Here are the memorial remarks for Charlie Davis, Secretariat’s exercise rider, who passed away on February 7, 2018. These were read at his funeral in his hometown of Eutawville, S.C. by Kate Tweedy on February 17, 2018.
Remarks from Leonard Lusky and Ron Turcotte for the Memorial of Charlie Davis, 2/17/18
Some might say the value of a man’s lifetime is measured by the amount of happiness he brings to the world, or conversely by the amount of love he receives from it. By either measure, Charlie’s life was truly filled with riches.
For years we have been privileged to know and admire this special soul who enriched the lives of everyone around him. It seemed that people from all walks of life (and especially children and animals) unfailingly gravitated toward Charlie, and he in turn found happiness in their company. As the consummate horseman, he was an asset to every farm or stable who was lucky enough to have him. Secretariat, Riva Ridge and numerous others who were entrusted to his care owe much of their success to Charlie’s innate touch and to the time and individual care he ceaselessly provided. The knowledge, kindness, patience and goodwill he brought to his work were the very same traits he shared in his daily life that so endeared all of us to him….horse and human alike.
Over time Charlie became the perfect ambassador for the sport, perpetuating the legacy of Secretariat – a legacy he literally helped shape with his own hands. So many of us who knew him as a master storyteller will always treasure that sparkle in his eye when he proudly shared his favorite memories of Big Red and the glory days. It was during these events and autograph appearances with racing fans that Charlie would playfully refer to us as his “white daddy” (Ron) and “white brother” (Leonard) and he delighted in the reactions his terminology sparked in his listeners. In truth, it was the ultimate compliment to us to think he counted us as family and part of his inner circle.
As we mourn the passing of our Meadow Stable “son” and “brother” and as our hearts go out to the Davis family and friends gathered here today who wrestle with this collective sorrow – each of us missing Charlie in our own unique way – we must also reflect upon the absolute joy he so effortlessly imparted to our lives and the lives of countless others over the course of the past 78 years. And even on this solemn day, and each day moving forward, we will remember and rejoice in Charlie’s own words and the smiles they will invariably bring to those who hear them… “Oh baby, Oh baby, Oh baby!” Rest In Peace, dear friend…
Remarks for Charlie Davis Memorial Service, 2/17/18, by Kate Tweedy
I’m Kate Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery, of Meadow Stable. And I am pleased to be here today to share these remembrances of our dear friend Charlie.
I didn’t know Charlie well during the heyday of the racing years for Meadow Stable. I wasn’t around the track much except for the big races in 1972 and 1973. But of course I knew of Charlie, and had heard stories about him and about his legendary talent with the horses. I knew he was the best rider our trainer Lucien Lauren had, and I knew that all the jockeys and backstretch workers respected Charlie for the instinctive way he handled his horses. People trusted him and horses trusted him. That was pretty high praise. I had also heard the famous story about how after Secretariat won the Derby, someone sent a case of champagne to the barn to celebrate, and when Mom and Lucien finally got back after all the media hoopla was over, there was Secretariat walking a very sloshed Charlie around the ring, and Charlie was singing, “How sweet it is!”