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Christopher Chenery

christopher chenery, christopher chenery tweedy
Christopher Chenery September 19, 1886 – January 3, 1973 was an American engineer, businessman, and the owner/breeder of record for Thoroughbred horse racing's US Triple Crown champion Secretariat


  • 1 Early life and career
  • 2 Meadow Stable
  • 3 Honors
  • 4 References
  • 5 Further reading
  • 6 External links

Early life and career

Christopher Chenery, the son of Ida and James Chenery, was born in Richmond and raised in Ashland, Virginia[1] He had three brothers, William Ludlow Chenery, who became editor of Collier's Weekly,[2] Dr Alan Chenery,[3] and Charles Morris Chenery A fourth brother died young Chenery's sister was Blanche Chenery Perrin, a writer of children's books centered on horse racing, such as Born To Race[permanent dead link] Chenery visited relatives at the Meadow as a child and always loved horses

He studied at Randolph-Macon College and Washington and Lee University, graduating in 1909 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering[1] He began his engineering career in Virginia before moving to projects in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, but his career was interrupted with service in the United States Army Corps of Engineers during World War I During the war, he commanded training facilities at Camp Humphries, Virginia Afterward, he was a government consultant on engineering and construction[4]

On January 18, 1917, he married Helen Clementina Bates, who died in November 1967 They had two daughters, Helen Bates "Penny" Tweedy and Margaret Carmichael, and one son Hollis Burnley Chenery, an economist at the World Bank[2]

Chenery formed the Federal Water Service Corporation in 1926,[4] later the Federal Water and Gas Corporation Chenery was involved in two cases before the Supreme Court of the United States that are considered landmark cases of United States administrative law[5] In 1936, he became the chairman of the board of another utility, Southern Natural Gas[4] later Sonat, eventually purchased by the El Paso Corp In 1954 he formed the Offshore Company, a Southern Production Company subsidiary conducting deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico He was chairman of the board and chief executive officer until 1965[2]

Meadow Stable

One of the founders of the New York Racing Association, Chenery made his home in the village of Pelham Manor, New York,[4] for nearly fifty years from the early 1920s, until just prior to his passing in 1973 He was an active member of the community, including serving on the vestry of Christ Church, the Protestant Episcopal Church in Pelham However, he is best known for his 1936 purchase of The Meadow, an ancestral property in Caroline County near his boyhood home in Ashland, Virginia It was there that he founded Meadow Stud a stud farm which bred thoroughbreds; and Meadow Stable, under whose colors the horses ran According to Alan Chenery, Jr, Christopher's nephew, the Chenery brothers decided that the horses from Meadow Stables would wear the blue and white colors of their college fraternity, Phi Delta Theta[6]

Chenery bought "four or five horses for a moderate price" in 1936, and soon afterward "a good 16-year-old horse named Whiskaway for $115" In 1939, he purchased his foundation mare, Hildene, for $750 Hildene would produce two of Chenery's most important horses: Hill Prince, the 1950 American Horse of the Year, and First Landing, champion juvenile in 1958 and third in the 1959 Kentucky Derby He also owned Cicada, champion filly at two, three, and four and once the world's leading money winner among mares[4]

In 1947 Chenery purchased a stakes-winning mare named Imperatrice at a dispersal sale for $30,000 She would go on to produce several stakes winners for The Meadow, but her most important offspring was Somethingroyal, an unplaced mare who became the 1973 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Prior to foaling Secretariat at age 18, Somethingroyal had already produced Sir Gaylord, a stakes winner who became an important sire, whose offspring included Epsom Derby winner Sir Ivor Somethingroyal's other stakes winners included First Family and Syrian Sea[7][8]

In the mid-1950s Chenery was one of three men appointed by the Jockey Club to restructure and restore integrity to New York racing Along with John W Hanes and Harry Guggenheim, Chenery organized the non-profit Greater New York Racing Authority, with the novel idea of funneling proceeds to the state However, it was Chenery who personally obtained the $30 million loan necessary to renovate New York race tracks after banks balked at financing "an enterprise based on gambling"[4]

In 1965 Chenery entered a foal-sharing agreement with Ogden Phipps, who owned a leading sire, Bold Ruler Each year, they would breed two Meadow broodmares with Bold Ruler Then, before the foals were born, they would decide by coin toss who got first choice of the two foals In 1968, Chenery became ill, and his daughter Penny took charge of The Meadow She chose Somethingroyal as one of the mares for breeding to Bold Ruler In 1969, Tweedy lost the coin toss with Phipps, who chose the other mare's foal The Meadow kept Somethingroyal's yet-to-be-born foal, the future Secretariat[2]

Chenery was admitted to New Rochelle Hospital in late February 1968 He remained there until his death on January 3, 1973, before Secretariat's Triple Crown victory occurred[4]

Now known as Meadow Event Park, the former farm became the home of the Virginia State Fair in 2009[9]


Christopher Chenery was recognized by the American horse racing industry with a number of laurels including the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder in 1972 and 1973 In 2019 he received its highest honor when the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame made him one of the Pillars of the Turf[10]


  1. ^ a b "Secretariat Has Links to Ashland - Ashland Museum" ashlandmuseumorg Retrieved 2 July 2016mw-parser-output citecitationmw-parser-output citation qmw-parser-output id-lock-free a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-free amw-parser-output id-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output id-lock-registration a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-registration amw-parser-output id-lock-subscription a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-subscription amw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registrationmw-parser-output cs1-subscription span,mw-parser-output cs1-registration spanmw-parser-output cs1-ws-icon amw-parser-output codecs1-codemw-parser-output cs1-hidden-errormw-parser-output cs1-visible-errormw-parser-output cs1-maintmw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registration,mw-parser-output cs1-formatmw-parser-output cs1-kern-left,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-leftmw-parser-output cs1-kern-right,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-right
  2. ^ a b c d "Chenery, Christopher T 1886–1973" wwwencyclopediavirginiaorg Retrieved 3 July 2016
  3. ^ "Obituary: Christopher Chenery the Free-Lance Star" newsgooglecom Retrieved 3 July 2016
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Nichols, Joe 5 January 1973 "Christopher T Chenery Is Dead; Meadow Stable Founder Was 86" The New York Times Retrieved 3 July 2016
  5. ^ SEC v Chenery Corp, 332 US 194 1947
  6. ^ "Chenery Brothers - Phi Delta Theta" wwwphideltcom Retrieved 3 July 2016
  7. ^ "From the pages of The Blood-Horse: A Look Back at Secretariat's Triple Crown Season link to downloadable PDF" wwwbloodhorsecom Retrieved 1 July 2016
  8. ^ "Somethingroyal" American Classic Pedigrees Retrieved 28 June 2016
  9. ^ Tweedy, Kate and Ladin, Leeanne Secretariat's Meadow 2010 Dementi Milestone Publishing ISBN 978-0-9827019-0-4
  10. ^ "Chistopher T Chenery" Racingmuseumorg 2018-01-01 Retrieved 2019-10-17

Further reading

  • Nack, William Secretariat: The Making of a Champion 2002 Da Capo Press ISBN 978-0-306-81133-3

External links

mw-parser-output portalmw-parser-output portaltleftmw-parser-output portaltrightmw-parser-output portal>ulmw-parser-output portal>ul>limw-parser-output portal>ul>li>span:first-childmw-parser-output portal>ul>li>span:last-child
  • Biography portal
  • Pelham Manor website
  • The Meadow Event Park
  • Virginia Thoroughbred Association Hall of Fame
  • Bowen, Edward L Legacies of the Turf: A Century of Great Thoroughbred Breeders 2003 Eclipse Press ISBN 978-1-58150-102-5

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