We want to be the first to wish “The First Lady of Thoroughbred Racing,” Penny Chenery, a very happy 90th birthday tomorrow, January 27. In fact we will have the honor of relaying those wishes in person this weekend at a birthday party hosted by her family in Denver.
Not only we will be wishing Penny Happy Birthday, we will be delivering a 15-page “birthday card” containing nearly 200 greetings from the fans of our “Secretariat’s Meadow” Facebook page. The postings came from all over, from Alabama to Bulgaria and many parts in between!
The passing of time has done little to diminish the adoration and admiration that Penny’s fans feel for her, even though it’s been nearly four decades since Secretariat won the Triple Crown. If anything, those feelings have grown even stronger, as these few excerpted messages will attest:
From Kimberly: “Your winners-never-quit attitude continues to inspire me on a daily basis. ..I know and understand that not only was Secretariat the greatest horse that ever lived, but that the whole world would never have known this if it hadn’t been for you. Thanks for helping me never give up and never give in.”
From Della: “God must think you are as special as we all do to have such a long and wonderful life. Thank you for being such an inspiration to many women the world over for many years. You did what others said could not be done and you did it on your terms!”
From Anita: “Thank you for sharing “Big Red” with the world and for keeping his legacy alive! “
From Gardenia: “You and Secretariat have etched your places in history. If it weren’t for you, it is not clear how things would have turned out for your extraordinary colt.”
From Lisa: “You have brought so much joy into our hearts and homes with your champions. I fell in love with Secretariat…and I will always carry a special spot in my heart for Riva as well.”
From Jackie: “Your fortitude and faith are an inspiration to many and we will never forget your Big Red.”
From Pam: “Thanks for all you do to continue to promote Secretariat’s legacy. Thanks also for helping retired racehorses and research to find a cure for laminitis.”
From Vickie: “Thank you for your contributions to the Thoroughbred industry and racing, and for being a wonderful, graceful ambassador for the sport.”
From Sandy: “She is like her horse was, one in a million and there will never be anyone oe anything compared to them both!”
This is just a small sampling of the heartfelt greetings we received for Penny. To read more, please visit our Facebook page.
We would like to add our thanks to Penny, too, for all she has contributed to our book and its ongoing success. And now she is helping us with our new book, which is about her first champion, Riva Ridge. More on that project later!
We’ll close out this birthday blog with one of our favorite photos of Penny. This was taken last year at the annual Secretariat birthday at The Meadow.
Penny Chenery, truly a Queen in the Sport of Kings
by Leeanne Ladin
co-author “Secretariat’s Meadow – the Land, The Family, The Legacy”