Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

(March 30, 1970) Secretariat Foaled 40 Years Ago ^ | March 30, 2010 | David Schmitz

Posted on 03/30/2010 6:38:50 PM PDT by DogByte6RER

Secretariat Foaled 40 Years Ago

by David Schmitz

Photobucket (Secretariat, shown as a 2-year-old, was foaled March 30, 1970)

March 30 marks 40 years since the birth of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat at Christopher T. Chenery’s The Meadow near Doswell, Va. It’s a date well worth remembering by any racing fan but especially by those who were around during Secretariat’s racing days and more so by those lucky enough to see the strikingly handsome chestnut colt with three white stockings in action.

Secretariat’s magnetism was evident soon after the colt’s birth. Chenery’s daughter, Penny, was so overwhelmed after getting her first look at the son of Bold Ruler that all she could say was “Wow.” That wasn’t the last time that word was used to express admiration or astonishment in Secretariat.

The first hint of Secretariat’s greatness came at Saratoga in 1972. “Nothing so revitalizes our interest in racing as the emergence of real good ones among the 2-year-olds at Saratoga,” wrote The Blood-Horse editor Kent Hollingsworth, focusing on Secretariat and the filly La Prevoyante. “Meadow Stable’s Bold Ruler colt, Secretariat, with smashing triumphs in the Sanford and Hopeful, has demonstrated a lick not seen since Damascus approached the last turn trailing by about 13 lengths and came out of it six lengths on top to win the 1967 Travers by 22 lengths in track-record time.”

The Hopeful, which Secretariat won by five lengths, was the colt’s fourth win in five starts. Secretariat went on to finish first in the Futurity Stakes, the Champagne Stakes, the Laurel Futurity, and the Garden State Stakes, but he was disqualified for interference in the Champagne and placed second. An easy choice for divisional honors, Secretariat was the first 2-year-old since Colin in 1907 to earn Horse of the Year outright. (La Prevoyante was voted champion juvenile filly.)

As great as he was at 2, as a 3-year-old Secretariat staked his claim as the best racehorse ever. He began 1973 with victories at Aqueduct in the Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) and the Gotham Stakes (gr. II, in track-record-equaling time) before finishing a shocking third in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) behind stablemate Angle Light and Sham two weeks before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

To say Secretariat redeemed himself with a victory in the Kentucky Derby would be an understatement. He not only won the Run for the Roses by 2 1/2 lengths over Sham but became the first horse to win the 1 1/4-mile race in less than two minutes. His time, 1:59 2/5, bettered Northern Dancer’s 1964 stakes and track record by three-fifths of a second.

In the 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Secretariat stunned the racing world with an incredible last-to-first move around the clubhouse turn that carried him to a 2 1/2-length score over Sham. The race was not without controversy, however, as the final time, 1:55, later was reviewed and changed to 1:54 2/5, two-fifths of a second slower than Canonero II’s track record set in the 1971 Preakness. Making the snafu ever more perplexing and infuriating to some was that Daily Racing Form timed the race in 1:53 2/5, which would have been a track record.

Secretariat mania swept the nation. The colt was on the verge of becoming the ninth Triple Crown winner and the first since Citation in 1948. His likeness appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated.

Under regular jockey Ron Turcotte, Secretariat swept the series, winning the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) by an astonishing 31 lengths in 2:24 and shattering Gallant Man’s stakes and track record by 2 3/5 seconds—a world record performance on dirt.

Conveying a sense of disbelief, Hollingsworth wrote, “To see that which never before has been seen is an emotional experience. And we figure to be quite snobbish about having seen it. So when old racing men begin to reminisce of Buckpasser’s Suburban, Kelso’s International, the Ridan-Jaipur Travers, Swaps’ Sunset, Tom Fool, Native Dancer, Citation, Count Fleet, Alsab against Whirlaway, War Admiral and Seabiscuit, Equipoise: Gentlemen, we will say, let me now tell you about a non-pareil, a genuine race horse I saw win the Belmont by a sixteenth of a mile without working up a lather.”

Secretariat raced six more times, winning four races and finishing second twice. He won the Arlington Invitational Stakes; was upset by the older Onion in the Whitney Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga; set a world record for 1 1/8 miles on dirt in the Marlboro Cup Handicap at Belmont over an all-star field that included stablemate Riva Ridge, Key to the Mint, and Cougar II; was beaten by the older Prove Out in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont; captured the Man o’ War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont in course-record time in his grass debut; and went out a winner with a dominating victory in the Canadian International Stakes (gr. IIT) at Woodbine in late October.

Trained throughout his career by Lucien Lauren, Secretariat retired with 16 wins from 21 starts and earnings of $1,316,808. Secretariat was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame the year after his retirement.

Secretariat, produced from the Princequillo mare Somethingroyal and a half brother to successful sire Sir Gaylord, entered stud in 1974 at the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky. The previous winter Secretariat had been syndicated for $6,080,000, or $190,000 a share, a record in both categories. Penny Cheneny, along with her sister, Margaret, and their brother, Hollis, had been in charge of Secretariat’s career.

The odds against Secretariat siring his like were astronomical, but he did sire such good ones as 1986 Horse of the Year and Hall of Fame member Lady’s Secret; 1988 champion 3-year-old male and Preakness and Belmont winner Risen Star; Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner General Assembly; and two-time Pacific Classic Stakes (gr. I) winner Tinners Way.

But it was in his role as a broodmare sire that Secretariat is best remembered in pedigrees. His daughters produced such stars as 1992 Horse of the Year and two-time leading sire A.P. Indy , plus other two-time leader Storm Cat and important sire Gone West.

Secretariat was euthanized Oct. 4, 1989, at age 19 because of complications from laminitis. He is buried in the main cemetery at Claiborne.

TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Miscellaneous; Pets/Animals; Society; Sports
KEYWORDS: belmontstakes; happybirthday; horse; horseracing; kentuckyderby; preakness; secretariat; triplecrown
Secretariat...such a fine horse.
1 posted on 03/30/2010 6:38:51 PM PDT by DogByte6RER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Secretariat - Belmont Stakes 1973

2 posted on 03/30/2010 6:39:47 PM PDT by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
His wake.

3 posted on 03/30/2010 6:44:51 PM PDT by Krankor (nO)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

Won’t get foaled again.

4 posted on 03/30/2010 6:50:34 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (I do not want the Union to be maintained. I want the US to break up. I support secession.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Krankor

Not funny - he is actually buried whole in Kentucky with a statue made in his honor. He is consistently on the list of greatest athletes of all time even though he’s a horse. Not dog food at all.

5 posted on 03/30/2010 6:50:36 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Islam is incompatible with American traditions and values)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: nagdt


6 posted on 03/30/2010 6:55:11 PM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spirito Sancto.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
Secretariat...such a fine horse.

Got a chance to pet him and meet him up close and personal at the grooming shed at Claiborne. What a beautiful animal!

7 posted on 03/30/2010 6:56:49 PM PDT by Prokopton
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

I remember watching him on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and he was beautiful. You could tell he was something special even when just being led to the gate. And I agree with him being one of the top 10 athletes of all time.

8 posted on 03/30/2010 6:57:48 PM PDT by Bad Jack Bauer (Fat and Bald? I was BORN fat and bald, thank you very much!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

I remember watching him race when I was a kid, and thinking “Wow, how did he do that?” after he won the Belmont.

Also, interesting to study the angles of his hind leg joints, length of his rump and length of his neck. All put together for long strides and high speed.

9 posted on 03/30/2010 7:04:45 PM PDT by Cloverfarm (This too shall pass ...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

Color me callous but I never could understand all the fuss and muss over a horse that could run fast.

10 posted on 03/30/2010 7:08:55 PM PDT by SamAdams76 (I am 18 days away from outliving Jack Kerouac)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

I saw Secretariat race in one of the races he lost, to Prove Out.

They actually suspended betting on place and show - you could only bet him to win. There were massive tickets left all over the ground after, because people sought to capitalize on a “sure” thing by betting massive amounts of money. We stood next to a man who threw $250 tickets down on the ground after the race - in the 70’s quite a bit of cash.

I was a young girl and I didn’t feel sorry for him - as far as I was concerned, people who did that were missing the whole idea of being there. The horse was beautiful and a thrill to watch. I wasn’t disappointed. I’m so sorry I didn’t pick some tickets up though; they would have been a great souveneir.

11 posted on 03/30/2010 7:15:40 PM PDT by I still care (I believe in the universality of freedom -George Bush, asked if he regrets going to war.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
One of the best sports photos ever:

12 posted on 03/30/2010 7:18:16 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

The first Derby I attended was the ‘73 Derby. I put $2 on Secretariat to win and he did not disappoint.

13 posted on 03/30/2010 7:27:40 PM PDT by bagman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

Magnificent. I watched the Triple Crown on TV as a kid, and like many other horse-crazy teenaged girls, was enchanted.

14 posted on 03/30/2010 8:23:56 PM PDT by greatplains
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Secretariat, 1988

15 posted on 03/30/2010 9:33:49 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: A.A. Cunningham

Beautiful horse. Big Red.
Wonderful memories.

16 posted on 03/30/2010 9:36:18 PM PDT by onyx (Facts don't matter. Proof not required. Anything goes! Racial slurs, death threats.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: SamAdams76
Color me callous but I never could understand all the fuss and muss over a horse that could run fast.

He was not just a horse that ran fast. It was that he was special, great. No one that saw his greatest races will ever forget them.
17 posted on 03/30/2010 9:39:19 PM PDT by Bad Jack Bauer (Fat and Bald? I was BORN fat and bald, thank you very much!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
I will never forget the stretch run at Belmont. Such power and grace, a perfect performance. God's perfection on earth.
18 posted on 03/30/2010 9:46:28 PM PDT by TsonicTsunami08
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Prokopton
Got a chance to pet him and meet him up close and personal at the grooming shed at Claiborne. What a beautiful animal!

Me too. I took a five day bicycle trip from Columbus, Ohio to Lexington, Ky and back with a friend dring college days (summer 78). We stopped at a gas station/country store for a break and met a caretaker. He took us over to meet Secretariat and pet him. Great memory.
19 posted on 03/30/2010 9:51:17 PM PDT by tang-soo (Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - Read Daniel Chapter 9)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

I get goosebumps every time I see a replay of that Belmont Stakes. “Moving like a tremendous machine.”

20 posted on 03/30/2010 9:56:21 PM PDT by Rainbow Rising (I'm suffering from Obama Fatigue Syndrome. Does Obamacare cover that?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SamAdams76

Secretariat was just special.

21 posted on 03/30/2010 11:17:16 PM PDT by donna (SarahPAC has donated money to...(wait for it)...Lindsey Graham!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Cloverfarm

He also had a rare genetic trait that resulted in a heart that was twice the size of a normal Thoroughbred’s.

22 posted on 03/31/2010 4:59:54 AM PDT by Texas Mulerider (Rap music: hieroglyphics with a beat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Straight Vermonter

I was driving on vacation and was listening on radio to the race. I could hardly believe the announcer’s description of the massive lead and how it kept getting larger. Unbelievable...even getting it on the radio somewhere near Biloxi.

23 posted on 03/31/2010 5:04:20 AM PDT by newfreep (Palin/DeMint 2012 - Bolton: Secy of State)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Krankor

Not funny..

24 posted on 03/31/2010 5:38:44 AM PDT by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Straight Vermonter

The jockey said that peeked scared him.

25 posted on 03/31/2010 5:40:02 AM PDT by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

Thank you for posting this. I was 10 in 73 and Secretariat was my hero. I bought and read every book on him I could find. One of my regrets is that I never made the trip to KY to visit him.

He sure did move like a tremendous machine.

26 posted on 03/31/2010 5:47:36 AM PDT by cjshapi (Proudly posting without a tagline since 2001)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

Wow. Seems like yesterday...

27 posted on 03/31/2010 10:01:49 AM PDT by green pastures (Cynicism-- it's not just for breakfast anymore...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
"Big Red"

The days are long at Belmont.

Speed they never learn.

And it's many a day since Man o' War

Has looped the upper turn.

The guineas stopped their rubbing,

The rider dropped his tack

When the word went round that Man o' War

Was coming on the track.

The crowd was hoarse with cheering

At ancient Pimlico

The day he won the Preakness-

But that was long ago.

The dust is deep at Windsor,

The good old days are gone.

And many a horse is forgotten,

But they still remember one.

For he was a fiery phantom

To that multitudinous throng-

Would you wait for another one like him?

Be patient: years are long.

For here was a horse among horses,

Cast in a Titan's mold,

And the slant October sunlight

Gilded the living gold.

He was marked with the god's own giving

And winged in every part;

The look of eagles was in his eye

And Hastings' wrath in his heart.

Young Equipoise had power

To rouse the crowded stand,

And there was magic in the name

Of Greentree's Twenty Grand.

And Sarazen has sprinted,

And Gallant Fox has stayed,

And Discovery has glittered

In the wake of Cavalcade.

We watch the heroes parading,

We wait, and our eyes are dim, But we never discover another

Like him.

A foal is born at midnight

And in the frosty morn

The horseman eyes him fondly

And a secret hope is born.

But breathe it not, nor whisper,

For fear of a neighbor's scorn:

He's a chestnut colt, and he's got a star-

He may be another Man o' War.

Nay, say it aloud--be shameless.

Dream and hope and yearn,

For there's never a man among you

But waits for his return.

~Joseph Alvie Estes

I saw three of Secretariat's races. I saw Onion beat him at Saratoga, I saw him set a world record in the Marlboro Cup, and I saw his last race on a freezing cold day at Woodbine. I saw him six times at Claiborne.
28 posted on 03/31/2010 10:25:50 AM PDT by Nepeta
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

I will NEVER forget watching Big Red win the Belmont. I was 13 years old, and was working at the Greater Houston Gun Club. They were holding a bid skeet and trap shooting competition... I had been loading clay pidgeons all day.

During a break in the shooting, I was allowed to walk through the big clubhouse to use the bathroom. As I was walking through, I noticed a crowd gathered around a TV. The Belmont was about to start.

I went over, stood amongst a crowd of adults... and, watched Secretariat RUN AWAY from the field. All these adults were cheering and yelling.... I was amazed.

Now... I attend the Kentucky Derby every year, and keep waiting for some horse to break Big Red’s record.... Still hadn’t happened. :-)

29 posted on 03/31/2010 10:38:55 AM PDT by SomeCallMeTim
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson