Chenery, 90, let out a cheer when the ruling was read. Portrayed by Diane Lane in the 2010 film "Secretariat," she famously took time away from her husband and children in Colorado to resurrect her father's horse racing operation in Virginia and made the breeding decision that brought the farm a foal they'd eventually nickname Big Red. But the film glossed over how difficult the time was on Chenery's family -- she would later divorce her husband -- and the fact that she'd had a horse named Riva Ridge win the Preakness and Belmont the year before.
Her son, John Tweedy, accompanied her on the trip to Baltimore.
"When he won in 1973, I was a 12-year-old boy celebrating in the living room in Colorado," he said. "What a lot of people don't know, because the movie left it out for dramatic reasons, is that we'd won two the year before and so had a taste but also understood the magnitude."
He did not think his mother, portrayed as headstrong in movies and books, saw the fight to change the Preakness time as essential to what became her life-long goal of ensuring Secretariat's legacy.
"I don't think it's true that my mother had anything to prove," he said. "She felt like Secretariat has proven himself in all the ways possible, and certainly my mother, too. This is more of a service to the sport and the standards of the sport."
Chenery did say it brought some closure to the most "exciting time of" her life, and was fitting for the "strongest, fastest, best-looking horse that we've had."
"I do think it closes a chapter," she said. "It brings closure -- and accuracy."