The Columns

Triple Crown Anniversary: Secretariat and a W&L Alumnus

— by on June 7th, 2013

As you watch the Belmont Stakes tomorrow, be sure to toast the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s winning of the Triple Crown—he sped to that honor on June 9, 1973. You’ll also want to salute Christopher Chenery, who graduated from Washington and Lee in 1909. He founded The Meadow, the Virginia farm that gave the world Secretariat (as well as many other fine Thoroughbred racehorses and breeding stock). He chose blue and white for his racing silks after the colors of his alma mater.

Chenery’s granddaughter Kate Chenery Tweedy visited campus last fall to talk about the book she co-wrote with Leeanne Meadows Ladin, “Secretariat’s Meadow: The Land, the Family, the Legend.” Kate had never visited W&L, and she was delighted to tour campus and to read her grandfather’s handwriting in the matriculation records stored in Leyburn Library’s Special Collections. She also posed with a painting of her grandfather that used to hang in his dining room at The Meadow, in Doswell, Va. Now it graces a wall in Leyburn Library.

We blogged about the authors’ visit at the time; you can read that post here. We also blogged a couple of years ago about the 2010 movie, “Secretariat,” which focuses on Chris Chenery’s daughter, Penny Chenery. Read that blog here. She ran The Meadow after her father became ill and guided Secretariat’s astounding career. Now 91, she talks about Christopher Chenery and Secretariat in this interview. We bet she’ll be doing some celebrating on June 9.