Friday, March 29, 2013

Secretariat's Final Race: the Canadian International

  Secretariat arrived at Toronto on October 8th, 1973, for his final race. He was greeted with journalists, photographers, and thousands of fans from all over the world. Millions of people had seen the great sport hero on television, and they had finally got the chance to see him in person.

 It was a really big day for everyone.  After making his last public appearance, Secretariat would leave the racetrack forever and be used for breeding purposes. All of his fans wanted to get the chance to see him run just one last time. they expected a great show, and a great show they would get.

 At last, after being filmed by dozens of photographers, including a television crew that was filming a documentary on his final race, Secretariat was ready to begin his race. He seemed to know how important it was to everybody.

 Also racing would be Kennedy Road, a U.S. turf champion ridden by Avelino Gomez. Gomez says, "Secretariat shows up in Toronto, and it is a very big thing for Canada. Even if he gets beat by me!" Of course, he was going to use the same strategy as the other horses that had beaten Secretariat: He would get an early lead and try to hold it until the end. Yet it didn't quite work out the way he had hoped. With  Secretariat, though, that was only to be expected.

 What did happen was this: Kennedy Road took the lead right out of the gate, as planned, but Secretariat followed behind him. Secretariat ran along side Kennedy Road through the backstretch, then passed him and lead until he reached the finish line. He won by 6 1/2 lengths.

 That was it. He had run his final race. No longer would thousands of people flock to the racetracks to watch this incredible horse run, or turn on their TVs to see him race. Big Red had retired as breeding stallion, to be used to create line of champions, many of which still race today. His owner, Penny Chenery, told the public about her horse on the day he had ended his career.

 “Secretariat loves to run, and this should be communicated to the world. This is a vital sport, an exciting sport. It’s not exploitation of horses. There are horses like Secretariat, who are sound and able, and think running is thrilling. He knows when he wins. He knows when people notice him. It’s been a great experience for him, too.”

 Secretariat will forever be remembered as an extraordinary horse. He holds two world records, three track records, and one tied track record, more than any other horse, excluding Man o' War. All of Secretariat's records still stand today, yet to beaten by another great horse. I doubt they will.

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