Penny Chenery, Owner of the Triple Crown Winner Secretariat, Dies at 95
In 1973, when Secretariat became the first Triple Crown winner since Citation, in 1948,
and was again horse of the year, Ms. Chenery, then known as Penny Tweedy, followed figures like Lucille Markey of Calumet Farm; Elizabeth Arden Graham of Main Chance Farm; and Allaire C. duPont, owner of the champion gelding Kelso, in the limited circle of thoroughbred racing’s well-known women.
In the 2013 documentary “Penny & Red: The Story of Secretariat’s Owner,” produced and directed by Ms. Chenery’s son John Tweedy Jr., she revealed
that she had an affair during that racing season of 1973 with Mr. Laurin, the trainer, arising, she said, from the crumbling of her marriage to John Tweedy (they would divorce late in 1973) and her feeling of isolation in facing the pressures of the time.
Penny Chenery, who 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, died on Saturday at her home in Boulder, Colo. She was 95.
I’ve always felt that because he was a chestnut horse and our stable colors were blue and white, he was running in red, white and blue.”
The story of the wonder horse and the emergence of Ms. Chenery as a pre-eminent figure in thoroughbred racing have endured in popular culture.
Ms. Chenery first gained prominence in 1972, when Secretariat was horse of the year as a 2-year-old
and his 3-year-old stablemate Riva Ridge, who is not mentioned in the film, won both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.
When Secretariat died at 19 in 1989, Ms. Chenery, who oversaw his fortunes as the manager of her
family’s Meadow Stable in Virginia, recalled how he had enthralled so many in troubled times.
“Lucien Laurin trained and campaigned the horse, not me,” Ms. Chenery noted long afterward in recalling Secretariat’s glory years.