07 May 2013

Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes in 1973 - his "tremendous machine" performance

Everyone who watched the Belmont 40 years ago will never forget Secretariat's race that day.  He had already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness; this was his bid for the Triple Crown, and he was so good that few owners wanted to enter their horses against him in the Belmont - that's why there were only four racing that day.   The track didn't even take "show" bets, and it's an interesting (?unique) anomaly that Secretariat was so favored by bettors that he would have paid more to show ($2.40) than he did to win ($2.20).  Over 5,000 winning tickets were never redeemed because the holders valued them more as souvenirs than for their cash value.

And to this day his speed for 1.5 miles has never been equaled.  Even if you have no interest in thoroughbred racing per se, you owe it to yourself to watch this 3-minute clip to see one of the iconic moments in the history of sport.


  1. Marvelous horse. This is the same one that ran each quarter mile of the Kentucky Derby FASTER than the one before. (Which is the reverse of the usual - almost all horses in all races run progressively slower as the race goes on. Not Secretariat.) I have to wonder if he'd have lowered his time in the Belmont even further if there had been another horse to push him.

  2. It's always startling how antique most footage from the 1970's looks. It feels like it was just yesterday!

  3. He was a beautiful, powerful horse and a joy to watch. When he died in 1989 the autopsy (or is it a necropsy?) showed that his heart was much, much larger than the average heart size of a thoroughbred. Although the heart was not weighed, the vet estimated that the heart weighed about 22 pounds compared to the average thoroughbred heart weight of 8.5 pounds. Many people felt this was why he was so extremely powerful.

    One thing I found interesting is that Secretariat was buried intact at Calumet farms, whereas normal procedure I believe is to bury the head, heart and hooves of race horses and cremate the other remains. He was loved by so many people.

  4. This was incredible. I try to watch each of the races of the Triple Crown every year, but it never dawned on me to use the power of the internet to go back and look at some of the classic races. It goes without saying that I've never seen a race run like this before. Thanks for sharing! Now I'm off to find footage of Secretariat racing in the Derby.

    1. Post it when you find them.

    2. Rose, YouTube has a search box. Just type in Secretariat and look for 1973 Derby in titles.

  5. Fellow readers, if you like Secretariat, you might like to meet the Australian sprint mare, Black Caviar ... undefeated in 25 races. She retired just a few weeks ago.




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