SECRETARIAT's BELMONT STAKES (Entire Televised Broadcast of 6/9/73)
No horse had gone on to win the Belmont Stakes and capture the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horseracing since CITATION had swept to victory in 1948. The copper chestnut and his pretty mistress, PENNY TWEEDY, became instant TV heroes to all of America; racing buffs loved them and so did little old ladies from Dubuque, Iowa, who thought a $2 bet was devil's work.
In the summer of 1973, when the news was brimful of the world's problems, SECRETARIAT and his attractive blonde companion provided a welcome relief. Everyone shared in their triumphs. So intense had been the public interest in the series of steps leading up to SECRETARIAT's ultimate test that, in the week preceding the Belmont Stakes, he practically monopolized the entire news media.
The Belmont Stakes appeared a foregone conclusion despite its more demanding 1-1/2 mile distance. SHAM had been effectively eliminated as an opponent in the two previous races and only four other owners could be induced to enter horses against SECRETARIAT and these chiefly to capture second or third place: TWICE A PRINCE, PVT. SMILES, MY GALLANT and SHAM. The three weeks from the Preakness and June 9th seemed an unbearably long wait, for the Belmont Stakes represented more of a coronation than a competition. Millions of Americans watched the Belmont on TV but 67,605 fans crowded into Belmont Park to cheer their super horse.
See the entire 1973 Belmont Stakes broadcast complete with interviews of all five jockeys as each stepped onto the scales in the jockeys' room, the horses being prepared for the race in the saddling paddock and brief interviews from each horse's trainer (see TWICE A PRINCE's colorful and charismatic trainer, JOHNNY CAMPO, who goes on years later to saddle the 1981 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, PLEASANT COLONY). Also included is the entire post parade first shown with the five entries coming through the tunnel and walking onto the track, the horses jogging and warming up on their way to the gate, the historic race, the pandemonium ensuing after SECRETARIAT's incredible victory as the track becomes engulfed with overwhelmed media and fans, the winner's circle festivities as SECRETARIAT is dressed with a white carnation blanket, SECRETARIAT being lead off the track to a standing ovation and salutes from the crowd, the jubilation carried over to the trophy presentation and commentaries by SECRETARIAT's connections as they go over all the replays of the race.
As post time approached, the crowd quieted down. All eyes were on starter George Cassidy; "They're off!", boomed the loudspeaker, and five horses, as if simultaneously stung by a giant hornet, flew out of the starting gate. SECRETARIAT opened a 20-length lead after disposing of SHAM in the early going after a brief show-down. Fantastic as this was, the big colt changed gears once more and crossed the finish line in a world record time of 2:24 - the fastest time ever run for 1-1/2 miles on any dirt track. SECRETARIAT's Belmont was just as everyone had predicted...an exhibition, a pageant, indeed a coronation - a romp, in which his rider RON TURCOTTE had to look back an astonishing 31-lengths - practically a city block to see TWICE A PRINCE, his closest rival. SECRETARIAT could truly be compared to the immortal ECLIPSE who in the 1760's, caused the English to say, "ECLIPSE first - the rest...nowhere!"
His pretty blonde mistress, PENNY TWEEDY, said it all, "...I am in absolute awe of him; his size, his good looks, his astounding speed - he must be frightening to other horses." The American people, of which race trackers are a little wild but dedicated bunch, love a hero. A hero who can reach goals, set records and do it with flair, enthusiasm, flamboyance, with personality and with beauty. Winning the Triple Crown is a goal that sets hearts thumping and flags flying. To achieve this goal is to become a hero and to be remembered always; and the way SECRETARIAT did it put him in a class all by himself. SECRETARIAT, while reaching his own goals kindled fresh fervor in the hearts of race goers and brought renewed glamour to the American Turf...he was, after all, a legend in his own time!
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|