Secretariat may possibly be the best racehorse of all time. There. I said it.
That statement will get many readers up in arms, of course. And it IS very hard to compare the great horses from different eras. But what he did in 5 weeks in 1973 will probably never be duplicated. His time of 2:24 flat for one and one half miles in the Belmont, a race he won by 31 lengths, has never been beaten.
In my collection of pictures of thoroughbreds, I have a limited edition print of the great horse, signed by his jockey, Ron Turcotte and Mrs. Penny Tweedy, his owner. One of my prize possessions.
As a side note, the movie was very good, but the details were condensed for time. The movie people neglected to mention Secretariat's older stablemate, Riva Ridge, who won the Derby and the Belmont in 1972. So the owners were not in as bad shape financially as the movie made out.
The horse's name (Riva Ridge)came from Penny Chenery's son-in-law, John Tweedy, who was a soldier in World War II at the important strategic victory by the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division on February 18, 1945 at Riva Ridge in the North Apennine mountains of Italy.
But Secretariat was a movie, after all. And I ordered the BluRay version way in advance of the release date. Saw it the first day it was in the theatres as well.
OK, you got me. I truly loved that horse. Still do.
There have been, over the years, more than a few terrific horses. But there will always be only one "Big Red", Secretariat!