"Secretariat" – Portrayal of a Champion

Born on March 30, 1970, and going on to reach legendary status with his 31-length lead at the 1973 Belmont Stakes, resulting in a U.S. Triple Crown win, Secretariat was a horse that will long be remembered in horse racing circles. But although Secretariat’s incredible form on the track was admired by all who saw him, the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of his life was not common knowledge. All that is about to change with the release of the new Walt Disney movie “Secretariat” on October 8, as the inspiring and heart-warming story of a champion in the making takes to the big screen.

Secretariat was owned by American sportswoman, Penny Chenery, and trained by French-Canadian jockey and horse trainer, Lucien Laurin. Secretariat was sired by Bold Ruler, out of Somethingroyal, and was born at Meadow Farm located in Caroline County, Virginia. As a large chestnut colt, often compared to the famous Man o’ War, Secretariat was fondly referred to as “Big Red”.

In his first race as a two-year old at Aqueduct Racetrack, Secretariat came in fourth. He followed this with winning five races in a row, including the Sanford Stakes, Hopeful Stakes and Futurity Stakes, and it soon became evident to those with a keen eye for quality, that this magnificent horse was something truly special.

As a three-year old in preparation for the Kentucky Derby of 1973, Secretariat took first place in the Aqueduct Bay Shore Stakes and the Gotham Stakes, where he equaled the track record, but finished third in the Wood Memorial. All eyes were on Secretariat at the Kentucky Derby, where he was the 3-2 favorite over Sham for a win, and win he did, by 2 ½ lengths. Secretariat repeated this win at the Preakness Stakes, crossing the finish line 2 ½ lengths ahead of Sham again. At the Belmont Stakes, the third race in the U.S. Triple Crown, Secretariat was considered to be the winner before the starting gates even opened, but no-one expected his 31-length lead that made horseracing history.

With John Malkovich in all his quirkiness portraying trainer Lucien Laurin, and Diane Lane as Penny Chennery, “Secretariat” captures all the thrill of horse racing, and is a movie to be enjoyed whether you are part of the horse racing world, or a novice to this sport where horses reign supreme.