Secretariat possessed traits that made him the champion that he was. No training in the world will produce an extraordinary champion, if the horse is not already special. Some say Secretariat is the best horse that ever raced. His racing records are astounding, and have provided a standard over the years that future racers strive to reach or beat. Every once in awhile, there is an extraordinary athlete that is born who surpasses expectations, and Secretariat was one of these athletes.
Born at Meadow Stables in Virginia on March 30, 1970, Secretariat would later be named Horse of the Year at two years of age. According to his pedigree page, by the time he reached the end of his 16 month racing career, Secretariat had 21 starts, won 16, had 3 places ( 2nd place winner) and 1 show (3rd place winner) and his career earnings totaled $1,316,808.
Rivalry was fierce on the racetrack, and Secretariat had an ongoing challenge in Sham. Secretariat lost a race to Sham in the Wood Memorial, but it was discovered later that Secretariat had an abscess under his lip. Secretariat came back to beat Sham by 2 ½ lengths in the Kentucky derby, with jockey Ron Turcotte aboard. Secretariat was the only horse to have run the Derby in under two minutes and a world record race at a time of 1:59 2/5.
Affectionately nicknamed ‘Big Red’ due to his stature and glossy chestnut coat, Secretariat soon became as famous as any movie star. However, this is not what made him the best horse ever. It was his total domination of horse racing that set it on its ear for several years. He seemed to have an extra gear that kicked in, just when everyone thought he had run out of energy. He would shift into this gear and just blow by everyone else in the field. During the Belmont, he won by an unheard of 31 lengths.
Due to financial hardship, Meadow Stud sold Secretariat to a breeding syndicate for $6.08 million dollars, which was to take effect when Secretariat was retired from racing. Secretariat went on to sire some promising progeny. Risen Star won the Preakness and Belmont in 1988, but when Secretariat was born the mold was broke, and none of his progeny ever measured up to the big chestnut stallion. Secretariat was euthanized on October 4, 1989 due to a disease called laminitis, which is an agonizingly painful hoof disease. He was buried at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky where he stood stud.
Secretariat shattered many track racing records, some of which still stand today. He performed well even when feeling under the weather and gave everything he had to every race. His record alone shows he was the best horse ever and add to that his unflagging will to win, he will always remain the champion in many people's hearts.