With no Kentucky Derby this year, we thought it was a good time to put Secretariat’s incredible 1973 Belmont Stakes run up.
This was one of the finest examples of a dominant performance you’ll see in any sport: Big Red just pulled away from the field and, as the announcer famously said, ran like “a tremendous machine.”
That was almost an understatement.
Most horses get tired when they run long distances. Not Secretariat. Even as the rest of the field fell back, he kept getting stronger. There’s a very famous photograph of jockey Ron Turcotte looking back, trying to find the field.
After Secretariat died in 1989, after a very busy career of siring as many offspring as possible, a necropsy was performed. Secretariat, as it turned out, had not just enormous heart but an enormous heart. The average horse’s heart weighs about 8-9 lbs. Secretariat’s was closer to 22.