Thursday, March 7, 2013

Secretariat: the Story of His Birth

Secretariat as a young colt.
Everyone who knows about horses knows Secretariat, the racing legend from the 1970s and '80s. They know how great a racehorse he was. What very few know about are the years before his fame and fortune and the interesting history of how his owners got him.

 It all began in 1968 when Penny Chenery, from Meadow Stud,and Ogden Phipps, from Wheatley Stables, made an unofficial business agreement. Phipps was the owner of Bold Ruler, a retired successful stallion who had won several important races. No stud fees were paid. Instead, they decided that several of Chenerey's mares would be bred with Bold Ruler. A toss of a coin would determine who got first choice on the offspring.

 So Chenery sent her best mares--Hasty Matelda and Somethingroyal to be bred with Phipps's stallion. The result was a colt and filly. Then Somethingroyal was bred with Bold Ruler one more time, because the original agreement had stated that the winner got only one foal while the loser got two.

 Late in the year of 1969, Phipps and Chenery held the long awaited coin toss in the chairman's office of the New York Racing Association. Phipps won and took the filly, leaving Chenery with both the colt and the unborn foal.

 Many months later, on March 30, 1970, a bright red colt with three white stockings and a narrow blaze was conceived by Somethingroyal. Elizabeth Ham, the secretary of Meadow Studs, named the colt Secretariat.

 And thus the racing legend who had shattered over a dozen track and world records was born.

The picture of young Secretariat is courtesy of:

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