Happy Birthday Big Red!

Today is the Triple Crown King; Secretariat's birthday. I think a good way to celebrate is to tell how we learned of/found out about this mighty horse. I'll start.

From the time I was a little girl, my grandpa would tuck me into bed and tell me stories of the mighty, larger-than-life horse; Secretariat. He would tell me how great he was, how he vanquished his competition in The Belmont, and how he touched everyone who laid eyes on him. I was completely enthralled by this legend, and when I found out he was indeed a REAL horse... I could scarcely believe it! I immediately started looking for his children and grandchildren... Which is how I found A.P. Indy; a son of one of the other horses my Grandpa told me stories about. I am saddened that I never got to see Secretariat myself, and worse yet... I could have seen Seattle Slew! A.P. Indy was the next best thing, because he had my two shining knights in his pedigree. At first I thought he was dead (Yes, I actually thought he was dead!), when I learned that he was still alive I made it a mission of mine to visit him one day.... And see this descendant of Kings.

How did you learn of Secretariat? Did you see him in person, or watch his Triple Crown takeover? What were your thoughts?


  • I didn't see him in person, but watched his races on television. The strongest, most amazing horse I had ever seen! I still get chills just writing this. I remember Penny Chenery saying after that Belmont that she believed he could have gone around the track twice on that day because he still had so much energy afterwards and didn't seem tired in the least. Such an amazing horse. If only they still bred them like that. Hopefully, one day they will see the light and build them for endurance again, although he had the speed AND the endurance. Just look at him! He was so strong looking and gorgeous. In my eye, a perfect thoroughbred. Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SECRETARIAT!
  • The mighty, muddy, Secretariat! I love seeing him like this.... Shows him not only as the deified star he is.... But as a flesh and blood horse.
  • hes doing a silly impersonation of his belmont statue!
  • Reborn Ruffian12, I love your starting this discussion. In my mind he will always be the greatest race horse that has ever lived.

    I was a young girl that was smitten with a love of horses from birth and while I knew about horse racing and followed racing in the Sports Section of the Sunday newspaper, I have never watched a horse race on TV or live. The state I was born and raised and lived most of my life in had no race tracks in those days.

    I can remember that Saturday as clearly as if it was yesterday. I was watching the 1973 Kentucky Derby on a 15 inch black and white TV. It was the first horse race I had watched on television.

    I looked and listened intently at all the pre race coverage and then came the post parade. When Secretariat's turn came up, I think I gasped. Even on this little black and white TV, this colt was bigger than the screen, he just filled the screen with his presence. Even on the black and white, his coat glistened. He was so into what was going on, so confident and appearing to love every minute of it. When they got close and I could look into his eyes, they literally pulled me in. He had a look in his eyes that looked into my heart and I connected with him across a TV screen. It was as if he was looking right at me. That is just the best way I can describe it.

    He of course won the Derby and then on to win the Triple Crown. His record in all three stand to this day and that Belmont...there will never ever be another horse that will run like he did that day. He was in a zone and I do not think there is a horse born before or after him that could have kept up with him, much less caught him in the Belmont.

    I sometimes go back and watch replays of all his races. They all bring me to tears, but especially the Belmont and his last race in Canada.

    I so wish he would have been allowed to race past his three year old year. He was, as I have read, starting to run his own race much like Zenyatta did. He could have gone on in my mind to be Horse of the Year as a 4, 5 and possibly a six year old. That is just how great I think he was.

    I remember sadly the day it was announced that he had been put down as the result of laminitis. I cried and cried over that news. It was just heart breaking that we had lost such a great horse.

    To this day I hold Secretariat up as the standard for all Thoroughbreds to measure up to. I look at every pedigree to see if his blood runs through their veins.

    I do not think he has ever been given the proper credit and his due for the awesome mares he sired and through whom is greatness is continuing to this day.

    I so agree with you also on Seattle Slew.

    Happy Birthday Secretariat. I know that you are flying around on the green grasses of heaven and if I make it there, maybe I will meet you then.

  • P.S. love that picture of him after a roll in the mud!
  • Totally agree with you on the standards. Secretariat was not just mentally, but also physically, the PERFECT horse. This is why I measure all horses to him, to give myself the picture of the perfect thoroughbred.... And from there, see how easily (or not) the horse in question measures up to it. I think since his Triple Crown romp... Every Kentucky Derby winner thereafter has massive shoes to fill.
  • Secretariat just had such power.... Power unrivaled by any horse before, during, or since he gained his title of King of the Track. There is no horse able to repeat what he did.
  • edited March 2014
    Everyone! Re-experience the raw essence of Secretariat on that fateful day of the Belmont Stakes, when he blazed his way into the annals of history:

    (Epic background music makes it even more stupendously awesome)
  • And experience his incredible bow out in Canada:

  • edited March 2014
    Secretariat romping in his paddock... The King ruling over his castle.

  • What a magnificent horse. I'm sure I must have watched him race on TV, having always been a horse fan, but I don't remember it specifically. Thank goodness he produced some really good progeny; they've done him proud.
  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    I have to find that short clip of Sec racing along the fence.....on the other side of the fence...The Bid.....
  • Its on Youtube...just look up secretariat racing spectacular bid
  • Or playing with Spectacular Bid. I have a calendar with unique photos of Sec. It shows him in his first snow, him and the Bid chilling, and sec where hes sitting like a dog in his pasture LOL
  • And finally.... The bittersweet final footage of Secretariat, just 3 days before his untimely death.

  • He was uncerimoniously put to sleep in a trailor and hauled away for the autopsy :/
  • Indeed. I wish they would have given him the proper respect during his funeral.... His death should have been treated like Man O' War's.
  • Indeed
  • The video if him running in his paddock, just brings tears. What a powerhouse he was and so very agile. How he loved to run, I think he lived to run. He was just perfect.
  • KayJayKayJay Member
    edited March 2014
    My Mom was an avid horse racing fan and lover of horses, having been born and raised in Kentucky. Every year she couldn't wait for the triple crown races to start. I was never really as into the races as much as my Mom but if you lived in that house, you were watching the races and that was it. The year of Secretariat is the year I truely woke up to horse racing. I remember seeing him in the Derby and thinking he was something special. When my Mom said he was a very fine looking horse, maybe the best she had ever seen, I knew I was right.
    I remember watching the Belmont in absolute awe and my Mom saying it was totally impossible. Secretariat was my first "horse star" love. He was like the rock star of horse racing. I own the movie and watch it over and over again. I belong to The Secretariat Fan Club and was invited to his birthday party at The Meadows Farm this weekend. Wish I could have gone. : (
  • I remember following Secretariat's triple crown bid. Especially interesting was the prep races leading up to the Derby, and I particularly remember the Wood, which he lost. Like a lot of people, (and I'm ashamed to say it), I had my doubts about Secretariat. I liked Ecole Etage. He was my favorite for the triple crown. When Secretariat won the Derby, I changed my mind, because he won it so convincingly, and in such a powerful, confident manner. I always felt sorry for Sham, because in any other year, he would have won the triple crown. But Secretariat was the champ. Then, now, and forever. How can you not love that horse? His intelligence, his kindness, his complete dominance in most every race. I love to watch the Man'oWar stakes. His win over Ten Tam, the record holder for that distance on the turf was so masterful. And Ten Tam tried. Made two or three runs at Secretariat, but just couldn't get it done. And that was Secretariat's first run on the turf. Amazing! I'll always love him. Watching him today brings tears to my eyes, because like most people, I wish he could have run his fourth year. I think he would have been amazing if he could have been kept in training. I'll always be grateful that I had the privilege of watching him run.
  • it is far too short but here it is, Big Red and The Bid playing

  • the two Big Reds, Man O War and Secretariat
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