Secretariat Movie Will be Great

As someone who usually is critical of racing movies, because of their constant inaccuracies, sappy scripts, ludicrous staging of races (excluding "Seabiscuit"), and liberties with the truth, I am going to go out on a limb and write a review preview (or is it preview review?), saying that "Secretariat" the movie is going to be right up there with "Phar Lap" and "Champions (excluding the never-ending hospital scenes)" as one of the top horse racing movies of all time.

I can't help but think back to the premiere of "Seabiscuit," at the Palace Theater in Louisville. I had mixed feelings about the movie, due to the number of times they skirted around Laura Hillenbrand's fantastic book and fabricated the truth for the sake of "Hollywood." War Admiral, 18 hands? Yes, it's trivial in the main scheme of things, but that was just one of many examples. Seabiscuit being a small horse wasn't good enough. They had to portray War Admiral, who was the same size as Seabiscuit, as this big, bad Goliath of a horse, making their confrontation equivalent of Mickey Rooney wrestling Andre the Giant.

As the audience cleared out of the theater and onto Fourth Avenue, one of the first people I saw was Penny Chenery, who proceeded to list all the things about the movie she didn't like, mainly the inaccuracies. This pan came not as a movie critic, but as the "First Lady of the Turf," who had little tolerance for such Hollywood antics. Everything she said was correct, and I knew right then and there that any movie about Secretariat would be based on accuracy, and would let racing shine through on its own and not be blinded by Hollywood's glaring spotlight.

With the Secretariat movie focusing on Penny, I am even more convinced it will be done with class, accuracy, and intelligence. It will be everything the recent Ruffian movie wasn't.

I do have to admit to a certain amount of prejudice, having had a "crush" on Diane Lane since seeing her in "A Little Romance" and then "Lonesome Dove." Don't get the wrong idea; I know she was only about 14 when she made A Little Romance. I use the word crush in an innocuous way. Yes, she is strikingly beautiful and a terrific actress, but she has the class needed to portray someone like Penny Chenery (then Penny Tweedy). And don't forget, parts of A Little Romance were filmed at Longchamp Race Course, so she was thrust into racing right from the start.

I have interviewed numerous celebrities over the years, including Bo Derek, and I am not one to get starstruck or fawn over some beautiful actress. My blasé attitude often drives my wife and daughter up the wall. But I have to admit I'm almost glad I wasn't aware that Diane Lane was in the paddock on Belmont Stakes day, because I probably would have turned into a bumbling idiot.

Getting back to the Secretariat movie, the story of Chenery is a compelling one and does not need much tweaking from Disney. Hers is the quintessential story of girl leaves old established horse farm to start her own life; girl returns to dying father to help save the farm; super horse comes along to win the Kentucky Derby, saves farm and becomes a national hero. Only this time, it was two horses who came along to save the farm. Let's not forget Riva Ridge. This is right out of the mother of all racing movies, "Kentucky," released in 1938, with Loretta Young pretty much playing Penny Chenery. Other movies with basically the same plot, such as "Glory," (this time with the Chenery character played by Margaret O'Brien) followed over the years. Only now, it's going to be a true story, with the best technical adviser anyone could ask for - Chenery herself.

The main question is how they are going to film Secretariat's races. I guess it's not too hard to stage a race where the winner wins by 31 lengths. And wait until you see the riders strangling their horses as Secretariat blows by them on the first turn of the Preakness. Will they gloss over the losses to Onion and Prove Out? Will they be able to find a skinny, lop-eared horse to play the lovable Riva Ridge? Will they dramatize the now infamous mouth abscess before the Wood Memorial that no one knew about at the time? Will we see Diane Lane get heated after the Wood Memorial loss to stablemate Angle Light? Maybe they need a turf writer (ahem) to ask her before the Kentucky Derby: "So, Penny, do have any concerns about a Bold Ruler getting a mile and a quarter?" I don't mind looking like an idiot. I've asked dumber questions than that.

Will they be able to make a horse, or horses, look like Secretariat as well as they made the equine actor/actors look like Phar Lap? What this movie also has going for it is that there are now several generations of racing fans who only know Secretariat as some Pegasus-like creature from racing folklore. To actually get a chance to see and feel what it was like to have witnessed this magnificent Thoroughbred in person, you can be sure it will bring them out in droves. And, unlike the Ruffian and Seabiscuit movies, no one gets hurt.

Of course, the technical questions still need to be answered. But at this point, I can state unequivocally that with Penny Chenery, Diane Lane, and Disney, "Secretariat" will be a smash success.


Leave a Comment:


Steve, I hope they focus on the rivalry between Secretariat and Sham as well as the East vs. West aspect of that rivalry.  So many magnificent events of that era have faded with the passage of time.  I look forward to that movie as eagerly as I did for the Seabiscuit movie!

16 Jun 2009 2:45 PM


I had no idea a movie was in the works, but I agree wholeheartedly that if Penny herself is overseeing things, then Mickey Mouse will probably be held by her for ransom if Disney tries to fabricate anything in this movie.

I also could not agree with you more about Seabiscuit.  While I understand the movie was probably more geared towards the non racing fan, there still were so many problems.  Perhaps the biggest pet peeves I have about that movie are those surrounding the match race.  First, how much film time would it have really taken to show Tom Smith watching that race where War Admiral was hooked for the lead and faltered for a brief second.  That would have made everyone understand why the next 20 minutes of the movie was about the Biscuit having to get to the lead.  And right when they started the race...why oh why would you then fade to pictures of people listening to the race.  Ok...I understand the national importance and all, but they could have shown all that before the start and then shown the first quarter mile of the race and SeaBiscuit going to the lead.  But I guess that is Hollywood.  My final annoyance with the film was the situation surrounding his comeback to the Big Cap.  It would have actually been more dramatic if they had truthfully portrayed him losing those prep races, and then still trying.  

I will look foward to the Secretariat movie with great anticipation.

16 Jun 2009 2:53 PM

I have heard about this movie in the making for quite a while now.  I am friends with Charlie Davis, the man who galloped the Great Red Horse.  He told me that he cant wait.  He has told me many stories of Secretariat, Penney Chenery, and Lucien Laurin.  I was also lucky enough to have known Eddie"Shorty" Sweat the amn who rubbed Secretariat.  I hope this movie does all justice and I can't weait to se it.

16 Jun 2009 2:57 PM
Ted from LA

They should have Curlin play Secretariat's front end and Matthew McConaughey play his back end.

16 Jun 2009 3:03 PM

Omigod, Steve!  How exciting is this going to be????  I am thrilled that they are making this movie about Secretariat!  I hope that it is as well produced and directed as "Seabiscuit".  There may have been inaccruacies in "Seabistcuit" but it was a very well made film, nominated for best movie.  It was well scripted, acted and scored and the trailers on TV and at the theatres were nothing less than brilliant.  It was also the top DVD in sales when it was released to DVD.  It was great for horseracing and the Smarty came right after that and he had so many fans and I think the movie helped.

Secretarit is my all time favorite horse and I was lucky enough to visit him at Claiborne in 1988.  I can't wait for this film and with Penny Chenery involved, it should be great!  

16 Jun 2009 3:04 PM


16 Jun 2009 3:09 PM
Glenn Craven

Despite the inaccuracies -- and I can rattle them off as the movie rolls -- I still enjoyed "Seabiscuit." It IS unfortunate that a story that needed no added drama was over-dramatized by Hollywood.

And, in some cases, simple facts were replaced by fiction, such as the montage where Seabiscuit wins three races in which he never ran. ... Why not pick the names of three races he DID win? What was to be gained by the fiction?

I do think we'll get as close to an accurate horse-racing movie as possible from the Secretariat film, in large part because Ms. Chenery will expect nothing less.

I join you in looking forward to it.

16 Jun 2009 3:12 PM
Joanne S.

Can't wait to see this film and agree that it's being handled in just the right way to ensure accuracy and give insight into some of the lesser known scenarios that shaped the life and legend of Secretariat.  Was at Claiborne shortly after Curlin won the Preakness and chatted with the grooms about the movie-to-be.  We agreed that he was a near perfect candidate to be the 'leading man'  Too bad Curlin has a pretty good steady job now !!  otherwise he'd be a no-brainer in the lead role !!

16 Jun 2009 3:16 PM

So when is the opening date ???

16 Jun 2009 3:18 PM

I was there when Big Red won at the Preakness and it is still very vivid in my mind today along with watching the Derby and Belmont wins on the tube to boot.  What a marvelous feat he accomplished and can't wait to see the movie when it is realeased.  I know that "For Big Red" will be another who will pay the piper to see the flick.

16 Jun 2009 3:19 PM

I'm not sure what the best horse

movie was, But whici one was third

was at least 31 lengths behind Phar

lap and Seabiscuit  So I am looking

forward to the new movie..  I

remember watching his thrilling

triple crown races like it was


16 Jun 2009 3:22 PM

Steve: I agree that the movie certainly should be great if Penny Chenery is in the driver's seat. And the plot with a focus on "saving the Meadow" is pretty much ideal Hollywood melodrama. But I wanted to add that it's always tough to make a movie about a treasured icon because, probably no matter what, it will fly in the face of people's memories for those of us who remember Big Red. I would hope, too, that Eddie Sweat gets some attention, since he was Secretariat's best friend.

16 Jun 2009 3:23 PM

Diane Lane? Isn't she brunette? Wasn't Penny blonde?

Sorry, getting aesthetics (stupid extra 'e' in that word...) out of the way.

Diane Lane seems too Stepford-Wifey to me, but I'm not a movie buff. Now, Diane KEATON :D Or, for a joke, Ellen DeGeneres, who isn't an actress, but could learn (I kid).

I love realistic horse movies. There are few. The one I own is...yep, Seabiscuit. If ever need to leave this cruel world, watch 'Racing Stripes'. It induces suicide. It's about a zebra who wants to race, a girl who defies her father to be his jockey, and flies who fall in horse poop. Actually, poop is almost the whole movie. It's a kid's movie, and I might lighten up, but horse poop jokes for 1.5 hours. Really? End rant.

Looking forward to 'Secretariat'.  

16 Jun 2009 3:40 PM

This is going to be the most anticipated horse racing movie that I'll ever see!  I've met Penny Chenery, gracious lady that she is, and I hope Diane Lane will prove to be just as gracious in her portrayal.  I remember watching "Kentucky" in the movie theater back in the 1950s, sitting in the front row seat.  The dual between "Postman" and "Blue Grass" was special back then and when I watch it on tape, it is still special.  I still remember when Walter Brennan, who played Loretta Young's daddy and was looking to buy a horse from the nearby farm, heard a groom chant as he walked the yearling, Postman, "Postman work in :48; going to the races, going to the races, Postman work in :48 going to the races now."  Secretariat came along at an appropriate time, when the Viet Nam war was still being fought and when the big red hoss, wearing the owner's blue and white silks, blazed upon our tv screens like the conquering hero.  I "met" Secretariat several times and felt lucky then, and still do, that I was breathing the same air as he was!  Oh yes, call me "Sappy," but I'll be front row center once again when this movie comes out.  And I'm 61 years old now!  Am I dating myself or what??  LOL!

16 Jun 2009 3:40 PM
Blue Blue Sea

I believe this one will be a good one. Had some trepidation myself when I first heard it was in the works last year. Was really glad to learn last month that Lane was involved.

BTW, I hated that bit about War Admiral in the SB movie as well - 18 hands indeed!, esp since WA was a good little horse in his own right.

16 Jun 2009 3:47 PM

When I go to the movies, I am usually very reserved. I cried from the moment Saving Private Ryan came on the screen, until the final credit rolled past, but none of my fellow movie goers knew, unless they noticed my red eyes in the lobby afterward. HOWEVER, such was not the case when I saw Seabiscuit. I was animated. My horse knowledge challenged sister, God love her, went with me, she kept asking, does he win this one? I know there were inaccruacies, but to the eight year old girl that I reverted to, it did not matter. During the match race with War Admiral, had my sister not reached over and touched my arm, I think I would have cleared the six rows of seats in front of us when Seabiscuit pulled away, and in the final scene, the Santa Anita 1940--she asked, does he win this one? Smilin' like a possum in a persimmon tree (southern for thrilled) I said, just watch him. Again, the people in front of us were in mortal danger. I cheered Seabiscuit as if I had been at Santa Anita so long ago. In defference to my fellow movie goers, when Secretariat's movie is released, I will be at the theater with bells on and I warn ya'll now, that eigth year old girl that fell in love with horses and saw her first Derby in glorious black and white in 1966 (Kaui King)--and then saw her first Triple Crown in 1973---will be more animated than Mickey Mouse! I can not wait.

16 Jun 2009 3:51 PM

In 1973, I was 10 years old.  Of all the vague things I can remember at the early age is hearing about this horse, Secretariat, winning the Triple Crown.  I can't recall if they were playing the race on the radio, but I just remember hearing a lot of excitement and that from then on, I became a fan of horse-racing.  I have seen on the Secretariat website that there are Secretariat look-alike contests but I think Curlin would be the ideal stand-in.  He is so beautiful and we racing fans would know who he is; if he were to be in the movie, that alone would generate excitement in itself to entice even the casual racing fan to see the movie.  

16 Jun 2009 3:59 PM
Ted from LA

If I'm going to spend two hours watching a movie, I'd take Let It Ride over Seabiscuit any day.  Hopefully they will make it family friendly throughout the movie.  Why add the prostitute scene in Seabiscuit?  It did nothing to make the movie better and made me have to talk real loud until that scene was over while watching it with my young kids.  

16 Jun 2009 4:01 PM
welshpony lady

I do so hope this movie will be able to convey the magic that Secretariat brought to us all. My two girls are in their early 30's now and it would be a treat if they could begin to understand just a little what that season meant. It was truly a bright and joyous thing at a dismal time. My fingers are crossed.

16 Jun 2009 4:02 PM

I hope that they find a horse that fits the bill.  The one thing about him was his magnificent Physique and that is not easy to find. Curlin is the closest one I have seen in years.  His own son Tinners way looks so much like him.  YOu cant make a movie about him if the horse that plays the part looks like your average every day horse.  Because that is what he was not.

16 Jun 2009 4:06 PM


There are actually people out there who didn't like Seabiscuit (good to know, I was feeling a little lonely).  I thought it was awful!  The Ruffian movie was a piece of garbage.  Ruffian looked nothing like the tiny Quarter horses playing her.  If they make one more movie about Thoroughbreds and use Quarter Horses for them I am going to scream!!!

Right on about the Phar Lap movie, that is still one of the best horse racing movies that I have ever seen:)

16 Jun 2009 4:11 PM
Barbara W

Please keep us posted on the progress of the production.

16 Jun 2009 4:11 PM

Diane Lane will be fantastic.  To me, it shows Disney is serious about the movie.

Penny Chenery will surely see this film represents Secretariat and her life story in a factual manner. There are so many dramatic events that took place that it will be a major hit.

What horse or horses can possibly represent Secretariat?  That will be the tough role/roles to cast.  To me, Secretariat had a unique look.

Steve, your technical assistance would make it a superb film.  

16 Jun 2009 4:14 PM

I hope they reference the Bill Nack book "Big Red". It was as good a chronicle of big red's history and TC run as anything I've ever seen.

16 Jun 2009 4:23 PM

I read somewhere, think it was at DRF, that Penny doesnt have the final say on script, etc. Hopefully they will get enough input from her to make it accurate and not try to make it "too" hollywood.

16 Jun 2009 4:30 PM

Let's hope that Disney does a better job casting Secretariat than Breyer did when they cast his model.

I think the best way to represent the races in which Secretariat ran would be to edit in real footage of the Preakness and, of course, the Belmont. I don't believe there is any way a re-creation of the Belmont could ever come close to the thrill of the original.

MtbFan, thanks for the heads up on "Zebra Stripes." That sounds awful. Once, when channel surfing, I ran across a movie called "Dreamer." Ugh...pure dreck.

Racing is dramatic enough. No need for embellishments or misrepresentations if put in the hands of intelligent, creative writers.

Nice piece, Mr. Haskin. Thank you.

16 Jun 2009 4:33 PM

How it must speak to the state of our game that a movie about a horse's exploits from almost 40 years ago is considered the best news for the industry except for the recent run of Rachel Alexandra. The only time the outside world is interested in our game is when there is tragedy.

16 Jun 2009 4:35 PM

Both Ron Turcotte and Laffit Pincay Jr. might be willing to share their first hand knowledge of the 1973 Triple Crown races. As far as race footage goes, just borrow the master tapes for the Scretariat DVD. I really enjoy seeing Secretariat running into the first turn of the '73 Preakness in last place, then while the camera is focused on the leaders and they're still on the turn watching Biggest Red streak into the lead. Last to first on the clubhouse turn! Wow! And because of a timer malfunction, Bold Ruler's fastest son did not get credit for setting the Preakness record. Considering his records for The Derby and The Belmont are still the gold standard, it's possible that he set lasting standards in all 3 Triple Crown races. We'll never know for sure.

16 Jun 2009 4:37 PM
For Big Red

STEVE: Obviously I can't wait for this film to appear in a theater near me. I don't pay to see movies in theaters much anymore. Too easy to see them at home these days. But I will definitely plunk down some cash to see this one.

For me, I don't much care about any Hollywood silliness that might appear in this movie. I'll just be happy to sit in the dark and be transported back to those times for a couple of hours. Times when I was young and that Big Red Horse, his interesting human entourage in tow, blazed through my life like a comet across the skies. Awe-inspiring, gone way to soon, but never to be forgotten. I've never even forgotten Billy Silver, the stable pony who accompanied Red everywhere.

There's been a low-level buzz about this movie even outside racing circles for at least a year. I first heard about it on, of all places, a political forum. The Internet Movie Database has had a place-holder page up about it for a year or more. The buzz is sure to build as production moves forward, to the point where I believe it will be one of the more eagerly anticipated movies of 2010.

Now if only today's racing powers-that-be could be made to figure out that promotional tie-ins to this movie might just be a smart business and publicity move for the sport. Ought to take lessons from NASCAR about how to do promotional tie-ins right.

16 Jun 2009 4:38 PM

I hope you're right, Steve, it's not like Disney has a great track record for faithful retelling of history! Fanciful, yes, accurate...not so much!

16 Jun 2009 4:42 PM
Greg J.

  This question was asked to Penny Chenery back in 2003(I believe) on when they would make a Movie about the Great Secretariat?, Her Response:

    "It is only a question of details: whose version of his life and career, and of mine, will be used for the script, and what production company will buy the screen rights. There will definitely be a movie. Stay Tuned!"

    It is awesome that it finally is coming true, and about time!  By the way, The Director is  Randall Wallace, Who directed the Great Movie, "BraveHeart", Should be Fantastic...

16 Jun 2009 4:44 PM

I didn't know they were making a movie about Secretariat but he is truely one of the greatly deserving ones who should have a movie made about him. Will be anxious to see what kind of horses they use to play him as he had a stature all of his own. Can't wait to hear of a release date.

16 Jun 2009 4:48 PM
For Big Red

Not only will it be hard to cast the horses to play Secretariat (as well as Riva Ridge and all the other good ones Red raced against), but where are they going to get a horse who has the enormous stride Secretariat had? Go here ( for an interesting discussion of stride angle and comparisons of the strides of several famous horses.

This famous photo ( of Red beginning his move from last to first in the Preakness is probably the most vivid one of his stride, but there are others. Go to Google Images and search on "Secretariat horse" and you'll get 60,500 hits.

16 Jun 2009 4:56 PM

What great news indeed!! For those of you who don't know Penny has website in Big Red's honor at and will be keeping Big Red's fans up to date with the release of the film. I can't wait!

How many Secretariat fans have kept the Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated issues that Big Red is on? I've managed to hold onto to all three magazines thinking that someday they would be collector items.

16 Jun 2009 5:10 PM
Lady Ruffian

I honestly can't wait to see the movie. I can't tell you how many times my friends/ family tell me I was born in the wrong time period..that I should have seen first hand how amazing Big Red was. I know hes nowhere near Big Red, but i think Curlin would be wonderful for the part... he was intriguing to watch, kind of a great way to incorpaorate recent history into the story too!

16 Jun 2009 5:13 PM

Great news about a Secretariat movie.  The movie "Kentucky" was on Fox movie channel a few months ago and I saw it for the first time and it's a good one.  Not impressed whatsoever with the Ruffian movie; they could have done much better.  Looking forward to the Secretariat movie since I was a kid when he ran and the only history I know it what I read.  Did not see Diane Lane at the Belmont but Jeanine Edwards, Christina Olivares, and myself were all dressed in gorgeous turquoise outfits; apparently the color of the day, with hats to match!!!!!!!!!  Thanks for the info Steve; you are the BEST!!!!!

16 Jun 2009 5:19 PM
Daina Ryan

Well this will be the first movie I will have been to see in a long time.   Will be awesome if it's done right -- beautiful music, realistic filming, great acting (not too cute-sy or too disneyish).  

This horse deserves the best storytelling and movie making there is.  

16 Jun 2009 5:21 PM

Maybe JJ can be pursuaded to take Curlin out of the shed for a while to play the Magnificant Secretariat. They look so much alike it's not even funny. Also he's got that giant stride. I also seem to remember Curlin was good at blowing by horses on the final turn. Please JJ let Curlin play this role!

16 Jun 2009 5:30 PM

I have been hearing about this movie for two years now and am very EAGERLY anticipating its completion and release!

16 Jun 2009 5:31 PM
Pam S.

Charismatic looked like Secretariat too, really handsome and muscular.  Of course, he is getting on in years and, last I heard, is in some foreign country.

16 Jun 2009 5:57 PM

Having just re-read my copy of the Secretariat book by Bill Nack, I can't wait for the movie!  With you as a technical advisor, Steve, it would be even more wonderful I'm sure.  As far as horses to play the leading role, I'm afraid that is where they will be sadly lacking.  In my humble opinion, there isn't a horse out there who could compare to Secretariat.  Diane Lane is indeed a great choice for the role of Penny Chenery.

To postergeist, yes, the Breyer model of Secretariat is hardly a good representation of him, but there are sculptures out there in the model horse world that have done him justice.  Sad to say, the Breyer model is the only one I own.

16 Jun 2009 6:02 PM

Can not wait for the movie!  I feel

the perfect horse to play BIG RED would be Charasmatic.  If I am not

mistaken he has a blood line to

Secretariat.  Also, maybe we could

get him back to America.  He is an

absolutely beautiful horse,  Looks

more like BIG RED than Curlin.

16 Jun 2009 6:04 PM

All I remember about the movie Kentucky was the amazing parade of famous horses at the beginning, espexcially Gallant Fox.  What a great piece of racing history! I think this new movie needs to use as much real-life footage as possible, or it won't work at all.

How could they use Curlin? He's a breeding stallion. But I am sure they could find some look-alike Thoroughbreds for the close-up scenes. Maybe a Secretariat descendant would do just fine.

I never saw the Seabiscuit movie because I read the wonderful book. I didn't think the movie could possibly live up to the book. Sounds like I was right. I did not see the Ruffian film either. Seeing the original footage of her tragic breakdown when it happened was bad enough. I didn't want to relive it. A movie with a happy ending is much easier to watch.

I agree, Breyer's Secretariat model is dreadful, but they have gotten better. Their Smarty Jones is a nice one.

16 Jun 2009 6:05 PM

Great news Steve! I too hated the Ruffian movie and that other film about the mare that comes back to win  the Breeders Cup Classic after an injury. I loved Seabiscut and the other film that I love is a doc. called First Saturday In May.  That is a great film that I love to show my friends when I can get them in front of my TV. It really shows folks why I love horseracing. I saw Big Red win the Belmont and I hope they just use film footage for that scene. I too feel they won't be able to improve on history. Can't wait!!!

16 Jun 2009 6:12 PM
Matthew W

Steve I was around then--the racing world was abuzz with Secretariat BEFORE he ever raced as a three year old...also he was syndicated BEFORE the triple crown--talk about a good deal! There was no East/West thing with Secretariat/Sham...Sham was Sigmond Sommer/Pancho Martin...Sham WINTERED in SoCal--as did many East Coast Stables back then.....The thing I wish they'd capture about Secretariat was his greatness---his greatness inspired you to just shrug off his dull losses---they were ananomalies, because he dominated a race like no other when he was on his game---heck, all those big wins, AND those two BLOWOUT wins on turf, for good measure??!! What made Secretariat great was this: He was NOT larger than life--with all that pub....Secretariat WAS all that!

16 Jun 2009 6:20 PM
Matthew W

Steve in his (special) race at Arlington, after the Belmont, instead of the announcer's call of the race, they interviewed Lucien and Penny live, and I saw it again recently on youtube, unbelievable! Penny is so nervous as Big Red Of Meadow Stable gallops by My Gallant and Our Native....Secretariat DELIVERED, and that's what makes legends....

16 Jun 2009 6:28 PM

I don't think Curlin looks at all like Big Red #2 (Secretariat)...much more like Big Red #1.

Secretariat had an almost Arabian chiseled fact I remember reading more than once what a "throwback" to the Darley Arabian type he was...having owned, shown and bred Arabians for 25 years, I have to agree.

Charismatic looks a lot like his grgranddad...a lot.

16 Jun 2009 6:32 PM

PS I loved the little Zebra movie! Amazing they could train a Zebra to do anything...when he fell out of the back of the circus van in his little box and his parents are helpless to come to his aid (they're tied) and his little face is looking at them, I got all choked up...but then, I was sad when the spider died, too. (Y'know, Charlotte?);-)

16 Jun 2009 6:38 PM
Steve Haskin

I also immensely disliked the Dakota Fanning movie, Dreamer. Very poorly done and she got on my nerves.

Youre right DaHoss, Curlin looks nothing like Secretariat. He's much longer and does not have the massive hind quarters and shoulder Secretariat had. I do agree that Charismatic would be a good choice.

Walter Brennan played Loretta Young's trainer, not her father. He might have been an uncle or something. And that "Postman worked in :48" scene was a classic.

Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep both would be well cast as Penny, but I'm still thrilled they got Diane Lane.

Txhorsefan, I'd love to be technical advisor, but I'm sure they've already gotten Bill Nack.

16 Jun 2009 6:50 PM
Mike Relva


Like many I've been waiting for this for years. How long until it will be released?

16 Jun 2009 7:02 PM
Matthew W

I think Effervecing, a son of Secretariat, and winner less than two weeks apart of the Met Mile (on dirt) and American Hcp (on grass 3000 mi away), and Wayne Lukas's first big horse, looked like Big Red....also wasn't General Assembly by Big Red? Terlingua?...they all had his coat, at least, and General Assembly was a very underated horse....but that's just it! Getting a horse/horses to "play" Big Red is akin to getting someone to reprise the Brando role in Godfather---good luck!

16 Jun 2009 7:03 PM
Ida Lee

Secretariat is the most beautiful creature I've ever seen. I have his pictures in my home and both me and my husband just pick them up and look at him every once in a while and still can't get over how gorgeous he was. It's going to take some looking to find a horse as beautiful as he was. I'm looking forward to the film.

16 Jun 2009 7:06 PM
christy tate

didn't know one about Big Red was being made. hope it's as good as you say Mr. Haskin. can't wait til it comes out. let us know when.

16 Jun 2009 7:23 PM
Driftin Sage

I was thinking maybe they could use the real films of Secretariat's races, also. Of course, if this has really been in the thoughts and making for over a yr or two, they may have already thought of that.  To whoever it was up above, the movie of Seabiscuit is a great movie.  I read the book first and still loved the movie. Go ahead and watch it.  If you love horses, you should love the movie.

A good friend of mine owned a granddaughter to Secretariat. He called her "Sexy" and a gorgeous tall red horse she was with a white blaze.  He barrel raced her and she was awesome.  Won or placed most of the time. She was also awesome at pole bending and when I rode her it was like she could gallop forever...just cruising on a trail ride one day.    

16 Jun 2009 7:26 PM
For Big Red

TO PAM S.: Charismatic is standing at stud in Japan, unfortunately. I would love for him to come home (sigh, if only I was very wealthy). Don't know if I can ever trust Japanese breeders again with modestly productive stallions after what happened to Ferdinand.

Here's a link to Charismatic's stallion page at the JBIS:

16 Jun 2009 7:28 PM
For Big Red

STEVE: If Disney did secure the services of Bill Nack as technical advisor, that would be terrific and reassuring that they are trying to make a reasonably accurate film.

16 Jun 2009 7:30 PM

Can't wait to see the movie about Big Red, and I hope you're asked to be a consultant,Steve.  You'd be a great resource.  I read somewhere recently that a movie is also being planned about Australia's great sprinting champion, Takeover Target.  He's got quite an amazing story behind him so that would also be a great movie.  Russel Crowe is supposed to star as the trainer.

16 Jun 2009 7:34 PM
Steve Haskin

Effervescing would have been another good choice.

All I know is the movie is supposed to be released sometime next year.

Speaking of finding a horse to look like Big Red and staging his races, I always felt this would have made a great animated feature film for Disney. This way they could make him look life-like and stage the races just as they happened.

16 Jun 2009 7:35 PM

I agree with those saying that Charismatic would be the best choice to play Secretariat--I doubt that it would happen, but he (I believe he is a great-grandson of Big Red) is the only horse I have seen in recent years who so favored Big Red in looks. Curlin' is NOT the horse they should use--to me, he looks nothing like Big Red.  

I really hope they use real footage of his Triple Crown races rather than re-creating them.  I was born the year after he won the Triple Crown and can only attest to the fact that watching replays of his Triple Crown races gives me chills EVERY TIME.  They can stand on their own and don't need to be re-created.  

I'm looking forward to this movie!!!

16 Jun 2009 7:37 PM
Steve Haskin

Oh, yes, the telecast of the Arlington race, with Penny commenting all through the race, was priceless.

16 Jun 2009 7:40 PM
Driftin Sage

To:da3hoss...I just remembered something else I was going to say about "Sexy" my friends horse that was a granddaughter to Secretariat....she also had sort of an Arabian chisled head and so beautiful!

And now I must find Bill Nack's book and read it before the movie opens.  Woo hoo!

16 Jun 2009 7:40 PM


Yes, you're right about Walter Brennan playing Loretta Young's uncle, not her father.  Heck, I was drawing on a memory that was about 50 years old!  He was Uncle Peter.  I had to look it up online.

I think one of my first crushes was on Richard Greene, who played the handsome neighbor that Uncle Peter hated, Jack Dillon.

I've got to watch that movie again.  Thankfully, I taped it years ago with no commercial interruptions.

I agree with everyone about that Breyer rendition of Secretariat.  It is horrendous.  That's the reason why I never bought it.  I think the one of Smarty Jones was well made.

They would NEVER pull Curlin out of stud duty to star in a movie.  Oh geez!  I can hear Jess Jackson now!  Whoever the horse is, he must be beautiful, muscular, handsome, powerful, appealing, fast...whoa!  They will probably have many horses playing the many parts of his life, like they did with Seabiscuit.

16 Jun 2009 8:02 PM

For Big Red,

Thank you for the link to Charismatic's stallion page. He won the first Derby I ever watched. I have a framed print of Fred Stone's painting depicting the 1999 "Moment of the Year". Chris Antley is holding Charismatic's leg up so that he does not further injure himself after his breakdown in the Belmont.

That year's Triple Crown was my introduction to TB racing. I got it all from the get go: the glory and the agony.(It's a miracle I stuck around!)

I was distraught when he was sent to Japan...but I think the Lewises promised to bring him back if and when he is no longer used as a stallion in that country. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that promise is fulfilled.

Charismatic was truly beautiful and a very intelligent horse for accepting Chris Antley's help.

Thank you for letting me see what a beautiful stallion he grew up to be. He isn't the only horse I fell in love with, but he was the first...and you know what they say about first love...

16 Jun 2009 8:02 PM

I think Terlingua looked a LOT like her sire!  Didn't they have a male playing the role of Ruffian in a scene or two from that movie?

16 Jun 2009 8:03 PM

I saw Secretariat break his maiden, his 2 yr stakes win over Linda's Chief, and of course all three of his triple crown victories. Mrs Chenery will ensure that this will be a first rate movie!

16 Jun 2009 8:04 PM

Now don't get me wrong, Secretariat was an INCREDIBLE racehorse and one we will never see the likes of again. BUT, why don't they make a movie of Man o' War? In my opinion, Man o' War was the better horse and he's been a legend for longer- I think he deserves to be recognized in a movie as much as, if not more than, Secretariat. Once again, I'm not discrediting Secretariat, I just think a little more attention should be paid to the horse who made the number one spot on the Bloodhorse's Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century list.

16 Jun 2009 8:16 PM
For Big Red

ZOOKEEPER: You're welcome re the link to Charismatic's stallion page. :)

The only problem with promises like that of the Lewises bringing Charismatic home when he's no longer useful as a stallion is that the folks have to outlive the horse. Sadly, Mr. Lewis passed away on February 17, 2006. I don't know how Mrs. Lewis is doing, but perhaps Steve can tell us.

Chris Antley is a hero of mine for what he did to save Charismatic's life. It's so tragic that Chris couldn't save himself from his own demons, and he passed away at far too young an age. Great jockey though. I wish he could have known how much he was admired. :(

16 Jun 2009 8:25 PM

Steve they need to consult you on this movie.  Corinthian and Henny Hughes look the part, Curlin has too much white on his face. I love Diane Lane's acting but I don't see her in this movie at all, a taller more athletic type like Bo Derek, Cybill Shepherd (Yellow Rose), or a Zara Phillips equestrian type, blonde like Penny.

I'm sure they know best.  Walter Brennan did another movie of this genre called "Home In Indiana" about harness racing, worth watching.  Kids plot a secret breeding with "Chief" and Brennan is surprised with the foal to rekindle his love of racing.  For all you ladies who want to see the aforementioned hats, they were done by premier Kentucky based hat designer, Polly Singer and you can find them on her website on the hat chat blog.  Happy movie casting everyone!!!!!

16 Jun 2009 8:44 PM

For Big Red,

Mrs. Lewis seems to be doing well. I see her (from afar) at Santa Anita every once in a while. But, she is elderly. Their son has taken over Mr. Lewis' role in helping to manage their breeding and racing operation. I'm hoping that he steps up to the plate when the time comes.

I share your feelings about Chris Antley. Very sad...

16 Jun 2009 9:09 PM

I thought Seabiscuit, with all its

flaws, and it had many, was still a

great movie. What bothered me the

most was the Underdog thing.

Seabiscuit was no underdog. Under

ACHIEVER early on in life, but no

underdog. Grandson of Freakin

Man O' War ?! Thats no underdog. He

just needed to be in the right hands.

The other thing that really

bothered me was they never mentioned how the more he won the

higher weights he had to carry

against his competition. IMO it

only added to his Greatness. I

have been waiting for this movie

to come out for 35 years. They

just need to tell the story and

not get in the way of it.

I can't watch the 73 Belmont and

not get teary-eyed to this Day. He's the Greatest Race Horse who

ever lived. An equine "The Natural". A Mystical/Mythical being.

16 Jun 2009 9:22 PM

For Big Red:

Thank you for providing the stride angle link. I found the article an interesting read.    

16 Jun 2009 9:25 PM
Paula Higgins

O.k. Steve, Meryl Streep maybe, but Diane Keaton for goodness sakes playing Penny Chenery???????????????? I don't think so. Diane Lane is a solid actress and a beauty to boot, but as Penny Chenery? Don't get that either. We shall see if she has the acting chops to pull it off.

The most important thing about ANY horse movie is making it about the HORSE. One of my most favorite movie reviews of all time included this line: "The only thing missing from the movie Seabiscuit was Seabiscuit." That said it all IMO. it was about everyone and everything, including the Depression. Seabiscuit was background scenery.

Although Penny Chenery has one of the most interesting stories in the history of horse racing, and she is one incredible woman, I really hope they highlight the horse part of the story. Call me crazy but I think it should be about the horse.

The move DREAMER wasn't that bad Steve. It was a Disney movie geared to a younger audience. Kurt Russell never gives a bad performance no matter what he is in.

16 Jun 2009 9:25 PM

OK, don't beat me down here, but the right appendix quarter horse could play Secretariat. Many have the head you'll need, and certainly you can get the hindquarters and the chest you'll need.

But seriously, what horse will have that presence? I visited Secretariat at Claiborne, and just had the whole "I am King and you are my adoring minions" thing down pat.

16 Jun 2009 9:39 PM
Thomas Conway

1)Include his last race in Toronto in the pouring rain (where he kicked ass) and had alot of Canadian hippies on their feet!!!!!!!!!

2)Make for damn sure you show the 2:24 clocking.......and show it with a Pink Floyd song playing in the background!

3)Show some injured Vietnam Vets watching the race..........master the time frame of 1973!

16 Jun 2009 9:49 PM
Thomas Conway

Please don't forget about Ron Turcotte...................................He actually had to stay on that horse! And it's OK to focus on his later injury. Even just for a minute.!

16 Jun 2009 9:56 PM
Matthew W

Terlingua, trained by recent quarter horse crossover D Wayne Secretariat out of Crimson Saint, which was the fastest thoroughbred I ever saw...

16 Jun 2009 9:57 PM
Matthew W

Tiznowbaby your short post just made my night...cuz I never got to see him in person and I just now a little bit did....

16 Jun 2009 10:01 PM
saratoga kid

I had the sad pleasure as the chef at the old firehouse in saratoga to cook the dinner on sunday for mrs tweedy and lucien and ron and the rest of their party after the chiefs horse onion beat big was like a funeral at the table and you could of heard a pin drop. hope they do not use that scene in the movie.big red lives on always.

16 Jun 2009 10:03 PM
Thomas Conway

Background music for the "time". This is very important! Play "Band on the Run" during the Belmont post parade and the race itself!!!

All younger people need to understand "1973"...and the older people will love it!................Oliver Stone style!!!!!!! Music for the time. Paul McCartney .......Baby!

16 Jun 2009 10:11 PM
For Big Red

RACEHORSE08: That list was a travesty in my opinion. The two Big Reds should have been co-number one, with Citation second behind them. That would have been the honest and fair thing to do. Making Secretariat second despite all of his records and all he did for the sport is just wrong.

If the Triple Crown races are this nation's greatest races, then how the heck could anyone put the horse who owns the records for two of them second to any other horse? It's been 36 years and counting, and no horse has yet bested those Derby and Belmont records. Watch this excellent video and tell me how you separate them:

They raced in different eras. Neither raced at four. Secretariat had faster times and raced against better competition. Man o' War carried tons of weight and ran on tracks that weren't as well maintained. Secretariat ran on both dirt and turf, and set records on both surfaces. Man o' War ran at a time when racing was one of the elite sports in the country and received lots of daily press. Secretariat raced at a time when racing was losing audience and was no longer among the elite national sports. Both had an enormous impact on the American public, but one can argue that Secretariat's impact was greater due to the diminished importance of racing in his (and our) era.

Man o' War had a better record as a sire during his lifetime but, with the exception of the line that comes down through War Relic, has not had a widespread impact on the breed. Although a successful sire and leading broodmare sire, Secretariat's impact on the breed appears headed toward a much more widespread and lasting legacy through his daughters, grandsons and granddaughters.

So how do you separate these two legendary horses? I can't. To me, it's almost as though Secretariat was the reincarnation of Man o' War.

16 Jun 2009 10:12 PM
For Big Red

ZOOKEEPER, thanks for the info about Mrs. Lewis. She and her husband were always so gracious, and genuine philanthropists, too.

SOMETHINGROYAL: You're welcome re that link about the stride angle. Secretariat's stride was just amazing. :)

16 Jun 2009 10:19 PM

I have been waiting so long for some mention of the movie--thought that it might have gone the way of some things (GM ditching Pontiac ring a bell?) due to the recession.  Glad to hear that it is still on and have one little question-- do you know of any possible date for when the movie will be in theaters??? figured I should try, LOL ;)

As for Charismatic, I love that he is finally getting some notice, even if it is only as a possible movie horse.  I have been a big fan of his since he won the Derby.  I was sad when he hurt himself in the Belmont--in fact, I had the article from a local paper in my dresser for years.  I was happy when I saw a photo of his first foal-- a little bay filly, if I am correct, born at Lane's End in Feb.  And I was angry that he was sent off to Japan-- I know, thanks to the legacy of Ferdinand, that Charismatic will one day come back to the States and maybe one day I will be able to pet the nose of my favourite racehorse (besides his grammpa Secretariat, of course).

I would love to see him at least get some spotlight if he were to used to portray Big Red but he's a stud--I'm sure that just that issue right there has nixed that idea altogether.  And the fact he would need to be shipped half way around the world....*sigh* if wishes were horses, eh?

And I agree, Curlin looks nothing like Secretariat.  He's an amazing looking horse and I think he's one of the best conformed (and I'm not professional, so I don't think this comment has much weight) Thoroughbred that I have seen in recent times.  Only other one I would think is Silver Charm and he's sharing green space in Japan with Charismatic.

16 Jun 2009 10:19 PM
Thomas Conway

This comment absolutely must be heard in its 6-second entirety.............." He's a tremendous machine"

Show these I-pod people what a tremendous machine is!!!!!!!!!!

16 Jun 2009 10:23 PM


16 Jun 2009 10:41 PM

Of all of Secretariat's sons, General Assembly probably looked the most like him.  At least he had the same beautiful chestnut coat.  I only saw Secretariat in person once and that was on the Sunday prior to the Preakness.  The Bloodhorse was at Pimlico to measure his stride during a workout.  I believe it was over 30 feet!  I will never forget that beautiful horse with a chestnut coat like gleaming copper.  I stood by the rail as he returned from the work.  Turcotte had the Meadow Stable silks on for the work which I found quite unusual.  Definitely, the most beautiful horse I have seen. Unforgettable.

16 Jun 2009 10:50 PM
Karen in Texas

I agree that Charismatic looks more like Secretariat than Curlin does. Both Tinner's Way and Academy Award look like their sire, Secretariat, as well. Academy Award stood at Claiborne for years; where is he now?        

16 Jun 2009 10:54 PM

Racehorse08, I agree with you about Man O' War but I guess its been too long ago.  I am still skeptical that Disney can even pull this off without being  unrealistic and disneyish.  To many times I have been disappointed by horse films.  Seabiscut was about the best for recreating racing scenes to bad they ruined it with the historical inaccuracy. Dreamer was just a kids movie and way disneyish by far. The Ruffian movie was so completely awful that I didn't even watch the whole thing.  I remember watching Ruffian when I was a kid and saw her breakdown and  maybe its about time they make a movie that has a happy ending. Until I see it I won't believe they can do it.

16 Jun 2009 10:55 PM

As a postscript to my first entry, I realize who Sham's connections were and that they were from New York, but the fact that Sham was the best 3yr old in California that spring made me wonder how he was embraced by Californians?  Was he simply regarded as an east coast interloper or did you adopt him as one of your own?  I'd like to hear from some of you folks in California who were around then.

16 Jun 2009 10:55 PM
Paula Higgins

Racehorse08, I agree that a movie about Man O' War is long overdue. The problem is that Man O' War is ancient history to the general public, if they remember him at all. The bottom line is that while they want to make a good movie, it's all about making money.

Man O' War was the most amazing horse for many reasons, but you will have an argument on your hands about who was the better horse. When they voted for the greatest horse of all time, I read somewhere that Man O'War came out on top because of how the votes were cast. Maybe someone else knows more about that story.

For me, they are both equal. I could never pick between the two. They were both magnificent. When you look at pictures of Man O' War and Secretariat, you know you are looking at greatness that is indefinable.

16 Jun 2009 11:25 PM

Heck, I still haven't gotten over Mr. Ed going off the air.

Hopefully the movie will be as great as Big Red himself. With all of the technology Hollywood has why not just use the real footage from Reds races only specially enhanced. Obviously another horse would have to be used for all of the non-racing scenes. Lets hope Disney gets this one right...........

16 Jun 2009 11:34 PM

Just wanted to pass on info on a new Secretariat from Breyers.  There was an article on Breyers in Injection Molding Magazine in May this year titled "From race time to cycle time".  Here is a link:  It mentions the new Secretariat model & there is a picture of the old & the new models.  The new one is a huge improvement. We did email the company & they confirmed that the new model should be out some time this summer.  Keep checking their website.  The article itself is interesting, explaining the history of the company & how the horses are made.

17 Jun 2009 12:01 AM
Matthew W

Sham/Linda's Chief were East Coast all the way! Out West we embraced a couple of Cal Breds Ancient Title and Out Of The East, and in the summer Amen II on the no, to answer the question, Sham was never considered the "West Coast Horse" to challenge Big Red.....

17 Jun 2009 12:29 AM
Matthew W

Bill I think back then the only East/West stable was Laz Barerra's...was Bold Forbes and Affirmed West or East??? Is Frankel East or West? Both, I say, but the snowbird stables that go to Florida/Santa Anita like Pancho Martin/Sham---they were considered East Coast all the way by the Westerners.....

17 Jun 2009 12:44 AM

Wow, I'm just reading this after 90 comments and I have so many things I want to reply to my head is spinning!

1- Yay for the movie! I hope they do him justice. I had heard about something going on a few years ago and then nothing til now.

2- I don't think Curlin looks like Secretariat beyond being chestnut.

3-Greg J, Mel Gibson directed "Braveheart"(he won the Oscar). Randall Wallace directed "The Man in the Iron Mask" and "We Were Soldiers". :)

4- The "dramatic" liscense they took with "Seabiscuit" made it LESS dramatic(or sensational or whatever one would assume they were going for). I liked it as a movie, but not as any kind of documentary.

5- The movie about the zebra was awful. And I was looking forward to it. It sounded so cute. :(

6- "Dreamer" had one really good scene when the little girl decides to ride the racehorse (I think they were running away from home) and the horse takes off with her, the dad chases them in a truck and they focus on the speedometer. I really liked that scene and I often point out to friends when we are driving at racehorse speed. I encourage you all to think about it the next time you're doing about 40mph, this is how fast horses can run.

7- I would love to see a Man O'War movie. I would also love to see amovie about Citation, or about Calumet farm (that would have to be a mini series, lol).

8- Steve Haskin...You are a Genius!!! They SHOULD make it animated! That would be PERFECT!

9- I was 3 in 1973 so I never saw Secretariat live but of course I have seen all of his races(over and over, who could get tired of watching him?). I bought copies of the CBS telecasts of his TC races and when I watched the Belmont for the first time I was so blown away by the fact that they didn't know what was coming, every other time I had watched the race it was prefaced by people who knew(and of course I knew) but watching the pre-race with the commentator going from stall to stall and talking to all those people who had NO IDEA what was about to happen, it was like being there( except I still knew what was going to happen,lol). It was just such a different perspective. I really hope they can convey the magnitude of those moments, it was like Smarty's Belmont on steroids.

10- As for best horse ever? Best looking goes to Secretariat hands down. Man O'War being exceptionally handsome himself is a close second but S's face is so beautiful that he wins for me. But if someone put a gun to my head and said "who was the best?", I would get shot(or the gunman would eventually fall asleep while I debated their merits and then I could get away, lol), because I couldn't ever decide between the two Big Reds and Citation.

17 Jun 2009 1:57 AM
Lady Ruffian

Thomas Conway  16 Jun 2009 10:11 PM

Regarding your post: I hope they do use 'band on the run'!!! then also mixed into the movie somewhere either springsteen's 'born to run' or jackson browne's 'running on empty' The music to this movie is going to be incredible.

in the 70's the cars had muscle, the horses had heart & the music had soul! ... wish I could have experienced it all in person... horray for youtube.

do you guys think they will use the actual footage from Big Red's Belmont or try to recreate it? I think they can't do better then what actually happened...

17 Jun 2009 4:46 AM


Thanks for the link to the new Breyer model of Secretariat.  By jiminy, it is the very same one that Smarty Jones has!  The new Secretariat model has the more burnished copper look and it has three full white stockings.  Thanks for sharing that info with us!

17 Jun 2009 5:33 AM

I agree with Big Red. Charismatic looks just like his grandpa down to the four white socks. He would have been the perfect horse to play Secretariat and I have said that ever since I started hearing there would be a movie in 2003. Sadly, though, it can not be. I think Summer Bird, Secretariat's great great grandson, looks more like Secretariat than Curlin, but once again there is that racing thing that gets in the way for him. Let's just say, I am glad I am not doing the casting, because I have always said, there never was, and there will never be another Secretariat. Try as they might they will never find a horse to match him.  He was a once in a forever horse, and I do love all those beautiful thoroughbreds, but he was PERFECT.

17 Jun 2009 6:56 AM

I'm positive that there's a Crabbet bred Arabian out there that could carry the "presence" of Secretariat in a credible way and physically resemble him for the "stable" or "pasture" shots...the racing scenes? It would be so much better if they could computer enhance the actual races, with the actual much better...

Or, let's see, Charismatic is only 13...;-)

For Big Red, thanks for the link, but now I have a huge lump in my throat looking at all our great horses "over there"...some I didn't even realize, like Sinister Minister, Roses In May...

17 Jun 2009 7:31 AM

Regarding the Blood Horse 100, according to a prominent turf writer, there was one voter who placed Secretariat way down on the list to skew the outcome. Number fourteen, I think.  

Secretariat got his due from Sports Century, though.

I have no idea who was better--Man O' War or Secretariat, but I can't imagine anything more impressive than Secretariat's Belmont.  On that day, he certainly was the greatest.      

17 Jun 2009 7:42 AM
rolo from ky

OMG, anybody that bad mouths seabiscuit should have their head examined.  yea the movie had some stretching the truth moments etc but what a GREAT MOVIE.

lord almighty if you didnt like the movie you dont have a pulse.

there be some non truth things in the big RED MOVIE too,  they have to sugar coat something.  MARK IT DOWN.

but noo  it the QUEEN OF RACIN  so there be no bad mouthing her or the

17 Jun 2009 7:57 AM

How many Secretariat fans kept the Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated issues that Big Red is on? I've managed to hold onto to all three magazines thinking that someday they would be collector items.

17 Jun 2009 8:22 AM

Best horse movie Seabiscuit and Let It Ride (so hilarious) yes Curlin is the one that I think resembles Secretariat but I am sure there are horses out there that look like him. I doubt if Curlin could get away from his job

17 Jun 2009 8:59 AM

Pat, thanks for the link to the info on plastics, mold-making etc.  I'll be looking forward to seeing Breyer release a new version of Secretariat, but the mold pictured in the article was introduced a few years ago as Smarty Jones, so the mold itself is not a new sculpture.  The original mold was sculpted by Chris Hess and the newer, Smarty Jones mold, was sculpted by Susan Carlton Sifton and is a vast improvement over the old one.  If you're not a fan of the old Secretariat mold, you'll not like the version they created of Man O War either - it's an awful representation of Big Red #1 as well, but back in the day when these were first produced, I guess they had to make do with what they had.  At least their attempts to recreate the likenesses of these great horses for children and collectors, they are perhaps introducing new people to the accomplishments of the Thoroughbred and doesn't racing need all the help it can get?

17 Jun 2009 9:20 AM
Barbara W

For Big Red,

We just got back from Kentucky a couple of weeks ago, where we visited Old Friends. Michael Blowen told us that their relations with Japan are much better now. I'll e-mail them to make sure they are keeping track of Charismatic.


I agree with you about the appendix quarter horses. We have one descended from Man O' War. And yes, we saw Tiznow also while we were up there. He is one gorgeous horse--in fact, the most gorgeous one I saw in 4 farms!!!

17 Jun 2009 9:21 AM

Thanks, Matthew W, for the historical perspective on Sham.  It's been a long time since those great horses graced the American racing scene and I couldn't remember whether there was a regional rivalry in that year's TC.  Your mention of Ancient Title sure brings back memories.  What a great gelding [?] and I do remember Don Pierce being his associaiated with him.  I know that he had a lot of fans.  Extremely honest, versatile horse. Thanks.

17 Jun 2009 9:27 AM

I hope they decide to rescue Charismatic from the Japanese to play the role, my question would he be sound enough to do the running scenes, he sure could do standing and walking scenes though and close ups, curlin is a no-go, why would you take something of value to do filming.  As for the whole idea of making the movie, it's a great idea and I can't wait!  It is a shame that they butched up the story of Ruffian so badly, she didn't deserve that!  It would also be nice to see a remake(a well done one) of the great Black Gold. I still cried everytime I hear the phrase "he finished the race on three legs and a heart"

It such a shame that most horse racing movies lose their story to Hollywood when they are made, Pharlap being the exception to that, they never left the main story line about the horse!

17 Jun 2009 9:30 AM
Soldier Course

Best review I ever heard of the movie "Seabiscuit" came from Hank Goldberg: "needed more Clippity in its Clop".

17 Jun 2009 9:31 AM

Hmm, let's see... big screen movie about Big Red, and the always  beautiful Diane Lane... sounds like a winner to me...

17 Jun 2009 9:42 AM
Abigail from Canada

Penny Tweedy is quoted in Ray Woolf's "Secretariat" as saying that Terlingua, at the time, most reminded her of Secretariat.....  I think it would be great if they could rescue a Thoroughbred to play Secretariat, as was the case for the Husky lead (Maia) in Eight Below. There have been several horses listed on who reminded me of Secretariat as much as did Charismatic.

Also: Will Eddie Sweat be prominent in the cast? If not, that would be a huge oversight. As I said earlier, he was Secretariat's best friend. People might want to give Scanlon's "The Horse That God Built" a read. It's beautifully written & focuses on Secretariat and Eddie.

17 Jun 2009 9:54 AM

Michael Blowen is right as far as our relationship with Japan is co ncerned. I wrote Three Chimneys last year because I was concerned that I had not seen any recent pictures of Silver Charm but they did send us one in October '08.  Three Chimneys also told me that there was a clause when they sent Silver Charm to Japan that when he breeding years were over that we had the right to bring him back to the states.  Don't want him to go the way of Ferdinand.  Think any good stud going there has a buy back clause in their contracts, at least one good thing came out of his death.

17 Jun 2009 9:57 AM
Gene viti

"Maybe they need a turf writer (ahem) to ask her before the Kentucky Derby: "So, Penny, do have any concerns about a Bold Ruler getting a mile and a quarter?" I don't mind looking like an idiot. I've asked dumber questions than that."

I hear Bill Nack is available!  

17 Jun 2009 10:33 AM
john oberrzut

"A Walk on the Moon" with a nude Diane Lane at "Woodstock" .....PHEW!!!   Somehow, that just won't translate into Penny Tweedy for me.   I was in the grandstand on Preakness Day of 1973 and at Pimlico, the grandstand view of the start of the first turn is blocked by the clubhouse.  When they went by me coming down the stretch the first time, Secretariat was last.  When I next saw them rounding the top of the first turn, he was first....I'll never forget it - the greatest Preakness I didn't see!!!  Also, was at Belmont for the coronation...I literally remember the grandstand vibrating when he was coming home.  Those are the kinds of things that this movie should show.  Eddie Maple, who rode the horse just once in his last race, had some great comments about the experience....great viewpoint from someone who tries something just once.  Can't wait for this trip in the time machine!!

17 Jun 2009 10:47 AM
Soldier Course

Abigail from Canada:

Your idea about using a rescued Thoroughbred to play Secretariat is inspired!

Surely the major rescue/retired horse organizations working together could find the perfect "star". The Secretariat Center at the Kentucky Horse Park comes to mind, and there are so many others.

The publicity that these organizations and their mission would get from this opportunity would be invaluable. A charitable donation commitment from Disney would be likely.

17 Jun 2009 10:57 AM
big red lives on

CAN'T wait for this one!!! are there any plans for an Afleet Alex movie? It was such a great story and the lemonade stand was very touching. He too was a great horse who helped the industry gain positive press.

17 Jun 2009 11:03 AM

do you know when the movie is going to be out? id like to know who they are going to get to play secteriate as for you rcoment about the ruffian i personally liked the movie i though that they portrayed the owners to be jerks adn maybe they were. they made it sound like ruffian had a barbaro type moment and that the owners cared more about money than the horse, speaking about barbaro i wonder when they are thinking of coming out with a movie about him i know that they just came out with a book and ill probably read that, but to say that ruffian was mostly inaccurate im not sure about that the only part i saw that as inaccurate when the filmed most her races at belmont i know she didnt run all her races at belmont but that was about it and if they are going to come out with the movie about secratariate then they might as well come out with one about primary colors she was a fillie who won the kentucky dirby

17 Jun 2009 11:15 AM
Ted from LA

john oberrzut,

Tell me more about this "A Walk on the Moon."

17 Jun 2009 11:22 AM
John Oberzut

111 comments in less than 24 hours - on a post buried inside the "Bloodhorse" website. So just how popular is this horse!!!

17 Jun 2009 11:24 AM

This is incredibly exciting! I can't wait for the movie, as one that never lived it. I hope it makes me appreciate him more.

Now all we need is a movie about Man O' War..

17 Jun 2009 12:01 PM

Having seen all of Secretariat's races and also having visted him twice at Clairborne, I can only hope they find a horse close enough to his beauty. His lovely head, eye "like an eagle" and strong hind quarters. Can't wait to see this movie. Diane Lane is a great actress. Maybe it's me and I let my love for Ruffian overtake me, but I didn't think the movie was So bad and it did remind me of her.

17 Jun 2009 12:01 PM

If the horse doesn't resemble Secretariat the movie is not going to work for the people who were around when he was racing. He looked different than the other horses and I have never seen any other race horse physically put together the way he was.  This horse was so popular I remember the T.V. Guide would have a full page advertisement announcing when Secretariat was going to run, the channel, date and time. When he won the Belmont Stakes, everyone on my street was talking about it that afternoon and the next morning.  That was the news of the day back then. This animal just mezmorized the nation.

17 Jun 2009 12:02 PM

Barbara W.,

Thank you for the update on Tiznow! He's all horse.

17 Jun 2009 12:02 PM
Karen in Texas

After the Ferdinand tragedy/debacle, American owners obviously wanted to prevent this from happening to other stallions sent overseas. There were articles and interviews with the Lewis family done at the time of the sales of both Charismatic and Silver Charm (in newspapers and in the BH, I believe) stating that the contracts included sort of a right-of-first-refusal buy back clause so that these horses could be returned to the United States when their stud careers ended in Japan. Even if Beverly Lewis is not alive at that time, the wishes and intent of the contracts probably become part of the estate. Knowing the business acumen of the Lewis family, there is most likely a provision made for those horses to be returned in any combination of eventual circumstances.

17 Jun 2009 12:08 PM

If this movie is done right it might give horse racing a shot in the arm to help revive itself. Secretariat was a brilliant race horse, and when he won the Triple Crown in 1973 it transformed the industry into the modern era. It had been some 25 years since we had a Triple Crown winner. Was he the best ever, it will always be just a matter of opinion, an arguement. He surely ran 2 of the best races of all time. The Belmont Stakes and the Woodward Stakes. But to say he was better then Man O' War, or Citatio, or Spectacular Bid or Dr. Fager or Seattle Slew or Count Fllet or Native Dancer is just folks opinions. Why does it always have to come down to who is better, let us just enjoy these great heroes who stood tall in each of their own era. Like in pretty much all sports anybody can beat anyone else in any given day.

Thanks Steve for another vivid walk down memory lane. Your writing continues to sparkle and stir emotion in all of us.

Thank you...............  

17 Jun 2009 12:11 PM
Fan of the Real Big Red

I will look forward to the movie, however I was never a big Secretariat fan, he was my "Big Lobster".  (And some may remember that term) I still have the original newspaper the Washington Post or the Star that has Onion on the front page, above the fold, winning the Whitney!  Man O'War will always be the Champ!  Would love a movie about him, and I love his roman nose.  Arabs have the chisled heads, racehorses have heads that are determined and forceful.  There is a place for pretty and a place for power. And as I remember wasn't  Secretariat "gooserumped"?  But as I have aged I must agree he was good......a good and acurate movie would be nice.  

17 Jun 2009 12:12 PM

I have always heard that it was Riva Ridge who saved the farm and allowed Secretariat to race for Meadow Stable.  If not for Riva's success at two and three, Secretariat would have been sold along with all the other Meadow Stable horses.  Therefore, as a diehard Riva Ridge fan, I hope he gets a BIG part in the movie.  :)

17 Jun 2009 12:16 PM
Soldier Course

Watching "Seabiscuit", I was jolted back in my seat when War Admiral was referred to as a "monster" at 18 hands. From that moment on, I lost interest.

War Admiral's exquisite smallness could have played to such an advantage in the movie. Gaze at the photograph of this "glittering thing" facing Chapter 10 of Laura Hillenbrand's book.  

I saw War Admiral at his farm about five years before he died, during my first trip to Lexington. I was very young so I don't remember much. We were impromptu visitors to the farm, but they were so gracious. Someone there helped me pick bluegrass to take back to school for telling-time.    

17 Jun 2009 12:26 PM

Saratoga kid:

Alan Jerkens and his ordinary-looking "Onion" buried the giant that day...I think it would be an interesting story. It doesn't take anything from Secretariat's amazing record.

I'd LOVE a Man O'War movie; to me he was the first superhorse. Beaten once. By UPSET. The solid conformation, the unique connections. He WAS "da mostest horse".

17 Jun 2009 12:28 PM

Someone mentioned Tinner's Way - I saw him at Vinery when he stood there and his head was so much like his sire's head in looks, it was amazing.  He would be a good choice if he is still alive.  I don't know what happened to him.  

17 Jun 2009 12:30 PM

DEACON,  Secretariat didn't win the Woodward,  maybe you're thinking of the 1973 Marlboro Cup when he ran 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park in 1:45. Remember,  Riva Ridge finished second that day. That was the first and ONLY time he faced his stablemate.

17 Jun 2009 12:30 PM

I am so excited for this movie, especially with the announcement of Diane Lane cast as Penny.  Last year, the Secretariat Foundation hosted the Bourbon County Secretariat Festival in Paris, KY - among the activities was a Big Red look-alike contest that was judged by Penny, Jim Gaffney, Charlie Davis, and former CLaiborne Farm stallion manager JOhn Sosby.  The winner was this horse:

This horse, a 4yo named Trolley Boy, had the "look" - the color, conformation and the swagger of Secretariat.  I hope the producers really consider this horse for the role.  Many of the horses entered that day could also stand in for Big Red, and all of them were 100% TB.  

I also think they should use the real TC race footage.  Can you imagine just how amazing 31 lengths would look in widescreen?

17 Jun 2009 12:35 PM


Blood Horse magazine had a nice book in it's Top 100 Thoroughbreds of the 20th Century -- Man of War ruled the first half and Secretariat the second half.

You have hit the nail on the head in writing that, for those who never saw (or were not even born) when Big Red reigned, the accuracy will not be important. However, for those of us who remember him, I just hope that they don't take too many liberties with the truth (as Hollywood has a tendency to do).

The highlight of my racing experience was that Belmont of 1973. It was amazing how people were jumping off their seats and high fiving one another and hard core racing fans had their eyes glazed over. Everyone knew that it was a once in a lifetime experience.

I'll be looking forward to the opening!

17 Jun 2009 12:46 PM
For Big Red

BARBARA W: Thanks for your willingness to help Old Friends keep track of Charismatic. There already has been too much tragedy associated with his life (breaking down in the Belmont and Chris' sad death). I hope, when the time comes, that his last years are gracefully spent where someone loves him.

Re Tiznow, I'm a huge fan of his. For those who may not know, he's a direct male line descendant of Man o' War.

17 Jun 2009 12:46 PM

Matt H.: 4 of her 10 races were run at Belmont, others were run at Saratoga and Aqueduct. And there were quite a bit of negotiations made regarding a disclaimer that the Ruffian movie had been fictionalized due to Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Vasquez not approving of the depictions made.

And I believe the filly you are referring to would be Winning Colors.

Hopefully Mrs. Chenery gets more say/approval in the story line, would hate to see yet another great racehorse story be butchered by Hollywood.

17 Jun 2009 12:48 PM
steve from st. louis

Eddie Arcaro said the prettiest horse he ever saw was Eight Thirty. He said Secretariat was next. Pretty is as pretty does.I think that moves Big Red up one notch.

17 Jun 2009 12:57 PM
sweet terchi

Looking forward to this movie! they will probably have to use several horses for different scenes 'cause it will be difficult to find just one for all. Unless of course they use one of his look alike daughters, but then they would have to use another for the hiney scenes or keep a sharp look out that the tail does not swish at a inopportune time!! :) But in this age of "cinematic able to create anything" I'm sure it will be ok. I agree with Ted in LA that all "useless" scenes be left out. Diane Lane is a good choice, she's been one of my favorite actresses since I seen her in a movie called Lady Beware. Although Laura Linney or Annabeth Gish? Hmm.. in any event I hope that PC really lays the law down so we can all enjoy a GREAT movie!!!

17 Jun 2009 12:58 PM
Karen in Texas

Steve---Where are Tinner's Way and Academy Award at this time? Do you know? Neither of them is in my latest Stallion Register (2007). Thanks.

17 Jun 2009 1:02 PM

After reading all of the comments on this movie, I am getting apprehensive.  

First, DREAMERS was a horrible movie.  If that was a Disney horse movie, we are all in for a big let-down.  Perhaps as Steve has expressed an animated movie would be more fitting, or a first-class documentary with actual footage of Secretariat.  I know these options won't happen, so I am not expecting too much.  

A documentary I won't soon forget is Lost in the Fog.

17 Jun 2009 1:26 PM
Dr. Fager

Re: Tinner's Way

He's standing in Texas for $2,000.  Here is a link to his stallion web page.  You Secretariat fans who saw him in person, check it out.  LUK if he looks like Big Red.

17 Jun 2009 1:26 PM
For Big Red

SKIPAWAY2000: That horse, Trolley Boy, does look a lot like Secretariat, but he lacks "IT." You know...that indefiniable something, that spark in the eye, the head carriage and body language that marks the truly great ones. Even so, Trolley Boy is a very good-looking horse. Do you know if he is a descendant of Secretariat?

Thanks for posting the link to that photo.

17 Jun 2009 1:26 PM

Karen, I believe Tinners Way is here with us in Texas (at Key Ranch in Salado).

17 Jun 2009 1:33 PM

Academy Award is at Win Row Farm in Lebanon, Ohio.

He's got at least six other sons still at stud, according to an on-line story on CBS sports.

17 Jun 2009 1:38 PM

Karen in Texas,

Here's a link to a recent article about Secretariat and his surviving sons that was posted at the DRF site (hope that's ok)on June 3, 2009:

"Secretariat Magic still casts spell" - Glenye Cain Oakford

It mentions Academy Award:

"Academy Award, now 23, stood for $1,500 in 2009. But his primary market, Thoroughbred mares bred commercially or to race, dropped when Ohio's racing industry hit hard times. So when a Thoroughbred breeder out West offered to buy him recently, the Rosells agreed. According to Amy Rosell, a deal with the unidentified breeder is pending, and she hopes it will give the Grade 1-winning stallion another chance to get racehorses."

And Tinner's Way:

"Another Grade 1 winner, Tinners Way, is faring better at Key Ranch in Salato, Tex., where he commands at $2,000 fee. The chestnut millionaire won consecutive Pacific Classics in 1994 and 1995, making him a fan favorite. His status as the last foal from Secretariat's final crop, foaled in 1990, adds some luster.

Two Secretariat and Tinners Way fans, Phil Leckinger and Jerry Hardin, brought the 19-year-old Juddmonte homebred to Texas in the first place."

17 Jun 2009 1:39 PM
Dr. Fager

Re: Academy Award

He was harder to find, but here is some info.  Apparently, the farm does NOT have a web page.

Academy Award

1986, Secretariat – Mine Only, by Mr. Prospector

Standing at: Win Row Farm

2009 fee: $1,500

First Year at Stud: 1992

Win Row Farm

1177 Cook Rd., Lebanon, OH 45036 USA

Phone: (513) 932-1114 Fax: (513) 932-4131 Email:

17 Jun 2009 1:39 PM
Steve Haskin

EasyGoerFan, you are correct about Riva Ridge actually saving the farm, and it will be interesting to see how they handle that part of it. I can see them taking a few liberties with that, because if they portray Riva Ridge as the horse who saved the farm, then a good portion of the movie's premise will be gone. I'm sure they can work it into the script to make it sound like it was both horses who helped save it. But if they ignore Riva, that's not good.

17 Jun 2009 1:48 PM
For Big Red

KAREN IN TEXAS: Tinner's Way is standing at Key Ranch in Texas. Here's a link to his stallion page:

Earlier this year, Academy Award was at a farm in Ohio called Win Row. He was for sale for about $6000. I don't know what happened to him, but there were people alerting Old Friends to try to rescue him.

If people want to inquire, the farm's is in Lebanon, Ohio. Academy Award is still listed as one of their stallions (, so he might still be at that farm.

STEVE, I have the address and phone number of Win Row Farm. Would it be OK if I posted them here in case anyone wants to inquire about Academy Award?

If I was the Sheik of Araby or something, and had all that oil money sloshing around, I'd fund an Old Friends type of operation in every racing state. I would employ people to keep an eye out for Thoroughbred stallions and mares who needed to be rescued. Sigh. Every breed of purebred dog has volunteers in most cities dedicated to rescuing them from pounds across the nation. Why can't the Thoroughbred industry get its act together like canine fanciers have?

17 Jun 2009 1:50 PM
Central Valley Dame

What wonderful news!  In 1973 I was a young teenager who only got to watch races on TV.  I yearned to go to a real racetrack so see races live (that didn't happen until 2004).  I couldn't believe my eyes when Secretariat won the Belmont and how much he devastated his competition!  From that point on I was lost in dreaming about horse racing and becoming more involved.  Now, there is HRTV and TVG to watch; a car and a husband who loves to spend time with me watching racing live and in person. What could be better?  A movie about one of the greatest equine athletes that's what!

I didn't read every entry so I don't know if this was already said but I think that a digitally created horse would be the only way to give the audience a feel for what Secretariat was really like.  In reality it would cost too much so I will dream about it and hope that maybe it will come true.

17 Jun 2009 2:00 PM

It should be interesting to see who'll play Ron Turcotte and Lucien Laurin.

17 Jun 2009 2:05 PM

I have been re-reading Lawrence Scanlan's "The Horse that God Built", thinking how the story of Eddie Sweat and Secretariat would make such a good movie, or at least TV movie. It sounds like this Disney project will center around how Penny managed to save the Meadow with Secretariat, so how much of the other players in the Big Red story will have a bigger role, I guess we will have to wait and see. I wonder which jockey they will tap to portray Ron Turcotte? Maybe Kent D. could take a few acting classes! Gary Stevens was good enough in "Seabiscuit"

One racing story that I think should to be portrayed is Go for Wand, with emphasis on the bond between the filly and her excerise rider, Rose Badgett.  

17 Jun 2009 2:13 PM
Steve Haskin

For Big Red, Isnt their address and phone number on the website you linked to?

17 Jun 2009 2:23 PM
Karen in Texas

Thanks, everyone, for information on Tinner's Way and Academy Award. Don't know how I missed knowing that Tinner's Way had been brought to Salado! Again, thanks!

17 Jun 2009 2:31 PM

Wasn't there supposed to be a John Henry movie released last year?  

Regarding the Ruffian movie, there is a nice tribute at the very end that is well worth DVR-ing.  It is all actual footage of her with a very beautifully moving theme song behind it.  It's odd to say my favorite part of the movie is the movie credits, but there you go.  

My heartfelt condolences to everyone associated with Sailor's Cap;  another one gone too soon.

17 Jun 2009 2:40 PM
Fire Slam

Curlin and Big Rad look almost like Twins!!

Link will take you to Curlin pic.

Best horse racing movie: LET IT RIDE! That movie is so me, and I laugh every time I see it.

17 Jun 2009 3:04 PM
For Big Red

STEVE: It's weird, but Win Row's contact info is not on that website. However, I noticed Dr. Fager posted the address and phone number, so I got my answer and hoped-for result that way. :)

17 Jun 2009 3:12 PM
Matthew W

Steve Riva Ridge probably wins the Triple Crown but for the Preakness track coming up very sloppy, he finished a non-threatening 4th to Bee Bee Bee but he won the Derby/Belmont by wide margins....he was sort of an "underdog" to his younger stablemate but he was a top horse! He came out West to (barely) defeat Bicker, Finalista, Quack in the Hol Derby under 129 lbs---Too bad we never got to see Big Red out West---I WAS at Hollywood Park to see Seattle Slew, and participated in the standing ovation he recieved AFTER his loss in The Swaps.....

17 Jun 2009 3:17 PM
Pam S.

Talking about this movie is really fun!  I have seen most of the other racing movies mentioned and agree with the assessments, but the Ruffian movie -- why exactly does everyone hate it so much?  I thought William Nack was highly respected.  I did have a general feeling that the movie could have been better, but no really specific criticisms.  Of course, I was not a fan when Ruffian was racing.

All these movies were meant to appeal to a general audience; a knowledgeable fan will probably only be happy with a documentary.  To whoever mentioned "Lost in the Fog," absolutely, it was great.  

I hated the movie "A Walk on the Moon,"  but I do like Diane Lane.  For those who are intrigued, how about the bathtub scene in "Unfaithful"?

Thomas Conway, you are right, the vibe of 1973 must be achieved in this film.  A great song from that spring that I think could be worked in is "Will It Go Round in Circles" by Billy Preston.  

17 Jun 2009 3:21 PM
For Big Red

STEVE: By the way (just thought to mention it), Win Row also stands a stallion named Canvas, who is a grandson of Secretariat out of his daughter, Department. Canvas, a son of Mr. Prospector, is a very well-bred horse who won three races from 16 starts.

Win Row stands Big Atlantic, by Stormy Atlantic, a son of Storm Cat. They also stand a stallion named Sittinonacloud, by Storm Boot, another son of Storm Cat. Of the farm's six stallions, only one has no Secretariat blood in him. Interesting. More anecdotal evidence that Secretariat the movie has a very large built-in nationwide audience. If Disney does it right, it will be a big money-maker for them. I hope there will also be a lot of merchandising tie-ins, because I'd love some T-shirts and stuff. Nobody does merchandising better than Disney, although NASCAR is no slouch. :)

17 Jun 2009 3:26 PM

I hope this movie will at least be believable and accurate. I didn't know there was a movie about Sec in the works, so will be looking forward to seeing it when it hits the theaters. I have never seen a really accurate movie about racing, not even Seabiscuit, altho it came the closest. I agree with an earlier poster, tho, why the prostitute scene? Guess they just gotta show SOME sexual suggestion. The entire first hour of the movie is a choppy, disjointed piece of BLAH and I laughed when they said War Admiral was a monster, 18 hands. I also hated the way they portrayed Sam Riddle as an extremely haughty and unlikeable character. He was a bit snotty, yeah, but come on. He owned MAN O' WAR. Gary Stevens was a high point, but the character played by William H. Macy was just plain stupid.

And the Ruffian movie? egads, what a disappointment. Very little accuracy, too much sappiness--she was a RACEHORSE, not a pet. It was probably not real easy to find a big black female horse, but whoever picked the horses to portray Ruffian needed to be fired. She was not, as shown in a lot of scenes, a 15.2 hand GELDING.

Thanks to those who mentioned some other stupid "racing" movies. I would never waste time or money on crap like "Racing Stripes" or "Dreamer." While on the subject of racing movies and race scenes, can't forget "The Black Stallion." How many turns did it show in the race scene in that movie? Horses go around the track 3 times?

That said, please oh please, let the Secretariat movie finally be a an accurate portrayal of history! Here again, they're going to have trouble finding any horse resembling him. HOpe they don't come up with a little skinny pencil-necked horse that has to have a lot of white painted on him. And that they give an accurate picture of the courageous and accomplished Sham, not show him and Pancho Martin in a derogatory light.

17 Jun 2009 3:30 PM

Yes Seabiscuit DID get nominated for Best Picture, but had Ross just stuck to the facts and told the damn story, it would have beaten LOTR III out and took the Oscar home. With all the knocking of it, its still a damn good movie. The last 10 minutes of it make me cry every time I see it. Old Biscuit, past it. Age 7, trying to come back from

horrific injury to win the one race that had eluded him in his career. I hope the Guy who did the music for Rudy and Hoosiers, Jerry Goldsmith ? does the score. If not

John Williams himself ! :) Secretariat deserves it !!

17 Jun 2009 3:43 PM

For Big Red: Yes, the horse that won the look alike contest is related to Secretariat: he is a grandson of Gone West, though the exact pedigree is not in front of me at the moment.  

17 Jun 2009 3:57 PM

Wow. This will be a GREAT movie. DIANE LANE is an awesome actress so attractive and talented. This will be a HUGE boxoffice hit and may even bag some Oscars!

17 Jun 2009 3:57 PM
Abigail from Canada

In keeping with my previous rants about using a rescued thoroughbred, please go to this address to learn about Rainaway, Secretariat's great-grandson, whose story is very very compelling. Rainaway is my entry into the who-plays-young-Secretariat role.

17 Jun 2009 4:14 PM

i just saw a horse named freaky..big red quaterhorse..set two track records this year.too much white but the right color red and the pretty head with a nice big butt.

17 Jun 2009 4:28 PM

For Big Red:

I donate prints of my artwork to  silent auctions to help  Thoroughbred rescue farms. I can't put into words how I feel knowing I am helping out with these beautiful animals. They give so much when they go to the track for our enjoyment.

17 Jun 2009 4:39 PM

CHARISMATIC is in Japan now...lets hope we can get him back before he ends us like FERDINAND...I love this horse charismatic but he wont be back anytime soon I am afraid....

17 Jun 2009 4:50 PM

I enjoyed the Seabiscuit movie! Yeah it had some 'issues' here, but it was created to be a general feel good movie - not a "horse" movie.. They wanted to get the nonracing fans into it, knowing the racing fans would enjoy it regardless. (Loved the great depression angle in it by the way..)

As far as the Secretariat movie, DISNEY would not have been my first choice, but hopefully they won't mess it up. And, I like the idea of them using the real footage of races.  

17 Jun 2009 5:05 PM

I can't wait for this to be made and released. I so looked forward to "Seabiscuit" and for the most part wasn't disappointed. My only real problem with "Seabiscuit" was the last race, having him come from 100 lengths back. Why? The chart of the race had him sitting second until the top of the stretch before taking the lead and holding on. What would have been wrong with that?

17 Jun 2009 5:29 PM

I would definitely like to see a good movie about Big Red, but who will play Will Harbut?  Winning by 100 lengths should not be a problem either--only problem is the drunken jockey who kept him in a blind switch for most of the Sanford Memorial Stakes.  

Oh, and Riva saved the farm.

17 Jun 2009 7:04 PM

In 2003 I visited Academy Award at Win Row with a friend.  I got several pictures of him the guy was cleaning his stall and he took the rake in his mouth and started to move it around.  I remember that in Bill Nack's book he mentioned that Secretariat did the same thing.  My friend and I decided that Academy Award had inherited his "rake" gene!!  He was a clown thats for sure

17 Jun 2009 7:04 PM

I just finished re-reading Bill Nack's "Secretariat". I wasn't alive when Secretariat raced, but he was the horse, along with Easy Goer, that got me into the sport in 1989. Seeing clips of Secretariat's races, with the possibility Easy Goer could be the next "Great Big Red", instantly inspired me to become a fan, and it wasnt long before I was buying American Racing Manuals as well as any and all racing videos, and asking my parents to take me to the track (I was 14). Living in Southern California, I was quickly able to see some really good horses, like Bayakoa, Goodbye Halo, Steinlen, Grand Canyon, Farma Way, Hawkster, Flying Continental, Quiet American, Ruhlmann, Opening Verse, Criminal Type, and Sunday Silence.

The irony of my entrance into horse racing is that while I lived in California, I was an Easy Goer fan. Why Easy Goer? Because I was hoping he would be as good as Secretariat, the first racehorse I ever saw(on tape of course), and the standard for all racehorses I would see.

While Easy Goer was a wondeful horse, he did not prove to be the next Secretariat. Nor, may I say, was he as good as Sunday Silence, who I was able to see twice as a 4 year old at Hollywood Park.

17 Jun 2009 7:10 PM

Bill Nack's "Secretariat" book quotes some of Andy Beyer's earliest figures, for the 73', 72', 71', 69', and 64' runnings of the Kentucky Derby.

1. Secretariat, 1973:  129 Beyer

2. Northern Dancer, 64',

116/117 Beyer

3. Majestic Prince, 69',  112 Beyer

The Beyers for Riva Ridge and CannoneroII were under 112.

As for more recent figurers:  

Swale- 117

Unbridled- 116

Monarchos- 116

Silver Charm- 115

War Emblem- 114

Go For Gin- 112

Grindstone- 112

I do not have Spend A Buck's fig.

So, at least according to Beyer figures, some of our recent Derby performances compare with the performances of Hall of Famers like Riva Ridge, Majestic Prince, and Northern Dancer. Of course, Secretariat is in another league. Secretariat was a horse that everyone agreed was great; those that love the beauty of horses, those basing racing performance on visual impressions, and the "fig guys" as well.

17 Jun 2009 7:25 PM
Barbara W

For Big Red and all those concerned about Charismatic,

I just heard back from Michael Blowen at Old Freinds. He says Charismatic is fine and that he is confident he will return to the U.S. after his breeding season.

To Tiznowbaby,

I'm glad to know you are in Salado. We're in Waco. Would love to meet you sometime.

17 Jun 2009 7:31 PM

I agree with many others on this blog about Seabiscuit. I definitely had some difficulty digesting the historical inaccuracies. However, as a piece of Hollywood and semi-fiction, I did think it was fairly enjoyable. And I know many people, less familiar with the true history of Seabiscuit, who absolutely loved it. Personally, I would take the Phar Lap movie over Seabiscuit, although not by a HUGE margin. I have not seen Racing Stripes or Dreamer, given that both were clearly intended for a younger audience, but I do have a slight interest in seeing Dreamer having since found out that it was loosely based on the life of Mariah's Storm, a filly good enough to beat Serena's Song in the 1995 Turfway Breeders Cup with a 119 Beyer.

17 Jun 2009 7:36 PM

Regarding "Secretariat" as a "general feel good" movie. That's exactly what I'm afraid they're going to do with it, and that's what's going to ruin it for me.

Secretariat was a great champion, not Lassie. There was nothing "feel good" about him (or Ms Chenery, for that matter) and to pretend that there was in order to sell popcorn will be to dishonor his memory.

That's the shame in these kinds of film, they bogatize the facts to the point where they tear the heart out of the subject

17 Jun 2009 7:39 PM

da3hoss, I had to chuckle, re: your comment about a Crabbet bred Arabian who might be able to play Secretariat.

I have bred Crabbet-descended Arabians for over 5 decades, and have a stallion who could possibly play Secretariat from a distance--- similar structure and red color, but would need some white on the legs and dye on his blaze... but my guy is now 25 and has never been taller than 14.3 hands. And he's a tad prettier in the face...

I never thought of using an Arabian to play Secretariat, he certainly was closer to a QH in build... but he could run all day and was magnificent. I saw such as Native Dancer on TV as a kid, and saw Citation "live" when he was being shipped between norhtern and southern California. And Swaps was my hero for a long time...

I just love a good horse. And Secretariat, Man o'War, Citation, Native Dancer, Northern Dancer, Abu Farwa, Aurab... all good horses!!!

17 Jun 2009 7:42 PM

I like the choice of Diane Lane. Although quite beautiful, Lane has always had a seriousness and maturity about her. Her career really only took off when she was in her mid-30s. As Bill Simmons, ESPN's Sports Guy, wrote, it only took Hollywood 20 years to realize that guys just like Diane Lane.

However, Sweet Terchi's suggestion of Laura Linney would also make sense.  Some of the actresses others have mentioned are a little old to play Penny Tweedy circa 1973.

17 Jun 2009 7:43 PM

I saw Tinners Way win both his 94 and 95 Pacific Classics. I have to admit, I was rooting for 6-year old Best Pal in the 94' rendition, and when Best Pal came looming up outside of Tinners Way at the top of the stretch I was screaming for the great Cal-bred to get past the son of Secretariat. However, Tinners Way held on by a length, and then came back looking better than ever the next year. The day of the 95' Pacific Classic was absolutely beautiful, and Tinners Way's coat just shined like a polished penny. Tinners Way won the 95' Pacific Classic by 4 after having run a strong 2nd to Cigar in the Hollywood Gold Cup, and then won the grade 1 Californian in 96'.

17 Jun 2009 7:51 PM

To Whatever:  My bad, it was the now defunct Marlboro Cup in which Big Red ran a 1:45 flat. My point was that America fell in love with this horse because it had been 25 years sin ce we had a Triple Crown winner, everyone was starving for this. But Spectacular Bids world record of 1:57 and change at Santa Anita for 1 1/4 miles was just as impressive as was Dr. Fager's 132 1/5 mile world record carrying 134 pounds. The world annointed Big Red as the best ever and I just do not agree. Top 5 yes, best ever no way. I still say Man O' War was the all time best. Of course there is no winable argument here, it all about opinion.

17 Jun 2009 7:59 PM

Although this horse has passed away, SNACK would have made a nice looking Secretariat for the movie.  He looked like him, and he had Big Red in his pedigree.  There is a newly created stakes race at Indiana Downs, named the Snack S, in honor of this Indiana bred.

17 Jun 2009 8:10 PM

I loved Riva Ridge a lot more than I did Secretariat. Sec was so flashy and spectacular in both appearance and performance; he got all the attention. I don't think Riva got the respect he deserved but I loved him anyway.

17 Jun 2009 8:18 PM

Steve, I think you are right about doing an animated film; I don't see how this can be realistic.  Secretariat - they broke the mold when they made him.  There are no realistic copies.

17 Jun 2009 8:30 PM
For Big Red

BARBARA W: Thanks for the update on Charismatic. Wonderful horse. I made a PC wallpaper of him and Chris winning the Derby at the time. Still have the .jpg file, but have a laptop now and use a different wallpaper that fits the dimensions of this screen. Here's the Charismatic wallpaper for those who might enjoy having it:

17 Jun 2009 8:39 PM

I wasnt able to comment on the blog entry for Medalgia d'Oro, but would like to go a little off subject here and comment on what I thought was just a fantastic horse. Medalgia d'Oro was a tall, sleak, stunning horse with great speed and the ability to carry that speed up to 10 furlongs.

After winning the San Felipe, he was a narrowly beaten 2nd in the Wood, but then ran poorly in the Derby and Preakness. Although a 2nd in the Belmont started the turn around, Md'O really elevated himself to another level at Saratoga the summer of 2002, when he earned big figs winning the Jim Dandy and Travers. While Volponi was not a top horse when he won the 2002 BC Classic, with Md'O 2nd, he certainly wasnt a BAD horse, and Volponi came back to run very well at the highest levels in 2003 until that year's BC Classic.

At 4 in 2003 Medalgia was sensational, winning the Strub, Oaklawn Park Cap, and Whitney easily with big figures, and then just had the misfortune of running against a truly special horse, Candy Ride, in the Pacific Classic at 10 furlongs. Although beaten over 3 lengths by Candy Ride in the Pacific Classic, Medlagia still earned a 118 Beyer. Then in the Breeders Cup Classic, Medalgia ended up in a speed duel with an equally brilliant horse, 5-time gr.1 winner Congaree, running 4 furlongs in 46 and 1 and 6 furlongs in 1:10 and 1 before a very, very good 10 furlong horse, Pleasantly Perfect, caught him in the final sixteenth to win.

At 5, Medalgia crushed the Donn field by almost 5 with another big figure, before dropping another tough decision to Pleasantly Perfect in the Dubai World Cup.

In my own experimental handicap, I weighted Medalgia at 123 as a 3 year old, 125 at 4, and 123 at 5. One also has to consider how tough his competition was. I rank the 2003 handicap division as one of the strongest since 1989, with Mineshaft, Medalgia, Congaree, Candy Ride, Pleasantly Perfect, Perfect Drift, Milwaukee Brew, and Harlan's Holiday.

Medalgia d' Oro is also one of a few distance (mile and over) horses this decade, along with Ghostzapper and Congaree, who has the following Beyer qualifications:

1) Average of Top 3 Beyers greater than 118.

2) Average of Top 5 Beyers greater than 116.

Medalgia's top 3 Beyers averaged 119, and top 5 Beyers averaged 118.2

Having written this, I do not believe Medalgia was a GREAT horse, and think he is a longshot to be voted into the Hall of Fame. As such, I don't place him up with horses like Sunday Silence, Easy Goer, Holy Bull, Cigar, Skip Away, or even Silver Charm. And even this decade, I rank Tiznow, Ghostzapper, Invasor, and Curlin and probably Point Given and Lava Man ahead of Medalgia. However, Medalgia definitely belongs just a little under these sure-fire Hall of Famers, as a very, very good horse.

17 Jun 2009 8:39 PM
Soldier Course

The DVD documentary "On The Muscle" is excellent. It covers a year in the life of trainer Richard Mandella, with wonderful features about six horses, including The Tin Man and Pleasantly Perfect. Major races such as the Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Oaks, Arlington Million, Pacific Classic, and the Breeders' Cup are featured. There are interesting and informative scenes with veterinarian Rick Arthur.

This documentary is very professionally produced by Robin Rosenthal and Bill Yahraus of Pony Highway Productions in Southern California. It should appeal to every serious racing fan. It's available from several sources that sell equine books and media, including the gift shop at the Kentucky Horse Park. It may also be available through TBH gift shop.  

17 Jun 2009 9:03 PM
Soldier Course

The Ruffian TV movie was a disappointment, but the final scenes were very moving. The DVD is worth buying for its footage of Ruffian's actual races, shown after the movie.

I enjoyed "Racing Stripes" and "Dreamer", probably because my expectations were in line with the fact that these movies were aimed at young audiences. I liked Dakota Fanning's "old soul" approach to her character. The father-son struggle between Kurt Russell and Kris K. seemed very real to me. The performances were stronger than the plot, that's for sure. "Racing Stripes" could have been almost as good as "Babe", if those annoying fly scenes had been left out. I still see DVDs of both of these movies at Costco, so they must be selling.

I have not seen "Phar Lap" except on TV, with poor reception and endless commercials. From comments posted here, I plan to get the DVD.

17 Jun 2009 9:48 PM

CJL, hey now, back off The Black Stallion! ;) That movie starred the incomparable Cass Ole of San Antonio. Somewhere, in a photo album, there is a picture of me awarding the blue ribbon to Cass at a horse show in San Antonio.

Barbara W.,

I'm not in Salado -- I'm in deep South Texas, but I grew up in the San Antonio area.

17 Jun 2009 10:33 PM
Barbara W

For Big Red,

Thanks for the pic of Charismatic and Antley. Beautiful!

17 Jun 2009 11:09 PM

I am cautiously excited about this movie.  Secretariat remains my standard in Thoroughbred racing, and I know so much about his story and his record that a badly done script is going to make me crazy. :)  But I'm all for drawing attention to my favorite race horse and my favorite sport!

I don't think Curlin looks much like Secretariat - their faces and particularly their eyes are so very different.  I'm also sure that those of us familiar with Big Red will be slightly dissatisfied no matter how closely the stand-in resembles the original.  But there's not a good way around that, so I'll just squint, or something. :)

As far as comparing the two Big Reds - for me they are clearly the top two.  My tie-breaker is foal crop numbers.  Man 'o War was one of 1680 registered foals the year he was born, while Secretariat was one of 24,361.  To my logic, it's much more likely that the competition that rises to the top of a large crop is going to be stiffer than the best "other" horses from the smaller crop.  And half or so of each crop would have been fillies, so Man 'o War only had to be way better than 840 (approx.) other colts, while Secretariat had to be way better than 12,000 or so.  Plus the older horse foal crops that Secretariat faced were larger.  So he faced the best of maybe 30,000 other colts (assuming the 1968, '69, and '70 foal crops), while Man 'o War only faced the best of maybe 3000?  And if I remember correctly, the first Big Red only faced one older horse, Sir Barton, so maybe we have to say he dominated only 841 other horses.  :)  

Anyway, that's my personal tie-breaker between these two greats.

17 Jun 2009 11:32 PM
Steve Haskin

Laura Linney. I hadnt thought about her. She would be a great choice.

18 Jun 2009 12:17 AM

Tiznow: I read almost all the Black Stallion books as a kid, over and over and over! I read somewhere that when it was first published in I think 1947 or so, the publishers thought "stallion" was too provocative, they wanted to rename it "the Black Horse," which would have lost a lot of the impact. Read all the other Farley books about The Island Stallion too. Maybe that's one reason I got so infatuated with racing. That horse who "played" the Black was a gorgeous animal.

When is the Secretariat movie going to be out? Anybody know a general date? I hope they don't pick Desormeaux to play Turcotte; his ego doesn't need to be any bigger. just kidding

18 Jun 2009 1:18 AM

Uh oh looks like any discussion like this inevitably turns to who's the greatest. ha. I used to think Secretariat was #2 in my opinon, second only to Man o' War, until I read a book about Citation recently. The feats of Man o' War and even Secretariat kind of pale in comparison to what Citation did, IMHO. It's too bad Citation was not asked to win those two races, the one where Bewitch won, and when he lost to Saggy in the Ches. trial. It's possible we wouldn't be talking about either Man o' War or Secretariat as the greatest if not for those two races Cy could and should have won.

18 Jun 2009 1:28 AM

 Tiznowbaby...You met Cass Ole?? I have always remembered him with such love. I have both of the movies on DVD(and before that on VHS)and watch them every couple of years. Walter Farley was probably responsible for my love of racing and when "The Black Stallion" movie came out Cass Ole was the first horse I ever fell in love with. I was 9 or 10 when the movie came out (of course I had read all of the books) and I would have given ANYTHING to meet that horse. I thought he was just PERFECT. I remember liking Johar in the Breeders Cup because his name is that of The Black's "girlfriend",lol.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when there is an animal "star" in a movie that is played by several animals who don't look alike. Did anyone see "The Horse Whisperer"? They had something like 20 horses playing the girl's horse. I couldn't have been more distracted if there was a different actor playing the Robert Redford part in every scene. I hope that will not be an issue in this movie.

 Cleone...I like your logic. When having my own debates about who's #1 I have considered crop size also. But I can't leave Citation out of the mix. For me there is a 3 way tie at he top.

 Gun Bow...It is very refreshing to hear an Easy Goer fan admit that Sunday was the better horse. (And it's so funny to me that the debate still rages on.) I was 19 that year and SS was the first racehorse I "fell in love" with. I had thought I was in love with Alysheba, but Sunday showed me that that was just puppy love, lol. I also was a fan of Easy Goer and feel that he had the bad luck to be born in the wrong year, like Sham. On a different topic, I will be making my first (and apparently ONLY) trip to Hollywood Park in a couple of weeks, for Hollywood Gold Cup weekend, and am looking for someone to give me a tour of the track, do you have any suggestions? I want to see all of the art and memoribilia from the past, I'm also hoping to see the backside. I have been to Del Mar the past 3 summers in a row and have just explored on my own but this is my only shot to see HP and I don't want to miss out on anything.

18 Jun 2009 2:54 AM

Wonderful story and YES, I cant wait until the movie about Secretariat is out....Awesome Cat, Son of Storm Cat looks like Big Red... I was amazed at how tall Awesome Cat is.....a horse that never raced, his work is really hard he does stud work......

Thank You!!!! Steve, for a great article.......

18 Jun 2009 9:03 AM

barb, Cass Ole was as incredible in person as he was on the big screen. His demeanor was incredible. I clearly remember at that show that the daughter of the family who owned Cass was returning from a rather serious accident. Cass was ridden in one class by someone else and finished second, but when the young woman rode him he took first. He was just perfection with her and was looking after her so to speak. It was really neat to see.

And yes, he was breathtaking in person. All black except for his socks and a small star.

18 Jun 2009 9:35 AM

for us that have dvd's or pictures of secretariat,no horse can look like 'him'.  animated, i really do not watch those, so hope not. i do think that actual footage would be awesome. especially the call of the belmont stakes, the crowd, the call of chic anderson, and the camera trying to keep all horses in the lense.

i would really love to see a movie about  mom's command. what a great and interesting story. first peter fuller has dancer's image disqualified from '68 derby due to bute traces, only to breed and race moms' command, and have his own daughter abigail ride!  winning the filly triple crown and the alabama!! at that time i belive only one shuvee had done that.  

even the great angel cordero jr has been quoted as say he loved abby and moms command, but was tired of seeing their rear ends.

18 Jun 2009 10:11 AM

Thanks For Big Red for the Charismatic wallpaper. I put it on my computer.

I'm glad I am not the only one who thinks Curlin is about as far from looking like Secretariat as you can get. Not sure who they will choose. I love Diane Lane...AKA Lori Darling...My husband is the biggest lonesome dove fan on the planet. I have seen it so many times, I could recite the lines. Can't wait to see this movie!

18 Jun 2009 10:32 AM
horsing around

CJL, it is my understanding that Walter Farley wanted a certain horse named El Mikhtar to do all the work in the Black Stallion, but his services could not be retained. In order to get him for the second movie, the studio actually purchased him, but he died after having completed just the desert race scenes.

18 Jun 2009 10:34 AM

CJL: just thought that I would point out about the scene in Seabiscuit.  The prostitute scene came after he had fought a few fights at a prize fighter and it was the director's way of showing the person watching the movie that Pollard's right eye vision was so bad that he couldn't see at all.  It had very little to do with the sexualness, though I say little as I have read Laura Hillenbrand's book and remember reading that Pollard didn't go to the prostitutes like the other jockeys did.  So it was a little 'stretching' of the truth but not fully based on sex.  It tried to prove a point made in the book--Pollard couldn't see out of his right eye.  It comes before he rides and loses on 'Biscuit in the Big Cap and explains why he possibly lost.

18 Jun 2009 10:58 AM

CJL: It seems that Citation always gets dissed when discussions of the greatest thoroughbreds ever come up.  No horse ever had a 3yr old season as impressive as his. The horse was a win machine and until he got hurt at Tanforan was virtually unbeatable.  He didn't always destroy his opposition or break track records, he just beat you.  In Eddie Arcaro's autobiography, I Ride To Win, he describes a dilemma he was having trying to decide whether to accept the mount on the mercurial Coaltown or Citation.  Luckily for him Ben Jones knew who was the better horse since he trained both of them.  He took Ben's advice and the rest, as they say, is history.  Citation was truly great.

18 Jun 2009 11:17 AM

From BloodHorse Staff -- Hey guys, please refrain from making posts in ALL-CAPS. Unfortunately, we will not be posting any comments that  are submitted in this fashion. Please remember to turn your CAPS-LOCK off before posting a comment.


18 Jun 2009 11:52 AM
Soldier Course

Given the state of technology today, can't something be done to restore or improve the quality of the original footage of Secretariat's races? These videos are in such poor shape, and that's a shame considering their historical significance.

I saw recently on YouTube that one individual submitted an "improved quality" video of one of Secretariat's races, but this appeared to be a home effort, not an industry one.  

18 Jun 2009 12:19 PM

I think that Showing Up looks quite a bit like Secretariat, I know that he has only one white foot and not three but makeup works like a charm.  He is well built, has a whte blaze, his color looks compatable with Big Red is 16.2  hands high and stands at Adena Springs in Florida.  Could work when stud season is over.

18 Jun 2009 12:24 PM
Matthew W

Bill I agree Citation had a sick 1948....he beat the older champ in Feb of his THREE year old me Spectacular Bid is #1---because he was tops as a two year old...tops as a three year old....tops as an older horse...always on the improve, from 6 1/2 to 1 1/4 was 26 for 26.....

18 Jun 2009 1:16 PM
Matthew W

Sunday Silence beat Easy Goer three outta four.....I was/is West Coast all the way...and I cashed handsomely on the Derby and Classic on Sunday Silence.....yet I'll always believe Easy Goer was the better of the two-- on the track---Phipps/NY Racing was "behind the times" a bit and ran in the JC Gold Cup, then at 1 1/2 mi their Classic prep...I said right then they would get 2nd and it played out just as it "should've"....they took off his edge and it cost him "forever" to be judged 2nd to Sunday Silence, the magnificient Sunday Silence, arguably, when you consider his impact as a sire, the greatest thoroughbred of them all.....

18 Jun 2009 1:25 PM

Seabiscuit is the only movie I have ever gone to see on opening day.  It was a wonderful, enjoyable movie even though it didn't compare to the book.  Secretariat will be the next movie I stand in line to see on opening day.  He is my horse, always first in my heart.  Is the screenplay written from any of the many Secretariat books?  I feel that if they use Penny's guidance for the story, it will be accurate and fascinating.  There are so many angles and stories to tell; but then there always is in any horse story.   If I remember correctly they need to use more than one horse in the making of the movie - weren't there 7 Seabiscuits?  Right now I can't think of even one who could carry off being Big Red.  But I still can't wait to see it!

18 Jun 2009 2:22 PM

Steve, should be an exciting film. I hope it begins with the flip of the coin that sent Secretariat to Penny. The coin is far more symbolic of course in that the whole game is a game of chance. Rare specimens appear from time to time, ie...ManOWar, Citation, Count Fleet, and a few others. They give us a picture of what is hoped for. In general, the work horse is what we are left with, the ones that the industry depends on day in and day out. Lets honor them as well. And lets not forget the great horses we have seen the last few decades: Cigar, Curlin, Ghostzapper, Smarty Jones, etc... They lit up the track too. A film on Secretariat will juice up the hearts of many and will remind the old of and inspire the new with the beauty of the horse in full stride. I for one can still recall his last race, the Canadian when he launched from the field and opened 12 at the eighth pole. The caller said" And there he goes, there he goes. The people are standing because this is his last race. He is running in a blaze of fury and has opened up 10 to 12 lenghts....." Racing is a beautiful sport (and dangerous). I hope the film is done well.

18 Jun 2009 3:11 PM

By the way, as of two weeks ago anyway, Secretariat's foaling shed was still in existence at the Meadow, though moved across the road from it's original location (and the folks at SFVA tell me it will be preserved).

What a great prop that would be be for this flick.

18 Jun 2009 8:01 PM
Soldier Course


I enjoyed your comment. I came across this, by Thucydides:

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out and meet it.

18 Jun 2009 10:35 PM

ESPN did a special on Secretariat for the Sports' Centuries Greatest Athletes. I always get a tear in my eye when watching it on YouTube. From the regaling stories about his presence before and after the Belmont to his impact on the great Jack Nicklaus. Who actually applauded and cried during Big Red's resounding Belmont. I too will applaud when this movies is released. A film about Barbaro is in the works called "Gone Like the Wind". I feel that it is safe to say that horse racing fans and movies fans have much to look forward to. Let's hope that the films do their subjects and their fans proud.

19 Jun 2009 1:44 AM

" Storm In May " racing 7-3-09 at Caulder,a 5 year old that has not won a race since he was 3....grandfather Storm Cat, GGGrand father Secretariat....Storm has been in high claming races but this race at Caulder is a 34,000 claimer and Storm seems to be in the falling in price range now... can someone save him????  It is really a shame that a horse that won more than a half a million and a family pedigree as good as his is treated this way......

29 Jun 2009 11:16 AM

To think that Rachel Alexandra could have broken Secretariat's record at the Belmont, instead was pulled up by her Jockey.....what a mistake.....

Steve,please do another story on Rachel then one on Zenyatta both filly's are great champions.....

29 Jun 2009 11:22 AM
Sigmund Sommer

I have been trying to get a hold of the producers of this movie. I think it would be a great service to horse racing and the story if they were able to get an interview with my grandmother and Frank while they are still around. I believe that Sham helped to make this story interesting and getting the information from a first hand source would make this movie even better.

It is often overlooked that my grandmother didn't want Sham to run in the derby in the first place. She was afraid he would be hurt and in fact he was at Belmont. In fact my father once told me he actually suffered from a hairline fracture at Belmont running so hard after Secretariat. The moment this happened is actually noticeable in the video footage, the jockey, Pincay realized something was wrong with Sham and tried to pull him back. Hence his last place finish, he never ran again.

It's stories like this that help you really see the rivalry these two horses had. It also shows how fast and powerful Secretariat was, just keeping up with him was career ending.

I will certainly be watching this movie in the theater and can't wait, hopefully god willing, my grandmother will come with me.

See you in Saratoga

06 Jul 2009 1:13 AM

I only hope the movie will do justice to the TB world. I will be camped out to get a ticket. I want to relive the thrill and excitement Secretariat brought (and still does)to the country and horse racing. I was born the year Rold Ruler was foaled, I graduated high school the year the 26 year triple crown drought ended and the legend began. The highlight of my life was standing in the aisle at Claiborne Farm and seeing the norse in the first stall on the left...a beautiful chestnut with a stripe of white on his face. No, it was not Secretariat -- I was years too late. Eddington occupied that stall and graciously allowed me to pretend. The groom standing behind me must have seen this scenario atleast a million times. He said "Yea, we still like to see a chestnut with a bit of white on him in that stall." The brass name plates on the stall door followed a line of TBs that will live forever in the hearts and minds of racing fans. Even if the movie fails to meet my/our expectations -- we can all experience/relive some of the greatest moments in TB history. If we're smart, we'll introduce a new audience to Secretariat and "keep the flame alive!"

21 Jul 2009 1:35 AM

Its gonna be tough to match Seabiscuit. It was just a GREAT movie. Could it have been even better ? yup. But it was still just

a great movie on a lot of levels. It pulls on your heart strings. It was a period piece. A biopic that spans 30 years and it really captured the essence of the 30's and early 40's.

More jazz music from that era would

have been a nice touch. More newspaper clippings cut into scenes.

The weights the Biscuit had to carry compared to his competitors should have been played up more.

Horse racing snobs always try to

minimize Seabiscuit's greatness.

He was no underdog as he is often

painted. He was an underachiever early on with Man O'War's blood

running through him. The talent was always there. The cast was magnificent. Jeff Bridges Tobey Maguire and Chris Cooper made for an all-star cast. The wardrobe of that time is very classy. The movie is beautiful to look at. I really hope Secretariat is done right, cuz he deserves it. I'd like to see Gene Hackman as Lucien Lauren. A John Williams score ? Or Gerry Goldsmith of Rudy and Hoosiers fame would be a good choice too. The backdrop of Vietnam and Watergate ? If they do this film right it could be a block buster. Bring back Gary Stevens as Ron Turcotte too !

21 Jul 2009 10:51 PM

One advantage "Seabiscuit" had was that the Biscuit looked like a dozen or so other horses, which was why casting horses to play him wasn't a problem.

No "Secretariat" movie will ever have that advantage;  quite the opposite, in fact.  Big Red II reeked of charisma;  he  could never be mistaken for another horse.  With him silks were redundant.  Unless the producers comb obscure farms for his forgotten chestnut descendants, the only options open to them will be either digital special effects or cloning.  Either would disappoint.

27 Jul 2009 11:21 AM

 I hope the movie's Kentucky Derby race is as exciting as the 1973 duel between Secretariat and Sham coming down to the wire.

 Check out Sham's website at

03 Aug 2009 4:52 PM

has the horse FREEDOM'S FIGHT been chosen to portray his grandfother, sectetariat??if not chosen yet he should be..this thoroughbred was rescued from a slaughter farm in miami in june of 08. the horse has taken a year to recover from his abuse and is ready for the silver screen...he is owed this!

31 Aug 2009 8:17 PM

Actually most people forget--or never knew--that some of Big Red's high achiever descendants were through that castoff-Appaloosa test mare Leola and their colt First Secretary ( ApHCC/ApHC). I've a chestnut great-great grandson and his dam, both are built more like the Bold Ruler/ Nasrullah line that Big Red favored than anything TB, with that free-moving shoulder and long hip...They're not all that tall at 16HHbut they cover more ground even at a canter than any other horse I've ever seen(no room around here to really let 'em go). AND...

Don't be late with supper or their 'pawing the ground' consists of a forefoot pounding on top of the 4' high dutch door...

09 Sep 2009 12:15 PM

I too have been waiting for this movie. I asked Penny back in 2003 about a movie and she said "stay tuned", so finally its on its way!!

21 Sep 2009 12:09 PM

Did anyone go to the casting calls for movie extras? I was going to go but could not make it. These were held in Louisville on Sept. 9th and Sept. 12th in Lexington.

21 Sep 2009 1:55 PM

I can't wait!!!  A movie about Secretariat is long long overdue and rightfully should have come out before Seabiscuit.  I hope they don't focus too too much on Penny and her problems fitting into the man's world of thoroughbred racing.(as I've heard) Secretariat's racing career is the best part of the story and his rivalry with poor Sham.  Secretariat wasn't just a great horse, I put him right up there with Man-O-War!  He's a once in a lifetime kind of thoroughbred.  I was so very priviledged to see this great horse and will never forget him.

08 Oct 2009 12:18 PM

I was an extra on the Lexington set Sept 28 & 29.  We filmed the Belmont scenes at Keeneland.  After hearing Randall Wallace's inspirational and heartwarming talk to the cast as we sat in the stands while the crew tweaked equipment, I believe this is going to be an outstanding movie!  And Ms. Penney was seated in the box next to Diane Lane and John Malkovich during the filming.

14 Oct 2009 8:00 PM

"Once Upon a Time There Was Secretariat But Only Once"

CANNOT wait for this movie to come out!!! Always and forever my favorite. He is a once in lifetime.

14 Oct 2009 8:19 PM

I am so thrilled to learn that this movie is being made!! And with Penny Chenery at the helm, I hope that all Hollywood influences will be left behind in Hollywood, My suggestion would be to use original film coverage of Red's races in parts of the movie that you just cant replicate. Secretariat  was and will always be my Horse Hero, And I've shared him with my now 11 yr old daughter who wants to get into horse racing because of Secretariat. I'm with her all the way.

20 Oct 2009 1:26 PM
Sue Long

Seabiscuit and Phar Lap are movies I could watch every day.  I believe I have watched every horse movie that has come out.  I'm from Oxford, Indiana where Dan Patch was born.  Think there should be a movie made about him.  I have a lot of info if someone would be interested.  I've been a horse lover all my life.  Look forward to Secretariat.

30 Oct 2009 8:12 AM

I got a very good look at diane lane the last few days.I was in two scenes with the stars.Her hair is very blonde( disney does have hair color)and she is very tiny. John looks alot taller in person.It is very exciting being on set of this movie..

06 Nov 2009 12:13 PM

Sport, and the passage of time, have led to many interesting discussions and debates. None ever are surely settled or resolved. Who was better, Joe Lewis or Ali? Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus? Man O War or Secretariat? How much money could a man make, if he could create a time machine and bring together the best competitors of a given sport in their primes, video tape them and let the world see for themselves. Now I share my opinion. There may never again be a moment in horse racing like the 1973 Belmont. That day, that grand stage, the long drought to the last triple crown winner(25 years), the  two great horses Secretariat and Sham, the nose to nose duel for half the race, the unbelievable splits/fractions posted, and then watching in almost surreal awe as The Big Red horse "simply ran away" that day with not only the triple crown, but history in terms of world record time for the mile and a half distance. It will never be forgotten for all those who witnessed it. A record that may never be broken(2 minutes and 24 seconds flat). Why? Because no jockey or trainer in their right minds would ever set out to do it. To attempt it with purpose would only be willingly endangering the horse, and no horse may ever attempt to run that hard, that long, on their own, with no other horses around to push them. As mentioned in the Sports Century documentary on Secretariat, it was as though God himself bent over from the balconies of heaven, and whispered in the ears of that horse on that day, and said..... you can do it, run, run, I made you, show them what a horse can do today! I hope the movie allows those who were not around then, to enjoy his greatness too.

23 Nov 2009 10:55 PM
kiramatali shah

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28 Dec 2009 4:17 AM
william chenery conway

holice chenery was not in the winner's circle in 1973, as depicted in the 2009 film adaptation.

28 Dec 2009 12:17 PM
Sam Walker

I live in Windsor Ont. Canada. In 1976 my son,Tim, and I went to Paris Kentucky...And we actually got to feed Secretariat at the Claeborne farm. I think Secretariat had the widest chest of any horse I have ever seen. What an unforgettable honour.I can`t wait for the movie..Thanks

08 Mar 2010 8:30 PM

 Please do NOT forget Jimmy Gaffney.. Excercized & Dubbed Secretariat.."BIG RED".......Loved & first to recognize Big Reds potential...  Thank You !!!

23 Mar 2010 11:50 AM

was in the fog at woodbine jogging a claimer saw him for moment along the backside workin. Just like everybody else it was just for a moment...... The dreams still continue for me. My dad sees him run now.

04 Oct 2010 4:22 PM

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