Secretariat owner Penny Chenery remembered at Keeneland memorial
The way friends and family paid tribute in a special ceremony on Monday.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- The thoroughbred industry gathered on Monday at Lexington's Keeneland Racetrack for a memorial for Penny Chenery.
The legendary owner of Triple Crown winner Secretariat died in September at the age of 95. Family and friends from throughout her career spoke about her legacy, as pictures of her scrolled in the background in the racetrack pavilion.
Former jockey and thoroughbred commentator Donna Barton Brothers hosted the event and began with her own tribute to Chenery. "She was beautiful, articulate, passionate, pensive, graceful. And at the same time, she was tenacious and insightful, and maybe she was a little lucky. But I feel like we were the lucky ones. We were lucky that we had Penny in our lives."
Network race commentator Kenny Rice was Chenery's friend for more than 30 years. He recalled how her warmth and ease could make anyone feel important, and he said it's clear that at least part of Secretariat's public appeal through the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes was his enthusiastic owner.
"I truly think his legacy would have been different, if Penny had been different. Had she been stoic, going through the perfunctory motion of picking up a trophy and giving a nod, they would have said 'what a magnificent horse,' a little bit of applause." He continued, "Instead, there was Barbara Billingsley, Donna Reed, everyday housewife-looking Penny jumping up and down, pumping her fists in the air, lifting her face up to heaven, truly happy, excited. And we were excited watching Secretariat."
The Secretariat Foundation asks that in lieu of flowers or other tributes donations be made to the created a special Penny Chenery Memorial fundraising project. They money raised will go to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
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