Author: Julie A. Campbell


Christopher T. Chenery (1886–1973)

Christopher T. Chenery was a public utilities executive and horse breeder, whose thoroughbred Secretariat won the Triple Crown (the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes) in 1973. Born in Richmond, Chenery grew up riding horses before working as an engineer in the West and in Chicago. He founded and served as president of the Federal Water Service Corporation and when it was superseded by the board of the Southern Natural Gas Company, served as the company’s chairman. He also formed and led the Offshore Company, which drilled for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Chenery’s passion, however, was thoroughbred horses. In 1955, he helped to found the Greater New York Association to promote racing and bought a family farm in Caroline County to breed horses. Between 1939 and 1972 his thoroughbreds won more than $8.5 million on the track, but his most famous was Secretariat. Horse of the Year in 1972 and 1973, Secretariat won the Triple Crown in the latter year, just after Chenery’s death. In 1985, Chenery was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.