mary s. "polly" edwards jenney
After the unexpected death of her first husband Harkness Edwards and his mother, Lela Edwards shortly thereafter, Mary S. "Polly" Edwards and her sister-in-law, Immortal Katherine H. E. Nichols, inherited Walnut Hall Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. After Polly married Sherman Jenney in 1949, the sisters-in-law divided up Walnut Hall Farm and began separate breeding operations.
Katherine Nichols retained the name Walnut Hall Farm for her operation while Polly Jenney called her venture Walnut Hall Stud. Regarded as highly knowledgeable, Jenney was the chief decision maker for Walnut Hall Stud at a time when women generally deferred to men. She had a good eye for sizing up her yearlings and often rode around the farm on horseback to inspect the annual crop of foals. A hands-on breeding farm owner, she arranged to manage the breeding career of the acclaimed trotter Immortal Rodney for owner Immortal David R. Johnston. Rodney [1944-1963] was considered one of the sport's foremost stallions. He went on to set incredible records as a sire, having thirteen $100,000 winners at the time of his death in 1963. This was more than any other living sire of the time. His most famous offspring include such stars as Immortal Elaine Rodney, Immortal Merrie Annabelle, Tie Silk, Duke Rodney, Charming Barbara, and Something Special.
Rodney was the farm's premier sire and upon his premature death Jenney decided not to pursue a replacement stallion of his caliber. The Walnut Hall Stud was dispersed and the farm sold. It was purchased in 1972 by the State of Kentucky and is now the Kentucky State Horse Park.
Polly Jenney died on June 26, 1993 at the age of 85.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 2001 Souvenir Journal