Secretariat’s Owner, Onscreen

The film tells the story of Penny Chenery and Secretariat

    The Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival will present the East Coast premiere of “Penny & Red: The Life of Secretariat’s Owner” on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. The film, directed by John Tweedy and narrated by Diane Lane, tells the story of Penny Chenery and Secretariat, her champion thoroughbred, also known as Big Red, who won racing’s Triple Crown in 1973.

    Prior to the screening, at noon, a “triple crown” benefit will be held at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor. A three-course lunch, a silent auction of Secretariat memorabilia, and a film ticket can be had for $125, which will benefit the Secretariat Foundation, the Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue on the East End of Long Island, and HT2FF. Mr. Tweedy and William Nack, a sports journalist who wrote the book “Secretariat: The Making of a Champion,” will attend the event.

    Ms. Chenery learned to ride horses at the age of 5, but the path to ownership of two championship thoroughbreds, Riva Ridge and Secretariat, was circuitous. Her father, Christopher Chenery, was a utilities executive who founded Meadow Stable in Virginia in 1936. It was not until 1969 that Ms. Chenery took over the stable. Prior to that, she earned degrees from Smith College and the Columbia Business School, married in 1949, and for 19 years lived in Denver and raised four children.

    When her father’s health began to fail and the stable started losing money in the late ’60s, her siblings wanted to sell it, but Ms. Chenery was determined to fulfill her father’s dream of winning the Kentucky Derby. Within two years of becoming president of the stable, she had returned it to profitability. In 1972, Riva Ridge won the Derby and the Belmont Stakes, and a year later Secretariat won the Triple Crown.

    In addition to never-before-seen footage of Secretariat, the film also illuminates Ms. Chenery’s efforts to create new roles for women in the sport of horse racing. The candid documentary weaves together previously unreleased photographs and films from family archives with intimate conversations between Ms. Chenery and Mr. Tweedy, her son, an attorney who is also an award-winning filmmaker.

    Admission to the screening is $15 at the door. Mr. Nack will introduce the film, and a conversation between him and Mr. Tweedy will follow it.

    In celebration of the Derby, which will be run on Saturday, mint juleps will be available at the theater’s lobby bar, and filmgoers will be able to bid on silent auction items including V.I.P. passes to the Hampton Classic, clubhouse reserved seats for the Belmont Stakes, a collectible 1973 Kentucky Derby julep glass, and racing photographs signed by Ms. Chenery and Ron Turcotte, Secretariat’s jockey.

    HT2FF has also announced that it is now accepting documentary film submissions for the 2014 festival, which will be held at Bay Street Theatre from Dec. 4 through Dec. 7. More information is available at ht2ff.com.


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