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A Moment of greatness


Secretariat Thoroughbred Racing Horse
June 9, 1973 ~ Belmont Stakes ~1 ½ mile ~ Belmont Park
On March 30, at 12:10 a.m., Somethingroyal foaled a bright-red chestnut colt with three white socks and a star with a narrow blaze. By the time the colt was a yearling, he was still unnamed. Meadow Stable's secretary, Elizabeth Ham, had submitted five names to the Jockey Club, all of which were denied for various reasons. Approval finally came with the sixth submission, a name Ham herself picked from a previous career association, "Secretariat"
Secretariat with Mr SweatTwo year Old Season
On July 4, 1972, Secretariat finished fourth, beaten by 1¼ lengths, in his first race at Aqueduct Racetrack when he was impeded at the start, forced to take up on the backstretch and then could not make up the ground. After that loss, Secretariat then won five races in a row, including three important two-year-old stakes races, the Sanford Stakes and Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, and the Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park. In the Hopeful, he made a huge move, passing eight horses in 1/4 mile to take the lead and then drawing off to win by five lengths. He then ran in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont, for which he ran as the favourite and won by two lengths. Following an inquiry by the racecourse stewards, Secretariat was disqualified and placed second for bearing in and interfering with Stop the Music, which was declared the winner.
Secretariat then took the Laurel Futurity, winning by eight lengths over Stop the Music, and completed his season with a win in the Garden State Futurity. Secretariat won the Eclipse Award for American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse and, in a rare occurrence, two two-year-olds topped the balloting for 1972 American Horse of the Year honours with Secretariat edging out the filly, La Prevoyante.
Secretariat Thoroughbred RacerThree year old season
Secretariat began his three-year-old year with an easy win in the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct. In his next start, the Gotham Stakes, Secretariat led wire-to-wire for the first time in his career. He ran the first 3/4 mile in 1:083⁄5 and finished the one-mile race in 1:332⁄5, matching the track record. However, in his next start, he finished third in the Wood Memorial to stablemate Angle Light and Santa Anita Derby winner Sham, in their final preparatory race for the Kentucky Derby. His loss was due to a large abscess in his mouth. Because of the Wood Memorial results, some were considering Sham the top pick for the Kentucky Derby. Sham was at the top of the list in the Louisville Courier-Journal and Times Derby Ratings on April 22, 1973.[18]
The Belmont Stakes
Belmont Stakes SecretariatOnly four horses competed against Secretariat for the June 9, 1973, running of the 105th Belmont Stakes, including Sham, who had finished second in both the Derby and Preakness, along with three other horses thought to have little chance by the bettors: Twice A Prince, My Gallant, and Private Smiles. With so few horses in the race, and with Secretariat expected to win, no "show" bets were taken. Before a crowd of 67,605, Secretariat and Sham set a fast early pace, opening ten lengths on the rest of the field. After the six-furlong mark, Sham began to tire, ultimately finishing last.  Secretariat raced into the ever glow of immortality in the 1973 Belmont Stakes. His victory, by one of the widest margins in the history of the American turf – 31 lengths ahead of his nearest challenger and in a world record time for the 1 1/2 miles distance – 2 minutes 24, remains one of the most memorable in sports history In the stretch, Secretariat opened a 1/16 mile lead on the rest of the field. At the finish, he won by 31 lengths (breaking the margin-of-victory record set by Triple Crown winner Count Fleet in 1943, who won by 25 lengths), and ran the fastest 1½ miles on dirt in history, 2:24 flat, which broke the stakes record by more than two seconds This works out to a speed of 37.5 mph for his entire performance. Secretariat's record still stands; no other horse has ever broken 2:24 for 1½ miles on dirt
If you were there, at Belmont Park, you saw Secretariat in living color. He was dark red, darker than his normal, bright, reddish-blond coat. With every muscle churning in full combustion, the horse darkened in color. His legs, couldn’t be seen. Not even a blur. You could see his white-stockinged feet. Like a low trail of vapor. A white wisp of flying fog.
And then it was over.
The moment froze. What we are left with are those fleeting glimpses – a blazing pace, a huge running machine, a visual roar of acceleration, an ever-widening margin, the coat darkening, a white vapor of feet, a jockey sitting chilly, a horse alone – and one long-lasting moment frozen in memory. What we witnessed. The champion’s charisma. A feeling. An emotion. A ripple of goose bumps.
A moment of greatness.
Secretariat became the ninth Triple Crown winner in history, and the first in 25 years.
After the Triple Crown
Three weeks after his win at Belmont, Secretariat shipped to Chicago and easily won the Arlington Invitational at Arlington Park. He went to Saratoga, popularly nicknamed "the graveyard of champions," for the Whitney Stakes. Racing against older horses for the first time, he was beaten by the Allen Jerkens-trained Onion, a four-year-old gelding. Onion led from the start and led Secretariat by a head on the final turn before pulling ahead in the straight to win by a length. A record crowd of more than 30,000 witnessed what was described as an "astonishing" upset. Despite Jerkens's reputation as the "Giant Killer," Secretariat's stunning loss can possibly be attributed to a viral infection, which caused a low-grade fever and diarrhea.
Secretariat then won the inaugural Marlboro Cup against a field that included his stablemate, the 1972 Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Riva Ridge; top California stakes winner Cougar II, Canadian champion Kennedy Road, Onion, Travers winner Annihilate 'Em, and the 1972 American champion three-year-old male horse Key to the Mint. Secretariat ran 1:452⁄5 for 11⁄8 miles, then a world record for the distance. Stablemate Riva Ridge ran second.
In September, Secretariat returned to Belmont for the 11⁄2 mile Woodward Stakes in which he was matched against the Allen Jerkens-trained, four-year-old Prove Out. Racing on a sloppy track, Secretariat led into the straight but was overtaken by Prove Out, who pulled clear to win by 41⁄2 lengths. Following his defeat by Prove Out Secretariat was moved to turf for the Man O' War Stakes over (11⁄2 miles). He won by five lengths from Tentam, with Big Spruce seven and a half lengths further back in third. Secretariat set a track record time of 2:244⁄5. After the race, Ron Turcotte explained that "when Tentam came up to him in the backstretch I just chirped to him and he pulled away".
Secretariat's owner entered into a syndication deal that precluded the horse racing past age three. Accordingly, Secretariat's last race was against older horses in the Canadian International Stakes over one and five-eighths miles at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada on October 28, 1973. With Ron Turcotte out with a five-day suspension, Eddie Maple rode Secretariat to victory by 61⁄2 lengths. After the race, Secretariat was brought to Aqueduct Racetrack where he was paraded before fans in his final public appearance.
Altogether, Secretariat won 16 of his 21 career races, with three seconds and one third, with total earnings of $1,316,808.
At age three, Secretariat was again named Horse of the Year, and won Eclipse Awards as the American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse and the American Champion Male Turf Horse
Honours and retirement
Secretariat As Breeding StallionBreeding rights were sold for Secretariat before he won the Triple Crown. As part of his first crop at stud, Secretariat sired Canadian Bound, who was the first Thoroughbred yearling racehorse ever sold for more than US$1 million. At the 1976 Keeneland July sale, the auction bidding for Canadian Bound broke the $1 million barrier, selling for $1.5 million, equal to $6.2 million today. Canadian Bound was a complete failure in racing, and for several years, the value of Secretariat's offspring declined considerably. However, he eventually sired a number of major stakes winners, including 1986 Horse of the Year Lady's Secret, 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Risen Star, 1990 Melbourne Cup winner Kingston Rule, which broke the course record in Australia's richest race, and the 1994, 1995 winner of the G1 Pacific Classic, Tinners Way, born in 1990 to Secretariat's last crop.
He also sired General Assembly, which won the 1979 Travers Stakes at Saratoga while setting a still-standing race record of 2:00 flat. Andrew Beyer has said General Assembly's speed figure in that race was one of the highest in history. Like Secretariat in the Belmont, General Assembly never duplicated that performance in the races that remained on his schedule. Secretariat was retired at three years old and General Assembly at four.
Ultimately, Secretariat sired as many as 600 foals. There has been some criticism of Secretariat as a stallion, due in part to his perceived inability to produce male offspring of his same caliber. However, he turned out to be a noted broodmare sire, being the maternal grandsire ("damsire") of 1992 Horse of the Year and successful sire A.P. Indy, Secretariat's grandson through his daughter Weekend Surprise, and sired by another Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew. AP Indy is the sire of 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches, the first filly to win at Belmont since 1905. Secretariat is also the damsire of the great stallions Storm Cat (by Storm Bird), through his daughter Terlingua, herself an excellent racemare, and of Gone West, through his daughter Secrettame. Secretariat is also the great-grandsire of Giant's Causeway through his grandson Storm Cat and daughter Terlingua. Secretariat's genetic legacy may be linked in part to the likelihood that he carried the "x-factor" (a trait linked to a large heart, carried only on the X chromosome) and thus, a trait Secretariat could only pass on via his daughters. However, it is yet to be proven whether the x-factor increases athletic ability

1) A.P. Indy (foaled March 31, 1989) is a champion stallion Thoroughbred racehorse best known for his wins in the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic in 1992. As of 2010, he is the oldest living winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic. A.P. Indy is a bay horse bred in Kentucky, USA, by William Farish III and William Kilroy. He was sired by Triple Crown-winner Seattle Slew out of mare Weekend Surprise, which was sired by another Triple Crown winner, Secretariat. He was the top-priced yearling of 1990 at $2.9 million.
2)Terlingua (February 7, 1976 – April 29, 2008) was an American thoroughbred bred in Kentucky by Tom Gentry, she was a chestnut filly from the second crop of Triple Crown Winner Secretariat. Terlingua was out of a Crimson Satan mare, Crimson Saint, who was a graded stakes winner as well as a very successful broodmare.