Secretariat has a prominent place amongst the greatest thoroughbred race horses. Nicknamed “Big Red”, Secretariat became well-known for his racing achievements and beauty. Born at Meadow Farm in 1970, sired by Bold Ruler out of Somethingroyal, Secretariat was set to become a champion. This stunning racing champion was owned by Penny Chenery, trained by Lucien Laurin and jockeyed by Ron Turcotte in a spectacular career.
Boasting brilliant conformation, a beautiful chestnut coat with white stockings and a star, Secretariat was truly a sight to see. He took part in his first race in July 1972 at Aqueduct. He suffered a set-back at the starting gate of the 5 ½ furlong maiden race but as the steeds came into the open stretch he pushed forward to take 4th place. After that Secretariat won two races and his trainer decided to move him up a class. He took the Sanford Stakes in August, winning by 3 lengths. By the end of the season Secretariat had gained victories in the Belmont Futurity, Garden State Stakes, Hopeful Stakes and Laurel Futurity. As a two-year-old, Secretariat had made 7 out of 9 wins, won $ 456,404 and was unanimously voted Horse of the Year.
As a three-year-old, Secretariat gained his first two starts, after which he had a gum abscess and only came third in the Wood Memorial Stakes. At the Kentucky Derby, Secretariat surprised everyone. He started off toward the rear, but soon began passing horses, taking the lead and winning by 2 ½ lengths. Secretariat is the only horse to have run the Kentucky Derby in under 2 minutes. At the Preakness Stakes Secretariat took the lead to gain victory by 2 ½ lengths. The Belmont was possibly the most exciting race in Big Red’s career. Racing head to head with Sham for 6 furlongs, it was eventually Secretariat who took the lead to win by 31 lengths and setting the track record at 2:24. It had been 25 years since Citation had won the Triple Crown. Now Secretariat was walking off with this amazing title.
Following a few more races, Secretariat retired to become a stud at Claiborne farm. He went on to sire some 41 stakes champions. “Sports Century” named Secretariat the 35th top North American athlete, the only non-human to make the list. At the age of 19 Secretariat died, yet he will always remain a legend of the race track. Interestingly, a necropsy performed on Secretariat revealed that his heart was almost twice the size of the average horse. A genuinely unique steed, Secretariat has left behind an unforgettable legacy.