Friday, October 8, 2010

Secretariat

Today the movie Secretariat debuts. It's a must see for me. As you can tell, in this photo, taken in the early 1980's, I met Secretariat.  See my eyes?  I was gobsmacked! This horse was gorgeous...and huge! His trainer, who is holding his bridle tightly, had  lost a couple of fingers.  It wasn't Secretariat, but other race horses, who are known for their brashness, bit off fingers on a whim.  So this guy was taking no chances.

How did I get this opportunity? My sister and her hubby took us to The Kentucky Derby. My brother-in-law's father was Secretariat's groomer, by then deceased. People at Claiborne Farms remembered him, so we were treated to a private tour and a chance to meet this grand animal.

Let me tell you about Secretariat's "digs". His stable was huge, some mobile homes are smaller. It was bright, sunny and gorgeous; fresh, white paint, lots of window area, a red brick floor and a window box of geraniums and flowers outside his stall. It was spotless. I have seen many people's homes that weren't this clean. Secretariat was showered and groomed daily, exercised, given prescription meals and seen by a vet every day. He had his own pasture to graze on that pristine Kentucky bluegrass.

Now, here is the scoop on this fine animal.
Secretariat was thought of as the "Muhammad Ali" of racehorses. He was the breakaway winner of the 1973 Triple Crown. In 21 career starts, the big stallion finished first 16 times. He set a track record of 1:59  in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, and won the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, by an awesome 31 lengths. He was easily identified by being a rich chestnut brown color with three white stocking legs and a white star on his forehead and by his pure size, which was larger than any other horses in the heat.

I can't wait to see "him" on the big screen. You know how they say movie screens make people bigger than life?  I can't imagine Secretariat being any bigger than he was for me the day I saw him in person.

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