|Time Cover Story - Spring 1973|
I’ve been looking forward to this post. I get to talk about my favorite athlete of all time – Secretariat, the great thoroughbred. The opportunity for this blog right now is to commemorate the release on October 8 of his ‘biography’, the Disney-produced “Secretariat”. Disney has done a great job with a number of its sports biographies (Remember the Titans, Miracle and The Rookie come to mind), so I have hope for this.
Secretariat was foaled in March, 1970 and was put down due to laminitis at the ripe old horse age of 19 at historic Claiborne Farm in Lexington, KY. His birthday made him eligible for the 1973 Triple Crown races. As a two year old he had begun to show real promise, but nothing indicated what he would accomplish in three races over five weeks in May and June of 1973. No horse had won the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont) in a quarter of a century, and many said it could no longer be done. Secretariat not only won the Triple Crown, it was the way he did it that created the legend.
Big Red won the Kentucky Derby by a respectable two and a half lengths over a hard running colt named Sham. In the process though, he set a track record at Churchill Downs that still stands almost forty years later. Even more remarkable, his quarter mile fractions decreased throughout the race, which means he was accelerating the entire time.
|Home stretch of the Belmont. My wife gave me this picture signed by the photographer and jockey Ron Turcotte - I've got it hanging in my office|