Secretariat wins spot on Virginia Legends Walk by a nose
November 21, 2012
VIRGINIA BEACH—The most famous horse in Thoroughbred racing history has edged his way into the Virginia Legends Walk.
Triple Crown winner Secretariat received 50.4 percent of the ballots cast for this year’s candidates of famous Virginians to be included in the history-based walking tour.
“As representatives of the birthplace of Secretariat, we’re pleased to learn of this recognition,” said Greg Hicks, vice president of communications for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. The federation is a partner in the State Fair of Virginia, held at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, where Secretariat was born.
“His story of family ties and overcoming obstacles to become perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time continues to inspire new generations who visit The Meadow or participate in a horse event at our facility,” Hicks said.
Secretariat was among 61 eligible Virginians qualified this year for inclusion on the Virginia Legends Walk. Ballots were sent to a statewide network of almost 1,300 judges, including university presidents, heads of historical societies and museums, history professors, librarians, news media representatives and Virginia Beach teachers. The top five runners-up included oceanographer Matthew Fontaine Maury, country music legends The Statler Brothers, bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley and musician Bruce Hornsby.
The Virginia Legends Walk is located in the heart of the Virginia Beach resort area. Begun in 1999, it features 37 key historical figures from Virginia, from George Washington to tennis great Arthur Ashe.
Secretariat is the only individual, human or animal, to appear on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated magazines. He was depicted on a U.S. postage stamp in 1999.
Sports Illustrated ranked Secretariat third among its top 50 Virginia athletes of the 20th century, behind Ashe and Lawrence Taylor, and among its Top 100 athletes of the 20th century.
ESPN ranked Secretariat 35th among its 100 top athletes of the 20th century, the highest-ranked non-human of three on that list. His 1973 Belmont Stakes victory was ranked second on the ESPN list of “Greatest Sports Performances” behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game.
Contact Hicks at 804-290-1139 or Sean Brickell, Brickell & Partners, at 757-463-4500.