On March 30 1970 a bright red chestnut foal was born on Meadow Farm in Caroline County Virginia. The son of Bold Ruler and Somethingroyal would one day touch the hearts of millions with his determination and talent.
Secretariat was owned by Penny Cheney and was born with a bright red chestnut coat, three socks and a narrow blaze. He was nicknamed “Big Red”, the same as one of the most famous and prolific Thoroughbred stallions to have ever raced, Man O’War. The name Secretariat is something of a story, Meadows Stables’ had submitted 10 entries to the Jockey’s Club for admission and each one of them was designed. On the 11th try, Meadows Stables’ secretary entered the name Secretariat which was a name for a Secretary’s association that she once belonged to. On the 11th try, it was approved!
In his racing career Secretariat made history more times than can be counted. He began with a Kentucky Derby win time of under 2 minutes. The next time this would happen is nearly 30 years later in 2001. He then went on to compete and win the second round of the Triple Crown, the Belmont. The last leg of the Triple crown was the Belmont and what would be his most famous race. On that day in 1973 Secretariat would break the record for the fastest 1 1/2 mile in history, finishing in 2:24. In addition to this, he blew the competition away by winning the race by 31 lengths, and absolutely unheard of amount.
After his three wins, Secretariat was awarded the Triple Crown, which only 8 horses prior to him were able to claim. He was also named horse of the year for 1972 and 1973. After his racing career he went on to stud over 600 foals. In 1989 Secretariat was stricken with Laminitis and was put to rest. He was buried at Claiborne farm in Paris Kentucky.
Breyer has welcomed a new Secretariat into its product line this year. This Secretariat is featured on the Smarty Jones mold and features the famous chestnut coat and blaze. Many would argue that he is a large improvement over the former Breyer Secretariat.
I was pleased to pick up Secretariat at Golden Oak Stables‘ workshop day this past Saturday, and very pleased to say he’s a fitting tribute. His body is a bit stocky for a modern Thoroughbred, but he makes a great performance prospect that will excel in many different disciplines. Your imagination is the limit.
Secretariat will stay in the hearts of old and young for years to come. Anyone that has seen him race, whether in person or in video will understand the respect that is given to this true athlete.