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The life of Penny Chenery: The prominent woman in horse racing who owned 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat

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It has been over 50 years since Secretariat became a Triple Crown winner, yet with every horse race season, he continues to be talked about.

It’s no wonder because the horse holds the fastest times for all three Triple Crown races, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, to this day. 

Another name that is often heard is Penny Chenery, the owner of the record-breaking racehorse. Chenery was able to save her father’s farm when it was on the brink of collapse. That ended up being the birthplace of the racehorse that is still beloved today. 

Penny Chenery was the owner and breeder of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

10 FASTEST BELMONT TIMES IN HISTORY

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Below is a deeper look into Chenery’s life as the owner of the historic racehorse.

  1. Who was the owner of Secretariat?
  2. What farm did Penny Chenery own?
  3. How much money did Penny Chenery make from Secretariat?

1. Who was the owner of Secretariat?

Chenery was the owner of the racehorse widely known as the best of all time: Secretariat. 

The racehorse, also known as Big Red, was an American thoroughbred that often dominated the competition on the track. 

He and his jockey, Ron Turcotte, won the Kentucky Derby in 1973. The duo then went on to win the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. The Triple Crown winner set records in all three races. To this day, no other horse has been able to beat Secretariat’s times in the Triple Crown races.

ATTENDING THE BELMONT STAKES: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE HORSE RACE AND ITS LONG HISTORY

Chenery lived a long life. She died on Sept. 16, 2017, when she was 95 years old.

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2. What farm did Penny Chenery own?

Chenery was the owner of Meadow Stable, now called Meadow Event Park, in Virginia, where Secretariat was born.

A close-up photo of Penny Chenery

Penny Chenery took over the operations of Meadow Stable when her father started to become ill. (RJ Sangosti/Denver Post via Getty Images)

Chenery started to take over the farm when her father began to fall ill in 1968, according to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. When she took over, she was able to save the financially struggling farm from being sold. Chenery was the one who arranged Secretariat’s breeding, according to the source.

Secretariat was born on March 30, 1970, a year after Riva Ridge, a horse also bred at Meadow Stable, won two Triple Crown races a year before Big Red. Secretariat became the first Triple Crown winner since Citation, who won in 1948.

PREAKNESS VS BELMONT STAKES: DIFFERENCES IN THESE TRIPLE CROWN HORSE RACES

Through her long life, Chenery continued to be involved in horse racing long after Secretariat’s reign. She became the first female president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

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She was also one of the founders of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. 

Penny Chenery and Diane Lane

Penny Chenery was portrayed by Diane Lane in the 2010 movie “Secretariat.” (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Chenery’s life and Secretariat’s were the inspiration for the 2010 Disney movie named after the famous racehorse. In the movie, Diane Lane appeared as Chenery.

3. How much money did Penny Chenery make from Secretariat?

Secretariat was syndicated in 1973 for a record $6.08 million. The horse was syndicated by 23-year-old Seth Hancock of Claiborne Farm.

 

Chenery’s father, Chris, died in 1973, as Secretariat was preparing for what would make him a legendary racehorse.

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Chenery getting Secretariat syndicated was a way to keep the farm afloat when a tax bill arrived, according to History.com.

Secretariat was syndicated before his horse racing debut in 1973 but proved to be worth the high price fronted by Hancock.  

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Snopes' debunking of Charlottesville hoax shows Biden lied, says Trump campaign

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The Trump campaign says a recent fact-check report debunking the claim that then-President Trump spoke favorably of neo-Nazis in 2017 shows President Biden and his campaign had promoted a “lie” and called on them to not promote the “hoax” again.

Left-leaning fact-checking website Snopes published a piece Saturday debunking claims promoted by President Biden and some members of the media that following the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Trump called neo-Nazis “very fine people.” Biden has repeatedly cited the false claim, even saying it was the impetus for his 2020 White House run against Trump. 

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Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt told Fox News Digital on Sunday that the Snopes fact check shows Biden and other “corrupt Democrats” promoted a “lie” and “hoax.” 

“The Charlottesville lie was another hoax perpetuated by the corrupt Democrats and their mouthpieces in the fake news media, just like the Hunter Biden laptop, the Russian collusion scandal and so many others, all in an attempt to smear President Trump. Joe Biden’s campaign must end any advertising that pushes this lie because President Trump has, once again, been proven right,” she said. 

LEFT-WING FACT-CHECKER ADMITS TRUMP NEVER CALLED CHARLOTTESVILLE NEO-NAZIS ‘VERY FINE PEOPLE’ IN BLOW TO BIDEN

Former President Trump told Columbia Journalism Review he had to fight off “unbelievably fake stories” during his presidency. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik/File)

Snopes detailed in its fact check that Trump was clear he was not calling neo-Nazis “fine people” when he made the comment at a press conference that year.

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BIDEN ONCE RIPPED ‘ANTISEMITIC BILE’ BUT NOW FACES OWN ‘CHARLOTTESVILLE MOMENT’

“While Trump did say that there were ‘very fine people on both sides,’ he also specifically noted that he was not talking about neo-Nazis and White supremacists and said they should be ‘condemned totally.’ Therefore, we have rated this claim ‘False,’” Snopes wrote.

The fact check, which comes just days ahead of the first debate between Trump and Biden, now aligns with Trump’s longstanding argument that the remarks were taken out of context before they quickly spread on social media and were promoted by the left and members of the media. 

President Joe Biden

President Biden (Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The protests in Charlottesville in 2017, which played out across two days in August 2017, included White nationalists descending on the city who were met by hundreds of counterprotesters. The protests devolved into violence, including three deaths and dozens of injuries stemming from a car plowing through people and other attacks.

FETTERMAN ‘NOT WRONG’ TO COMPARE COLUMBIA PROTESTS TO CHARLOTTESVILLE, CNN HOST SAYS

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Unite the Right rally clashes

Protesters are shown during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, 2017. (Evelyn Hockstein/For the Washington Post via Getty Images)

The protests were condemned by both Republicans and Democrats as a hateful display of bigotry, including Trump at the time, who said in a statement that such protests and violence have “no place in America.” 

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE DOUBLES DOWN ON ‘CHEAP FAKE’ BIDEN VIDEOS: ‘SO MUCH MISINFORMATION’

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said in August that year. Trump added days later in a press conference that he condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” and came under fire from Democrats for his remarks that there was “blame on both sides” and “very fine people, on both sides.”

Biden cast the events in Charlottesville, and his framing of former President Trump’s response, as the incentive to run for the White House in 2020.

Split image of former President Trump and President Biden

Former President Trump and President Biden (Getty Images)

“With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden said in 2019 when announcing his candidacy.

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Biden has repeatedly pointed to Charlottesville as a moment of shame for the nation, including on the fourth anniversary, when the White House released a statement saying the rally was a “battle for the soul of America was laid bare for all to see.” 

TRUMP DECRIES COLUMBIA AGITATORS, CALLS CHARLOTTESVILLE ‘PEANUTS’ COMPARED TO CAMPUS ANTI-ISRAEL UNREST

Earlier this year, Biden was slammed for having his own “Charlottesville moment” as anti-Israel protests spread on college campuses nationwide in the wake of Hamas’ attack on the nation in October, sparking an ongoing war.

“I condemn the antisemitic protests. That’s why I have set up a program to deal with that. I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians,” Biden told reporters in April as the protests raged.

Critics of the president soon sounded off on social media that Biden’s comments echoed claims of what Trump said in 2017 about the Charlottesville riots.

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Student protesters gather in protest inside their encampment on the Columbia University campus

Student protesters gather at their encampment on the Columbia University campus, April 29, 2024, in New York City. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

“This sure sounds like he’s ACTUALLY saying there are very fine people on both sides,” OutKick founder Clay Travis said.

The Federalist’s editor-in-chief, Mollie Hemingway, wrote, “President Biden says there are good people on both sides of October 7.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the Biden campaign for comment on the Snopes fact check and the Trump campaign’s response but did not immediately receive a response.

Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.

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Florida mayor resigns with mass email to residents alleging corruption in small-town government

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A Florida mayor abruptly resigned after outlining a pattern of “corruptive behavior” throughout the small town’s government in an explosive letter to all its residents last Friday.

“What is going on with this small town is all wrong,” now-former Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek told Fox 13 on Wednesday. “I am sorry that I have to walk away. It is for my health. Please keep up the fight. I will always try to have your back. Please continue to do what’s right.”

Rostek’s allegations pointed to City Manager Robin Ignacio Gomez and his “discretionary” and “discriminatory” code enforcement, per the June 14 letter reviewed by Fox News Digital. 

GIRL SURVIVES FLORIDA SHARK ATTACK AFTER VACATIONING DOCTOR SAW BLOOD IN WATER AND REACTED

Madeira Beach, Florida, Mayor Jim Rostek resigned on Friday and sent a letter accusing his city government of “corruptive practices” to all the community’s residents. (Fox 13 Tampa)

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“I am sorry to leave. But with a city manager as such, I cannot be or have any part of Gomez’s corrupt behavior, talking in circles, lies, preferential treatment of ‘some’ or discriminatory enforcement practices. As well as the everyday wasting of the tax-payers’ money and trying to justify it,” Rostek wrote. “In the end, some will go up to the pearly gates and some won’t. I will always do what is ethical and correct, others not so much.”

Gomez allegedly ignored Rostek’s requests to establish a life jacket policy, a smoking policy and a formal prohibition on cellphone usage for municipal employees who are operating city boats and vehicles, the resigning mayor claimed.

“I had a resident take pictures of the code enforcement boat, with people riding around on it doing their job, I guess, no life jackets on,” Rostek added. “The smoking policy … I see one or two of them smoking in city vehicles. There’s federal law about that stuff. He refuses to implement policy.”

DESANTIS SPOX DUNKS ON NYT ‘FACT-CHECK’ ON TERRORISTS ENTERING SOUTHERN BORDER: ‘AWAITING YOUR CORRECTION’

Madeira Beach, Florida, Mayor Jim Rostek described himself as a stickler for ethics and safety, and said that contending with the alleged mismanagement caused him recurring health issues.

Madeira Beach, Florida, Mayor Jim Rostek described himself as a stickler for ethics and safety, and said that contending with the alleged mismanagement caused him recurring health issues. (Google Maps)

Rostek complained that he had seen city sanitation workers holding onto the back of a truck with one hand and texting with the other. 

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“Gomez is very well-liked by employees because, in my mind, it’s ‘Camp Run Amok,’” he said. “We’re supposed to set an example for the public.”

Rostek also alleges that his former colleagues practiced technically legal but unethical financial techniques. They avoided commission approval on projects totaling over $30,000 by negotiating multiple line-item contracts at lesser amounts instead of issuing a Request for Proposals, he claims.

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES FLORIDA RESTRICTIONS ON TRANSGENDER MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR KIDS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Madeira Beach City Manager Robin Gomez.

Madeira Beach (Florida) City Manager Robin Gomez had his contract renewed until 2028 by the city’s commission this week. (City of Madeira Beach)

Attached to the June 14 email was a separation agreement between Gomez and the city of Clarkston, Georgia. The document, dated Sept. 7, 2021, outlines Gomez’s voluntary resignation as city manager there and states that he and city officials cannot discuss his career there with other parties. 

Rostek explained to Fox 13 that he is a stickler for ethics, safety and the city’s liability, and that his stress in contending with his former colleagues resulted in multiple health scares. 

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“I told him, ‘talk is cheap,’” Rostek said. “I said, ‘you need to have policy to back up what you’ve told them, because when it comes time for a lawsuit, we’re not going to have any ammunition to substantiate,’” he told the outlet. “If you don’t get the small things right, what about the big things?”

“God only knows what else is going on,” he continued. “You don’t know what you don’t know until you start looking and digging deeper.”

Anne-Marie Brooks, a former District 4 commissioner for Madeira Beach, replaced Rostek after his resignation.

Anne-Marie Brooks, a former District 4 commissioner for Madeira Beach, replaced Rostek after his resignation. (City of Madeira Beach)

In an email to Fox 13, Gomez denied Rostek’s assertions. 

“While entitled to his opinions, the city has provided answers and resolutions to the comments although not completely supported/agreed/understood by Mr. Rostek,” Gomez wrote. “It is unfortunate that the disagreements and misunderstandings of city processes and policies by Mr. Rostek led him to state/list claims of corruption, which are simply baseless and false.”

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“We continue to perform our daily tasks and responsibilities pursuant to federal, state, county and city laws/ordinances/statutes in the most ethical manner,” he continued.

Anne-Marie Brooks, previously a city commissioner, has stepped up as Madeira Beach’s mayor in Rostek’s absence. 

Gomez wrote that city administrators would hold a special meeting to fill her now-vacant seat on the commission next week. 

Commissioners just voted to restore Gomez’s contract until 2028, according to TBN Weekly. 

Meanwhile, Rostek told Fox 13 that he hopes “someone at the state level makes contact with [him]” about the alleged corruption in the small town. 

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On Juneteenth, Alabama's new National Monument to Freedom dedicated to those who endured slavery

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  • The Equal Justice Initiative, a criminal justice reform nonprofit, dedicated its National Monument to Freedom on June 19, 2024, in the new Freedom Monument Sculpture Park in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • The National Monument to Freedom stands four stories tall. It is inscribed with 122,000 surnames that formerly enslaved people chose for themselves, according to the 1870 Census, after being emancipated at the end of the Civil War. Those last names represent the more than 4 million enslaved people who were emancipated.
  • The Equal Justice Initiative invoked Juneteenth in its dedication. Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the end of slavery. More specifically, it commemorates June 19, 1865, the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, found out they were free two months after the Civil War.

Thousands of surnames grace the towering monument, representing the more than 4 million enslaved people who were freed after the Civil War.

The Equal Justice Initiative, a criminal justice reform nonprofit, invoked the Juneteenth holiday — the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. — on Wednesday as it dedicated its National Monument to Freedom.

The monument, which honors the people who endured and survived slavery, is the centerpiece of the new Freedom Monument Sculpture Park in Montgomery, Alabama, where art and historical artifacts tell the story of enslaved people in the United States.

JUNETEENTH IS A CELEBRATION OF ETHNIC HARMONY

During the dedication ceremony, Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson recounted how enslaved people endured unspeakable horrors, but also left a legacy of perseverance and strength.

“Enslaved people in this country did something remarkable that we need to acknowledge, that we need to recognize and that we need to celebrate. Enslaved people resisted. Enslaved people were resilient. Enslaved people found ways to make a way,” Stevenson said.

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Juneteenth is a day to confront the brutality of slavery and its impact, but he said it is also a day to celebrate the dignity and strength of people who managed to love and survive despite what they faced.

Visitors arrive at the National Monument to Freedom on June 19, 2024, in Montgomery, Alabama. The monument is inscribed with 122,000 surnames that formerly enslaved people chose for themselves, as documented in the 1870 Census, after being emancipated at the end of the Civil War. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler)

“They never stopped believing. The never stopped yearning for freedom. This morning, as we leave here this Juneteenth morning, I hope we will be hopeful,” Stevenson said.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, found out they were free after the Civil War. The news came two months after the end of the Civil War and about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Stretching four stories into the sky, the National Monument to Freedom is inscribed with 122,000 surnames that formerly enslaved people chose for themselves, as documented in the 1870 Census, after being emancipated at the Civil War’s end. Those last names represent the more than 4 million enslaved people who were set free after emancipation.

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The Equal Justice Initiative created the park to tell the story of enslaved people with honesty. The sculpture park is the third site created by the organization. The first two sites — the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a memorial to people slain in racial terror killings; and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration — opened in 2018.

Dr. Michele R. Williams and her mother, Barbara Y. Williams, scanned the rows of names on Wednesday morning, looking for their family surname, Murdough.

“There’s a story connected to every single name and the families that they represent,” Michele Williams said. Their ancestor, a man named Moses, is believed to have lived in one of the two slave cabins that were taken from an Alabama plantation to become an exhibit at the sculpture park.

“It was just heart-wrenching, but also super-moving,” Michele Williams said of seeing the cabin.

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