A chestnut thoroughbred, Secretariat was foaled at Christopher Chenery's Meadow Stable, near Doswell, Virginia, on March 30, 1970. Nicknamed "Big Red" (like the legendary thoroughbred Man o' War), he developed into a beautiful and powerful horse, with a heart more than twice the size of a standard horse and massive chest and hindquarters. He had good breeding; his sire, Bold Ruler, had won the 1957 Preakness Stakes, and his dame, Something Royal, was a daughter of Princequillo.
At the final race in the Triple Crown, the arduous mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes, Secretariat stunned the racetrack crowd and television viewers alike with what Sports Illustrated writer Whitney Tower called "the greatest performance by a racehorse in this century." He won by an amazing thirty-one lengths over Twice a Prince in a time of 2:24, the fastest mile-and-a-half ever run on a dirt track.
Secretariat won and lost a few more races, setting more records in the process, and after his final race on October 28, 1973, he was retired to stud in Paris, Kentucky. He had won sixteen of twenty-one races, most by handsome margins, and accumulated $1.3 million in winnings over his career. He sired many foals, including stakes winners, but none of them matched his reputation. He died at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Kentucky, in 1989.
March 30, 1970 - Secretariat is born near Doswell, Virginia.
May 1973–June 1973 - Secretariat becomes the first horse in twenty-five years to win the Triple Crown, the most prized accomplishment in horse racing.
October 28, 1973 - Secretariat runs his final race.
1989 - Secretariat dies at a farm in Kentucky.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Heinemann, R. L. Secretariat (1970–1989). (2015, June 9). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Secretariat_1970-1989.
- MLA Citation:
Heinemann, Ronald L. "Secretariat (1970–1989)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 9 Jun. 2015. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: October 30, 2008 | Last modified: June 9, 2015
Contributed by Ronald L. Heinemann, a professor of history at Hampden-Sydney College.