On September 29, just a few weeks after his incredible win in the Marlboro Cup, Secretariat returned to Belmont Park to race in the Woodward Stakes. The race was 1 1/2 miles. "It shouldn't be hard after defeating the nation's top horses in the Marlboro Cup," his avid fans thought. However, despite someone's expectations on a horse"s performance, the racing world is full of surprises and unexpected twists. Nothing is ever certain.
At the start of the race, Jorge Velasquez urged his mount to take an early lead, which is exactly what Onion had done before defeating Secretariat in the Whitney Stakes. Prove Out(Velasquez's mount) ran along the rail the while race. He remained unhurried, even after Secretariat had passed him. Suddenly, halfway through the homestretch, he shot ahead, passing Secretariat and winning by 4 1/2 lengths!
Second place was just not good enough for many of Secretariat's fans. Even though the second place prize was $100,000 dollars, the loss hit them hard. Once again, the great Secretariat had lost to a horse with very bad odds of winning.
Meanwhile, Allen Jerkens, the trainer of both Onion and Prove Out, had gained quite a reputation. Two different horses that he had trained had vanquished Secretariat on two different tracks! No wonder he had been given the nickname the "Giant Killer", which he still holds.
Secretariat had been beaten twice in that past month, but he would return. Then he would win once more.