SECRETARIAT's PREAKNESS STAKES (Entire Televised Broadcast of 5/19/73) w/BONUS FOOTAGE
SECRETARIAT, his attractive owner PENNY TWEEDY, and cheerfully honest trainer, LUCIEN LAURIN, raised horse racing in the U.S. to a fresh level of anticipation. And when "BIG RED" opened up in the stretch at Churchill Downs, everyone except the connections of runner-up, SHAM, stood up and applauded his record-breaking run home. Meadow Stable had done it again; two Kentucky Derby's in a row (1972 with RIVA RIDGE). Immediately the question arose: could this great horse break the 25-year drought and take the Triple Crown for the first time since CITATION in 1948?
SECRETARIAT's rider, RON TURCOTTE, tried to contain his confidence approaching the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, the 1-3/16 mile, $182,400 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, Maryland, May 19, 1973. The day of the Preakness was clear and bright and a record crowd of 61,657 spectators...15,000 in the infield alone invaded Pimlico. That day, Baltimore experienced the most massive traffic jam in its history.
There was a whole different attitude towards SECRETARIAT going into the Preakness than in the Kentucky Derby when some of his backers began having doubts after his Wood Memorial flop. The opposition dwindled down to just five: SHAM, OUR NATIVE, DEADLY DREAM, ECOLE ETAGE and TORSION.
SEE THE ENTIRE 1973 PREAKNESS BROADCAST complete with the infield saddling scenes of all the entries and interviews with all the horses' connections, a replay from different angles of SECRETARIAT's record-breaking Kentucky Derby, the post parade played during "Maryland My Maryland", the historic race, the walk through the infield to the winner's circle - the black-eyed susan blanket presentation and trophy award.
On this day, there were no unfortunate incidents in the starting gate and starter Eddie Blind sent the six horses on their way with no fuss. The entire field broke sharply including the 3-10 favorite, SECRETARIAT, for Pimlico is noted for favoring horses with speed, front-runners, not early trailers or stretch runners. Its one mile kite-shaped oval has a tight clubhouse turn and the corners on it are sharp. When the field raced into the clubhouse turn for the first quarter, TURCOTTE sensed the slow pace and swung "BIG RED" to the outside and in one magnificent sweep of the field went from last to first before they'd raced half a mile. As the Daily Racing Form chart quoted, SECRETARIAT, "responded when TURCOTTE moved his hands on the reins, made a spectacular run to take command entering the backstretch." "Once he got to the front, he drew out on his own...I just let him go as he pleased", TURCOTTE said.
For TURCOTTE, the biggest threat he faced was the crowd in the infield, some of whom began to climb the rail...to prevent SECRETARIAT from being spooked, he cocked his head to the right so his blinders would block out the turmoil on the left. It was a delightfully easy victory by 2-1/2 lengths over SHAM and 10-1/2 more to OUR NATIVE, marking the first time in Preakness history that the 1-2-3 horses duplicated exactly the windup of the Derby.
Amidst all the jubilation of SECRETARIAT's victory, the official time was announced as 1:55, which set off an instant controversy. A malfunction in the track's electronic timing device had prevented an accurate record of the time (it was later surmised that some of the infield crowd that had broken through the security guard lines and rushed to the rail had broken the electronic beam). The Daily Racing Form clockers and other clockers in the press stand had 1:53 and 2/5 breaking CANONERO II's 1:54 Preakness record of 1971. ABC-TV verified SECRETARIAT's actual record time by running his and CANONERO II's Preakness simultaneously, SECRETARIAT beat CANONERO II by three lengths...the equivalent of 3/5 of a second. Race officials at Pimlico compromised giving his time as 1:54 and 2/5. The revised time still was not good enough and that inaccurate clocking denied SECRETARIAT the feat of setting records in all three Triple Crown races.
Regardless, SECRETARIAT was one race away from racing history and immortality. SECRETARIAT's tremendous wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, once and for all, dispelled any notions of his ability to go on and take the Triple Crown.
AS AN ADDED BONUS...On June 19, 2012, the Maryland Racing Commission officially changed SECRETARIAT's long overdue winning time in the 1973 Preakness Stakes from 1:54 2/5 to 1:53 for the 1-3/16 miles distance - establishing that SECRETARIAT had, as many believed, broken the Pimlico Race Course track record existing at that time. The correction gives SECRETARIAT the lasting distinction of breaking the track records for all three Triple Crown races of that year - Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes and the the ruling resolves a controversy 39-years in the making. Several news segments announcing the long-awaited ruling are included after the entire 1973 Preakness broadcast is shown.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|