01/04/2006 12:00AM

Chenery, NBC get Eclipses

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Helen "Penny" Chenery, the owner of the late Horse of the Year Secretariat and a contributor to numerous Thoroughbred causes, has been selected to receive the Eclipse Award of Merit, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced on Wednesday.

The NTRA also announced that NBC Sports has been awarded two Eclipse Awards, one for a live racing broadcast of the 2005 Preakness Stakes and the other for a television feature about the owners of Afleet Alex, Cash Is King Stable, during the network's broadcast of the Kentucky Derby.

With the two 2005 awards, NBC has now won nine Eclipse Awards for its television coverage of racing. NBC broadcast the first 21 Breeders' Cup events and has also broadcast the three races of the Triple Crown during the past five years.

The Eclipse Award of Merit recognizes lifetime achievement in the Thoroughbred industry. The NTRA, which administers the Eclipse Awards, said in a release that Chenery was selected in recognition of her role as "racing's goodwill ambassador throughout the world" and because she "embodied grace and elegance in the spotlight" during Secretariat's two Horse of the Year campaigns in 1972 and 1973.

In addition to her connection to Secretariat, who was bred by her father's Meadow Stable, Chenery played a role in the formation of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and has served as the president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the Grayson Foundation, a nonprofit company that funds equine research.

The awards will be presented on Jan. 23 in Beverly Hills, Calif.