Sculpture of Esteemed Saluter Will Grace Great Meadow
by KRISTEN ARMSTRONG, Staff Writer
|Six-time Virginia Gold Cup winner and
two-time International Gold Cup steeplechase winner Saluter may spend
his days fox-hunting, now that he's retired, but his legacy is far from
A bronze statue of the bay gelding recently was installed at the Great Meadow steeplechase track (the site of his multiple wins), and will be a constant reminder of Saluter's remarkable career.
Henry and Ann Stern, Saluter's owners, commissioned sculptor Alexa King from Mt. Horeb, Wisc., to create the half-lifesize portrait statue.
Before diving into the project, King traveled to the Great Meadow track and watched some races to get a feel for the site. She then visited with Saluter at trainer Jack Fisher's Maryland farm to take measurements and photos of the legendary timber horse.
Saluter retired at the end of 2000 with a record 21 timber wins and $429,489 in timber earnings.
Through her interactions with Saluter and by talking to as many people as possible who know him, King was able to get a pretty good feel for his “all-about-me” personality.
“The easy part is to create the horse,” she said. “The tough part is getting the essence of that particular horse. I like to talk to the people who worked him, owned him, learn how he trained, what his day-to-day life was like - to know him from the inside out.”
King gave the Sterns five or six different design concepts of the statue for them to choose from. The final decision was to have Saluter in a walking pose, to give the statue a sense of movement.
The head of the sculpture has an alert expression and it faces the crowd in its position close to the finish-line of the Great Meadow track. It is situated on native field stone foundation donated by Dr. Stephen Seager.
The portrait statue took nine months to complete, and was ready just in time for the International Gold Cup race.
Julie Kenney, Robert Banner, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Stern (with Arthur Arundel between them) and Dr. William Allison celebrate the unveiling.
(Photo by Douglas Lees)