 1973, romps in the bluegrass at the Claiborne Farm near Paris, Kentucky, May 3, 1974. Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stake and the Preakness. The 100th running of the Kentucky Derby be in Louisville on Saturday. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty) Bob Daugherty
Secretariat, who won the Triple Crown of racing in 1973, relaxes at the Claiborne Farm near Paris, Kentucky, May 2, 1974 with his groom, Edward Fields. Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness in 1973. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty) Bob Daugherty
Caroline County-born Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner, is led by his groom, Eddie Sweat, into the paddock area at Aqueduct Raceway in New York on Nov. 6, 1973.DAVE PICKOFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Race horses Secretariat and Riva Ridge in their barn at Belmont racetrack, New York, Sept. 17, 1973, after a workout. Guard, maintained on a 24-hour basis to protect the fabulous pair, is seen in foreground feeding Secretariat. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff) Dave Pickoff
Triple Crown winner Secretariat has four hooves in the air as he gallops during a workout with exercise jockey George Davis in the saddle at Arlington Park racetrack near Chicago on June 29, 1973. ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE – Ron Turcotte hangs on as Secretariat romps along the final stretch just before the finish line and a victory in the 105th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., June 9, 1973. The Belmont Stakes is the final Triple Crown race before new federal regulations going into effect for horse racing across the United States. (AP Photo/File) Anonymous
FILE – In this June 9, 1973 file photo, jockey Ron Turcotte walks Secretariat towards the winners circle after they captured the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome will try to win the Triple Crown on June 7, 2014 at Belmont Park. (AP Photo/File) Uncredited
The field horses entered in the Belmont Stakes leaves the starting gate on June 9, 1973 in Belmont Park at Elmont, N.Y. From left, are, Sham; Twice a Prince; My Gallant; Pvt. Smiles, and Secretariat, who won the race and racing’s a Triple Crown. Secretariat had also won the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby. (AP Photo) Anonymous
FILE – This June 9, 1973 file photo shows Penny Chenery, owner of Secretariat, reacting after her horse won the Belmont Stakes, and the Triple Crown, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jack Kanthal, File )Jack Kanthal
FILE – In this June 9, 1973, file photo, jockey Ron Turcotte, aboard Secretariat, turns for a look at the field as they make the final turn on the way to winning the Belmont Stakes horse race, and the Triple Crown, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff, File) Dave Pickoff
With his sights set for victory in the June 9 Belmont Stakes to capture the Triple Crown, Secretariat works out with an exercise rider in the shed row at Belmont Park, New York, May 23, 1973. The horse loosened up indoors to avoid rainy weather. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm) Ron Frehm

Colonial Downs: Frank Hopf, Stanley Shina Among Newly-Appointed Racing Leadership

Originally published on on 3/7/2023, from the Churchill Downs Media Office

Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: CHDN) announced Tuesday  appointments in racing leadership for Colonial Downs Racetrack (“Colonial Downs” or the “Racetrack”) in New Kent, Virginia. CDI assumed ownership of Colonial Downs in November 2022, upon completing the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment.

Frank Hopf has been appointed Sr. Director of Racing Operations for Colonial Downs where he will oversee all racing operations including mutuels, track surfaces and racing office personnel. Hopf brings 13 years of career experience from Sam Houston Race Park where he served in a variety of leadership roles, most recently as Assistant General Manager. In his new role at Colonial Downs, Hopf will manage the relationship with valued horsemen’s group partners in Virginia, including the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) and the Virginia National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (Virginia HBPA).

Stanley Shina has been promoted to Racing Secretary at Colonial Downs after previously serving as Assistant Racing Secretary for the Racetrack. Shina has been a staple in the racing industry having served over 40 years in a number of roles as well as 10 years as a trainer. In addition to his promotion at Colonial Downs, Shina will still serve as the Assistant Racing Secretary at Tampa Bay Downs, a position he has filled for 19 years.

“We are extremely excited to announce these qualified appointments as the company focuses on building racing in Virginia and taking it to new heights,” said Gary Palmisano, Executive Director of Racing for CDI. “Frank’s vast experience at Sam Houston make him well-suited for this position at Colonial Downs and we are thrilled to welcome him to the CDI team. Stanley brings a wealth of racing industry knowledge and is certain to thrive in his new role. Frank, Stanley and the entire racing team at Colonial Downs are poised for a successful 2023 meet.”

CDI announced that Colonial Downs’ 2023 meet will include three internationally-renowned Thoroughbred stakes races for the first time: the Arlington Million, Beverly D. Stakes and Secretariat Stakes. Live racing will return to Colonial Downs July 13 to September 9, Thursday through Saturday with free General Admission access.

Kentucky derby Future Wager Pool 5 Opens Friday: Champion Forte Slated as 4-1 Morning Line Favorite

Champion Filly Wonder Wheel 8-1 Favorite in Lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager

Racing fans have a chance to bet the Kentucky Derby well in advance this weekend at Rosie’s locations in New Kent, Richmond, Hampton, Collinsville, Dumfries and Vinton well as Virginia-Horseplay OTB locations and via our four online betting partners —,, and The Derby itself is on Saturday May 6th. Stay tuned to for updates.  

LOUISVILLE, KY. (Tuesday, March 7, 2023) – On the heels of winning his 3-year-old debut in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (Grade II), Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte was tabbed as the 4-1 overall morning line betting favorite in Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which is set for its three-day span Friday-Sunday.

Forte in the Fountain of Youth Stakes

Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager will run concurrently with the lone pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. In addition to $2 Win and Exacta betting, an Oaks/Derby Future Double is part of the wagering menu. The wagers will open Friday at noon (all times Eastern) and the Kentucky Derby Future Wager will close Sunday at 6 p.m. while the Oaks Future Wager will close 30 minutes later at 6:30 p.m.

Through the first four pools of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, Forte was tabbed as the individual favorite three times – Pool 2 (10-1); Pool 3 (7-1) and Pool 4 (8-1). In the first pool, Forte closed as the second individual choice at 16-1 behind Extra Anejo (12-1).

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Forte made his return to the races Saturday and cruised to a 4 ½-length score in the Fountain of Youth. Previously, the talented son of Violence was victorious in the $300,000 Hopeful (GI), $600,000 Breeders’ Futurity (GI) and $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His impressive resume earned the Eclipse Award for Champion 2-Year-Old.

Here is the complete field for Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (with trainer and morning line odds): #1 Angel of Empire (Brad Cox, 30-1); #2 Arabian Knight (Tim Yakteen, 10-1); #3 Arabian Lion (Tim Yakteen, 50-1); #4 Blazing Sevens (Chad Brown, 40-1); #5 Cagliostro (Cherie DeVaux, 99-1); #6 Cairo (IRE) (Aidan O’Brien, 50-1); #7 Classic Car Wash (Mark Casse, 99-1): #8 Classic Catch (Todd Pletcher, 50-1); #9 Confidence Game (Keith Desormeaux, 30-1); #10 Congruent (Antonio Sano, 80-1); #11 Cyclone Mischief (Dale Romans, 40-1); #12 Denington (Kenny McPeek, 80-1); #13 Disarm (Steve Asmussen, 99-1); #14 Forte (Pletcher, 4-1); #15 Geaux Rocket Ride (Richard Mandella, 20-1); #16 General Jim (Shug McGaughey, 80-1); #17 Hejazi (Tim Yakteen, 40-1); #18 Hit Show (Brad Cox, 30-1); #19 Instant Coffee (Brad Cox, 30-1); #20 Kingsbarns (Todd Pletcher, 50-1); #21 Litigate (Todd Pletcher, 50-1); #22 Mage (Gustavo Delgado, 80-1); #23 Major Dude (Todd Pletcher, 50-1); #24 Mandarin Hero (JPN) (Terunobu Fujita, 50-1); #25 National Treasure (Tim Yakteen, 30-1); #26 Perriere (JPN) (Yoichi Kuroiwa, 50-1); #27 Practical Move (Tim Yakteen, 8-1); #28 Raise Cain (Ben Colebrook, 50-1); #29 Red Route One (Steve Asmussen, 40-1); #30 Reincarnate (Tim Yakteen, 30-1); #31 Rocket Can (Bill Mott, 40-1); #32 Skinner (John Sherriffs, 40-1); #33 Sun Thunder (Kenny McPeek, 99-1); #34 Tapit Trice (Todd Pletcher, 15-1); #35 Tapit’s Conquest (Brad Cox, 80-1); #36 Two Eagles River (Chris Hartman, 80-1): #37 Two Phil’s (Larry Rivelli, 80-1); #38 Verifying (Brad Cox, 50-1); #39 Victory Formation (Brad Cox, 80-1); and #40 “All Other 3-Year-Olds” (5-1).

Overall, there are 18 new entrants in Pool 5 from Pool 4: Arabian Knight, Arabian Lion, Cagliostro, Cairo (IRE), Classic Car Wash, Classic Catch, Congruent, Denington, Hejazi, Major Dude, Mandarin Hero, National Treasure, Perriere, Raise Cain, Reincarnate, Skinner, Sun Thunder and Two Eagles River.

In the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, D J Stable’s Champion Filly Wonder Wheel was made the 8-1 morning line favorite in the field of 39 individual betting interests plus an option for “All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies” from the 2020 foal crop that were not listed.

          Trained by Mark Casse, Wonder Wheel made her seasonal debut in the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes where she was heavily backed at odds of 1-2 but was upset by fellow Kentucky Oaks Future Wager contender Dreaming of Snow.

          Along with Wonder Wheel, other top fillies that were incorporated in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager include Godolphin’s $400,000 Rachel Alexandra (GII) winner Pretty Mischievous and $300,000 Honeybee (GIII) winner Wet PaintGold Standard Racing’s flashy multiple stakes winner Hoosier Philly; and Stonestreet Stables’ $250,000 Demoiselle (GII) winner Julia Shining.

Here is the field for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (with trainer and morning line odds): #1 Affirmative Lady (Graham Motion, 99-1); #2 Ami Please (Doug O’Neill, 99-1); #3 And Tell Me Nolies (Peter Miller, 40-1); #4 Asset Purchase (Chad Brown, 30-1); #5 Atomically (Todd Pletcher, 50-1); #6 Blessed Touch (Tim Yakteen, 50-1); #7 Botanical (Brad Cox, 20-1); #8 Capella (Brad Cox, 40-1); #9 Chop Chop (Brad Cox, 40-1); #10 Clearly Unhinged (Michael McCarthy, 40-1); #11 Condensation (Chris Hartman, 40-1); #12 Dorth Vader (Mike Yates, 20-1); #13 Dreaming of Snow (Gerald Bennett, 30-1); #14 Flashy Gem (Brad Cox, 40-1); #15 Flying Connection (Todd Fincher, 50-1); #16 Gaming Girl (Todd Pletcher, 50-1); #17 Grand Love (Steve Asmussen, 50-1); #18 Guns n’ Graces (Chad Brown, 40-1); #19 Homecoming Queen (Rodolphe Brisset, 99-1); #20 Hoosier Philly (Tom Amoss, 15-1); #21 Interpolate (Chad Brown, 30-1); #22 Julia Shining (Todd Pletcher, 12-1); #23 Justique (John Shirreffs, 40-1); #24 Merlazza (Brad Cox, 99-1); #25 Mimi Kakushi (Salem Bin Ghadayer, 80-1); #26 Miracle (Todd Plecher, 20-1); #27 Munnys Gold (Todd Pletcher, 30-1); #28 Occult (Chad Brown, 20-1); #29 Pretty Mischievous (Brendan Walsh, 10-1); #30 Punchbowl (Brad Cox, 20-1); #31 Red Carpet Ready (Rusty Arnold II, 15-1); #32 Royal Spa (Rodolphe Brisset, 50-1); #33 Seduction (Todd Pletcher, 50-1); #34 She’s Lookin Lucky (Matt Shirer, 30-1); #35 Shidabhuti (Chad Brown, 15-1); #36 Southlawn (Norm Casse, 20-1); #37 The Alys Look (Brad Cox, 15-1); #38 Wet Paint (Brad Cox, 12-1); #39 Wonder Wheel (Casse, 8-1); and #40 “All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies” (15-1).

Forte in his win of the Fountain of Youth Stakes

The $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) is set for Saturday, May 6 and the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks will run one day prior on Friday, May 5.

There are no refunds in the Kentucky Derby or Oaks Future Wagers. Should Churchill Downs officials determine during the duration of this week’s three-day pool that one of the wagering interests has experienced an injury, illness or other circumstance that would prevent the horse from participating in the Kentucky Derby or Oaks, betting on the individual horse will be suspended immediately.         

More information, Brisnet past performances and real-time odds on both wagers will be available before the pool opens Friday online at

Following this pool, there will be one additional opportunity for fans to bet early on this year’s Kentucky Derby contenders. Pool 6 will span March 30-April 1.

Fountain of Youth: Champion Forte powerful in season opener

Congratulations to Virginia Connected Forte, The Early Kentucky Derby Favorite won the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He spent much of his youth at Breeder Amys Moore’s South Gate Farm in Virginia.

Originally published on on 3/4/2023, written by Mike Welsch

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Aside from a few anxious moments, perhaps, in the run down the backstretch, the $400,000 Fountain of Youth played out about as perfectly as trainer Todd Pletcher could have hoped for his leading Kentucky Derby candidate Forte.

The reigning juvenile champion rallying to a one-sided and very easy 4 1/2-length victory over Holy Bull winner Rocket Can in his first start since capturing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile four months earlier.

“The race pretty much unfolded the way we talked about and ended the way we’d hoped,” Pletcher said. “Watching the head on shot going down the backstretch I was thinking to myself ‘where’s he going to go’ when he was in behind those other horses. But it all worked out well.”

Photo Taken by Lauren King

Forte got pinched a bit after the start but quickly recovered to race well placed while saving ground on the opening bend under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr.  Forte finally worked his way into the clear on the second turn after racing behind a wall of horses down the backstretch, and angled four wide to commence his rally approaching the quarter pole.

He stuck his head in front of the pacesetting Cyclone Mischief leaving the furlong marker, accelerated to suddenly open a commanding advantage, then was allowed to ease up some by Ortiz near the end.

Rocket Can prompted the pace from the outset, was set down hard between horses to continue willingly in the first flight turning for home, fighting on gamely to edge clear of Cyclone Mischief and be second best while no threat to the winner at the end.

Photo Taken by Ryan Thompson

Cyclone Mischief set the pace from arguably the deeper footing nearest the rail, could not resist Forte when challenged, and gradually weakened through the final furlong while bouncing back nicely from his disappointing performance as the favorite four weeks earlier in the Holy Bull.

Mage, who entered the Fountain of Youth with only one previous start, an easy seven-furlong maiden win, broke last then rushed to contention while wide around the clubhouse turn. The promising youngster forced the issue three wide into the stretch, lugged in and checked briefly behind Rocket Can in early stretch before ultimately tiring from the effort.

Holy Bull runner-up Shadow Dragon, Il Miracolo, Dangerous Ride, Blazing Sevens, and Legacy Isle rounded out the complete order of finish.

Forte, owned in partnership by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable, covered a mile and one-sixteenth over a fast track in 1:43.12 and paid $3 for his fifth win in six starts. He was given a 98 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He got to the first turn in the position we wanted and was able to save some ground on the first turn after getting jostled around after the start,” said Pletcher. “He was traveling well behind those horses.

“Honestly I can’t say I’m surprised by his performance or how easily he won. I’ve felt he’s a really, really good horse and loved the way he was training into the race, he was doing exceptional. I was really confident coming in and he gave us the kind of performance we were hoping for.”

Pletcher said the $1 million Florida Derby here on April 1 would likely be next for Forte.

“We put ourselves in the position running here today that would give us the option to run back in the Florida Derby and off the strength of this race today, the way he handled everything, I’d say the Florida Derby would most likely be next,” Pletcher advised.   

Ortiz said he thought the Fountain of Youth should set Forte up nicely moving forward.

“I had a lot of confidence in him today,” said Ortiz, who has been aboard the juvenile champ in all six career starts. “He’s handled the kickback pretty good before, so I wasn’t afraid. I just bided my time to go, decided to wait a little more, until the three-eighths pole. I went around horses and let him go and show what he can do.”

Photo Taken by Lauren King

 Trainer Bill Mott said he thought despite getting a little geared up in the post parade, Rocket Can still ran his race.

“He ran big,” said Mott. “He was a little more wound up than I like to see him, he was sharp leaving there, was in good position, was tactical and held on well.”

Trainer Dale Romans said he was very happy with Cyclone Mischief’s performance and like Forte, he too is likely on target for the Florida Derby.

“It’s a relief to see him run hard the way he did, he tried hard all the way and did all the work and I’m very pleased with him,” said Romans. “It’s definitely a step forward and we’ll go on to the next one.”

Ashland, Virginia to Kick off 50th Anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown with Statue Unveiling

Secretariat, in the form of a 3,500-pound bronze monument, is racing to his home state of Virginia to kick off the national 50TH anniversary celebration of his immortal Triple Crown of 1973. The “Secretariat Racing Into History” monument by renowned equine artist Jocelyn Russell is traveling over 1,000 miles from the foundry in Oklahoma to the historic town of Ashland, Virginia. At 21 feet long and 11.5 feet tall, this is the largest monument of Secretariat in existence, dramatically illustrating the Virginia-born champion’s larger-than-life presence as an equine athlete and American icon. On April 1, the heroically proportioned artwork will be formally unveiled as the centerpiece of the anniversary celebration.

Sculptor Jocelyn Russell and a graphic of where the Secretariat statue will appear in Ashland.

Ashland has the honor of being the first venue of the multi-state Secretariat 50th anniversary  tour due to longstanding ties to the Chenery family. Secretariat’s breeder Christopher Chenery grew up here, attended Randolph-Macon College, and founded nearby Meadow Stable where Secretariat was born in 1970. Penny Chenery took over the farm for her father and managed Secretariat’s spectacular career. Her daughter, author/speaker Kate Chenery Tweedy, lives in Ashland and is carrying on the Secretariat legacy. She is chairing the Secretariat For Virginia Committee to raise the funds to place the Secretariat monument permanently in Ashland.

Wayne Dementi and Kate Tweedy are both members of the Secretariat For Virginia committee.

“Secretariat’s story truly would come full circle if the monument is placed in Ashland,” said Ms. Tweedy. “How fitting it would be to see this happen during this milestone Triple Crown anniversary.”  

Here is a preliminary schedule of the festivities on April 1. The day’s activities are FREE. 

11 am – 1:30 pm at the Ashland Theatre: a free showing of the Disney film “Secretariat.” Kate Tweedy, who was in the film with her mother, will share her behind-the-scenes experience on the movie set.

2:00 pm at Ashland Town Hall Pavilion: the official unveiling of “Secretariat Racing Into History” monument with local officials, special guests, live music and birthday cake.

2:30 – 5:00 pm at Town Hall and Lawn areas: meet and greet with a Secretariat lookalike horse who is a descendant of “Big Red;” display of the first saddle Secretariat wore at Meadow Stable; kids’ activities and crafts; presentation on sculpting the monument by Jocelyn Russell; videos of Secretariat’s Triple Crown races; tours of the Ashland Museum  featuring its Meadow Stable display; sale of Secretariat merchandise; and more.

“Secretariat Racing Into History” will stay in Ashland until late April. Then Ms. Russell and the monument will continue the anniversary tour through the summer. Further details of the tour will be announced by shortly. 

After the anniversary tour, the bronze is expected to return to Ashland as the fund-raising effort by SECVA continues. If fund-raising goals are met, this will be the first and only monument of Secretariat located in his home state. The town of Ashland and Randolph-Macon College have agreed to provide a site on the college campus near the CSX train tracks. 

A small version of the statue is modeled after “Big Red” finishing the 1973 Belmont.

“I have always wanted this second edition of “Secretariat – Racing into History” to come home to Virginia,” said Ms. Russell. “This is literally where his history started.” The first version of the monument was placed in Lexington, Kentucky in 2019.

Donations for the monument are being accepted by the Ashland Museum, a 501c3 non-profit organization. For continuing program updates and additional information, please see

The cost of the Secretariat monument is $550,000, including transportation to the site. Installation and landscaping are additional costs, for which the group hopes to obtain in-kind contributions. SECVA is accepting pledges online and donations through the Ashland Museum, also a partner in the project.

If you have any questions on the monument or would like more information on how you can help make this movement to bring Secretariat home to Virginia a reality, please contact us and become part of “Friends of Secretariat for Virginia (SECVA).”  You can also join our email list for updates on our progress.  We look forward to hearing from you!