The Greatest Race Horse Who Ever Lived: Secretariat

By | October 26, 2021

Outside of Pegasus and Mister Ed, Secretariat ranks as the most famous horse in history. Winner of 1973’s prestigious Triple Crown, Secretariat became the first horse in 25 years to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes in the same year. Not only did “Big Red” win these illustrious races but dominated, seemingly setting records at every turn.

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Secretariat taking the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, in 1973. (Getty)

Secretariat’s superiority also occurred during a time when horse racing drew more attention than the NBA and perhaps even the NFL! Over 100,000 people flocked to Belmont Park near New York City to see if the extraordinary horse could rewrite history. This is the story of Secretariat.

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Secretariat with Ron Turcotte, Eddie Sweat and, Penny Chenery, 1973. (NYRA)

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Like all racing horses, Secretariat came from a long line of equine speedsters. His father was Bold Ruler, the 1957 Preakness winner and his mother was Somethingroyal who hailed from a long line of horses bred for stamina. He grew to more than 16 hands and at two years old he reached the size of horses a year older.

Ironically, many handlers didn’t think much of Secretariat’s future. It was his owner, a woman named Penny Chenery who decided he was fit to race. Back then very few women were involved in racing but clearly, Ms. Chenery had a good eye. After coming in fourth during his first race, it looked like the handlers were right. However, that marked the only time in Secretariat’s incredible career when he finished off the podium.