The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has released “The Secretariat Collection,” a YouTube playlist with all 15 starts the renowned colt made in New York. See http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGDchueFrYgs8M27bdRSHcmWat8nBWV50
This year is the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s retirement parade at Aqueduct Racetrack. Secretariat, trained by Lucien Laurin for Meadow Stable, made 15 starts at NYRA’s tracks, winning 10 times, including the Sanford, Hopeful, Futurity, Bay Shore, Gotham, Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap, and Man o’ War.
In 1999, ESPN ranked Secretariat the 35th best athlete of the 20th century, the highest ranking racehorse on the list. He ranked second behind Man o’ War in The Blood-Horse’s List of the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century.
Secretariat was sired by Bold Ruler out of Somethingroyal, by Princequillo. He was foaled at The Meadow in Caroline County, Virginia. Like his famous predecessor Man o’ War, Secretariat was a large chestnut colt and was given the same nickname, “Big Red.” Secretariat’s grandsire, Nasrullah, is also the great-great-grandsire of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.
The video collection also includes Secretariat’s debut loss, his disqualification in the Champagne, his disappointing third-place finish in the Wood Memorial, and his defeats at the hands of a pair of horses trained by H. Allen Jerkens in the Whitney Handicap (won by Onion) and the Woodward (won by Prove Out).
In his final New York start, Secretariat won the 1973 Grade 1 Man o’ War, his turf debut, by five lengths. He competed once more, taking the Grade 2 Canadian International, and returned to New York for formal retirement ceremony on November 6, 1973 at Aqueduct.
Whenever you think of Secretariat, one has to think of Big Red’s human face, Penny Chenery, the First Lady of horse racing. Penny is 91 years young and still signing autographs and telling the wonderful story of Secretariat. While Penny still lived in Lexington, she would join my Kentucky Derby Tours group for lunch at Spindletop Hall and speak about Secretariat. I never grew tired of hearing Penny speak about Big Red.
The Secretariat collection also features a special installment of “History of the Game,” a series hosted by Richard Migliore, that focuses on the retirement ceremony and includes rare footage. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_VZcm71f6w&list=PLGDchueFrYgs8M27bdRSHcmWat8nBWV50
Secretariat was inducted into the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in 1974 and stood at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky until his death in 1989 at the age of 19.
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