In this article we're going to review the life and career of one of the greatest horses in horse racing history, Secretariat.
Let's dive right in.
The Greatest Race Horse named Secretariat
If you were around in the early 1970s, regardless of whether you were into horse racing or not, you knew who Secretariat was. His name was plastered all over every newspaper in the world.
There had never been a horse like Secretariat before and will probably never be another one like him again.
In June of 1973 Secretariat came to the Belmont Stakes. With the chance to become the first triple crown winner in 25 years. Not only was Secretariat on the front page of every newspaper, but he was also on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. This is something that had never happened before or since.
Why was Secretariat so Incredible?
Writers from all over struggled to explain what it was about Secretariat that was so incredible. In a book written by Marvin Drager, called "The Most Glorious Crown", the author gathered a number of clips from all around the country with words printed about this magnificent horse.
Some of the comments about Secretariat were one of a kind in themselves. For example, Time magazine writer, sports columnist Pete Axthelm, who never saw a horse race in his life said...
"Secretariat generates a crackling tension and excitement wherever he goes. Even in the kind of gray weather that shrouds lesser animals in anonymity, Secretariat's muscular build identifies him immediately; his glowing reddish coat is a banner of health and rippling power. Magnificent enough at rest ... when he accelerates ... he produces a breathtaking explosion that leaves novices and hardened horsemen alike convinced that, for one of those moments that seldom occur in any sport, they have witnessed genuine greatness."
The Glowing Words Never Ended
But the glowing words about Secretariat didn't end there. A columnist for the New York Post by the name of Larry Merchant, who went on to become known as the HBO boxing analyst with the sharp tongue, said...
"Secretariat is the kind of Big Horse that makes grown men weep, even when they are flint-hearted bettors, even when he goes off at 1-10. He is the apparently unflawed hunk of beauty and beast they search for doggedly in the racing charts every day, and never seemed to find. His supporters rhapsodize over him as though he is a four-legged Nureyev, extolling virtues of his musculature, his grace, and his urine specimens. If he were to lose the Belmont the country may turn sullen and mutinous."
The Popularity of Secretariat was Unprecedented
The media explosion over Secretariat was simply unprecedented. Certainly, horse racing had never seen anything like it before. Even though nothing has quite come close to the furor over Secretariat, the media did finally understand and recognize when something of this nature was to be looked out for. That's why in 2003, when Funny Cide was about to make a bid for triple crown glory, the media came out in droves.
In no way are the stories of Secretariat and Funny Cide alike. One was royalty and one was just an everyday horse. But that's what makes headlines, when an everyday horse can actually challenge royalty. It certainly does make for great theater.
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