In my lifetime, there have been only a handfull of athletes who totally dominated their sport – Michael Jordan or Mike Tyson come to mind but before them was Secretariat.
It begin forty years ago on May 5, 1973 at the Kentucky Derby.
Secretariat would join an elite list of immortals on that First Saturday of May in 1973 when he got his Kentucky Derby. All hats were off to him for an electrifying performance that included a new track record of 1:59 2/5. . . . .
racing fans will always talk about Secretariat’s Kentucky Derby time. First, because his final time of 1:59 2/5 broke the track record for 1 1/4 miles in the world’s most important horse race. And second, because The Big Red Horse ran faster every quarter mile of the race, just building power like a locomotive and finishing like a jet.
Then it was on to the Preakness where [from Secretariat.com:]
Secretariat’s victory in the Preakness was every bit as impressive as his Derby victory, but accomplished in a spectacularly different way. Instead of waiting, and then asking his horse to make one long, sustained drive for the finish, as he had in the Derby, jockey Ron Turcotte surprised a record Preakness crowd with a sudden, lightening move from last to first to seize the lead early in the race.
Finally it was the Belmont Stakes – the race that was supposed to be too long for the speedy champion Secretariat not only set a Belmont record but his 31 length victory set a visual portrait of his total dominance of the sport. In doing so, he became the ninth Triple Crown winner in history, and the first in 25 years.
Only two horse have won the Triple Crown since. One of them, Seattle Slew who won four years later had the same grand sire as Secretariat.
Disney did a good job at putting Secretariat on film: