Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Secretariat, A Horse With Heart


Last night I watched the 2010 biographical movie, Secretariat. The action packed true story told of the events and life of "Big Red" leading up to and including his remarkable 31 length win at the Belmont Stakes, making him the 1973 Triple Crown winner. After watching the film, I  went online to research the facts of Secretariat's story on Wikipedia and found that the truth had been told.  In the Kentucky Derby, his track record still stands. Thirty seven years later, "Red" still holds the world record for his speed at Belmont, 1½ miles on dirt in 2:24 flat. Secretariat sired over 600 foals in his lifetime, so his legacy lives on in the lineage of thousands of horses today. In 1989, Secretariat was put down at the young age of 19 for laminitis. He was mourned by millions. When a necropsy was performed, it was found that Secretariat's heart was huge! It was about 22 lbs. and built like a perfect machine. It was almost two and a half times the size of an average horse of his proportion. This occasionally occurs in Thoroughbreds and has been linked to a genetic condition passed down by the dam calked the X-factor. So when people say Secretariat was a "horse with heart", they couldn't be more correct. Not only was he physically superior, but he also had the mind and the rare elusive spirit of a true champion.

This photo is in the public domain and is from Wikimedia Commons.