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Secretariat: The Unforgettable Legacy of an All-Time Great

Secretariat: The Legend and Legacy

From the moment he burst onto the racing scene, Secretariat captured the imagination of the horse racing world. He was an extraordinary athlete with an indomitable spirit and a will to win that seemed impossible to break.

And while his performance on the track shone like a beacon for all to admire, his life off the track was equally fascinating. From his early beginnings to his ownership and syndication, the story of Secretariat is one of greatness and legacy.

Secretariat’s Racing Career

The Triple Crown Wins

No discussion of Secretariat can begin without mentioning his extraordinary feats on the track. In 1973, he won the Triple Crown, which consists of three of the most prestigious races in the United States: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.

What made his wins so impressive was the record time he set in each race. In the Kentucky Derby, he finished in an incredible 1:59.4, breaking the previous record by two full seconds.

In the Preakness Stakes, he won by two and a half lengths, once again setting a record time of 1:53. In the Belmont Stakes, he won by a staggering 31 lengths, finishing in 2:24, a record that still stands today.

As a result of these three wins, he became the first Triple Crown champion since 1948, cementing his place in horse racing history.

The Early Beginnings

But Secretariat’s early career wasn’t as smooth. In fact, his first start was a bit of a rough one.

He stumbled out of the gate and fell to last place before charging back to finish fourth. It was clear from that moment, however, that he had the potential to be something special.

His next race, at Aqueduct, was even more impressive. Despite being bumped and jostled at the start, Secretariat came back from behind to win by 4.5 lengths.

It was a sign of things to come. In total, Secretariat won 16 of his 21 starts, an impressive winning percentage of 76.2%.

And his average margin of victory was a stunning 6.9 lengths, a testament to his dominance on the track. Secretariat’s Owner and Syndication

The Owner

But Secretariat’s legacy is also tied to his owner, Penny Chenery. She inherited Meadow Stud, the family farm, after her father’s death.

Despite having no experience or interest in horse racing at the time, she threw herself into the business with determination and faith. In 1969, she called on Lucien Laurin to be her trainer and, together, they selected a stallion named Bold Ruler to breed with one of Chenery’s mares, Somethingroyal.

The result was Secretariat.

Syndication and Retirement

But with great success comes great demand. After Secretariat’s historic Triple Crown win, interest swirled in his breeding rights.

Eventually, in 1973, Chenery and her family sold the breeding rights to a syndicate headed by Claiborne Farms. The price?

A staggering $6.08 million, which at the time, was the largest sum paid for any horse in history. Secretariat was retired to stud, and his breeding career was every bit as impressive as his racing career.

He fathered 57 stakes winners, and his bloodline continues to this day. In conclusion, Secretariat was one of the greatest racehorses of all time.

He was a champion on the track, setting records, and winning hearts. But his legacy extends beyond his racing career.

He was a symbol of perseverance and a testament to the power of faith and determination. His story is one of greatness and legacy, and it will continue to inspire horse racing fans for generations to come.

Secretariat: The Legend and Legacy Continued

Secretariat’s achievements on the track are well-known, but his legacy extends far beyond his racing career. From his celebrity status to his impact on the breeding industry, here are some notable achievements that have kept Secretariat in the hearts and minds of horse racing fans for decades.

Secretariat’s Notable Achievements

Record Times and Fame

Secretariat’s historic achievements on the track made him a celebrity. His record-breaking times in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, along with his incredible heart and stride, captured the attention of the nation.

He was featured on the cover of magazines like Sports Illustrated, Time, and Newsweek, and he received thousands of fan letters each year. But Secretariat’s fame wasn’t just limited to the racing world.

He also made public appearances, including a trip to the Kentucky State Capitol where he received a key to the city. In 1989, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, further cementing his status as one of the greatest racehorses of all time.

Heart Size and ESPN Recognition

In addition to his success on the track, Secretariat was also known for his incredible heart. The necropsy conducted after his death in 1989 revealed that his heart weighed 22 pounds, nearly twice the size of the average horse’s heart.

This discovery further solidified his legendary status, and he was recognized by ESPN as one of the 50 Greatest Athletes of the Century. Aside from recognition, Secretariat also received numerous awards and honors, including Horse of the Year in 1972 and 1973 and the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Two-Year-Old Male Horse.

His racing legacy continues to inspire and fascinate horse racing enthusiasts around the world. Secretariat’s Offspring

Breeding History

As a successful racehorse and highly regarded stallion, Secretariat’s impact on the breeding industry cannot be understated. He was known for his exceptional fertility and sired 663 named foals.

Of those, 57 were stakes winners and 46 were graded stakes winners. One notable breeding success story involved an Appaloosa mare named Ms. Kelso, who was bred to Secretariat in the late 1970s.

The resulting colt was named First Secretary and would go on to become a successful show jumper before being sold to Japan for breeding. Overall, Secretariat left a lasting impact on the thoroughbred industry, with his bloodline continuing to produce successful racehorses to this day.

Notable Offspring

While Secretariat’s breeding record is impressive, some of his foals stood out as notable successes in their own right. One of his most successful offspring was General Assembly, who won the Travers Stakes and set a new track record at Saratoga in 1979.

Lady Secret was another of Secretariat’s successful daughters. She won the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes, among other races, and was named Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in 1974.

Risen Star was another highlight of Secretariat’s breeding career. He won the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes in 1988 and was named Horse of the Year that same year.

Other successful offspring include Kingston Rule, winner of the 1990 Melbourne Cup, and Tinners Way, who won the Strub Stakes and the Santa Anita Handicap. Additionally, Secretariat’s impact extends beyond just his successful offspring.

He also became a successful broodmare sire, with his daughters producing such notable racehorses as A.P. Indy, Smarty Jones, and Rags to Riches. In conclusion, Secretariat’s legacy is far-reaching and multifaceted.

His racing career captivated a nation, and his impact on the breeding industry has lasted for decades. From his record-breaking times and celebrity status to his exceptional offspring, Secretariat’s legacy continues to fascinate and inspire horse racing enthusiasts around the world.

Secretariat: The Legend and Legacy Endures

Although Secretariat’s life was cut short, his legacy continues to inspire and fascinate horse racing enthusiasts around the world. Here are some details on Secretariat’s death and burial, as well as his physical attributes that contributed to his success on the track.

Secretariat’s Death and


Cause of Death

In 1989, Secretariat passed away due to the debilitating and painful condition of laminitis. This condition occurs when the soft tissues in a horse’s hooves become inflamed and start to break down, ultimately leading to lameness and even death.

Despite receiving the best treatment that money could buy, the condition proved to be too much for Secretariat to overcome. He was euthanized on October 4th, 1989, at Claiborne Farm, where he had lived since retiring from racing.


Secretariat’s owners, a group of syndicate members led by the Chenery family, decided to bury him whole – head, heart, and hooves – in the Claiborne Farm cemetery. This decision reflected their desire to honor Secretariat and preserve his memory in a physical way.

The burial was conducted with full honors, with Secretariat’s casket draped in a floral blanket and surrounded by his many admirers. A monument now stands atop the burial site, honoring Secretariat’s accomplishments and legacy.

Secretariat’s Physical Attributes

Height and Weight

Secretariat was a large and powerful horse, measuring 16.2 hands (5 feet 6 inches) at the withers and weighing around 1,175 pounds. These physical attributes gave him a considerable advantage when it came to speed and stride length.

Conformation and Diet

In addition to his impressive height and weight, Secretariat had nearly perfect conformation, with powerful hindquarters and a large chest. His shoulders sloped evenly into his back, allowing for maximum stride length.

These physical attributes helped Secretariat to move with incredible speed and efficiency on the track. Secretariat also had a healthy appetite.

He famously ate around 15 quarts of oats a day, which was almost double what a normal racehorse would consume. This high-octane diet, coupled with his rigorous training and meticulous care, helped him to maintain his optimal weight and energy levels.

In conclusion, Secretariat’s death and burial were a fitting tribute to one of horse racing’s true greats. His physical attributes, including his impressive height and weight, his nearly perfect conformation, and his healthy diet, contributed to his success on the track.

His legacy continues to inspire and captivate horse racing enthusiasts around the world. Secretariat: The Legend and Legacy Continues

Behind every great racehorse is a great jockey.

Paul Feliciano and Ron Turcotte played crucial roles in Secretariat’s racing success. Additionally, Secretariat’s earnings and stud fee were staggering, cementing his status as an all-time great.

Secretariat’s Jockey and Earnings

Jockey History

Paul Feliciano was Secretariat’s jockey for his first four races, including his maiden victory at Aqueduct. However, it was Ron Turcotte who rode Secretariat to victory in the Triple Crown races, cementing their place in horse racing history.

Turcotte was known for his skillful riding and ability to guide Secretariat to the finish line with precision. In particular, his performance at the Belmont Stakes is considered one of the greatest races of all time, as he rode Secretariat to victory by 31 lengths, setting a new world record and securing the Triple Crown.

Turcotte’s career was tragically cut short in 1978 when he suffered a severe spinal injury during a race, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Despite this setback, he remained involved in the horse racing industry and continued to inspire others with his resilience and determination.

Earnings and Stud Fee

Secretariat’s success on the track translated into staggering earnings. Over the course of his career, he won $1,316,808 in prize money, a record that was held for many years.

In his first year at stud, Secretariat commanded a stud fee of $70,000, which was a large sum at the time, but was ultimately justified by his success as a sire. In total, he sired 663 named foals, with 57 of them being stakes winners and 46 being graded stakes winners.

His offspring continued to produce successful racehorses, ensuring that his legacy would continue for many years to come. In conclusion, Secretariat’s success on the track was a testament to the skillful riding of his jockeys and the determination of all those involved in his racing career.

His staggering earnings and stud fee solidified his status as one of the greatest racehorses of all time. Despite his untimely death, his legacy endures through his offspring and the many fans who continue to be inspired by his extraordinary achievements.

In conclusion, Secretariat’s legacy endures as one of the greatest racehorses of all time. From his historic Triple Crown win to his impressive offspring, Secretariat’s physical attributes, and staggering earnings, his achievements on and off the track continue to inspire and fascinate horse racing enthusiasts around the world.

Although he passed away, he left behind a lasting impression on the racing industry and continues to symbolize perseverance, determination, and greatness. FAQs:

Q: What were Secretariat’s most notable achievements on the track?

A: Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, setting record times in all three races. He also won 16 of his 21 starts in his racing career.

Q: Who were Secretariat’s jockeys, and why were they important? A: Paul Feliciano rode Secretariat in his first four races, while Ron Turcotte rode him to victory in the Triple Crown races, including his record-breaking win at the Belmont Stakes.

Q: How much did Secretariat earn during his racing career, and what was his stud fee? A: Secretariat earned $1,316,808 during his racing career, and his stud fee was $70,000 in his first year at stud, making him one of the most expensive breeding stallions of his time.

Q: What were Secretariat’s physical attributes and diet that contributed to his success on the track? A: Secretariat was a large and powerful horse with nearly perfect conformation, powerful hindquarters, and a large chest.

He also had a healthy appetite, eating around 15 quarts of oats a day, which was almost double what a normal racehorse would consume. Q: Where was Secretariat buried, and why was this significant?

A: Secretariat was buried whole, including his head, heart, and hooves, in the Claiborne Farm cemetery. This decision reflected his owners’ desire to honor Secretariat and preserve his memory in a physical way.

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