Oct

26

 One of the funny things about Secretariat was seeing deceased Harvard devl eco prof Hollis Chenery showing his true colors raw and ugly when he thought that there was an offer of 8 for the horse and his share would be x. "I'll sue if you lose it," he immediately told the sister. All family ties went out the window. Apparently in breeding syndication deals, there is a performance clause which is that you don't pay as much if the horse doesn't win the triple.

Amazingly Chenery apparently gave the other owners of the syndication rights a guarantee that Secretariat would only lose one race as a three year old. Or else the price was reduced substantially.

The movie is played out against a backdrop of the decline of the racing business. "It's a minor sport," said Chenery, and it's good to see it back in the news. When we went to Belmont with the specs a few years ago, on a high August day near the Belmoont Stakes there were about 3 people in the entire track, and we got a real bargain on the food since no one was there besides us. At Meadowlands, there's a lonely Ben and Jerries and that's it.

Steve Leslie comments:

It is often said one thing that separates a champion from all the challengers is their heart.

Now there is the physical heart and there is the intangible heart. the heart within the heart.The spiritual heart. The heart that cannot be defined by physical measure. The true spiritual heart cant be quantified by mechanical means, it cant be captured nor conquered. There once was a champion who had the rare blessing of both.

Secretariat was in all likelihood the greatest racehorce of all time. He was sired by the marvelous champion Bold Ruler and foaled March 30th 1970 In a sport that measures margins of victory as "by a nose" or "by a neck" and a "photo finish" Big Red as he was called was so majestic and powerful he won he just didn't win. He vanquished. He crushed. He completely destroyed the field at the 1973 Belmont Stakes winning by 31 lengths and establishing a world record at the mile and a half distance that stands to this day. Although I watched the race on television and it happened 33 years ago, I will NEVER forget the image of Secretariat charging toward the finish line on the backstretch with no horse in sight. And even though the race was never in doubt, there was absolutely no quit in him at all. It was as if he were telling the racing world that I am going to give you a show that you will never see again. You bought a ticket to watch me run and I will not disappoint you. And the ground shook and crowd thundered. They should have created a word to describe the event that day. Secretarian. Even though I grew up in a blue collar town in the rust best of the United States, From that moment on, I became a life long fan of the Sport of Kings. He gave me a story to tell to my children and my children's children that I had the honor to watch the mightiest of the mighty. The greatest of all the greats.

He also set speed records at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The only horse in history to accomplish that herculean feat. He thus became the the first triple crown winner since Citation in 1948. All in all, there have been only 11 horses to have been christened triple crown winners. This requires an entrant to win 3 races in 5 weeks against the most elite field in its sport and across 3 varying distances on three different tracks. A bronze statue of the great horse stands in the paddock area of Belmont Park in Elmont NY forever immortalizing this most unique of equines.

After his unfortunate death in 1989 due to laminitis an incurable hoof disease, he was euthanized on October 4th. He was buried whole at Claiborne Farms in Paris Kentucky. This is such a unique honor befitting the great champion. By tradition, thoroughbreds are buried by parts, their head to symbolize intelligence, their heart to signify strength and their legs to describe power.

An autopsy was performed at the University of Kentucky; by Dr. Thomas Swerczek, the veterinarian who performed the autopsy. To his utter amazement, he found that Secretariat's heart was the largest he had ever seen in a horse—approximately three times the size of a normal horse's heart. Unlike most enlarged hearts, Secretariat's showed absolutely no signs of disease. The heart weighed 21 pounds (9.6 kg); the normal is 7 pounds (3.2 kg). He had a powerplant that was nuclear when all the others were running on diesel.

In 1999 a commemorative stamp was issued by the United States Postal Service to honor the spectacular champion. A fitting honor to one whose likes we may not see for a hundred years or more.

As we approach the Kentucky Derby and the Run for the Roses I wanted to take the time to honor this most amazing turf warrior with a humble tribute befitting him . I can only say that if you ever saw him run My Lord you would never forget it.

An autopsy was performed at the University of Kentucky; by Dr. Thomas Swerczek, the veterinarian who performed the autopsy. To his utter amazement, he found that Secretariat's heart was the largest he had ever seen in a horse—approximately three times the size of a normal horse's hea


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2 Comments so far

  1. Jeff Watson on October 26, 2010 9:33 am

    While horse racing has run into a major headwind, dog racing has floundered and is sinking quickly. The animal rights activists have persuaded the state governments to outlaw dog racing in 36 states. There’s only a few tracks left, with a majority in Florida. None of the tracks in Florida are doing well. The handles at my local track are 35% less than they were in 1995, with expenses and taxes going up every year, and declining attendance. The local track tries inducements like $0.50 beer and hot dogs. Because of the law of unintended consequences, the local homeless have discovered the cheap eats and the place has become a de facto soup kitchen. Our dog track has become a dangerous place to hang out, and muggings in the parking lot at night are very common. Pan handling at the track has been elevated to a high art, and petty grifts are an everyday occurrence. On a personal note, I would be afraid to cash a big ticket and walk out at night, because the crowd is so sketchy. In fact, the crowd at the dog track resembles those desperate souls one finds at the bus station (Greyhound), or the local shelter. But, then again, our local track only has an average attendance of a few hundred which puts a bullseye on your back for those with evil intentions. One tries to find solace at the upstairs club, but since the track offers ways to get free admission, it’s no better than standing at the rail.

    The jury is out as far as the simulcasting during season, but simulcasting does offer the degenerate year round access to the tote boards and action(even after live racing is done). Simulcasting is a very expensive proposition, and the extremely high vig makes it as likely to see a yeti as to win at the track. Recent studies have shown that the simulcasting handle has gone down significantly in the past decade. The lotto has really hurt the dog track businss, as now one doesn’t need to go to the dog track to get long odds with high vig….just go to any gas station, 7/11, or Publix to get your fix. Online poker and other internet gambling have also taken a toll on the dogs. Most tracks are fighting back by offering poker rooms and other casino games and/or machines. The aforementioned games seem to all have very high vig, and the vig at the poker room is larcenous. In poker tournaments, the vig sometimes runs in the range of 10-22%….for a poker game. In the small cash hold’em games, the vig runs around 10-12%, making it impossible to beat in the long run if you are not a gambler. A grinder would find it impossible to make it at the poker rooom upstairs from the track.

    omehow, I suspect that dog racing will survive in one form or another, just as jai alai is hanging on by a thread. There might be enough die hard fans to keep it alive and I’d be willing to offer 6:5 that dog racing will survive for another generation….after that, who knows.

    http://tinyurl.com/2dzgjq7

  2. steve on October 27, 2010 11:24 am

    This was originally written on April 1 2006 by myself.

    It is often said one thing that separates a champion
    from all the challengers is their heart.

    Now there is the physical heart and there is the
    intangible heart. the heart within the heart.The
    spiritual heart. The heart that cannot be defined by
    physical measure. The true spiritual heart cant be
    quantified by mechanical means, it cant be captured
    nor conquered. There once was a champion who had the
    rare blessing of both.

    Secretariat was in all likelihood the greatest
    racehorce of all time. He was sired by the marvelous
    champion Bold Ruler and foaled March 30th 1970 In a
    sport that measures margins of victory as “by a nose”
    or “by a neck” and a “photo finish” Big Red as he was
    called was so majestic and powerful he won he just
    didn’t win. He vanquished. He crushed. He completely
    destroyed the field at the 1973 Belmont Stakes winning
    by 31 lengths and establishing a world record at the
    mile and a half distance that stands to this day.
    Although I watched the race on television and it
    happened 33 years ago, I will NEVER forget the image
    of Secretariat charging toward the finish line on the
    backstretch with no horse in sight. And even though
    the race was never in doubt, there was absolutely no
    quit in him at all. It was as if he were telling the
    racing world that I am going to give you a show that
    you will never see again. You bought a ticket to
    watch me run and I will not disappoint you. And the
    ground shook and crowd thundered. They should have
    created a word to describe the event that day.
    Secretarian. Even though I grew up in a blue collar
    town in the rust best of the United States, From that
    moment on, I became a life long fan of the Sport of
    Kings. He gave me a story to tell to my children and
    my children’s children that I had the honor to watch
    the mightiest of the mighty. The greatest of all the
    greats.

    He also set speed records at the Kentucky Derby and
    the Preakness. The only horse in history to accomplish
    that herculean feat. He thus became the the first
    triple crown winner since Citation in 1948. All in
    all, there have been only 11 horses to have been
    christened triple crown winners. This requires an
    entrant to win 3 races in 5 weeks against the most
    elite field in its sport and across 3 varying
    distances on three different tracks. A bronze statue
    of the great horse stands in the paddock area of
    Belmont Park in Elmont NY forever immortalizing this
    most unique of equines.

    After his unfortunate death in 1989 due to laminitis
    an incurable hoof disease, he was euthanized on
    October 4th. He was buried whole at Claiborne Farms in
    Paris Kentucky. This is such a unique honor befitting
    the great champion. By tradition, thoroughbreds are
    buried by parts, their head to symbolize intelligence,
    their heart to signify strength and their legs to
    describe power.

    An autopsy was performed at the University of
    Kentucky; by Dr. Thomas Swerczek, the veterinarian who
    performed the autopsy. To his utter amazement, he
    found that Secretariat’s heart was the largest he had
    ever seen in a horse—approximately three times the
    size of a normal horse’s heart. Unlike most enlarged
    hearts, Secretariat’s showed absolutely no signs of
    disease. The heart weighed 21 pounds (9.6 kg); the
    normal is 7 pounds (3.2 kg). He had a powerplant that
    was nuclear when all the others were running on
    diesel.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretariat_(racehorse)

    In 1999 a commemorative stamp was issued by the United
    States Postal Service to honor the spectacular
    champion. A fitting honor to one whose likes we may
    not see for a hundred years or more.

    As we approach the Kentucky Derby and the Run for the
    Roses I wanted to take the time to honor this most
    amazing turf warrior with a humble tribute befitting
    him . I can only say that if you ever saw him run My
    Lord you would never forget it.

    Steve Leslie
    Incurable

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