Big Red

The Kentucky Derby to be held on Saturday is called the most exciting two minutes in sports.

Make that one minute and 59 seconds in the case of Secretariat — 1:59-2/5 to be exact.

The record set by the big chestnut stallion for the 1-1/4 miles (10 furlongs) at Churchill Downs in 1973 still stands today.

As does Secretariat’s winning time of 1:53 in the 1-3/16 mile (9.5 furlongs) Preakness in Baltimore.

As does his 2:24 stunning victory in the 1-1/2 mile Belmont Stakes (12 furlongs) in New York, the longest of the Triple Crown races. Secretariat ran away with that race with an astounding winning margin of 31 lengths.

Secretariat still holds record.

The Beyer Speed Figure hadn’t been developed at that time, but had it been, Andrew Beyer calculated that Secretariat would have earned a figure of 139, the highest by far ever assigned.

All three Triple Crown race records still belong to Secretariat.

Secretariat still holds the record

Ron Turcotte, Secretariat’s jockey in all three races, said his plan in the Belmont was to sit behind second favorite Sham, ridden by Laffit Pincay, in the early going.

“That changed when I felt the power beneath me and Secretariat broke sharply,” he said. “I never felt such strength under me as I did that day. We were flying along. His stride was beautiful. His breathing was good. The only encouragement I gave him was to occasionally whisper in his ear, ‘Easy boy.’ With seventy yards to go, I chirped to him to make sure he did not lose focus. He responded by finding still another gear.”

And as he did, the crowd of 70,000 went wild. The race caller Chic Anderson was incredulous.

“Secretariat is widening now,” said Anderson, the excitement mounting in his voice. “He is moving like a tremendous machine.”

SECRETARIAT’S TRIPLE CROWN WINS BEGAN WITH THE DERBY


Ron Turcotte is now 80 years old and lives in his native New Brunswick, Canada.

Big Red passed away in 1989 at age of 19. He is buried at historic Claiborne Farm in the heart of bluegrass country in Paris, Kentucky.

Secretariat still holds record.


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Greatest racehorse ever!

The most amazing performance by a thoroughbred in racing history 

Today in New York is the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown that began with the Kentucky Derby and included the Preakness Stakes.

No racing fan, or no one, period, will ever forget the greatest Belmont Stakes in history, and the greatest performance by a thoroughbred in the history of racing.

It was the 105th running of the Belmont on June 9, 1973, and a three-year-old stallion known as Big Red was about to run the race of a lifetime.

Secretariat had won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and was the favorite to win the Belmont, although there were some who doubted if he could go the grueling mile-and-a-half, the longest of the Triple Crown races.

In an amazing show of stamina, in front of a crowd of 70,000 wildly cheering fans, Secretariat, with jockey Ron Turcotte aboard, ran away from the field and won by 31 lengths, the largest margin of victory in Belmont history.

Secretariat’s winning time of 2 minutes and 24 seconds still stands as the American record for a mile and a half on dirt.


Secretariat greatest racehorse ever

IN MEMORIAM: Secretariat died on October 4, 1989, at the age of 19. Big Red was buried at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky.


Today’s Belmont Stakes brought the crowd to its feet for an exciting stretch duel between the two favorites, Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie, with Essential Quality passing the post first by a length and a half. Preakness winner Rombauer ran third.


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