Penny Chenery, owner of Triple Crown champion Secretariat, dies

Penny Chenery with Riva Ridge. (Keeneland)
Penny Chenery with Riva Ridge. (Keeneland)

Former Herald-Leader racing writer Maryjean Wall wrote a piece about Penny Chenery for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Long before the Hollywood version of the great horse Secretariat, I came into the sphere of the horse and his owner, Penny Chenery. She was the woman from the “Secretariat” movie and I felt privileged to know her. For more on this story, go here.

Obituary from The New York Times.


Statement from Bill Thomason, president and CEO, Keeneland

Keeneland joins the Thoroughbred community worldwide in mourning the passing of Penny Chenery. Mrs. Chenery exemplified the very best of our sport, serving as one of its most beloved and passionate ambassadors. She was a generous owner, tirelessly sharing the legacy of her great Triple Crown winner, Secretariat, with generations of fans that extended far beyond racing. Keeneland is honored to have played a role in the movie ‘Secretariat’, and to remember her 1972 Blue Grass Stakes winner Riva Ridge. We are thankful for her extraordinary contributions to racing, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Statement from Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs

“Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby family join all in Thoroughbred racing in mourning the passing of Penny Chenery. Fans embraced her as the owner of Secretariat, her legendary Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown winner and American sports icon, along with her ongoing role as the protector of his legacy and lifelong supporter of causes that promote the health and welfare of retired Thoroughbreds. We at Churchill Downs also fondly recall her 1972 Kentucky Derby victory with Riva Ridge and other occasions when horses carried her famed blue-and-white blocked silks in races beneath our Twin Spires. Mrs. Chenery’s wonderful life had a deep and lasting impact on all in Thoroughbred racing and to countless individuals beyond our industry. If anyone ever deserved the title ‘First Lady of American Racing,’ it was Penny Chenery, and our thoughts are with her family, friends and all who loved her.”

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