He was the fastest horse who ever lived, and on this day in 1973 he proved it, proved it by an unheard-of 31 lengths, his margin of victory in the Belmont Stakes, making today
NATIONAL SECRETARIAT DAY!
Nicknamed Big Red for his size and bright-red chestnut coloring, Secretariat was born to minor Thoroughbred Horse royalty in Caroline County, Virginia, and made his racing debut in New York City’s Belmont Park race track in 1972, finishing fourth.
Secretariat went onto win 7 of his next 8 races as a 2 year-old, ready to graduate to the Big Time of horse racing, the Triple Crown races for 3 year-olds that showcase the best horses in the world.
In their approximately 150 year history, there have been only 11 horses that won all 3 races, the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, and Secretariat owns the speed records in all three. Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby in record time, and became an immediate international star. Ridden by veteran jockey Ron Turcotte and trained by Lucien Laurin, Big Red repeated the feat in the Preakness.
The whole world was watching the Belmont States to see if this magnificent horse could keep up the pace in this longest of the 3 races, a mile and a half, usually won by the horse and jockey that runs the best tactical race.
Well, tactics went right out the window when Secretariat bolted out of the gate and immediately put distance between himself and the other horses, and never looked back as his lead kept widening, and he won in spectacular fashion, setting a 3rd speed record, all of which have yet to be broken.
Here’s to Secretariat, and the thrills he gave us all one glorious Spring.
•Suggested Activities: Rooting for the good guy.