Keeneland hosts celebration of Penny Chenery's life - News, Weather & Sports

Keeneland hosts celebration of Penny Chenery's life

Penny Chenery (Source: Family video) Penny Chenery (Source: Family video)

LEXINGTON, KY (WAVE) - The horse racing world lost one of its legends in September when Secretariat owner Penny Chenery died at the age of 95.

Monday afternoon, her extraordinary life was celebrated at Keeneland with her family, friends and fans.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Secretariat owner Penny Chenery dies

One by one, those close to Chenery described her: smart, kind, down to earth, ambitious, witty and brutally honest.

During her celebration of life, several speakers remembered what they loved and cherished about the passionate Chenery. They included host Donna Brothers, her son John Tweedy, her daughter Kate Tweedy, her friends Sally Hill, Kenny Rice, Amy Zimmerman, Dell Hancock, Hall of Fame Jockey Pat Day and exercise rider Charlie Davis.

Her son, John Tweedy, shared some of his films that beautifully documented his mother over the years. One recalled the 1950 Derby day when Chenery cried after her father's horse lost.

Chenery was interviewed saying: "My father gave me Hell, don't ever do that again," he told her of crying, "don't embarrass the horse!"

Her father made her ride and work every job in the barn and that helped her become strong and eventually a champion for women as a real player in a man's world.

Working every job on the farm also taught her something else, John Tweedy explained: "She didn't see people divided by class or race or nationality or velvet cordons," he said, "she just saw people united by loving horses."

Friend and legendary rider Pat Day said of the way Chenery was with fans, "I just liked to watch her interact with the fans, she was so genuine."

Her longtime business partner and friend Leonard Lusky said, "Her message from the moment she hit the racetrack was, this is for the fans. Her legacy is the love of the sport."

Chenery was also the ultimate spokesperson for her beloved 'sexy redhead' Secretariat, she said when speaking about him: "The horse can't talk, I can."

In the words of Claiborne Farm, "Much like Secretariat, Penny Chenery will be remembered for a big heart, tremendous strides and proclivity to overcome all odds."

"When she put her foot down, she didn't pick it back up and nine times out of ten she was right." Charlie Davis said. "She came into a man's world and beat the man." 

Her longtime friend Sally Hill may have summed it up best when she said, "Penny Chenery lived a grand life, and that was a direct quote, from Penny Chenery."

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