A Tribute to Penny Chenery, Racing’s First Lady


Penny Chenery

The extended Breyer family was saddened to learn of the passing of Penny Chenery on September 16, 2017 at the age of 95. The owner of the 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat and 1972 Kentucky Derby & Belmont Stakes winner Riva Ridge, was widely considered to be the First Lady of Racing.

Breyer's association with Mrs. Chenery began in 1987 with the release of #435, Chris Hess' Secretariat model. In 2009, Secretariat was re-released on a different mold (#586) sculpted by Susan Carlton Sifton. Secretariat has been carried in the Breyer line ever since and remains, along with Misty of Chincoteague, one of Breyer's most iconic celebrity model horses.

In 1998, Breyer was honored to welcome Mrs. Chenery as a Special Guest at BreyerFest, where she graciously signed hundreds of Secretariat models for adoring fans.



Mrs. Chenery's story was immortalized in the 2010 film Disney film, Secretariat. The film chronicled Mrs. Chenery's return to horse racing as she took over her father's financially challenged racing operation (his health was failing) and how Secretariat saved the family farm (Riva Ridge was not included though his stellar 1972 year was credited with truly bolstering Meadow Farm's fortunes). Secretariat's decisive sweep of the Triple Crown races in 1973 made him a national celebrity earning the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated and today he is still the most recognized name in horse racing. Secretariat also still holds the track record for all three Triple Crown races. Both horses were ridden by jockey Ron Turcotte and trained by the late Lucien Laurin. Riva Ridge died at age 16 in 1985 and Secretariat died at age 19 in 1989.

In 2006, Mrs. Chenery was presented with the Eclipse Award of Merit, racing's highest honor. She was a tireless supporter of racing and will be greatly missed.



Categories: | Breyer_News


BreyerLover2222 Says:
10/12/2017 at 1:57 pm

That's so cool that you got to meet her--I would have loved to have the chance to meet Penny!!! :) :)

carguy Says:
09/27/2017 at 5:45 pm

A true legend

I had the good fortune to have my Secretariat model signed by Penny at BreyerFest. She was gracious, friendly and signed for everyone who came. I met her several other times after that, and she was always just the same - a true legend in the sport of horse racing. I will miss her very much.

5 Labradors Says:
09/25/2017 at 3:03 pm

Your riding on Secretariat up in heaven!

Westcliff's Owner Says:
09/21/2017 at 9:35 pm


You are my sister's role model. She loves Secretariat. Thanks for all you did Penny.

WebHarmony Says:
09/19/2017 at 7:54 pm

Rest in Peace, Penny. You were an amazing woman doing something in a male dominated sport. I wish your family the best. You will be missed.

RuffianAM Says:
09/19/2017 at 4:02 pm

Very nice

She was an incredible woman!

BreyerLover2222 Says:
09/19/2017 at 2:15 pm

95!!! That is wonderful!
Rest in Peace, Penny.

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