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Penny Chenery

penny chenery, penny chenery tweedy divorce
Helen Bates "Penny" Chenery Tweedy January 27, 1922 – September 16, 2017 was an American sportswoman who bred and owned Secretariat, the 1973 winner of the Triple Crown The youngest of three children, she graduated from The Madeira School in 1939 and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College, then studied at the Columbia Business School, where she met her future husband, John Tweedy, Sr, a Columbia Law School student[3] In March 2011, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, awarded Chenery an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree Married in May 1949, the couple had four children


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Accomplishments and accolades
  • 4 Personal life and death
  • 5 Depictions in media
  • 6 References
  • 7 Further reading
  • 8 External links

Early life

Penny Chenery was born in 1922 in New Rochelle, New York, and was raised in Pelham Manor, New York The youngest of three children, she was named Helen Bates Chenery after her mother Her father, Christopher Chenery, a Virginian who grew up poor, was a utilities financier who founded Southern Natural Gas Company, among other utilities He also founded Meadow Stable, a thoroughbred racing operation and horse breeding business at The Meadow in Caroline County[4]

Chenery had a love of horses from a young age, and learned to ride at age five Believing her appreciation for horses was inherited from her father, Chenery stated, "My father really loved horses I think a parent often communicates his love to a child" She shared many of her father's interests and goals, including her education She attended the Madeira School in McLean, Virginia, a highly competitive girls' high school with facilities for riding and housing horses brought to the school by a number of students Following her graduation, she attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and studied American history[5]


After graduating in 1943, Chenery worked as an assistant for Gibbs and Cox, a company that designed war craft for the Normandy invasion; subsequent to the invasion, she quit her job At the urging of her father, Chenery volunteered to join the Red Cross and in 1945 traveled to France as a Doughnut Girl to help war-weary soldiers transition to ships home at the end of World War II[5]

When Chenery returned from Europe in 1946, her father encouraged her to advance her education by attending the Columbia Business School To make this proposition more attractive, her father offered to pay his daughter's way, and give her an allowance as well, equal to the amount of the highest paying job she could get if she did not go to business school Chenery decided to attend, and was one of twenty women attending that year among eight hundred men While there, she met John Bayard Tweedy, whom she married in May 1949 For nineteen years, in Denver, Colorado, she lived the life of a suburban housewife and mother to four children: Sarah, Christopher, Kate, and John Jr She enjoyed skiing in Vail, Colorado, with her husband, riding her horse, and fund-raising for the Red Cross[6]

Chenery's life changed when her father became disabled He was admitted to New Rochelle Hospital in late February 1968 and remained there until his death in January 1973 Always profitable, the stable began losing money in the late 1960s, exacerbated by her father's illness Chenery's siblings originally planned to sell the operation when their father could no longer run it Chenery, however, wanted to try to fulfill her father's dream to win the Kentucky Derby The housewife and mother of four children was elected president of the board of Meadow Stud, which ran the racing stable In 1969, she fired long-time trainer Casey Hayes Chenery consulted with longtime family friend and business associate Bull Hancock of Claiborne Farm, and on his advice hired Roger Laurin to train and manage the Meadow Stable horses Laurin helped to cut costs and return the operation to profitability before leaving to train for the powerful Phipps family stables In May 1971, Chenery hired his father, Lucien Laurin, and in 1972 they guided the Meadow Farm's colt Riva Ridge to victory in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes and the two-year-old Secretariat to 1972 American Horse of the Year honors The following year, Secretariat captured the imagination of racing fans worldwide when he became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years Both horses were inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame[7]

Although Christopher Chenery was recorded as the official breeder of Secretariat, Penny Chenery had already taken control of Meadow Stables after her father became ill It was Penny Chenery who made the decision to breed their mare Somethingroyal to Bold Ruler The first mating in 1968 produced the filly The Bride The second breeding, in 1969, resulted in Secretariat[8]

In addition to breeding Secretariat, Chenery bred Saratoga Dew, who became the first New York-bred horse ever to win an Eclipse Award when the filly was voted the 1992 American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly[9]

Accomplishments and accolades

In 1983, Chenery, Martha F Gerry, and Allaire du Pont became the first women to be admitted as members of The Jockey Club[10] From 1976 to 1984, Chenery served as president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Also in 1976, she became a member of the Executive Committee of the American Horse Council, the horse industry trade association in Washington, DC She also served as a member of the judges' panel of the Jockey Club, which bestows the Dogwood Dominion Award In addition, she helped found the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, an organization dedicated to saving Thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter

In 2003, the Arlington Park track established the annual "Penny Chenery Distinguished Woman in Racing Award" In 2006, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association honored her with the Eclipse Award of Merit for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in thoroughbred racing In 2009, she was awarded the Smith College Medal for extraordinary professional achievement and outstanding service to her community[11]

Personal life and death

Chenery moved from Colorado to Long Island, New York, in 1972 She began an affair with Lucien Laurin during the racing season of 1973 that continued until Secretariat's retirement and contributed to her divorce from John Tweedy in late 1973 She later married Lennart Ringquist, also ending in divorce[8] She moved to Lexington, Kentucky in the early 1990s and in 2005 moved to Boulder, Colorado to spend her final years near her children[12]

Penny Chenery died on September 16, 2017, at her home in Boulder, Colorado from complications from a stroke She was 95 years old[8]

Depictions in media

Chenery was portrayed by actress Diane Lane in the 2010 motion picture Secretariat, released on October 8, 2010 Chenery herself appeared in a cameo role in the film as a spectator at the Belmont Stakes


  1. ^ https://wwwKentuckycom/entertainment/movies one esq reviews/article44444970html
  2. ^ Christine, Bill "Penny Chenery's life, unscripted" Daily Racing Form September 30, 2010
  3. ^ nlnewsbankcom
  4. ^ Chenery Tweedy, Kate; Meadows Ladin, Leeanne; Dementi, Wayne 2010 Secretariat's Meadow--The Land, The Family, The Legend Dementi Milestone Publishing ISBN 978-0-982-7019-0-4mw-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
  5. ^ a b Chenery Tweedy, Kate; Meadows Ladin, Leeanne; Dementi, Wayne 2010 Secretariat's Meadow: The Land, The Family, The Legend Dementi Milestone Publishing ISBN 978-0-982-7019-0-4
  6. ^ Chenery Tweedy, Kate; Meadows Ladin, Leeanne; Dementi, Wayne 2010 Secretariat's Meadow--The Land, The Family, The Legend Dementi Milestone Publishing ISBN 978-0-982-7019-0-4
  7. ^ Chenery Tweedy, Kate; Meadows Ladin, Leeanne; Dementi, Wayne 2010 Secretariat's Meadow--The Land, The Family, The Legend Dementi Milestone Publishing ISBN 978-0-982-7019-0-4
  8. ^ a b c Goldstein, Richard September 17, 2017 "Penny Chenery, Owner of the Triple Crown Winner Secretariat, Dies at 95" The New York Times Retrieved September 17, 2017
  9. ^ Horse racingaboutcom
  10. ^ csbloodhorsecom - 2009-09-15
  11. ^ "Five Accomplished Smith Alumnae to be Honored on Rally Day 2009" Smith College September 24, 2008 Retrieved February 18, 2019
  12. ^ Chenery Tweedy, Kate; Meadows Ladin, Leeanne; Dementi, Wayne 2010 Secretariat's Meadow--The Land, The Family, The Legend Dementi Milestone Publishing ISBN 978-0-982-7019-0-4

Further reading

  • Chenery Tweedy, Kate; Meadows Ladin, Leeanne; Dementi, Wayne 2010 Secretariat's Meadow--The Land, The Family, The Legend Dementi Milestone Publishing ISBN 978-0-982-7019-0-4
  • Nack, William 2002 Secretariat: The Making of a Champion Da Capo Press ISBN 978-0-306-81133-3

External links

  • Penny Chenery on IMDb
  • Secretariatcom - Penny Chenery
  • The story of Secretariat on YouTube
  • Video interview with Penny Chenery about Secretariat
  • Video interview with Penny Chenery's Children about Secretariat
  • Penny Chenery, owner of Triple Crown winner Secretariat, dies at 95
  • Penny Chenery: Mentor, Leader, Supernatural Horsewoman, Klingon Warrior by Marion Altieri 2017

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