April 30, 1992 |
Lucien Laurin hasn't been to Churchill Downs for 19 years. But the trainer, now 80, left his Key Largo, Fla., home to make the trek to Louisville for the 118th Kentucky Derby. "I just came back to see this horse, the French horse," Laurin said. "It's the first time I've been back since I win it. " It was the 1973 Derby. And Laurin's horse was Secretariat. The trainer has heard people comparing the French horse, Arazi (who was bred in Kentucky by the way), to the horse most consider the best ever.
October 7, 2010 |
There are those who'll look forward to "Secretariat" because they like family movies, or sports movies, or horses or thoroughbred racing. I looked forward to it because I like Diane Lane, but about halfway through "Secretariat," I realized that as much as I like her, I really don't like watching her run a horse farm. I prefer her under a Tuscan sun, and being unfaithful, in something contemporary and sexy that reminds us why she's unique - Lane has reversed the Hollywood trajectory and become more beautiful and relatable with age. In a youth-obsessed industry that's led many of her colleagues to have their faces stretched and lips inflated, Lane chooses to wear her age and experience, and it's given her a unique combination of gravity and vulnerability.
October 6, 1989
It was June 9, at Belmont Park, Elmont, N.Y. The late spring of '73. Richard Nixon's treachery was being exposed by the Watergate hearings. America was slowly and painfully extricating itself from Southeast Asia. Inflation was so bad that the President was about to impose wage and price controls. But that day belonged to Secretariat. Few suspected that a horse - an uncommon one but still a horse - would give the country a needed break from its national stupor. The powerful and startlingly beautiful red thoroughbred had come from behind to win the Kentucky Derby in early May and had hardly broken a sweat in winning the Preakness just two weeks later.
May 29, 1988 |
He is still king of the hill. Literally. He stands, regally, atop an emerald hummock on a crisp spring morning at Claiborne Farm, which is to thoroughbred racing what St. Andrews is to golf. When the cameras come out, he seems to stand just a bit more erect. "Oh yes," affirms Bobby Anderson, his groom for the last six years. "He knows exactly who he is. " He is Secretariat, a powerful and indefatigable running machine, whose enormous, 28-foot stride swallowed up the ground in great gulps and swept him, majestically, awesomely, to the Triple Crown.
October 5, 1989 |
Heroes were lacking back in 1973, but America found one in Secretariat. "Big Red," as he was called, even managed to knock Watergate off the covers of Time and Newsweek. That year, he became the ninth winner of the Triple Crown, winning the Belmont Stakes on an afternoon when his world-record-breaking triumph brought tears to the eyes of racing fans who knew they would never see anything like it again. Chick Anderson, the track announcer at Belmont that June day, told millions watching that stunning, 31-length triumph on television, "Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine.
October 8, 1989 |
The memory is frozen: Jockey Ron Turcotte, perched atop that swelling tidal wave of a back, is crossing the finish line aboard Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont and he is looking back in disbelief, his eyes wide, asking the question that is stuck in countless screaming throats: Where is everyone else? The answer: Way, way, way back. Beaten. No, not just beaten, destroyed. Crushed. Mere dots in Big Red's rear-view mirror. It was as if he were running in an entirely separate race.
June 13, 2012
Penny Chenery , the owner of Secretariat , has asked the Maryland Racing Commission to conduct a hearing about changing the time of the Triple Crown horse's winning run in the 1973 Preakness Stakes. The Preakness was the only Triple Crown race in which Secretariat didn't establish a track record. Chenery, along with Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas , says advances in modern video technology will prove Secretariat ran the 13/16-mile race in 1 minute, 532/5 seconds.
October 5, 1989 |
He was the color of burnished copper, and he could race a hole through the wind. The public took to him as though he were a two-legged superstar, buying up parimutuel tickets on him that they preferred to keep and cherish rather than cash, and then visiting him in his retirement by the busload. Yesterday, at age 19, on the Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., that had been his lifelong home, Secretariat, heralded by many thoroughbred aficionados as the perfect racing machine, was put to sleep.
October 8, 2010 |
Secretariat , an equine Chariots of Fire , is the true-life tale of the mighty chestnut stallion known to intimates as Big Red. The makers of Secretariat present him as a sacred figure, born in a stable and destined to inspire men. Like the horse in the Book of Job, Big Red swallows the ground with fierceness and rage. And in this movie with a gospel-inflected score ("Oh Happy Day"), when the horse meets the bottomless gaze of his owner, the chestnut returns it with peace and infinite patience.
May 24, 2004 |
Just before the Preakness, the barrage of phone messages was more than Smarty Jones jockey Stewart Elliott could even look at, but in that pile of paper, his mother spotted a name on one message: Ron Turcotte. She pointed it out to her son. Secretariat's jockey had left his number. "I called him back that day," Elliott said in his typical matter-of-fact manner. "He just wanted to wish me luck. He shared his experience a little bit. He tried to help me out. " The part about wishing Elliott luck was true, Turcotte said.