Penny Chenery, a bold innovator and visionary was a cherished friend and founding member of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.  The TRF offers its condolences to her family and its deepest gratitude to Penny for her years of kindness and generosity to the TRF and its horses.

Though Secretariat has long since passed, he may now be reunited with his longtime friend Penny Chenery, who is surely continuing to advocate for the racehorse from above. The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and their horses would like to take a moment to thank Penny, and share their appreciation for the amazing human being that she was and the pioneering work she did on TRF’s behalf.

The TRF was founded in 1983 by Monique Koehler, and Penny was named as Vice President to the TRF Board of Directors. She gave much of her time in that capacity serving on the board for over 10 years. Along with Allaire duPont, owner of the great Kelso, and Martha Gerry owner of Forego, the TRF Board put forth the idea of providing responsible and loving aftercare for Thoroughbreds no longer able to race to an industry that had long been indifferent to the cause. Nowadays it is difficult to imagine a time with no organized options for aftercare but at its founding, TRF was breaking new ground. The founding Board members were remarkable people who could see decades ahead of their time.

Penny put her heart into Thoroughbred Racehorse aftercare. She raised money, signed hundreds of photos, persuaded friends to make donations, and held special events.  At one of the TRF’s first fundraising auctions she donated Secretariats last tack box and it raised $1,500, far surpassing the $300 reserve.  Penny consistently offered to host TRF fundraising events at Secretariats birthplace, The Meadow in Doswell, VA.   She and her contemporaries recognized the industry’s responsibility.

“Penny made everyone feel welcome to be a part of the ‘once in a lifetime’ glow of Secretariat”, said TRF’s Diana Pikulski. “Better than anyone she understood the depth of the emotional response that he ignited in his fans no matter male or female, young or old. She allowed us all to own Secretariat and helped us to have the experience long after he was gone. We are all lifetime fans of racing because of it.”

Linda Dyer, Kentucky TRF Farm manager remembers Penny’s passion and how fully she believe in the TRF.   She says “I was at an event volunteering one time and she stayed all day and signed pictures of Secretariat very graciously, which she would do for any charity event if asked.  Just a truly nice person. She was such an advocate of Thoroughbreds and their aftercare. A true horsewoman by all means, she gave back totally. She knew what a gift that was given to her with Secretariat.”

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and its horses lost a dear and treasured friend, a visionary and woman ahead of her time. We want to thank Penny and show our deepest respect and appreciation for the amazing human being she was.

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is among three charities listed at,, to receive donations in lieu of flowers, and for this honor we are once again inspired by her generosity.

Penny Chenery and Secretariat ( Big Red) at the Meadow