With the passing of Penny Chenery, many memories come to mind. When I was working for Frank Martin, and riding SHAM, I saw her at the track a lot, especially during the Triple Crown races. One morning, before the Derby, while exiting the track, a tall, muscular chestnut was going by. His rider smiled, said good morning. Of course I recognized them, Secretariat and Ron Turcotte. That moment has always stayed in my mind.
Another very memorable afternoon, I met Penny Chenery for the second time. She had been at the barn once to speak with Frank Martin. This day, minutes after the Preakness, as I was walking SHAM, she noticed I was crying and upset. She left her horse’s side, came over to me, her hand extended, and congratulated the other grooms and me, on the great condition and amazing performance ( her words ) of SHAM. She said she had seen me ride many times, and admired my hands on a horse.
We chatted as she walked a turn of the barn with SHAM and me. What we talked about, only I know to this day, but this very kind hearted LADY, sure made me feel better on that day. Imagine, the owner of Secretariat and Riva Ridge, actually took the time for me and SHAM on one of racing’s Greatest Days. I will never forget this great lady’s encouraging words to me.