The Red Horse and the Iron Lady

Rivalries come in all shapes and sizes. Some can last for 10 races, like Affirmed and Alydar; others four races, like Damascus and Dr. Fager; and the rare ones that last only two races, like Swaps and Nashua, but still capture the public’s imagination.

In 1986, we had a two-race rivalry that in many ways was unlike anything seen before, because of the vast differences in the combatants, one of whom had recently concluded an epic eight-race rivalry that has gone overlooked in the history of great rivalries. But more on that later.

The two participants in question were the grand-looking 5-year-old “stud,” Precisionist, one of the handsomest horses ever to grace an American racetrack, and the scrappy, pocket-sized bundle of energy, Lady’s Secret, known throughout the racing world as the “Iron Lady.”

Call it an ultra mini version of the titanic three-year rivalry in the 1940s between Gallorette and Stymie. But unlike the many battles those two warriors staged, this was about pure speed. Here were two horses, male and female, who were so different in every way they didn’t look as if they belonged on the same racetrack together. One was a magnificent chestnut 5-year-old horse and the other a diminutive, but powerful, gray 4-year-old filly. From a physical standpoint, it was like pitting the mighty Aslan (the lion in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”) against Toto (the tenacious gray terrier from “The Wizard of Oz”). Precisionist would dazzle you with his amazing feats of speed and strength, while Lady’s Secret, like all terriers, would grab on to your pant leg and refuse to let go.

The traits they did have in common were their running styles, their fortitude and pugnacity, and their brilliance, all of which made their two confrontations so appealing and intriguing.

Precisionist and Lady’s Secret arrived at Monmouth Park for the grade I Iselin Handicap (changed that year from the Monmouth Handicap) and took up residence in the stakes barn. On a bright sunny morning several days before the race, both were brought out to graze at the same time on the grassy area just outside the barn. They were the only two horses out there and one couldn’t help but notice the stark physical difference. Was this little gray filly actually going to eyeball this big, imposing chestnut colt in what promised to be a speed duel for the ages?

Precisionist grazed quietly near the fence, accompanied by trainer Ross Fenstermaker, while Lady’s Secret, oblivious to her future adversary, grazed about 20 yards away, with Jeff and Wayne Lukas’ 25-year-old assistant, Kiaran McLaughlin, allowing her wander about as she pleased.

Fenstermaker’s responsibility was to prevent this four-legged explosive device from detonating before race day.

“He’s a tough, proud horse who does everything hard,” Fenstermaker said, while firmly holding on to the shank. “I have to exercise him myself because he tries so hard in the mornings and I was tired of seeing him run off with his riders every day.”

Another Lukas assistant, Mike Chambless, said of Lady’s Secret, “She’s a ball of dynamite. With her, it’s all ‘go.’ The day after a race she’s a pup, but the next day she’s dragging you around again. She has the daintiness of a princess, but commands a situation like a king.”

When you have two horses, regardless of sex, whose engines are this revved up, something has to give when they look each other in the eye on the field of battle. On this day, they were merely two strangers who had no inclination of the clash that was to come.

Lady’s Secret went into the Iselin having won nine stakes at a mile or longer and had never been headed at any point in any of them. She was no stranger to the boys, winning the Whitney Handicap by 4 1/2 lengths in her previous start and finishing third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, in the Metropolitan Handicap, run in 1:33 3/5, in which she was giving the colts weight on the scale. To demonstrate her toughness and durability, she was only 4-years-old and had already run 34 times, 33 of them stakes races, winning 19. And she went into the Iselin having finished in the money in 19 straight races, all stakes.

After winning three straight stakes at six furlongs as a 3-year-old, including the Bowl of Flowers in 1:09 flat, she won the seven-furlong Test Stakes in 1:21 3/5, and then proceeded to knock off older fillies and mares in the grade II Ballerina at seven furlongs, and the grade I Maskette at one mile, Ruffian Handicap at 1 1/8 miles, and Beldame Stakes at 1 1/4 miles, giving her eight stakes wins in a row.

Precisionist had run 31 times going into the Iselin. He possessed the raw speed to win the six-furlong Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 1:08 2/5 and the stamina to win the 1 1/4-mile Swaps Stakes in 1:59 4/5, the Charles H. Strub Stakes in 2:00 1/5, and the about 10-furlong Del Mar Handicap in 1:56 4/5.

Judging by his recent form, he had emerged unscathed from a gut-wrenching rivalry with the Charlie Whittingham-trained Greinton. In their eight meetings, they finished one-two seven times, with Precisionist winning four.  The big chestnut held a 2-1 advantage when they renewed their rivalry at Hollywood Park in 1985 in what has to be the three fastest-run races in succession in history. In the one-mile Mervyn Leroy, Precisionist defeated Greinton in 1:32 4/5. Three weeks later, Greinton turned the tables, winning the Californian Stakes in 1:32 3/5. They were back only two weeks later, with Greinton taking advantage of Precisionist’s blazing fractions, winning the Hollywood Gold Cup in 1:58 2/5. In his two defeats, Precisionist was conceding seven pounds and five pounds to his rival.

He went into the Iselin as the only horse ever to combine these feats: 1 1/4 miles in under 2:00 (1:59 4/5), one mile in under 1:33 (1:32 4/5), and six furlongs in under 1:09 (1:08 2/5).

With two such incredibly fast and game horses, something had to give. Unfortunately, it was the weather. Mother Nature apparently doesn’t know a good thing when she sees it or she would have held off the deluge that fell one hour before the race.

Lady’s Secret outran Precisionist for the first quarter of a mile, but then Fred W. Hooper’s colt moved up to challenge and the battle was on. Locked together through fractions of :46 4/5 and 1:10 3/5 over the tiring, sloppy track, they were still at each other’s throat at the eighth pole. Lady’s Secret continued to fight, but Precisionist was just too much for her and began to inch away. The damage, however, was done. Precisionist began to feel the effects of his battle with Lady’s Secret, and Lukas’ other entrant, Roo Art, under Bill Shoemaker, came flying late to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Precisionist, who was conceding eight pounds to the winner, finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Lady’s Secret, who also was conceding eight pounds (on the scale) to Roo Art.

Pat Day, on Lady’s Secret, came back and said, “She’s just a courageous individual.” Bert Holleran, who owned Roo Art, watched Lady’s Secret walk by him in the shed following the race and commented, “That’s one gutsy gal.”

As for Precisionist, he had run down on three legs, a front and both hind, with blood coming from his right hind.

As grueling and taxing a race as the Iselin was on Precisionist and Lady’s Secret, both were back only two weeks later for the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park. Roo Art also was back, along with the hard-knocking stakes winner Personal Flag, who was in receipt of 15 pounds from Precisionist and 11 actual pounds (16 on the scale) from Lady’s Secret.

With Angel Cordero replacing Pat Day, Lady’s Secret burst out of the gate and quickly opened a clear lead, while setting blistering fractions of :45 3/5 and 1:09 2/5. Precisionist, tracking her the whole way, about two lengths back, made his move after turning for home. He collared her at the eighth pole, the mile run in 1:33 4/5. After setting those rapid fractions, Lady’s Secret tried, but couldn’t match strides with Precisionist, who flew home his final eighth in :12 1/5, drawing off to a 4 3/4-length victory in 1:46 flat, three-fifths off Secretariat’s American record. Lady’s Secret still was able to finish 5 1/2 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Personal Flag and 11 1/4 lengths ahead of Roo Art.

Lady’s Secret now had run 11 times already in 1986, including four grade I races against colts and two slugfests against Precisionist. Despite her rigorous campaign, she was far from finished. Lukas put her back against fillies, and as it turned out, she was just getting started.

Only one week after the Woodward, she romped by seven lengths in the Maskette, running the mile in 1:33 2/5 under 125 pounds. Two weeks later, she won the Ruffian Handicap by eight lengths in 1:46 4/5 under 129 pounds, conceding an incredible 20 pounds to runner-up Steal a Kiss. She came back in three weeks and won the Beldame in 2:01 3/5. She then concluded her remarkable year by winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2:01 1/5.

With Precisionist finishing second to Turkoman in the Marlboro Cup, winning the Yankee Valor Handicap at Santa Anita, and finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Horse of the Year honors went to Lady’s Secret.

One of my fondest recollections of those days was bringing my then 2-year-old daughter to visit Precisionist at Belmont Park and watching her introduce him to Bert and Ernie, as Precisionist looked quizzically at the two strange figures being held up to his face.

The following year, Wayne Lukas brought a string of horses to Monmouth for the first time, with McLaughlin running the barn. In July, all eyes were on Lady’s Secret, who was just a few dollars shy of passing All Along as the leading filly and mare earner of all time. On July 18, Monmouth racing secretary Bob Kulina received a call from Jeff Lukas, informing him that an allowance race at Belmont had failed to fill and he wanted to enter Lady Secret in a similar spot at Monmouth in an attempt to break the record. Kulina made sure a 1 1/16-mile allowance race carded three days later filled, and on July 21, Lady’s Secret virtually galloped down the stretch to win by seven lengths, putting herself in the record books. In her next start at Saratoga, she bolted badly to the outside fence in another allowance race in the slop. It was her way of saying she had had enough. That was to be the final race of her career.

Precisionist, after being retired in 1986, proved virtually sterile, siring only four foals. He was brought back to the races in 1988, and although he had a fairly productive year, winning a pair of stakes at Del Mar and placing in three other stakes at Aqueduct and Hollywood Park, he was far from the brilliant horse he once was, and was retired as a pensioner following a poor effort in a small stakes at Calder in December.

Lady’s Secret and Precisionist were inducted into the Hall of Fame – Lady’s Secret in 1992 and Precisionist in 2003.

My daughter paid two more visits to Lady’s Secret, one at Fares Farm in Lexington, where she spent 20 minutes playing with her out in the field, as the “Iron Lady” kept gently nuzzling against her. The other was at John Glenney’s farm outside Lexington, where my daughter spent some quality time in the paddock with Lady’s Secret and her Skip Away foal.

Unfortunately, we never got to see Precisionist before his death from an inoperable tumor at Old Friends in Sept. 2006, nor did we see Lady’s Secret again, as she died due to complications from foaling in Feb. 2003 at Valley Creek Farm in California.

My daughter was too young to see Lady’s Secret run against Precisionist, but she still has memories of both horses through our many photos.

Whether they won or lost, I will always remember these two special races in 1986, when a pair of future Hall of Famers of the opposite sex tested each other for speed and courage, and served as a reminder why the Thoroughbred is still revered after so many hundreds of years.


Leave a Comment:

stanley marcinkowski, Plowville, Pa

Isn't Precisionist the one Fred Hooper sent to New Bolton Center to solve his fertility problem? Mr Hooper was interested in Precisionist's future while he was approarcing his 100th birthday.

06 Aug 2009 9:53 PM

Unbelievable Steve.  You have a way of capturing the greatness of so many of the stars of the past, much of which is forgotten today.  I remember Lady's Secret and Precisionist fondly along with Greinton and Roo Art and Personal Flag.

The past is the past and the present is the present.  So many great memories from way back when.

Thanks Steve

06 Aug 2009 10:08 PM
Abbie Knowles

Wow.  Awesome writing once more.  You really brought those races to life and I now feel to know Precicionist and Ladys Secret much better than hitherto.  What wonderful racehorses!

How marvellous for your daughter to have had contact with so many wonderful horses from such an early age!

Your writing is truly inspired and vividly brings your "subjects" to life.  Many thanks!

God Bless

Best wishes


P.S. I've fallen in love with yet another horse.  CLASHNACREE second to Ireland's, Beethoven, at Leopardstown yesterday evening.(GMT) He would have won had not Beethoven and Johnny carried him right across the track because Johnny was walloping poor Beethoven so much.  He does not usually do that!

06 Aug 2009 10:12 PM

Lady's Secret was one of my all-time favorites and I believe she received all the recognition that she so richly deserved.  Precisionist, however, I think was vastly underappreciated for what an outstanding racehorse he was.  At any distance, I always felt that he was the one that everyone would have to beat.  How many horses could compete so well against the best at 6f and 1 1/4 and do it year after year?  Not many anymore, I'm afraid.  I always rooted for the iron lady, but I had great respect for the Hooper horse.  

Two great horses and a great column.  My only complaint with your writing, Mr. Haskin, is that I have to wait too long for the next column to come out!

06 Aug 2009 10:18 PM
Kevin Stafford

how you churn out outstanding article after outstanding article is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Beautiful story. Very glad you wrote this.

Makes me feel all the more special that my 5-year-old got to meet some of the Haskell contenders last week thanks to the folks at Monmouth Park.  

Also thankful we were able to visit Fair Hill, MD a few weeks ago (I grew up there but sadly, was not very into horse racing in my yough...I'd classify myself as "largel unaware" during that period of my life).

That place (Fair Hill) strikes me as heaven for a horse.

My heart also feels good knowing that Precisionist was in the care of Old Friends.  Great people over there (and at most such operations).

06 Aug 2009 10:22 PM

Iron Lady indeed.

She will always be a tremendous favorite of mine because she was the epitome of thoroughbred courage.

06 Aug 2009 10:23 PM

What a great piece of writing Steve. I attended the 1986 Breeders Cup and was standing alongside the starting gate for the start of the Distaff. When the gates flung open Lady's Secret shot out like a bullet. She was small but had Big Red's  huge heart.

06 Aug 2009 10:31 PM

Great article Steve.  I remember going to the races as a young kid to watch Precisionist.  He along with Vigors and John Henry got me hooked on the beauty and splendor of horse racing.  I was there when Precisionist won the Breeders Cup sprint and was there when Lady's Secret won the Distaff.  Your article has brought back a flood of good memories.  Thanks Steve.

06 Aug 2009 10:44 PM

Lady's Secret still remains one of the greats of all time. To Rank as a great you have to face them all,  not just your age and class. She did that. Race after race All year long. And more than one year. A great one indeed.

06 Aug 2009 10:59 PM
Karen in Indiana

I'm glad you're back writing such wonderful stories. You make the horses come alive again. Did you get any pictures of your daughter giving Precisionist 'Bert and Ernie' lessons? That's priceless!

06 Aug 2009 11:53 PM
Paula Higgins

Didn't know any of these horses from Adam but I feel like I do now. You make them come alive Steve. You are one great writer.

07 Aug 2009 1:21 AM

Steve, What a great article! It brought back great memories of the time I was first falling for racing. And what a beautiful reminder of how phenomonal those two really were. I wish you were my Dad, lol.

07 Aug 2009 1:59 AM
David R.

I had the pleasure of seeing Precisionist run in California from 1983 to 1988; what a great horse he was. When he won the 1985 BC Sprint he had not raced for 5 to 6 months; Fenstermaker trained him up to the BC. He ran down some pretty nice sprinters that day; Smile and Mt. Livermore. And you're right, he was a great looking horse.

07 Aug 2009 2:17 AM

I'm always grief-stricken when the girls who gave so much to us die trying to birth one more baby for our pleasure, especially an old girl like her...doesn't seem right.

07 Aug 2009 8:14 AM

I think you may have the date of her death wrong..I think she was 21 (2003) with that last foal when she died, not 26...I may be wrong.

07 Aug 2009 8:18 AM
Tammy 2

You brought back a lot of wonderful memories for me. Your recollections and details are priceless. Thank you.

07 Aug 2009 8:48 AM

I remember the race Lady' Secret bolted to the outside, and I believe someone at the track threw a boot at her as she came back to the unsaddling area. I felt so sad to be a NYer that day. I wanted to take that guy and give him a good trashing. That certainly wasn't the way to treat a lady, especially a queen. Thanks for that wonderful article. Great as always Steve.

07 Aug 2009 9:11 AM

Thanks Steve, I so enjoy your up close and personal perspective in your writings.  I feel, always, like I am right there with you at the races, the barn.  Enjoyable!  Thank you again.  

07 Aug 2009 9:30 AM

WOW! I forgot just wahat a great filly she was. Imagine what her record would have been if they picked there spots and spaced her races trying to make it as easy as possible foe her.

07 Aug 2009 9:32 AM

It is very nice to read well written, thoughtful articles like this regarding things that should be remembered more frequently but are not.  I really enjoyed this.

07 Aug 2009 9:40 AM
Soldier Course


This is a wonderful article. I so enjoyed the touching story of your daughter introducing Bert & Ernie to Precisionist.

I gave a donation to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation in Lady's Secret's memory after she died in 2003. Mrs. John Glenney kindly sent me some lovely pictures of her beloved Iron Lady, which my family will always cherish.

07 Aug 2009 9:44 AM
Soldier Course

Not apropos of horses, but some good news for Kentucky:

The Forbes list of "America's Best Colleges" came out this week. Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, was rated at #14, right below Columbia University (#13) and two above Boston College (#16). This is impressive!

07 Aug 2009 9:50 AM

All I can say is WOW...thanks for the memories.

07 Aug 2009 9:53 AM

I remember her last race at Saratoga, I was 11, and can still vividly remember her pulling up on the backstretch and the gasp in the clubhouse when she did it.  I have seen many remarkable horses run in my life, but as is said by many others in this story, there was something awe inspiring about her that few others have had.

07 Aug 2009 10:06 AM

My vocabulary is lacking any more superlatives to compliment you on your writing which brings these incredible horses from the past to life for me.  Again I wish I had been paying attention to racing back in those days, but life was just in the way so I am  grateful to you for letting me get to know these wonders that I missed while they were on the track.  You are so generous to share your personal experiences with all of us - thank you.  Now I will understand more about the race that is named for Lady's Secret, but is there a race named for Precisionist?  Maybe a little off-topic, but is there a race named for John Henry anywhere?  I was surprised to see the Curlin when the horse had just retired a few months ago.

Again...thank you.

07 Aug 2009 10:06 AM
Soldier Course


I agree with your comment about the unfortunate older Moms who suffer fatal complications from foaling. When is enough, enough? Lady's Secret was 21 year old when she died of foaling complications. Wasn't this foreseeable?

I'd like to see the breeding industry place an age limit on the breeding of broodmares, but you and I know that will never happen.

One of the photographs that Mrs. Glenney sent me of Lady's Secret was taken the night before she died. She's standing with her newborn foal. It's heartbreaking to look at.

07 Aug 2009 10:07 AM

What a great story. I remember those battles. They were two of the all time greats. Thanks. Maybe we can see a picture of these two warriors?

07 Aug 2009 10:12 AM

she was one of the greatest, and I loved to see her run.  she sure was a good tribute to her Dad.  Its hard to get those wonderful horses now. They just dont make them like that anymore.

07 Aug 2009 10:27 AM
Bill Daly

Excellent article about a couple of horses who probably never were appreciated as much as they should have. Most of the horses that ran in the 80's suffered by comparison to the megastars of the 70's.  That was a hard act to follow, but Precisionist and Lady's Secret certainly deserve all of the accolades you've given them.  Those records speak for themselves.  Just one question: I thought Roo Art was trained by Barclay Tagg for the Iselin?  Thanks again for all of your good work.

07 Aug 2009 11:00 AM


Don't be a critic.  Lukas is a master at what he does.  I wish there were more trainers like him.  Who are you to say that she would've had a "better record" if they (Lukas) picked their spots and spaced her races.  If you have a pretty girlfriend take her to the dances every weekend-now that's a philosophy to live and to race by!

07 Aug 2009 11:17 AM
Brian A.

That was one of the most exciting, well written articles I've ever read on a racing rivalry.  Your comparison to a lion and a terrior that grabs your pants leg and won't let go was terrific!  This is the kind of story that told right and accuratly could make a great movie.

07 Aug 2009 11:18 AM

Steve, thank you, you are an artist.  You bring to life the very essence of what is great in thoroughbred racing.  And remind us of the valient horses who've gone on before.  

07 Aug 2009 11:49 AM

Great article, Mr. Haskin.  But reading about the type of campaigns Lady's Secret and Precisionist had, and then comparing it to today's "stars", well, it just leaves a hollow feeling in my chest...

07 Aug 2009 11:50 AM

Lady's Secret was always a favorite of mine.  I loved rooting for her particularly because she was from Big Red, and in a way it was like rooting for him.  

What a body of work both she and Precisionist had. Amazing.

And she did die in 2003, not 2008, at age 21.  Personally, I would not like mares to foal past the age of 20.  I was mortified when my 20 yr old became in foal accidentally (well, I'm sure she planned it) when a neighboring stallion broke into my pasture.  All was well, but I still think 20 is too old to be foaling.

Thanks again, that was good stuff!

07 Aug 2009 11:52 AM
Steve Haskin

Yes, that "3" should have been an "8" -- 2003. Hit the wrong key. Thanks for pointing that out

07 Aug 2009 11:53 AM
Steve Haskin

Karen, yes, I have a great shot of my daughter holding Bert and Ernie up to Precisionist. Maybe I'll make another Facebook album soon and include it. It's one of my favorite shots.

07 Aug 2009 11:55 AM
Steve Haskin

That date has been corrected in the story. Thanks again to everyone for your kind words. They are always much appreciated.

07 Aug 2009 12:00 PM
Jim P

Praise the Internet, Steve; we get these great stories from you!!!

07 Aug 2009 12:12 PM
Steve Haskin

Duh, I meant that "8" should have been a "3." I'll get this right at some point :). The important thing is that it's fixed.

I will be away in Saratoga next week, and hope to have new blogs -- historical and topical -- ready to go when I get back.

07 Aug 2009 12:17 PM

Nice Article!

Now LADY'S SECRET, that was a super filly, despite her trainer.

07 Aug 2009 12:18 PM
Evening Attire Fan

Thank you so much for writing about Precisionist and espcially Lady's Secret.  I never saw them race as I did not even know about horse racing until 1996 when I met my husband.  Now my walls are filled with Fred Stone's prints.  I have one of Lady's Secret.  I have an older Calendar by Fred Stone with Precisiont in it.  I instantly fell in love with him, he was so beautiful.  We were lucky enough to see him at Old Friends.  It was very hot that day and he was way back in his padduct under a tree.  He finally came up to us and he was still beautiful.  I had always wondered what happended to Lady's Secret after she was retired after bolting in that last race and now I know.  I am happy that she lived such a long life, but have to agree with da3hoss.  It is so sad when they die in giving birth at so an old age.  I also thought that she died in 2003.  Also, thanks for your wonderful stories and books.  I have most of the Legend Series and have the books on Dr. Fager and John Henry and have read them several times.  When we discovered that John Henry was still alive at the Horse Park, my husband and Iwent to see him every Spring during the Keeneland meet.  During the last two years of his life, I was lucky enough to spend a few moments with him and pet him.  What a thrill that was for me.  As others have wrote before, it would be wonderful if you would but all of the stories about these horses in a book that could be read over and over.

07 Aug 2009 12:22 PM

Steve Haskin for PRESIDENT!!!!!

07 Aug 2009 12:25 PM

Steve, do you share your facebook page with racing fans? I am new to facebook so I don't really know how it works.

07 Aug 2009 12:27 PM

All I can say is wow!

Brings back very fond memories Steve,

Once again Thank you!

07 Aug 2009 12:49 PM

There's one thing that Lady's Secret accomplished that I don't think any other filly has ever done (don't know for sure).  She swept the NY Distaff Handicap Triple for 3 & up, consisting if the Maskette, Ruffian, & Beldame, as a 3yo(!) before finishing second to her stablemate in the BC Distaff.  That's very good indeed, but she apparently thought it wasn't good enough, because she turned around and swept it again the following year as a 4yo(!) before crushing the BC Distaff!  And she won the Ruffian that year by 8 widening lengths, carrying the highest weight of her career (129) at 10 furlongs in 1:46&4!  Remember, she wasn't a very big girl!

Also, another significant series sweep she added was the La Canada series at Santa Anita, capped off by a powerful win in the Santa Margarita.

In my opinion, Lady's Secret is one of the very greatest dirt distaffers of the modern era, and somehow, she's only just recently starting to get the reverence and respect that has been due her for a long, long time.  If her accomplishments have been diminished in some people's eyes just because she was never able to produce anything that could run a lick, it's a horrible injustice and a crying shame!

She was one stone cold RUNNER!

And don't get me started on Precisionist!  Egads! LOL!

07 Aug 2009 1:05 PM


Since I've discovered them, your essays-they are way better than mere blogs-have been some of my favorite reading material!  However, I want to object to the concept expressed by some commenters that breeding older (past 20-somethings) mares is cruel.    Mares do not go through menopause and as long as they have a healthy uterus and no endocrine problems, they can keep on reproducing as long as they live.   The broodmares at my friend's farm live to have babies - when they are open they try to steal babies from other mares and fret when they are kept separate from the other broodmares and their babies.   Of course, once a broodmare fails to recover her weight after foaling and nursing, my friend euthanizes them.  However, she typically breeds her mares until their late twenties and the mares (and babies) look fine.  Once my friend decided to get one last foal from her favorite mare with some trepidation, because the mare had arthritis and terrible insect allergies.  During her pregnancy and time with her foal by her side, the mare bloomed and moved better than she had in years.  After weaning, the mare's health went back down, and she was euthanized along with her best broodmare "friend." They were buried together in the back pasture.

07 Aug 2009 1:12 PM

This blog made my day. I loved both Precisionist & Lady's Secret, so it is fabulous to read about them. Also, I'm a Centre College grad!

07 Aug 2009 1:26 PM
Steve Haskin

Anyone on Facebook can "friend" me. I have albums on there now on Secretariat and other great horses that I've taken over the years. I'll be putting more albums up in the near future, including photos I've mentioned in my blogs, such as my daughter with Precisionist and Lady's Secret and many other numerous other great horses. And I have plenty more just of great horses. Once you "friend" me you will have access to all the photos.

07 Aug 2009 1:52 PM

Great story telling!Did Lady Secret produce any great racehorse or notable broodmare from her offsprings ?

07 Aug 2009 1:57 PM

Wonderful story again, Steve.  I've always loved Lady's Secret. I think she was Big Red's best baby.  I admit to not knowing a lot about Precisionist but you have inspired me to find out more.  I am sending all your articles to my daughter who is in the Peace Corps in Mali.  She loves them too. Iron Lady for sure!

07 Aug 2009 2:20 PM
Virgil Wolfe

Dear Steve,

I hope you are collecting all your essays for publication.  It would make a great book and be fabulous reading, inspiring and enlightening for all.

07 Aug 2009 2:27 PM

Thanks for bringing those two warriors back so vividly.  I became interested in horse racing in the early 80's.  Precisionist, Conquistador Cielo, Island Whirl all mesmerized me with they way they could sustain their brilliant speed. All of them wired fields at Classic distances.    Monterey Jazz, Commentator and Precious Passion remind me of them.  Precisionist and Ladys Secret were true wariors who ran and ran.  

07 Aug 2009 2:33 PM

Thank you for capturing, once again, the greatness of horse racing.

I was lucky enough to see both of these great racers in person in So Cal.  Marvelous runners.

One thing about Precisionist not getting weight from Greinton.  It was due to the abilities of Charlie to work the racing secretaries.  He had far more clout than Fenstermaker, who was not a public trainer.  With Charlie, the RSs were dealing with someone with a large stable.  Hooper's barn had few.

However, in regards to that great victory at Aqueduct in the '85 BC Sprint, where Precisionist beat 13 other horses and almost beat Dave Friends' record of 1:08.2, it brings to mind the debacle at SA, that day.  SA and Oak Tree had announced for a week that they would be open for the early card from the BC.  However, someone in upper management tried to cut corners by not bringing in sufficient mutual clerks to handle the crowd.  OT was going to show the BC, then follow with a abbreviated field of 7 live races.  Only a handful of clerks were scheduled for the early BC races.  In those first three races, D. Wayne was running Tasso in the Juvenile and Twilight Ridge and Family Style in the Juvie distaff.  This was followed in the 3rd for Precisionist to run in the sprint.  Many were very aware of his greatness due to his campaign earlier in the spring and summer in So Cal.  Only one mutual clerk was assigned to each area.  The lines stretched across the rooms.  The punters were not pleased.  I thought a riot would break out with all of the shutouts.  Following the shutout in the 3rd, of which I was one, management started collecting any mutual clerk walking through the gates and hurled them online.  Then, they started offering free coffee to everyone.  The stands were not filled for the later 7 races.

There is a faded photo of McCarron standing up with the winning Precisionist easily clear of the field in that Sprint.  I just saw it after googling.  Macarroon as he was affectionately called by many in the stands and Precisionist were champions.  But, Lady's Secret and Pat Day were, also.  Thanks again, Mr Haskins.

07 Aug 2009 3:05 PM

Magnificent, as usual, Steve. You are a treasure, and a treasury of stories about racing and racehorses... PLEASE do collect these essays and put them in a book for us.

Yet again a story of wonderful heart, ability, and durability--- and the frequency of races and weight carried is something we just don't see these days. They squawk if they have to carry more than 120--- yet if you look at the races in Europe, Japan, and Australia, you will see that 125 or the equivalent in kilograms is a routine weight.  

I have had numerous mares foaling after age 20; one is now 29 and had her last at age 25. She will not be euthanized as a business necessity, but only if and when her health and quality of life are no longer good. These old ladies owe us NOTHING; rather it is we who owe them.

On the other hand in my 50+ years of breeding I have lost mares at younger ages due to broken leg (shattered while playing in a paddock at age 7, just took a wrong step); lung hemorrhage (age 10); and laminitis at age 17 after foaling. Age is a consideration, but a healthy mare can produce into her early 20s, and often it will follow down family lines. THAT is a valuable mare. My old mare has a gelding son aged 19 who is still competing in endurance races. And looks and acts like a 7 year old.

Precisionist, Lady's Secret, what great horses and due all the accolades and more.

More, Steve!!! And Saratoga should give you plenty of material.

07 Aug 2009 3:22 PM

Mr. Haskin,

I am lucky enough to be watching Rachel Alexandra win race after race, and to read your wonderful account of Lady's Secret and one of her greatest rivals.  Any chance that you will write about my other favorite female horse, the star of Breeder's Cup #1, Princess Rooney?  Thank you.

Brian Zipse

07 Aug 2009 3:39 PM

Again Steve, you bring back memories.  I drove D.C.-NYC  to see Precisionist vs. Turkoman in that 86 Marlboro (still have the hat!).  Got to a beautiful Breakfast at Belmont, only to learn I just missed Lady's Secret in a workout (saw Gone West).  I did see her race as a 2-year old at Belmont-the Astoria.  That Marlboro was a great race; afterward I had to wait as a red hot Turkoman passed before me back to the barn.  I miss that Belmont Fall Championship series.

07 Aug 2009 4:17 PM

Lady's Secret and Precisionist are alive and well thru your great writing. I ignored horseracing until 1999, so the horses of prior years are names and figures (if I can retain them) to me... but you bring them back to life. You conjure them up so vividly that, if I don't watch out, pretty soon I'll think I was there to see them in person instead of in my "mind's eyes".

Thank you again for another jewel!

Have a great time at Saratoga! Bring us back something delicious!

07 Aug 2009 4:20 PM
Karen in Texas

Lady's Secret was one of my favorites, although I never saw her run in person. I was hoping her colt by Skip Away would do well at the track, but in the two starts I witnessed, he had some difficulties. Anyone know how he is doing now? Thanks, Steve, for yet another look back at two of racing's treasures.

07 Aug 2009 4:36 PM

When you have some time, you good folks need to go to the Old Friends website and look under "Memorials" for the story about Precisionist.  You will find one of the most emotional and beautiful horse pictures you will ever see.  It shows Precisionist, the day before his death, standing with Mike Blowen, who runs Old Friends.  The expression on the great horse's face is priceless.  He is utterly at peace, knowing he is with the right people at the right time.  Mike's story about him will bring tears to your eyes.  And I have a bit more to add to that story.  I also read that when Precisonist was buried, a bugler in full uniform standing nearby sounded "Call to the Post" in his honor.  Several of the old thoroughbreds had gathered by the fence near the grave, watching the small group of mourners.  Then, when they heard those magical notes, some of them turned away from the fence out into the paddock and began cantering around, in a final tribute to one of their own.  It was as if they knew what a great champion had been laid to rest that day.  Wonderful piece, Steve, and thanks again, as always, for the memories.

07 Aug 2009 4:36 PM

ABZ, Ah, Princess Rooney.  One of the few racers, I have ever seen make three solid moves in a race.  I thought her jockey had the advantage of having a gear shift. Pat V certainly had the advantage of having a turbo engine beneath him.

07 Aug 2009 6:22 PM

Thanks for this nice story about two more great champions Steve. You have a very strong memory. Just to have these memories must be so wonderful! Seems to me you have lived the life every horse person dreams about.I for one wished I could of lived some of it. Thru your eyes and in my mind reading your stories almost takes me to those places and for that I thank you. Have a good time in Saratoga and bring us back some goodies.

07 Aug 2009 7:03 PM


Thank you so much for telling us about the Memorial to Precisionist on Old Friends' website. The most touching picture and article...

Beautiful final chapter to the life of a great racehorse.

I loved your anecdote about the final "Call to Post".

On my next trip to Kentucky, I will go to Old Friends and pay my respect to Precisionist. He is no longer just a name for me. Mr. Haskin brought him to life and you showed me how lovely he was to the end. Thank you!

07 Aug 2009 7:05 PM

Lovely article.

07 Aug 2009 7:38 PM
Soldier Course


One of my lifetime closest friends is a proud Centre College graduate. She is a dedicated scholar, hard worker, and sincere friend. I have always thought these qualities were a fine reflection on Centre.  

07 Aug 2009 7:39 PM
Soldier Course


Thanks for the information about broodmares. I'd like to see Blood-Horse do an article about broodmare health issues, including such issues as foaling at an older age. It may well be that there are health benefits as well as risks for the older broodmare to keep having foals. This topic would probably be of interest to fans as well as horsemen.  

07 Aug 2009 7:57 PM


07 Aug 2009 8:05 PM
Soldier Course


Thanks to you also for your information about broodmares and foaling. I don't think anyone meant to suggest cruelty re the older broodmares, only wonder and sadness when they die of complications, which is what I felt. Do you remember reading about Brown Bess "stealing foals" a couple of years ago in the Blood-Horse? This was such a sweet story. Brown Bess wanted that baby!  

07 Aug 2009 8:15 PM


I'm glad you mentioned the picture of Precisionist the day before he died and how at peace he looked.  There was similar photograph of Mom's Command with Abigail Fuller, her jockey for most of her races.  I think it was taken a day or two before they had to put her down.  To me it looked like she was aware what was going to happen and had accepted it because she was at peace, re-united with an old friend.

07 Aug 2009 8:42 PM

KMustang, you brought me to tears with that lovely speaking of Precisionists' burial and the tribute given him at Call to the Post by his compatriots.  I visualize the scene in my mind's eye and it is marvelous to behold.  Thank you.

Steve, as always, the stories you give us are remarkable in both subject and style.  Like others here who have always loved horses but hadn't had much exposure to racing, but have become devoted fans, I feel you are giving me a history lesson on what this sport is truly all about - the underappreciated as well as the greats, the intensity of competing and the joy of running for its own sake - and straight from the "horses mouth" at that!  You have such a gift!

Oh, by the way - the surprise winner of the WV Derby, Soul Warrior (admittedly a disappointment for this MTB fan) has Damascus in his dam line. Yet another winner for your beautiful boy.  :-)

07 Aug 2009 9:11 PM

I don't know how to post links (maybe Greg J can help:) )but after reading this I went to You Tube and they have a great one of Precisionist in his first back after retirement it's called- 1988 Precisionist Allowance Race Lost Rider. He "jumps for joy" at the finish line.

Kmustang...Your post was lovely.

07 Aug 2009 9:32 PM
John T.

I hope you keep writing about good horses from the past.What it really shows is with every passing

racing year there are always some fine racehorses that you just never forget.

07 Aug 2009 9:39 PM

Precisionist may have been the last great American horse to represent the rare Byerley Turk sire line.  It is a shame he could not reproduce.

07 Aug 2009 10:36 PM
Matthew W

Steve i sent a bet down to Del Mar when Precisionist was three, and he ran away with the about 1 1/4 Del Mar Championship race (before there was a Pacific Classic)...he paid big that day, I racall---Big for {Precisionist, but what a fast horse! Talk about high cruising speed---I remember he worked something like 1 :08 3/5 a week before the Breeders Cup, and Eddie Arcaro proclaimed him a "cannot lose" proposition--I was on Turkoman, and Laffit made that quick move with Skywalker--I viewed that fast work as my opportunity to bet against that big red guy! At 1 1/8, there were few better than Precisionist, if you wanted an easy lead, you were SOL if Precisionist was in there!

07 Aug 2009 10:45 PM
Soldier Course

Adam's Turf has a cute blog just up - "Turkey Duck Chicken". Head on over.

07 Aug 2009 10:49 PM
Matthew W

KMustang I'm having difficulty seeing my keys as I type this heartfelt "thank you" for your words....Precisionist was regal--and talk about battle-tested! At a flat, two-turn mile, I can think of a few who copuld match strides with him--Dr Fager, Seattle Slew, Swaps---but the list is small.....

07 Aug 2009 10:56 PM
Umatilla Joe

Fantastic article Steve. Wonder what a modern day competition between Rachel and Quality Road would bring? One thing, Rachel wouldn't look like a small adversary.

The amazing things about both Precisionist and the Iron Lady  was their ability to use their speed at all distances and to race as often as they did. Keep the memories alive Steve.

07 Aug 2009 11:08 PM
Matthew W

Steve, your story helps illustrate what I have been trying to say about the two big fillies--1 1/4 against older males is great, but why not try to face off with each other at 1 1/8, I mean, Lady's Secret is an all-time great filly---Precisionist is sort of an "invisible"  horse, and yet he was the superior racehorse when it came down to it--he beat her on the square both times---Savor Rachel's wins vs males, three year olds, but against the WORLD'S BEST OLDER  MALES, at 1 1/4, Both fillies would be in tough, that's why it hasn't been done since '68...lets just say if they BOTH do it--win the Classic--they will be two of the/if not the greatest two fillies ever!

07 Aug 2009 11:57 PM
Matthew W

Steve, talk about an invisible horse, Fred W Hooper had a nice three year old, red chestnut, around 1980...maybe a two word name starting with "J", but I'm far from sure....I think he was ill-fated, a real good horse with a nice turn of foot....anyone recall?

08 Aug 2009 12:09 AM

Damn Steve another box of tissue used. Next to Ruffian, Lady's Secret is argueably the best filly or mare who ever raced. She is always on everyone's top 5 list. I just loved her. I think she was Secretariat's best off-spring. What a time tested memory this is. I get goose bumps just remembering her. It has been said a trillion times, but we will never see race horses like those ever again.

Again Steve my man, magnifique............

08 Aug 2009 3:25 AM
Soldier Course

I've not done this before on a blog post, but here's the link to the Precisionist YouTube video mentioned above:

Doesn't look like it's registering as a link in this comment, but here goes anyway.

08 Aug 2009 10:59 AM

Matthew W,

Hooper did race Copelan, who was by Tri Jet out of Susan's Girl.  I believe he provided Frank Olivares with a big win when sent from SA to Florida for a stakes.

However, you should have seen Precisionist an hour after winning that Del Mar Handicap - I was walking down Jimmy Durante and looked over towards the barns.  Precisionist was cooling outside his barn.  He was standing tall, coat gleaming with his ears pricked.  I swear he wanted to go around again.  That and the time at HP, after losing by an inch to Greinton, when McCarron had the long caress atop him, as I have mentioned in another thread, are my two fondest memories of him.  He was very special.

But, did you notice the Forli connection in both Precisionist and Interco on the dam side?  Interco was a terror before hoof problems stopped his career.  Mishandled at stud by standing in California and being bred, for the most part to mediocre mares, he could not move them up.  However, when bred to quality mares such as a Don B mare, he produced some champions.  Megan's Interco could fly.  And wasn't he bred to Irish O'Brien, the terror of March 17th at SA?

08 Aug 2009 11:11 AM

34 starts as a 4-year old! Imagine! Today we have 6 year-olds (and maybe older) who haven't made that many starts and are being hailed as champions! Ah, those were the days! Thanks Steve for a look back at those special memories and the special way those horses made us feel. From an oldie who cheered for both of them.

08 Aug 2009 12:17 PM

Steve, you're the best!  I was hooked from the very start with this one, as I am with 99.9% of your stories.  Like the rest, I can't wait for the next one.

Found the following links that might be helpful to some.  First is the Old Friends 'memorial' site with Precisionist and Mike Blowen.  Second and third are the pedigreequery sites for both horses.  Both sites offer 'info' and 'picture' of each horse.

08 Aug 2009 1:05 PM

Awesome article! I've been a fan of horseracing since I was a kid. I only followed the Triple Crown races then but discovered there was more to it than those three races as I got older. This article made me feel like I was there. How lucky for your daughter to meet those two wonderful horses.

08 Aug 2009 1:50 PM
Matthew W

Berttheclock--It wasn't Copelan I'm thinking of, nor is it Tri Jet---Hooper had a real nice red colt, I wanna say was it Journey At Sea???!!! Just a fast horse who had an early demise---and Interco was the bomb--turf or dirt....another invisible gem, turf or dirt, was Go West Young Man, Mary Lou Tuck, trainer...saw him beat Balzac at Santa Anita as a two year old, won lots of dinero on that classy grey...I think Precisionist was 10-1 that day I sent a bet down with my brother, who became a huge Precisionist Fan...and it's horses like that, like susan's Girl, who raced on and on for years at the very top---THAT shines above other horses...horses like Lord At war, King Pellinore, Bates Motel, and the ill-fated and possibly the greatest Cal Bred of them all, we'll never know about Roving Boy, but you have to wonder...Lots of great Cali Horses over the years...another one running tom....ha ha....

08 Aug 2009 9:39 PM
Matthew W

Deacon a filly hasn't beaten older males at 1 1/4 on dirt in Gr I since '68...stands to reason if either/both of these two fillies does that feat (I wouldn't bet on it) they would propell right to the top.....ESPECIALLY when you consider the Breeders Cup Classic has the strongest field in the world--you could say the Classic is the hardest race to win in the world, it has evolved into a real world classic, consistently drawing the worlds best field of horses!

08 Aug 2009 9:46 PM

A "dainty" mare who raced 34 times by age 4 (and 45 times total). She raced against males, conceded weight to the males, raced at distances from 6 furlongs to 10 furlongs, raced regardless of track condition....

Your articles remind me of how much I miss the "good ole days" of horse racing.  We'll probably never see a filly that durable again and even if somebody managed to breed one, the trainer would probably be afraid to race her to her full potential.  

09 Aug 2009 12:20 AM

Barb, Lazmannick, Matthew W.,Sherpa,and Zookeeper---

You're welcome, and thanks to you all for your kind words.  These four-legged friends of ours sure grow on you, don't they?

I'm glad I was able to find that story and pass it on.

By the way, does anybody know if John Henry has a race named after him?  If not, that is an injustice that needs to be corrected.....ASAP.  (don't mean to be off topic)  I believe Precisionist and Lady's Secret already have their races.

09 Aug 2009 12:35 AM

Matthew W: Aew you speaking of Gamely in 1968? I am not I said a filly would beat the boys at a 1 1/4 in a grade 1. I said that I thought that Ruffian was the best filly I ever saw, and I said that Lady's Secret and Susan's Girl were in the top 5. With respect, Rags to Riches won a grade 1 in 2007, I am sure you remember the Belmont Stakes where she beat 2 time horse of the year Curlin. Does a 1 1/2 count better then a 1 1/4?  Just wondering...........

09 Aug 2009 2:31 AM
Abbie Knowles

Great writing as always Steve and your bloggers are great unlike some of the ones poor Jason has to put up with like Draynay etc.

However was annoyed by the implied criticism of an all time great trainer in D Wayne Lukas!  There was a programme shown in the UK shortly after the death of his "best ever" LANDALUCE! Her death was such a tragedy. She was only 2! He was in tears just talking about her!  He was not the only one. She was by SEATTLE SLEW of course!

D Wayne Lucas loves his horses and his 12 rules were a great idea!  My swiss cheesed memory is too swiss cheesed to remember what they were but they were in Pacemaker in an article about the great man!  Many years ago probably back in the 80's!

One day D Wayne Lukas will get a GREAT horse again!  People were just jealous of his success!

God bless

Best wishes


09 Aug 2009 6:22 AM

Matthew W, Of course, Journey at Sea.  Fine runner - I remember him due to the fact, that while I had Interco to win, a fellow who was a fine manager of his betting money, made more because while he had bet 20 to win on JatS, he backed it with a 200 dollar show bet.  Journey at Sea in on the dam's side of Student Council.

However, wasn't Roving Boy a Kentucky bred?  Bred by Yoder to Olden Times.  Yoder ran a horse of his named Mr Redoy or Yoder spelled backwards.  I knew Roving Boy well, because, I foolishly kept trying to beat him with the Jerry Fanning trained and Frank Olivares ridden Desert Wine. DW, finally won in the HP Futurity, following Roving Boy's untimely demise.  Did you know Pincay rode him, but, didn't like him so Eddie D took the mounts?  Thanks, for you reply.

09 Aug 2009 8:33 AM

Matthew W, that Journey show paid eith $6.20 ot $6.40.  But, it changed my betting habits, although I prefer either the exacta or trifecta backup to any win bet.

But, speaking of the trainer of Precisionist, Mr Fenstermaker, one of the more humorous TV moments was when he had to appear for a promo of an upcoming race for Mr P - Fenstermaker was a big man and very much a farm boy turned trainer.  He didn't have the Mr GQ polish of D Wayne.  So, he would appear with a stretchedout suit that could barely contain him.  It looked like something Warren Stute had picked out for him at the Salvation Army.  Warren being slender could pull it off.  But, Fenstermaker was indeed a fish out of water.  He just wanted to get back to the barn and rip that suit asunder.

09 Aug 2009 9:28 AM
Soldier Course


Someone here may have already suggested this, but how about renaming the Arlington Million for John Henry? And while they're at it, increase the purse!

09 Aug 2009 11:19 AM

Soldier Course...Thanks for posting the link. I guess I need to figure out how to do it myself, lol.

Abbie Knowles...I was just starting out as a fan in the early/mid 80s and D Wayne was HUGE. He got alot of bad publicity (esp.for high profile breakdowns) and I was influenced by the media to not like him. I have changed my opinion of him over the years and now have a TON of respect for him. I am glad to hear that he was well liked in England "back in the day".

09 Aug 2009 1:11 PM
Matthew W

Deacon I believe Princessnesian is the last filly to beat older males at Gr I 1 1/4 main track conditions, in 1968...It is my belief that fillies are equal to males in both speed and stamina, as those traits are inherant in the breeding...the shorter they go AND the longer they go they become equal--What is NOT inherant is STRENGTH, and males tend to be much stronger than fillies, making the classic distance of 1 1/4 more taxing of the filly v male horse, I think the facts back me up--It is NOT uncommon for a filly to outrun a male horse at 1/1/2 or longer, and it's not uncommon for a filly to beat the male horse at 5 fur....What Rachel is doing IS uncommon, and when you make it 1 1/4 against the world's best--lets just say that I wouldn't bet on either filly winning the Classic, based on those beliefs...

09 Aug 2009 1:51 PM

Many are probably unaware that Lady's Secret was an Oklahoma bred. She held the money winning record for Oklahoma breds until it was broken by Kip Deville.

09 Aug 2009 2:12 PM
Matthew W

"Oh yes they call it the streak...." ....Steve times are tough but today at Del Mar "everything's gonna be all-right"!!---(again)....

09 Aug 2009 2:41 PM


I believe Arlington has the $50,000 added John Henry Stakes on the closing weekend in September.

Nice to have a race named after him, but for only $50K?.  Big John helped put the Million on the map.  At least though they are showing some recognition.

09 Aug 2009 2:49 PM
Soldier Course


Copy URL to the Clipboard. You can do this by right-clicking URL on address bar, then clicking "copy".

Then Paste URL from Clipboard into your comment. You can do this by clicking "Edit" on the Toolbar, then clicking "paste".

09 Aug 2009 3:39 PM

Okiefromtulsa, nothing wrong there - Great Lady M, a stakes winner at SA was taken to Oklahoma.  She was no fluke - 14 foals, 13 raced with ll of them winning.  Several of her daughters became Black Type producers.

However, another Oklahoma sire, little noticed, was the son of Seattle Slew, Slewacide, the dam sire of Funny Cide.  However, I saw his son, Slew of Damascus, race for Craig Roberts in Washington and DM.  He set a one mile track record in the Wickerr.  Clevor Trevor was another son of Slewadice.  Some of these so-called lesser sons of Slew have done well, such as Slewledo in Washington.  His son, Snipledo, destroyed some well meant So Cal invaders in the '90 Longacres Mile.

However, to follow up on a comment supra, after D Wayne's hands on training of Tabasco Cat, he proved to me that any stories of him putting too much pressure on Saratoga Six were debunked by his outstanding hard boot love and devotion to the Cat.  He became a true hard boot at Belmont.

09 Aug 2009 3:57 PM
Abbie Knowles

Berttheclock how nice to come across another of Seattle Slew's fans who knows some of his lesser known success stories. Everyone knows Funny of course but many will have forgotten Clever Trevor, Slewledo and one i had not heard of in Snipledo. Slewledo's son?

Always good to come across Seattle Slew fans!  He de greatest!!!!!!  To me anyway and for 33 years he has been as good a friend as you could wish for and he and his dynasty gave me the will to carry on when i was close to giving up!  i owe him so much!

09 Aug 2009 7:13 PM
Soldier Course

Lesson to be learned, but how many times? KEEP THEM HOME.

Exceller: Sweden

Ferdinand: Japan

Drilling For Oil: Peru

09 Aug 2009 8:46 PM
Tim G

Question. Do any of you actually know Wayne?

I have seen it over and over again, Lady's Secret would not have accomplished what she did without the care and handling by Wayne, Jeff and Kiaran.

09 Aug 2009 8:48 PM

Matthew W:  Princessnesian was a classy mare, she and Gamely were from the same stable. I still rank Rags to Riches performance in the Belmont better then anything I have seen from a filly in a long,long time. That is just my opinion though. I do agree that females beating the boys at a 1 1/4 is awfully tough to do. With that said, this years crop of 3 year colts and older handicap horses are much less then average. I suppose if the girls are ever to beat the boys in the BC Classic this might be the year.

09 Aug 2009 10:08 PM

Thank you Steve. I wish more races from that period were on YouTube or someplace else. I got into racing just a few years later in 1989. Even though Lady's Secret is ranked highly by most everyone, I still think she may be underrated. The only older female horses since 86' that deserve comparison to Lady's Secret are Personal Ensign, Bayakoa, Azeri, and now Zenyatta(I also respect Paseana). If I had to choose, I would take Lady's Secret's 86' campaign slightly ahead of Bayakoa's 89'.

Precisionist was arguably the best miler of the past 25 years. Of the more recent horses, Ghostzapper and Congaree probably come closest. Prescisionist had 3 major rivalries in 86', with Lady's Secret, Greinton, and Turkoman. Those stats on Precisionist's speed(times at 6, 8, and 10 furlongs) are simply amazing.

10 Aug 2009 3:10 AM

The "good ole days" are NOT that long ago. Lukas raced another filly, a champion 3 year old filly no less, 15 times at age 4 in 1996. Of course, her name was Serena's Song. While Lady's Secret was dubbed the "Iron Lady", Serena's Song was called the "Iron Filly".

10 Aug 2009 3:17 AM

Snow- It wasn't my intent to knock DWL. I meant it as a compliment and have nothing but respect for his horsemanship.

10 Aug 2009 7:21 AM
Soldier Course

Disney's allowing Quarter horses to audition for role of Secretariat. Head wrangler for movie says "we'll do the best we can". Watch out now, don't get too confident.

Why am I worried?  

10 Aug 2009 8:29 AM
Soldier Course

Abbie Knowles:

Have you seen Seattle Slew's burial site at Hill 'N' Dale? It is breathtaking. The setting is so perfect that you can't take a bad photograph of it, even if you're an amateur. This alone would be worth a trip to Lexington.

10 Aug 2009 11:47 AM
Soldier Course

My previous post, about Seattle Slew's burial site, brought this to mind.

I hesitate to mention it, because I know that Claiborne Farm is rightfully proud of its dignified stallion cemetery, so full of history and generations of champions. But visitors can't help but notice that Secretariat is buried adjacent to the office's AC/heating unit.

I wonder if Secretariat's burial site will ever be moved to the Kentucky Horse Park, as Man O' War's was done?

10 Aug 2009 12:08 PM

Gun Bow,

Nice point about her as the best older mare since she has run.  I agree and also rate her just above Personal Ensign, Zenyatta, Bayakoa, and Azeri.  Take notice that she was the only one on that list to have a great 3-year-old campaign.  Her Summer and Fall of 1985 was spectacular.  She won eight consecutive stakes including sweeping the old handicap female series at Belmont (Maskette, Ruffian and Beldome) with dominating performances as a 3- year-old.

11 Aug 2009 11:53 AM

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