She was not only a legendary figure in the racing industry but an icon and inspiration to the world. “What a fascinating lady, and a legend to anyone who loves the races,” Heather Watson writes. I could not have said it any better Heather. I had the opportunity to meet Penny Chenery many years ago during the 2013 series of events surrounding the the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown sweep. I will always remember what I felt in her presence.
I felt a since of pride speaking to her. An instant awareness of what it means to being born and raised in the state of Kentucky, what my home state of Kentucky means to the Horse Racing industry and the legend of Secretariat. If you are like me you tear up every time “My Old Kentucky Home” plays before the post parade, when the horses step onto the track for the Kentucky Derby and the band strikes up “My Old Kentucky Home” and 160,000+ people sing along, the nostalgic meaning and iconic venue that is, Churchill Downs! – The Kentucky Derby. But that’s for another day.
A New York native, Penny Chenery was a trailblazer who broke into the boys club of horse racing and showed them all up with a little horse she owned and believed in.
Penny Chenery took over her father’s thoroughbred farm with little knowledge of horse racing and became one of the few prominent women in the sport as the owner and breeder of Secretariat, perhaps the fastest horse who ever raced. Loss for words as I just read of her passing. She was 95.
A legendary life Disney movies are made of …
Reading articles about her passing has taken me back to that first meeting. There will never be another like her, her unique insights, inspirational wisdom and dedication and belief in a horse named Secretariat.
In lieu of flowers, the Secretariat Foundation is offering special Penny Chenery Memorial fundraising projects on behalf of selected equine-related charities. For details, visit …