Framed Photo from Charlie Davis on Upper Case from Penny Chenery
The Meadow Stable has long been associated with its greatest runner Secretariat, and many sports and racing enthusiasts remember his talented, but less heralded, champion stablemate Riva Ridge. But early in the 1972 racing season, the same year when America first saw the 2-year-old Secretariat burst upon the scene and Riva Ridge win both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, there was a third weapon in the Meadow Stable arsenal and his name was Upper Case.
A Meadow Stable homebred by the great sire Round Table out of the stakes winning mare Bold Experience, Upper Case was guided by the same team as his illustrious barn mates -- trainer Lucien Laurin, jockey Ron Turcotte and exercise rider Charlie Davis -- and added to the barn’s successes during the spring of 1972. In a span of only 53 days beginning March 2, Upper Case won the rich Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, placed second in the March 11 Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah, was third in the April 8 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct before winning the prestigious Wood Memorial only 14 days later. With Riva Ridge victorious in the Hibiscus and Bluegrass Stakes, the famed blue and white Meadow colors were a ubiquitous and powerful presence along the Derby trail.
There the tale of glory diverges for these two talented runners. While Riva Ridge went on to win the Run for the Roses, Upper Case was rested after the Wood and trained up to the Preakness, only to be entered and scratched, then ultimately sold by the Meadow and never raced again.
While Upper Case's contributions may be a footnote for some, they were never forgotten by the "Mistress of the Meadow" Penny Chenery or Davis, as this vintage framed photo from her personal collection can attest. The image shows the talented horseman working the large bay colt at Pimlico just prior to the Preakness. Best of all, it is hand inscribed "Charlie Davis with Love," demonstrating the affection and respect he held for Ms. Chenery, and she for him.The framed photo measures 21.5 x 18” and comes with its own Certificate of Authenticity as a select item from the Meadow Stable Archives / Penny Chenery estate.