SECRETARIAT's KENTUCKY DERBY (Entire Televised Broadcast of 5/5/73)
In the winter months of 1973, pressure began to build for everyone connected with SECRETARIAT, the winter-book Kentucky Derby favorite in Las Vegas. Traditionally, trainers use preps in California, Kentucky or Florida to get their aspiring three-year-olds into peak condition for the Derby but interestingly and to his credit, LUCIEN LAURIN, chose a three-race New York route to prepare SECRETARIAT for the Kentucky Derby: the Bay Shore, Gotham Stakes and Wood Memorial - all run at Aqueduct. SECRETARIAT won in grand style the first two races but shockingly came in third for the "Wood" due to a painful abscess on his lip. In spite of this loss, SECRETARIAT was still being hailed in certain circles as a super horse and as the Derby approached, LAURIN believed that SECRETARIAT was ready to give a supreme effort, perhaps even break the track record of two minutes flat.
"BIG RED" the 3-2 favorite drew post ten in a field of thirteen in the 99th running of the $198,000 Kentucky Derby on May 5, 1973. Going postward with SECRETARIAT were ANGLE LIGHT, SHAM, SHECKY GREENE, NAVAJO, ROYAL AND REGAL, MY GALLANT, GOLD BAG, OUR NATIVE, RESTLESS JET, FOREGO, TWICE A PRINCE and WARBUCKS.
SEE THE ENTIRE 1973 KENTUCKY DERBY BROADCAST loaded with pre-race paddock scenes of all the entries, a replay of SECRETARIAT's unfortunate loss in the "Wood", the horses coming through the tunnel, the post parade shown during the playing of "My Old Kentucky Home", the historic race and all the after-race festivities including the interviews with SECRETARIAT's connections the winner's circle gala with SECRETARIAT obviously not too happy about the thorny rose blanket and trophy presentation.
At the start of the race as horses were being lead into the gate in a tense silence...trouble brewed as Elmendorf Farm's TWICE A PRINCE reared and fell backward throwing his jockey, kicked OUR NATIVE and delayed the start of the race by five minutes. In the excitement, the incident hurt poor SHAM the most as he slammed his head against the gate; nearly tearing out two front teeth (which were later removed) and was bleeding throughout the running of the race. Luckily, SECRETARIAT hadn't been loaded yet and RON TURCOTTE walked him away from the confusion. After a few calming moments the horses were in line again and they were off!
As usual, SECRETARIAT broke slowly and settled in last place past the first stands and into the clubhouse turn. SECRETARIAT began to pick up horses on the first turn and then began a long, steady yet spectacular run straightening out and quickly went to the middle of the pack. With just a quarter of a mile to go, the Derby was a two-horse affair, SHAM leading and SECRETARIAT gaining...the crowd of 134,476, a record gathering, roared as the two classic rivals battled through the stretch. Although the game SHAM, with the taste of blood in his mouth, held on with courage, SECRETARIAT...like a bullet surged past him by 2-1/2 lengths to take command for good and ripped off a final quarter in 23-1/5 seconds. He hit the finish line in the sensational time of 1:59-2/5 - a full 3/5 of a second swifter than NORTHERN DANCER's 1964 track record time.
An incredible performance and monumental as any ever in the history of the race was the consensus of the press, particularly as SECRETARIAT and SHAM, "ran a classic in a non-classic way - running the last part of the race faster than the first part." "BIG RED's" fractions were astounding; he ran his five quarters progressively faster: :25-1/5, :24, :23-4/5, :23-4/5, :23. SHAM, for his part, also ran a remarkable race; he was timed at 2:00, thereby tying the old record. As a testament to his class and heart, SHAM dug in gamely trying to stay with SECRETARIAT. For a Derby loser, he had run the Derby faster than 97 Derby winners before him!
The result of the race produced a number of new and significant Derby statistics: it was the first time that the same owner-breeder-trainer-jockey team had saddled two consecutive winners; RON TURCOTTE became the first jockey in 71 years to have back-to back victories; SECRETARIAT was only the second Two-Year-Old Champion since NEEDLES (1956) to fulfill his juvenile promise by taking the Derby; SECRETARIAT was the second Virginia-bred horse since REIGH COUNT (1928) to win the Derby and of particular interest to breeders...he destroyed the myth about BOLD RULER sons not being able to run a classic distance.
See history in the making as SECRETARIAT wins the first, "Jewel", of racing's Triple Crown!
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|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|