Thoroughbred racing Wiki

Secretariat (10).jpg

Sire Bold Ruler
Grandsire Nasrullah
Dam Somethingroyal
Damsire Princequillo
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1970
Country United States
Color Chestnut
Breeder Christopher Chenery
Owner Christopher Chenery, Penny Chenery
Trainer Lucien Laurin
Record 21:16-3-1


Secretariat was an American Thoroughbred racehorse that became the ninth Triple Crown winner; setting records in all three races, two of which still stand today. He is considered to be one the the greatest, if not the greatest, racehorses of all time. Bloodhorse listed him second behind Man o'War in the List of the Top 100 U.S Racehorses of the 20th Century.

Secretariat was sired by Bold Ruler out of Somethingroyal, and was foaled at The Meadow in Caroline County, Virginia. He was large, even as a colt, and like Man o'War before him, was chesnut. He was even given the same nickname, "Big Red". In his racing prime, he stood about 16.2 hands tall, and weighed 1,175 pounds, with a 75-inch girth. His owner was Penny Chenery, and he was trained by Lucien Laurin. He was ridden by apprentice jockey Paul Feliciano in his first two races, and veteran Eddie Maple in his last race, but his usual jockey was Ron Turcotte. He raced in The Meadow's blue and white checkers, and his groom was Eddie Sweat.

Racing Record[]

Two-Year-Old Season[]

In his first start, Secretariat got bumped from the start, and had too much ground to make up, finishing 1-1/4 lengths behind the winner in fourth. After that, he won five races in a row, including the Sanford Stakes, Hopeful Stakes, and the Futurity Stakes at Belmont. His next race was the Champagne Stakes, in which he was the favorite, and won by two lengths; however, after an inquiry he was placed second. Secretariat then went on to take the Laurel Futurity by eight lengths, and another win in the Garden State Futurity. 

Secretariat won the Eclipse Award for Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse, and also the 1972 American Horse of the Year.

Three-Year-Old Season[]

Secretariat easily won the Bay Shore Stakes to start off his three year old season; but in his next start, the Gotham Stakes, he led wire-to-wire for the first time in his career. He finished the one mile race in 1:33-2/5, equaling the track record. But in his next start, the Wood Memorial, he finished third to Angle Light and Santa Anita winner, Sham; this was due to a large abcess in his mouth. After this prep race to the Kentucky Derby, many were picking Sham as their favorite for the big race.

The Triple Crown[]

Kentucky Derby[]

Secretariat and jockey, Ron Turcotte.

Secretariat was made the 3:2 favorite, with Sham right behind at 5:2. Like in most of his races, Secretariat broke from the gates last, but he moved his way up on the backstretch, pulling past Sham at the top of the stretch to win by 2-1/2 lengths. Part of what was so amazing about this race was that he ran each quarter-mile faster than the one before. His successive quarter-mile times were 25 1/5, 24, 23 4/5, 23 2/5, and 23.

His time of 1:59-2/5 is a track record that still stands today. Until 2001 with Monarchos, no other horse had won the Derby in less than 2 minutes. 

Preakness Stakes[]

Secretariat again broke last in the Preakness, but he made a huge move on the first turn, and had the lead with 5-1/2 furlongs left. He was never challenged and won again by 2-1/2 lengths; and, like in the Derby, Sham finished second and Our Native finished third. 

Because of a malfunction in the tracks teletimer, his time was controversial. The teletimer showed 1:55, the tracks clocker hand-timed 1:54-2/5; but two Daily Racing Form clockers claimed his time was 1:53-2/5, which would have broken Cannonero II's record of 1:54.

Belmont Stakes[]

Secretariat (9).jpg

Only four other horses came back to challenge Secretariat in the 1-1/2 mile Belmont Stakes; Sham, Twice A Prince, My Gallant, and Private Smiles. Secretariat was the 1:10 favorite, and Sham was the only other horse that was given much of a chance by the bettors. This time, Secretariat broke in front and Sham pushed him to a fast pace. They pulled 10 lengths ahead of the other horses, however, after the six furlong mark, Sham began to tire, and would eventually finish in last. Secretariat kept up the fast pace, getting farther and farther ahead of the rest of the field. By the homestretch, he had opened up a 1/16 mile lead, and finished at 2:24, winning by 31 lengths. CBS announcer, Chic Anderson's famous commentary summed up the horse's pace: "Secretariat is widening now! He is moving like a tremendous machine!" No other horse has ever broken 2:25 for 1-1/2 miles on dirt. 

Secretariat became the ninth winner of the Triple Crown, the first in 25 years to do so.

After the Triple Crown[]

Three weeks after his victory at Belmont, Secretariat was shipped to Chicago, where he easily won the Arlington Invitational. His next race was at Saratoga, in the Whitney Stakes. He was racing against older horses for the first time, including an Allen Jerkens-trained gelding named Onion. Onion had the lead from the start, and Secretariat got within a head of him on the final turn, but Onion pulled away to win by a length. The record crowd of over 30,000 was shocked at the "astonishing" upset. After the race, Turcotte said that he didn't have as much horse as usual underneath him. Owner, Penny Chenery also said that she knew Secretariat wasn't feeling 100 percent, but that she and Lucien agreed that since the field wasn't a strong one, that Secretariat would be able to run. He was passed as fit before the race by the vet, and Lucien said that he didn't show any signs of physical problems. It is possible, however, that he was starting to come down with a virus; a week later he had a 101 degree fever and a persistent cough, causing him to be scratched from the Travers Stakes.

Secretariat then went on to win the inaugural Marlboro Cup against his stablemate, 1972 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner, Riva Ridge; top California stakes winner, Cougar II; Canadian champion, Kennedy Road; Onion; Travers winner, Annihalate 'Em; and the 1972 American champion three-year-old male horse, Key to the Mint. Secretariat ran the 1-1/8 mile race in 1:45-2/5, setting a world record.

In September, he returned to Belmont for the 1-1/2 mile Woodward Stakes. Racing on a sloppy track against four-year-old Prove Out, an Allen-Jerkens trained horse, Secretariat led the way but was caught by Prove Out, losing by 4-1/2 lengths. He then switched track surfaces, for the Man O'War Stakes on turf at 1-1/2 miles. He won by five lengths, setting a world record of 2:24-4/5. 

Secretariat's last race was at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada, in the Canadian International Stakes on October 28, 1973. Because Ron Turcotte was out on a five-day suspension, Eddie Maple rode him to a victory by 6-1/2 lengths. A breeding syndicate prevented Secretariat from racing past age three.

Altogether, Secretariat won 16 of his 21 races, with three seconds, one third, and one fourth, earning $1,316,808.

At age three, Secretariat was again named Horse of the Year, and won Eclipse Awards as the Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse and the American Champion Male Turf Horse.

Honors and retirement[]

Breeding rights were sold for Secretariat before he won the Triple Crown.

As part of his first crop at stud, Secretariat sired Canadian Bound, who was the first Thoroughbred yearling racehorse ever sold for more than US$1 million. At the 1976 Keeneland July sale, the auction bidding for Canadian Bound broke the $1 million barrier, selling for $1.5 million, equal to $6,153,509 today. Canadian Bound was a complete failure in racing, and for several years, the value of Secretariat's offspring declined considerably. However, he eventually sired a number of major stakes winners, including 1986 Horse of the Year Lady's Secret, 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Risen Star, 1990 Melbourne Cup winner Kingston Rule, which broke the course record in Australia's richest race, and the 1994, 1995 winner of the G1 Pacific Classic, Tinners Way, born in 1990 to Secretariat's last crop.

He also sired General Assembly, which won the 1979 Travers Stakes at Saratoga while setting a still-standing race record of 2:00 flat. Andrew Beyer has said General Assembly's speed figure in that race was one of the fastest in history. Like Secretariat in the Belmont, General Assembly never duplicated that performance in the races that remained on his schedule. Secretariat was retired at three years old and General Assembly at four.

Ultimately, Secretariat sired as many as 600 foals. There has been some criticism of Secretariat as a stallion, due in part to his perceived inability to produce male offspring of his same caliber. However, he turned out to be a noted broodmare sire, being the maternal grandsire ("damsire") of 1992 Horse of the Year and successful sire A.P. Indy, Secretariat's grandson through his daughter Weekend Surprise, and sired by another Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew AP Indy is the sire of 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches, the first filly to win at Belmont since 1905. Secretariat is also the damsire of the great stallions Storm Cat (by Storm Bird), through his daughter Terlingua, herself an excellent racemare, and of Gone West. through his daughter Secrettame. Secretariat is also the great-grandsire ofGiant's Causeway through his grandson Storm Cat and daughter Terlingua.. Secretariat's genetic legacy may be linked in part to the likelihood that he carried the "x-factor" (a trait linked to a large heart, carried only on the X chromesome and thus, a trait Secretariat could only pass on via his daughters. However, it is yet to be proven whether the x-factor increases athletic ability.

Major wins[]

  • Sanford Stakes (1972)
  • Hopeful Stakes (1972)
  • Futurity Stakes (1972)
  • Laurel Futurity (1972)
  • Garden State Futurity (1972)
  • Bay Shore Stakes (1973)
  • Gotham Stakes (1973)
  • Arlington Invitational (1973)
  • Marlboro Cup (1973)
  • Man o'War Stakes (1973)
  • Canadian International (1973)

Triple Crown race wins:[]


  • 9th U.S. Triple Crown Champion (1973)
  • American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt (1972)
  • American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse (1973)
  • American Champion Male Turf Horse (1973)
  • American Horse of the Year (1972, 1973)
  • Leading broodmare sire in North America (1992)


  • U.S. Racing Hall of Fame (1974)
  • Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame (2007)
  • U.S. Postage Stamp (1999)
  1. 2 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
  • Statue at Belmont Park and Kentucky Horse Park
  • Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park
  • Secretariat Street in Napa, California
  • Secretariat Street in Howell, New Jersey
  • Secretariat Court in Mississauga, Ontario 



Bold Ruler

dkb/br. 1954


b. 1940

Miss Disco

b. 1944


b. 1932

Mumtaz Begum 





Blenheim II

Mumtaz Mahal




Sweep Out



b. 1952


b. 1940


dkb/br. 1938

Prince Rose




Rose Prince



Quick Thought


Sweet Music

Brown Bud

Assignation (Family 2-S)


For more pictures and screenshots of Secretariat, click here.