Secretariat: The greatest American racehorse of all time?

Quite widely regarded by American Racehorse experts as the greatest horse of all time when he raced away at the Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years; and he didn’t just win the race, he won it by a record 31 lengths.

Some performances are so good that they are remembered for years or years in sport, unforgettable in fact and at Belmont in 1973 this was one of them moments – a moment that secured Secretariat place in the memory of horse racing fans for a lifetime.

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The most impressive stat about Secretariat performance at the Belmont Stakes that day in 1973 is not just the manner in which he won the race but also the time. Having led by 30 plus lengths, he was in no need to push on and continue galloping down the track yet “Big Red” only seemed to get faster the closer he got to the finish line. In fact, Secretariat is still the only horse to have ran sub-2:25 at the Belmont over the same distance – a record that has now nearly stood for 50 years.

In the whole racing career of Secretariat, he won 16 out of 21 starts, with three second place finished and one third. In total, he earned $1,316,808 for his owner Penny Chenery which is a serious amount back in the 70’s.

Unfortunately, once his career was over and he was happily retired, he unfortunately started to suffer from laminitis, which is a disease of the hoof, in the autumn of 1989 and was then euthanized at the age of 119. When the autopsy was completed, it was actually discovered that Secretariat heart was roughly 250% bigger than the usual thoroughbred which explains his performance at Belmont in 1973.