Secretariat was honored with a statue in the Belmont Park paddock after his feats in New York (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
As 2013 barrels into its homestretch, the New York Racing Association has produced a neat way to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s unforgettable 3-year-old season.
Through the release of the “Secretariat Collection” on YouTube.com, racing fans of all ages can treat themselves to the thrill of watching all 15 of the 1973 Triple Crown winner’s races in New York.
The package may lack the Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins by “Big Red” of Meadow Stable, but it presents a fascinating review of his growth from a hard-luck loser in a maiden race into the greatest race horse of the last half-century.
The highlight of the presentation is, of course, the 1973 Belmont Stakes. Yet that moment when Secretariat ran like “a tremendous machine” is most likely the one scene that comes to mind whenever the name of the two-time Horse of the Year is mentioned and is easily remembered without the help of a digital replay.
What makes the collection so special are some of the other less familiar races that helped to define him as one of the sport’s immortals.
You can watch his career debut, which illustrates how fickle fate can be. What else explains how a horse named Herbull, who would win 6 of 47 starts and earn just $41,080, could defeat a rival who would become such a legendary runner?
Then check out the Champagne Stakes and decide if the stewards made the right move in disqualifying Secretariat.
Races like the Wood, Whitney and Jockey Club Gold Cup show an unusual side of Secretariat: the vulnerable side.
Finally, while Secretariat’s landslide win in the Belmont Stakes may have been the sport’s most magnificent coronation and perhaps the greatest performance ever by a Thoroughbred, what you’ll see in the inaugural Marlboro Cup also belongs to the ages.
On the heels of his shocking loss to Onion in the Whitney, what was supposed to be a match race with stablemate and 1972 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Riva Ridge, evolved into a matchup of epic proportions. Aside from Riva Ridge, the field included 1972 3-year-old champion Key To The Mint, Onion, West Coast sensation Cougar II, Canada’s Kennedy Road and Travers winner Annihilate Em, and they all had the misfortune of tackling Secretariat when he was at his very best.
Riva Ridge showed his class by finishing second that day, but in victory, over such a stellar field, Secretariat provided one more unforgettable reminder of why, on his best day, he had no peers.
If you have doubts, just watch the “Secretariat Collection” and enjoy greatness in its most brilliant and spectacular form.