Hangin' With Haskin: Secretariat 2010

 (As an addendum to the Secretariat trilogy, I am linking to my story that has been on Secretariat.com for the past several weeks. While we’re all in a Secretariat frame of mind, ponder this: What if Big Red had been racing in today high-tech age? That is the assignment I was given. So, forget the movie and the 1970s for a few minutes and try to envision Secretariat running now instead of 37 years ago).

“Secretariat.com is proud to present our new Writers Forum section. Writers Forum consists of periodic articles form some of America's foremost racing writers covering a diverse range variety of topics relating to Secretariat. Our second installment of the Writers Forum features the popular author and racing journalist Steve Haskin pondering the question of Secretariat racing in today's high-tech age. An engaging read adding a new perspective to the world's most famous horse.”

By Steve Haskin

Read the story at:


Having had time to let the Secretariat movie sink in even further, I offer another perspective of the film as a Final Turn in this week’s Blood-Horse magazine, which also will appear on Bloodhorse.com. This deals strictly with the film as entertainment and its likely impact on the public. It concludes:

“They (the public) are going to go to be entertained and overwhelmed by the beauty and excitement of Thoroughbred racing and the phenomenon that was Secretariat. And, of course, they are going to be overcome with emotion, as memories of the equine heroes of their own childhood come flooding back.

Director Randall Wallace has brought a new, innovative method of photographing races that brings the audience right into the action, and his extreme close-ups in the starting gate capture the drama, tension, and anticipation that precede a race of the magnitude of the Triple Crown events.

So, one month after seeing the film, the heck with the flaws and the liberties taken. I have come to grips with what this movie was intended to be. It has brought back into public consciousness a legendary athlete that transcended his sport and sports in general, weaving himself into the fabric of American culture. And it tells the story of one woman’s dogged determination in a world she had long since left behind.

I can’t wait to see it again.”

In conclusion to this week-long tribute to Secretariat and the new Disney movie, I have posted  two final photos of Big  Red with my daughter Mandy taken at Claiborne Farm either in 1985 or’86.



Leave a Comment:


Beautiful, Mr. Haskin.   You can see the age catching up with Big Red,  He was such a beautiful horse.   I hope all goes well for Zenyatta, So she to will always be remembered as Secretariat is.... One of the greats in history...

The Immortals..

26 Sep 2010 4:12 PM

Awesome article, and too true.  High Tech gone horse-crazy!  Wouldn't that be something?  

26 Sep 2010 4:19 PM
Soldier Course

Thank you for these last two wonderful photographs of Secretariat in his last years at Claiborne. And thanks, too, for ending this timely set on a positive note. I'll be getting in line.

26 Sep 2010 4:22 PM
Sharon M

I'm so looking forward to the premier!  I hope Disney has a big promotion budget for the movie. I've decided I won't say anything about the "flaws" in the movie when my husband and son go with me.  I want to see their honest reactions.  I feel certain I'll love it no matter what!  

26 Sep 2010 4:36 PM

Great article Steve...as usual. But I must say that as someone who periodically checks out Secretariat.com I was surprised that they even had a writers forum. I had never seen it before and had to actually "search" for it finding it in the Fan Club. BTW, I have my own picture of Secretariat and myself at Claiborne in the same spot as your picture...must of been a favorite of his. He actually followed me,my dad and Clay Arnold around the outside of his paddock as we left my poor mom wandering around on her own. Sir Ivor didn't take kindly to my mom getting too close to his "space" and almost took her head off!!! Gave us all a scare and my mom never went back to ANY horse farm after that.

26 Sep 2010 4:37 PM

Great articles on beloved Secretariat Steve, thanks!  Here's an idea: before they send Zenyatta to be a broodmare, how about they shoot a ton of movie-quality footage of her racing, morning works, life on the backstretch, etc. so that when they make the movie of her (hopefully SOONER than Secretariat's) they wouldn't have the impossible task of finding look-alikes!  after all, she already lives in Hollywood!  I am dead serious, wish someone would pass this idea on to the Mosses~

26 Sep 2010 4:42 PM

Hi Steve,

I read your "Hi-Tech Sec" piece. Found it very well written and inspiring, but doubt your scenario is (would have been) accurate. As much as I'd prefer it was otherwise, I even doubt his public popularity would have been similar (to what's said in your piece) had the present Hi-Tech age occurred directly prior to the 70's (as "High-Tech" and its consequence, itself, may contribute to racing's diminished popularity). But, taking your proposition as written-Secretariat today- we have recently been offered a clue in the form of "Big Brown" as to what his relative popularity (prior to The Belmont) might have been. I'm not suggesting that Secretariat's wouldn't have been greater, only that the difference wouldn't be at all exponential. I also grasp the disparities re-the human connections, but Secretariat's was not a rags to riches story, or one particularly gripping from the human standpoint. As to the sheer physical majesty of the horse I, myself, prefer the looks of Big Brown among many others. Lastly, re-popularity, Secretariat vs Big Brown; Secretariat did win the Triple Crown, Big Brown did not, but even had he won it I'd venture to guess that you wouldn't propose a similar type Secretariat "story".    

26 Sep 2010 4:47 PM
Soldier Course

Loved your linked article. And Big Red wouldn't need the "East Coast bias" to win HOTY today.

26 Sep 2010 5:18 PM
Steve Haskin

Sheri, that's why I linked to it. They couldn't have hidden it better if they had tried. Even after I knew where it was I still had to search for it.

26 Sep 2010 5:49 PM
Steve Haskin

Sceptre, as you said, Secretariat won the Triple Crown. Big Brown did not. Everything else is pure speculation, as is the article. If you don't think the story behind Penny is a compelling one, I advise you not to see the movie.

26 Sep 2010 5:53 PM
Laura -Into_the_Mystic


Well played Steve.. well played.

26 Sep 2010 6:06 PM
Karen in NY

Thanks Steve for a final note of good feel for this upcoming film.

I was going to see it with my whole family regardless of the critics just  to relive the moment as best I could and share it with my kids who have come to love the sport today. I do not know what has taken so long for Secretariat to be honored in a movie. He was a gift from GOD. Peggy Chenery deserves KUDOS for being a gutzy woman and should be honored as well. It is a compelling and true story that deserves a film to bring it to the masses that did not live through the time. I know it is flawed but the essence of the star Secretariat will be honored and I am so very grateful for that. I already bought some new books about him. Its all GOOD!

Long live BIG RED!

26 Sep 2010 6:20 PM

Steve, you write beautifully, and your high tech, high visibility for Secretariat led me through the same speculative doors as you.  As for Sceptre's monkey wrench, ever since a True Nicks blog where he compared horse racing to dog fighting, I have given little credence to any of his opinions.

26 Sep 2010 6:20 PM
Kelso Fan

What a great commentary - I absolutely agree.  I think the age of technology was made for a Secretariat.  Just think of how popluar Zenyatta is - and compare how technology savvy owners and trainers could help the public get to know a runaway Triple Crown winner.  

And to Sceptre, I can't deny Big Brown's talent but I don't think you can even compare his story to that of Secretariat (and let's not leave out Riva Ridge when it comes to the Penny Chenery story).

What a great idea to collect the footage of Zenyatta in anticipation!   And to add a suggestion for movies to the many compelling story out there - how about that of Allaire DuPont and Kelso.  Mrs. Dupont was an extraordinary woman (read about her history and accomplishments) and of course, Kelso was (to my mind anyway) the most accomplished racehorse in history and the fact that he had a wonderful second career with Mrs. Dupont is a testimony to the ability of OTTBs everywhere.   Imagine riding a 5 time horse of the year in a show ring or on a fox hunt - add the story of his sire to it and Mrs. Dupont's influence on EP Taylor to bring Northern Dancer to the states.  

26 Sep 2010 6:42 PM

Excellent article, Steve!  I think you nailed it regarding the effects today's technology would have if Secretariat was racing in our instant wired world.  We've recently been treated to a web cam for Mine That Bird, a blog for Rachel Alexandra and to think of Penny Chenery tweeting about Secretariat - the web would have gone wild.  I think it's a brilliant piece of creativity and I hope the momentum stirred by the movie will continue to echo into the industry where it is needed.  Thank you!  

26 Sep 2010 6:47 PM

I, have never met Penny Chenery , but I have seen her in countless interivews and shows.    I must say I adore this woman and think she is the best thing in horse racing.  I'm so glad she is still with us and to be able to talk about such a wonderful part of history , and being the owner of the great Secretariat.

26 Sep 2010 7:00 PM

Love the articles on Secretariat. I can't wait to see the movie and have been watching the trailers as much as possible (time to get along to something else here...).  Secretariat is my greatest hero.  I was 11 years old when he ran to greatness, and I sat and the floor in front of the tv cheering him on in those triple crown races.  I have the Sports Illustrated poster of him, running straight at you, on my office wall, and the Richard Stone Reeves print in the living room along with the famous black and white photo of his Belmont. I found a great video clip from the 70's on Youtube a little while back, of him running free in his paddock. Takes my breath away. I always say he is the most beautiful thing God ever put on this planet. Thanks for your great memories and photos of him.

26 Sep 2010 7:02 PM


26 Sep 2010 7:13 PM

Thanks, Mr. Haskins, for sharing further thoughts re the gret Secrtariat.

I did have to chuckle as I read sodapopkid's comments about age catching up or showing on Sec.....

I glanced back at the pics and it struck me as to how much DARK

hair and full beard a certain well-known, well loved equine writer has aged gracefully.

26 Sep 2010 7:15 PM
Mike Relva


Always enjoy your posts. You should post more.

26 Sep 2010 7:30 PM

I've just seen a TV add for the movie. An add I've already seen several times and still... goosebumps city and teary eyes. I can just imagine what it will be like watching the whole movie. I'll come out of there looking like I've just lost my best friend, all puffy-eyed and red- nosed.

I've received the book by Kate Chenery Tweedy "Secretariat's Meadow". It is magnificent. An absolute treasure of history and photos never seen before. (At least not by me.) The cover, a painting of Secretariat, is gorgeous. I'm thrilled with it and looking forward to savoring it when I get some quiet time.

Mr. Haskin, I loved your fantasy scenario of Secretariat in the cyber-age. Since I don't tweet, text or own an IPhone, I would be out of the loop if it wasn't for your great writing to keep me in touch with Big Red and Penny Chenery (one of my human heroes). I believe that this is far better than any text, tweet or flip (whatever that may be).

Dr Drunkinbum, I'm glad you're back and in full form. I answered you on the other blog but the cybermonster zapped my post into oblivion. Would love to see your Derby Dozen (even if it's premature). I bet Jacinto is on it.  :)  

26 Sep 2010 7:35 PM
mike rullo


did secretariat have a different look to him than the other horses you saw at claiborne?

how kind was the horse??

seattle slew was a mean horse!

26 Sep 2010 8:40 PM
Robin from Maryland

I certainly enjoyed the blog.  If Secretariat were here today, think what he would do for racing and the world in general.  Think back to 1973 and the mess of the war; and than you saw a Big Red horse galloping down the track so far in front that he probably could have gone around again and still finished first, and suddenly all else was forgotten and the world seemed a happier place.  Now fast-forward to today and all the munbo-jumbo in the polictical world; and here's a horse who can take our minds off all that.  All we're talking about is this Big Red monster and his ability rather than tax increases and medical ins.  Sure would be something.  Now back to reality, it's 30+ yrs. later and all we have is the memories of a Big Red horse who stole our hearts and brought us all together.  

26 Sep 2010 8:50 PM


REALLY? You really prefer the looks of Big Brown over Secretariat? I hardly think the comparison between the Big Brown run up to his Belmont to Big Red's is valid. MAYBE Smarty or maybe Funny Cide, but not really. Remember, Secretariat was HOTY as a two year old. Penny Tweedy owned the KY derby winner from the year before.  I don't remember Big Brown's record as a two year old. Oh wait...maybe I do. By the way, I really am a Big Brown fan, but no way is he even remotely in Secretariat's realm to compare with. It would be a huge deal for him to run these days. We should only be so lucky....

26 Sep 2010 9:14 PM

once again, well written. As cool as the thought of a horse like Secretariat in the now ages, it would good he came along when he did! I look foward to your next post.

26 Sep 2010 9:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Yeah, I know about the cybermonster.

1. Jaycito

2. Elite Alex

3. Curlinello

4. Revelator

5. Smash

6. Astrology

7. Clubhouse Ride

8. Sway Away

9. Uncle Mo

10. Stay Thirsty

11. Masterpiece

12. The Freak

13. Boys At Tosconova (donut fever pick)

26 Sep 2010 10:31 PM
Karen in Texas

I really enjoyed your Secretariat series and thought your idea of him in the cyber-world was exactly right! He would still transcend the racing scene and would be crashing sites and dominating you-tube. His physical perfection and accomplishments on the track are astounding and would not be diminished, regardless of the era in time.

26 Sep 2010 10:33 PM
Barbara W

Thank you so much for these comments and those great pictures of Secretariat. I cannot wait for the movie and will treat anyone I can drag to go with me.

If the people with money to produce movies would just realize how much people enjoy films about famous horses, we would see many more. It's an idea whose time has come, and I agree completely with those who suggest that video of Zenyatta be stockpiled before the movie about her is made. They would never find a mare who looks like her!

I loved Secretariat's Meadow. The front cover picture of him is alone worth the price.

Since I believe all horses are gifts from God, I can love them all, but  Secretariat, Tiznow, and Zenyatta make my heart sing.

26 Sep 2010 10:37 PM
Outlaw Enterprises


You obviously put a lot of thought into the article for Secretariat.com but one thing was missing: Do you think you would personally like Big Red as much if he was running now?

From my perspective, the level of sophistication in the media at the time actually increased his deity status.  If people were lucky, they got to see him run in person or they had to watch him on TV.  When they wanted more of his and the connections background, people had to wait for the newspaper the next day or for the weekly industry publications.

Nowadays, even if you don't watch a race, you know the full card 5 minutes after the race is over.  People from around the world get to argue points of view 24/7 on something like this (ala Z & RA).

Back then, everyday people were able to go to the farm and see these legendary horses and make lifelong memories of standing beside and scratching a legend.  Now, sometimes it seems that you almost need to prove that you are able to afford the stud fee before you are even allowed to lay eyes on the horses.

My point being, a TC winner now would definitely excite racing fans and pull in a number of "non-fans", but it would not be the incredible circus that happened back in the 70s.

And, most of his biggest fans would not be allowed anywhere near him once he left the track (until he went to Old Friends, of course).

So, I ask: What do you and your loyal readers think?  Would 30 million people now follow a TC winner for the rest of the year or would he be forgotten by the general public 2 weeks after the Belmont?


26 Sep 2010 10:42 PM

Mr. Haskin - I admit to having found & read the Secretariat.com article a couple of days ago when you hinted about it.  However, I refrained from commenting then as I didn't want to spoil your Sunday blog for everybody else. ;-)

You did a brilliant and very creative job of writing that piece!  If, had Secretariat been campaigning today and we could follow him on the internet instead of waiting for newspaper or TV news reports, his following would certainly overshadow our current hero/ines.  Perhaps his movie will accomplish a similar wave of Facebook "friends" for him now.

26 Sep 2010 10:54 PM

I think the story of Secretariat is one that should begin with Christopher Chenery and Bull Hancock. These were the men that imported Princequillo and Nasrullah, respectively, the grandsires of Secretariat. It was Bull's pedigree knowledge that produced Bold Ruler and he suggested to Penny to breed him to Somethingroyal that produced Secretariat. Somethingroyal was a blue hen mare and a proven stakes producer. This is not a hard-luck story but one that began way before Penny had the LUCK to take the reins of a farm with a history of producing champions. She had nothing to do with this groundwork. Chenery had become sick and therefore the management of the barn fell to her but she was later unable to keep the farm going for untold reasons. She got lucky; she did not make Secretariat happen. Our popular media cheapens the story of Secretariat by implying the great champion was produced by a mere stroke of luck and a housewife with gumption. I saw the previews and frankly, I am not sure I will see the movie. It reminds me of the crap Hollywood produced with Laura Hillenbrand' masterpiece of Seabiscuit. Why can't they tell the story the way it is? It is more interesting that way.

A horse like Secretariat took years and years to produce through trial and error, guts, risk and a ton of money. It took men like Chenery and Hancock that poured over pedigree trees and bred the animals they raced and culled the ones that didn't.  Secretariat was like the finest wine, one that came from the oldest and richest vineyard. The tree was not nurtured in favor of weaker, less flavorful but faster harvest.

This is why horses like him don't come around anymore.

27 Sep 2010 12:02 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   How bout dem Cowboys !!!! You must be proud, proud, proud. Steve was right, ask him in 14 weeks. Reports of their demise was greatly exaggerated. On the other hand, the 49er's stink in every respect. I'm not going to switch sides, but it already looks like wait another five years, at least. They look terrible. I thought Singletary was going to whip them into shape, instead they look like whipped cream, without a cherry on top, and the cream is melting onto the plate, and the pie is all soggy. Is there any Milk Duds left?

27 Sep 2010 12:38 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   The youngest Jacinto is ten years old listed at pedigreequery.com. Is there a two year old Jacinto that isn't listed yet?

27 Sep 2010 12:43 AM
The Deacon

No offense to anyone but comparing Big Brown to Secretariat in anyway shape or form is like comparing my golf swing to Tiger Woods or going to a gunfight with a pocket knife.

Excellent finale to a great series of blogs Steve. You are the Big Red of writing.............

27 Sep 2010 12:55 AM
Yvonne Baker

I love that horse--wish he could live forever, but then he does in the memories and hearts of everyone that crossed his path...what a great horse--can't wait to see the movie!!!!

27 Sep 2010 12:57 AM

I for one am so glad Secretariat belonged to an era in thoroughbred racing where people's greed and self serving interests weren't so blatant as they are today. It pains me to see great horses like Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra disrespected every time I go online...and I am thankful Secretariat was spared that.

27 Sep 2010 8:10 AM

The article assumes that he wins the Triple Crown as before.

But would the racing and training 'norms' of today in some way have compromised him? His abilities? Would he have been trained as thoroughly?  He loses the Wood and maybe his trainer thinks its too close too the Derby and waits for the Preakness or something?  What trainer today would have done the kinds of things that Lauren would have?  Maybe he would have been given a permissible drug that would have compromised something...

how many other Secretariats have fallen by the wayside because of the way that the racing game is played now, and not hit the pinnacle that he did?


27 Sep 2010 8:31 AM

Dr Drunkinbum,

Oops! It was a case of "senior moment". I meant Jaycito... and sure enough, he's on top on your list.

Barbara W,

"I loved Secretariat's Meadow. The front cover picture of him is alone worth the price." My feelings exactly when I opened the package from Amazon and there was His Majestic Self, in all His Glory!!! It took my breath away. The last paragraph of your post makes us "racingfan sisters". I didn't see Secretariat live, but I sure have seen Tiznow and savored every moment. As to Zenyatta, I'm still feasting!!!  

27 Sep 2010 8:52 AM

My first book was "THE HORSE GOD BUILT". I think GOD gave the race world a wonderful horse for us to enjoy. My other favorite horse was JOHN HENRY.He was abused and showed everyone that he could survive and did. He deserved a fair shake.If you are treated nice you will act nice,horses respond the same way.

27 Sep 2010 8:58 AM
Lloyd Smith

I remember reading a Sports Illustrated article at the time of Secretariat's 2 year old campaign that referred to the horse as "that big lobster"(trainer comment) that indicated his running style was a little overwhelming. It gave the impression of bullying tactics common at the time. Until the triple crowh run, it was Secretariat that was "going down" (movie reference)instead of Sham. Also, I believe Sham has been portrayed incorrectly in the movie and history in general, as he was an honest horse and reveals further that perhaps the talent pool encountered by Big Red was not as strong as in previous or subsequent years. Nevertheless, it is a great story from the standpoint of Ms. Chenery's determination to campaign two Kentucky Derby winners and rejuvenate a sport still living in the past.

Thank you for your great turf writing and your knowledge of the game.

27 Sep 2010 9:15 AM
Bob Hutt

Steve your passion for horseracing and love of Secretariat and his accomplishments transcends everything else.  You are true friend of horseracing and for that I salute you.  Keep up the great work.

27 Sep 2010 9:17 AM

Has anyone ever seen a TB with a thicker neck than Secretariat's?  Even in his yearling photo, his neck stands out to me.  And in the photos above... you can really see it.

27 Sep 2010 9:21 AM

Thanks for sharing those photos. He was still the most beautiful horse I have ever seen even at 15 or 16, and you can tell by his looking at the camera what a "ham" he still was even then. Apart from being perhaps the greates racehorse of all time, Secretariat had a "personality" that reached out and grabbed you like so few others ever have. You can't just look at him and think "Oh, thats a horse, big deal" you are just drawn to him as though his giant heart were some mystical magnet pulling you in. I would give anything if I could go back in time and just touch that horse once, just be in his presence. You are a lucky, lucky man Mr. Haskin for having had that opportunity. Thank you for sharing that with us.

27 Sep 2010 9:23 AM

I would like to respond to the blog about whether Secretariat would gain the same kind of following today as he did back in the 70's and sad to say I don't think so for several reasons. First, we live in an age where people don't even have to go to the track to bet on races anymore, they can do it right from home on their computer. They are not drawn to the track to see the horse in person the way they were years ago.

Second, I think with all the recent scandals in sport everyone would assume that Secretariat was on some performance enhancing drug when he won the Belmont by 31 lengths. Look at Big Brown's performance in the Belmont when the trainer took him off the steroid he had been on.

Third, I agree with the other person when they said that now days fans can't get close to the stars they way they once could. Secretariat would have been locked away from his adoring public to breed, breed and breed some more. Who gets to go see Smarty Jones today, who ever got to go see Seattle Slew or Affirmed once they were retired?

I think Secretariat came along at the absolute perfect time in history, we will never duplicate it again even if another superhorse comes along to win the Crown. I would lay odds that if a TC winner comes along you won't see that horse run again after the Belmont. They will be wisked away to the breeding shed and you will only get to read about them on websites like this.

27 Sep 2010 9:34 AM

The writer who states that the story of Secretariat should begin with Christopher Chenery and Bull Hancock is, I think, missing the point of why this is a compelling story.

You had a woman at a time when men completely dominated the sport managing the greatest racehorse in history. She wasn't just a pretty face allowing others to tell her what to do, she was calling the shots. The writer is correct, Secretariat was the product of careful breeding that Mrs. Chenery's father had started years before, but Penny could have chosen to sell Secretariat, she could have chosen to pull him from the Derby after his loss in the Wood Memorial, she could have sold the farm rather than try to save it. This is what makes the story of Secretariat a compelling one. If you told the same old story of how two wealthy white males bred horses for years and got Secretariat no one would care.

27 Sep 2010 9:39 AM

As some of you already know, I've been organizing a group of Steve's fans to meet at HP when Zenyatta races next Saturday.  We want to honor Steve and the effect he's had on us through his blog.  Our group has enough people now, so I've stopped recruiting, but I wanted to thank Steve for being a gem of gems, a treasure.  And thanks to all of you for your inspiration and your good wishes!

The surprise I've been hinting about:  Steve so kindly and graciously arranged for us to meet the great Zenyatta in person!  We're all over the moon about it.  Dottie has been an absolute pleasure to work with, and I am continually struck by her generosity and kindness.  



27 Sep 2010 9:49 AM
steve from st louis

I know this sounds too far-fetched, and maybe it's because I'm getting old, but I thought I read somewhere where there was someone out there comparing Big Brown favorably to  Secretariat.

I realize we all have different perspectives and life experiances, but I can't imagine too many people even taking themselves seriously after submitting that for anyone else's consideration.

27 Sep 2010 10:08 AM
Karen in Texas

For those of you who think Secretariat would not achieve great popularity today, and cite public cynicism and high-tech impersonal methodologies; how do you discount the following that Smarty generated? How can you ignore the phenomenon that became the BarbaroNation? These modern horses were household names and were aided by the cyber-world in their rise to mega-star status.

27 Sep 2010 10:54 AM

I've often thought of "what if high tech" with many of the greats.

The more I ponder the character bashing in the movie and what I've seen of the trailer, the more I am positive I won't see it... destroying a good or decent reputation is about as low as you can go. I won't donate my admission price to that cause.

27 Sep 2010 11:17 AM
Pedigree Ann

Sham was a darn good horse; in his Santa Anita Derby he showed his heels to some top ones, like Linda's Chief and Ancient Title. You may not recognize the name of Linda's Chief, but he won 7 graded stakes at 3, including the Withers and the old 1-mile dirt Arlington Classic; he was also a good one at 4, but in May he fell over the rail in the chute at Hollywood (7f Los Angeles H, I think) and broke his neck. Ancient Title you probably know: he later won the Hollywood Gold Cup, Whitney, etc., etc. Derby and Preakness third Our Native won the Flamingo and Monmouth Invitational (now the Haskell) as well as the Ohio Derby. The Derby fourth was Forego. You don't think this was a salty group of 3yos?

The horse that was 2nd in the Belmont had been 12th in the Derby, 24 lengths behind Secretariat; after Sham had given it his all and failed, there was nothing else in the race because Sec had scared them away.

27 Sep 2010 11:50 AM

ruffianruns - now I really am jealous!!  LOL!  No, seriously, I think that is a wonderful, wonderful excursion to HP that you all are going to have and I am so excited for you.  I love that Steve has been the catalyst to make all this happen and I can't wait for the full report when it's all said and done.  That is just so cool.  

You mentioned how wonderful Zenyatta's connections are being with your group getting to visit her and it again highlights part of the features of Secretariat's greatness, apart from his amazing talent and charisma, was his connections - Penny Chenery Tweedy.  The story might not be as compelling to some who take for granted the social acceptance we have in today's world for women to accomplish what they do, but in 1972 - 1973, it was groundbreaking.

The Deacon - re: your early a.m. post - well said - lol!

Outlaw - I think people would still follow Secretariat today if there was a horse of his caliber on the track.  That's why we are all here - we are waiting, waiting and hoping it will happen.  Will it?  Sad to say, I very much doubt it, but ever the optimist - I hope so.

27 Sep 2010 11:56 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I think Rachel Alexandra may be entered in The Classic afterall, after she romps in The Beldame. The thought process will be that she loves the Churchill track, and the 1 1/4 will be less taxing for her on that track than in her last race. That is where the glory will be, is in The Classic. They will figure they have nothing to lose for a former HOY. They will only run in the Ladies if they feel at that point that there is no way she could win the Classic. I believe they are going to think there is a way.

27 Sep 2010 12:35 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   It's about time you spilled the beans !!!!! That's a great gift from Steve and the Shirreffs. You're supposed to bow when you meet The Queen so don't forget.

27 Sep 2010 12:59 PM
Soldier Course

Movie director Mike Nichols once said, "A movie is like a person. Either you trust it or you don't. "

For the racing fans here, this is what "Secretariat" will come down to. I don't think there will be any middle ground for us. Even if the movie's not perfect, we may be able to trust the message it carries about Secretariat and his connections

27 Sep 2010 1:01 PM


Thank you for shedding more light on the greatest horse of all time. He is the reason I fell in love with racing.

I wish folks could try and keep this about Big Red, not Zenyatta. Yes she is great, and I'm sure much will be written about her and deservedly so, but Secretariat earned the right to be praised in his own right.

There is no comparison between the two. No other horse will ever win the Derby and Preakness in record times and then follow that up with a 2:24 in the Belmont -- the Test of the Champion.

He sits atop the highest echelon --all alone. Just like in the Belmont.

27 Sep 2010 1:17 PM
LouAnn Cingel of Union, Missouri

Absolutely wonderfully written articles in regards to Secretariat-Steve your writing always captivates me bringing words to life.  Thanks for sharing the pics of Secretariat with you and your daughter-priceless indeed!  The life and times of Secretariat are so moving, and so cherished. I love that Big Red.  He is and always will be deeply embedded in my heart as he races on and on and on and on and.........

27 Sep 2010 1:34 PM


You commented that Secretariat would have a Facebook page if he were running now.  I agree, but I have an experience with Facebook to share which has given me a new understanding of how the new social media work and for whom.

When I wanted to find out more about Rachel Alexandra last year I joined Facebook and started reading these blogs at about the same time, just lurking in the background.  I first posted here last week and was given an unexpectedly warm welcome.  As you said, "anyone who loves horses is welcome here".  

My experience with Facebook, however is that it is full of what I would have called "chatter", not much information.  Last week on a segment about Lotta Kim, a lady with the last name Morrison posted that Lotta Kim was in foal to Medaglio d'Oro and was due in February, that even though she had rejected Rachel she had been a good mother to her subsequent foal who had to be euthanized due to a neurological disease.  After her posts I expected some comment from the others because she was obviously connected with Rachel's breeder, Dolphus Morrison, but nothing happened.  So I wrote a message to Mrs. Morrison (the wife of Dolphus) and thanked her for the information and asked her to keep us posted on the foal.  There were no other comments about this subject until the site creator posted an announcement of basically the same information that Mrs. Morrison had put there 2 days before.  Then several people commented on it.  I recently posted a comment to the Rachel fan page and to a new one for Zenyatta fans about being excited about going to see Zenyatta on Oct 2. I thought (being fan pages there would be someone who was interested and would comment on that fact.)  So far there hasn't been any comment on my post either.  The attribute that Mrs. Morrison and I share on Facebook is that we use the generic profile picture.  I hope to change mine after this weekend when I see Zenyatta.  My current working theory which makes me feel stupid for not seeing it earlier is that Facebook doesn't operate the same way as this blog.  People are there for different reasons which is basically social networking, not information.  I didn't realize until the last few days that in a stream of responses you can click on the name of a person and be transferred to his/her page and leave a note or message to just that person.  

Because people are looking for other similar persons to "network" with the use of a generic picture probably doesn't get the same interest as a photo where age, gender,etc. are on view.  

So, I don't want to criticize your predictions, Steve because I respect you too much but I think that the future of the network interconnected age may mean less interest in a particular personality, human or equine and more variety in what we consider to be "heroes", hence reality TV shows.

27 Sep 2010 1:59 PM

BTW,  Penny did sell the horse for 6M to pay for estate taxes,  he stopped racing after his 3rd year because of the syndication and she did sell the farm. The story of two SELF-MADE wealthy men that laid the groundwork for Sec. is still more interesting and true.  The work had been done by the time she arrived.

27 Sep 2010 2:18 PM

Don't be so hard on Sceptre.  Sceptre is playing the "Devil's Advocate."  

Sceptre was actually Penny's first choice name for Secretariat.

27 Sep 2010 2:25 PM

Christine - Just so you know, Steve gave me his permission to discuss our trip on his newest blog.  But I understand your point and I will take care to limit my discussion.

Thank you all again for the good wishes.

27 Sep 2010 2:36 PM

Christine: What you might not understand is ruffianruns started a thread on the Slew blog inviting anyone who wished to go to join them in the "Haskin" box.  As you can see, with the help of Steve Haskin and Dottie Ingordo, she was able to reveal the surprise that was planned for next Saturday at HP.  Since this is the most recent of Steve's blogs, that's why she made the announcement here...to let everyone know...not to detract from the Secretariat blog.  In fact, ruffiansruns just spiced the pot by upping the ante.  I'm soooo jealous still.

27 Sep 2010 3:19 PM

Photos brought a tear to the eye. I still remember when he looked like that - and when he was in his prime too as I was NOT a child in his heyday. That Belmont stretch run still awes me even so many years later. As for the movie, in Canada things are usually somewhat behind so I may have to wait a bit to see it - but I plan to (and I haven't been to a movie since Seabiscuit; oh the trials of being poor!). If the movie ignites a spark in some younger hearts and gets 'em out to the track and in love with the game, I'll forgive any and all artistic licenses taken in producing it. Hey, it's the greatest game in the world, isn't it? Here's hoping the hi-tech, "virtual" addicts fall in love with this wonderful reality instead.

27 Sep 2010 3:43 PM
Vin C

Zanyatta is not Secretariat.

27 Sep 2010 3:52 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I know you are a Tiznow fan. I posted my thoughts yesterday on how Morning Line reminded me of his Daddy, Tiznow, the way he battled for the victory, but it was eaten by the cybermonster. I was wondering if he was going to be pointed to The Classic this year, or wait for a monster 4yo season. Zito said they want to go to The Classic this year and follow in Daddy's footsteps.

27 Sep 2010 4:19 PM
Soldier Course

Mike Rullo, re Seattle Slew:

You'd be mean too, if you'd won the Triple Crown in 1977, bur the track announcer  for the '77 Belmont Stakes never mentioned that prize during his call of the race.

27 Sep 2010 4:23 PM

dear RUFFIANSRUN~ I so appreciate you organizing a group to meet Zenyatta and Mr. Haskin's gracious accomodation of your group, how how how can I become one of your group?  I haven't missed a race of Zenyatta's since 2008 and my husband is a prof. photographer, he has gorgeous pics! and will take pics of your group with The Queen for you! Please contact me, thanks so much!!  sharronjean@hotmail.com

27 Sep 2010 4:27 PM
Soldier Course

Vin C:

Zenyatta may not be Secretariat, but if she wins this year's  Breeders' Cup Classic, the classic  argument about whether Man O' War or Secretariat is the better horse will dissolve in Zenyatta's hoofprints at Churchill Downs.

27 Sep 2010 4:32 PM

We all love Secretariat and some of us were around to be just absolutly stunned by his performance in the Belmont.  Those that weren't yet in the world can see "Secretariat moving like a tremendous machine" on Youtube.

Just one thing about Zenyatta, since she is racing now and is so important to this sport......Oak Tree at Hollywood Park is giving away Zenyatta caps on Saturday Oct. 2nd with paid admission.  Come to the track and see Z perform!

Thanks so much Steve H. and ruffianruns for all the hard work.

27 Sep 2010 5:15 PM
Francis Bush

You might be interested to know that I have retained the mane hair of Secretariat. It is embedded in clear plastic with the date that I visited Claborne Farm. Francis M.

27 Sep 2010 5:19 PM
joe c.

I was just reading Linda Kennedy's excellent "Kelso" regarding his 3-year old championship season.  Those horses RAN...and RAN...and the racing calendar and stands were full, and racing made page 1 sports in the NY Times.  Noting his 1960 Jerome win, and Carry Back's 1961 win before taking on mighty Kelso, I was saddened to check and see no Jerome listed for this year.  Another victim of the Breeders' Cup-one day makes a champ-mentality.  I'm still missing the D.C. International!

27 Sep 2010 5:31 PM

Secretariat stands alone as the greatest horse of all-time, an d only a handful of others deserve to even be mentioned in the same conversation.  Certainly John Henry, as well as Barbaro, Lady's Secret, Point Given, Silver Charm, Curlin, and other European stars.  However, Big Red stands alone, and it is not even close.

27 Sep 2010 5:32 PM

I just took a look at the Zenyatta buzz blog and thought that you, Steve might be our best ambassador to contact Oprah re Zenyatta.  If Zen were featured on Oprah, then a Secretariat retro showing Triple Crown Highlights could be a follow-up tag.  Racing could Twitterpate the public. (Disney reference...as in Thumper and Flower.) A day at the track is fun for everyone.  

27 Sep 2010 5:34 PM

Great work as usual, Steve.  I don't know if it's been mentioned in the previous blogs ( didn't get a chance to read all the comments )but Sec was considered somewhat of a failure at stud.  Outside of Risen Star, Lady's Secret, General Assembly and Tinner's Way and a few more I'm forgetting, his legacy has been marked through his broodmares.

The two most prolific sires of the last 10-15 years or so are Storm Cat and A P Indy.  Both were out Sec mares.  The pedigrees are as follows; A P Indy: Seattle Slew - Weekend Surprise - Secretariat and Storm Cat: Storm Bird - Terlingua - Secretariat.  The influence of these two great sires will be  seen and heard for decades to come and it all can be attributed to their Grand Dad - Secretariat. The great ones sometimes pass it on through the female line as did Albatross on the standardbred side.  

As we factor in the sons of A P Indy and Storm Cat standing stud and throwing very good stock, we'll see the name, Secretariat, showing up in the pedigree as is only proper and fitting.

27 Sep 2010 5:37 PM
Kathy Kimber

Steve,   Thanks for "getting it" Secratariat was something so great no one cares about the bally hoo it is just wonderful entertainment for us to enjoy and to remember how great he really was.  I wish he were around today it would be fun to have something so good to focus on

27 Sep 2010 5:48 PM


I love the photos of Secretariat with you and your daughter. What a cutie she is! Nothing assures us of the passing of time so much as our children growing up.

Anyway, I have been pondering what it would be like for Secretariat to be running today. I am afraid I must agree with those who wonder how much Secretariat's career would be altered by today's popular training methods and breeding practices. Would he truly be allowed to shine as he did in the Seventies? If I owned a Time Machine, I would rather visit him back in the Seventies than bring him forward to 2010. After all, his accomplishments and legend will endure for all time. When there is ever a cure for the disease that brought about his demise, then I might use my fantasy Time Machine to bring him to the future for treatment.

Meantime, I am awaiting the Secretariat movie eagerly and hoping it does well. And I am sending wishes for a glorious day to all those who are going to get together and see Zenyatta!

27 Sep 2010 6:09 PM

dear RUFFIANRUNS and Mr. Haskin,  Imagine my horror at re-reading your post, on first reading my eye had jumped right to the

name 'Zenyatta', and I overlooked that the event is to honor Mr. Haskin, I am an idiot! Especially considering what a long-time fan I am of Mr. Haskin's brilliant writing, please accept my sincere apologies.  My husband would tell you that it's not the first time I looked right past a man to see a horse!  Still, I would be so thrilled to meet him if there is an opportunity.  My sincere apologies again and thanks so much~  Sharron Evans  sharronjean@hotmail.com

27 Sep 2010 6:34 PM

Mr. Haskin,

As one of the member of the Steve Haskin Bloggers group, I want to say the biggest THANK YOU to you for paving the way for ruffianruns and what she managed to accomplish. It wasn't an easy task but without you, she would not have gotten off of first base. I'm so grateful to her and to you for what will be THE experience of a lifetime. Now, if you were to join us... we would all think that we died and went to heaven!!!

27 Sep 2010 6:53 PM
Old Kentucky

My racing interest started in the 40's and Man O War was (Big Red).

They need a new nickname for Secretariat.

27 Sep 2010 7:10 PM

Beautiful article Steve! Secretariat would be the biggest, most famous athlete of all if he were running in today.

Now, about great story lines for the big screen--it doesn't get much better than Exterminator's story. An eccentric owner, a beautiful, pampered favorite by the name of Sun Briar and the big ugly work horse who took Sun Briar's place in the starting gate on the 1st Saturday in May and was nicknamed Old Bones. I think Mr. Kilmer always resented Exterminator for taking what he thought should have been Sun Briar's. Anyway, it would be a great historical piece and a great story. Exterminator has to be one of the best race horses to ever grace the track.

27 Sep 2010 7:31 PM

Soldier Course - I like your Slew/mean comment and your Man O' War/Secretariat debate comment.  Very well said.

donkeyhotey - I'm so sorry.  Our group is now closed.

Aluminaut - No problem!  And funny for you to use twitterpate.  It's one of my favorite words!

Lauracrown - Thank you!

27 Sep 2010 7:39 PM

In my humble opinion, if Secretariat were running today, he would be every bit as fantastic as he was in the 70's.  That horse was an incredible athelete, with stamina and strength you don't see in horses today.  He ran that triple crown like he was on fire and set the Derby and Belmont records that still stand today.  The closest anyone has come to his Belmont was 2:26. Two seconds slower.  He ran all 3 races and won like he was otherworldly.  He stands alone.  I don't think any horse running today could do the things he did.  Look how many times he ran in two years and what he accomplished.  His physical makeup and his intelligence and will to win were what made him a superhorse.  I truly believe he would leave everyone in his dust if he ran today.   I don't think there has been a horse in the last 30 years or so that could be considered his equal if any.

27 Sep 2010 7:39 PM

NJ Trotter,

Secetrariat's success at stud was not so much his runners but his daughters as broodmares.  He was very successful as a broodmare sire.  

As happens often, truly great horses don't seem to reproduce themselves.

27 Sep 2010 7:41 PM

RuffianRuns -

Please take lots of Z photos for posting.

27 Sep 2010 7:41 PM
Soldier Course

Old Kentucky:

How about "Bigger Red" ?

27 Sep 2010 8:16 PM
lost code

Secretariat didnt age very well, i wonder if the expectations of big money backers and breeders expectations were too much. it seems like the people around him were trying to go to a well that didnt have an abundance of water to begin with. this poor treasure should have been treasured instead of his poor soul carrying the hopes and dreams of an industry who wanted to be paid in gold for a piece of his DNA.

27 Sep 2010 8:27 PM
Kristen Ohler

I have been a HUGE Secretariat fan since 1972 when he was a 2 year old.  He was on TV for every race.  As a 12 and 13 year old I had the sense to cut out every article of Big Red in our local San Francisco sports page.  I have an album of orginal aricles from all his races, his works, his "fertility problems", his posible trip to the Arc.  I have the orginal Newsweek and Sports Illustrated covers of him.  I even have a LP record (vinyl 33) I got after he retired that calls all his races including "the horse is on the track" on his retirement day at Arlington race track.  I listened to is religiously for years growing up.  I feel like I'm living those years all over again.  I have pics all over my house I spent money on years ago.  I have a replica blanket in the Royal blue and white colors with Secretariat's name on it.  I have a Breyer Secretariat model horse, Secretariat shampoo, Secretariat plate with various photos of him on it, Secretariat Coffee mug.  I could go on.  I live and breath this horse and I will go see the movie and probably cry.  I follow horse racing to this day living through his offspring, including AP Indy, Storm Cat, Gone West and all their offspring.  There will never be another like him.  I loved the "old pictures" of Big Red.  Makes me sad to see him when he was close to the end.  He will live on forever.

27 Sep 2010 8:39 PM

I agree with Outlaw Enterprises -- I think part of the excitement of Secretariat was the anticipation of seeing him:  on TV, and in the mags that came out a week later, the overnight newspapers:   the waiting helped build the excitement and magic -- with the instant gratification of the Internet, the daily inundation of pictues and info. about Secretariat, the alternatives available, may have diluted his "spell".

I have to say that when I heard the movie was being made, I wasn't excited due to the disappointment of "Ruffian" movie.  However, reading your articles has rekindled the fire of Secretariat for me. I am excited to see the movie, and my teenage daughter is also.

To Sceptre, IMO Big Brown doesn't approach Secretariat in any way:  race record, physical beauty or quality of owner management.

27 Sep 2010 8:46 PM

Vin C:  Thank you!

27 Sep 2010 9:11 PM

The only thing that would be better than seeing Zenyatta in real life would be seeing her in real life with the very cool Haskin's Bloggers!  I know you'll have a day to remember always.  

I've heard that the LS will be televised on ESPN (sandwiched between NFL games, of course); so I just hope ESPN stays with it long enough to give us a really good look at the winner's circle!

27 Sep 2010 9:12 PM

First of all, awesome article Steve, as always. Secondly, you guys are comparing horses like Zanyatta and Big Brown to this amazing being we call a horse. They are not the same, or any where near him. Period. No buts. Not only do they have totaly different running styles and personalities, but I don't think they were anywhere near as good as horses were back in and before Secretariat's time. If either one had run against Man 'O War, Gallent Fox, Sir Barton, War Admirial, Seabiscuit, Sham, Ruffian, Citation, and many others which I cannot remember, I can almost garentee they would be crushed. Hasn't anyone but me noticed we haven't managed a Triple Crown in what, 32 years? Sorry for the rant. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie, it looks like it'll do well.

27 Sep 2010 9:18 PM
Susan Nunes

I still have my lock of Secretariat's mane, wrapped in the original butcher paper given to me by his groom Bobby Anderson on July 31, 1989.  What a horse he was; I have never seen one quite like him before or since, and he was just as calm as could be when I petted him.

27 Sep 2010 9:31 PM

Steve, I thoroughly enjoyed your article and laughed and smiled through it.  I think Sheik Mohammad would go even higher than $40M for him - maybe $80M? None of the other greats are diminished, it's just that this one stands out more than all of them!  He was the complete package from God.  I would speculate that God's message to us is 'here is perfection which is something as humans you will never achieve!'

Steve and Richard (9/27 at 9:30am) - Thank you for your reasoned response to Sceptre - I don't think I would have been so kind to him!

Ruffianruns - Enjoy the day at HP.  It was wonderful of Steve to assist with the opportunity. He is truly a person of great heart!  if you get close enough to Zenyatta - please plant a big kiss on her for me, tell her Nancy loves her and prays for her to come home safe win or lose.  

Big Red lives forever, as he was,in our hearts and minds no matter how details are skewed or fabricated in the movie.  Just enjoy his legacy and be satisfied that you know his, Penny's and everyone elses real story.

27 Sep 2010 10:12 PM

Zanyatta is not Secretariat.

Vin C 27 Sep 2010 3:52 PM

Re:  No,  but she is close enough...

You may know her better Vin C if you'd spell her name correctly.

27 Sep 2010 10:21 PM

Fun, and something to think about...I could really imagine it, because, well, it was just written so well! :D . Two thumbs up, it was a GR8 piece and I LOL'd at a lot of it.

27 Sep 2010 10:38 PM
Barbara W

Zookeeper (racingfansister!),

Thank you so much for your kind words. We are on the road, so I just now saw your post.

I must take issue with those who say one cannot visit the famous horses. We have been to Claiborne, Darley, WinStar, Ashford, and Three Chimneys. Everyone has always been unfailingly polite, and we have pictures of all the famous ones who live there. Bernardini and Smarty came over to us. We were "up close and personal" with Tiznow and many others. All it takes is a phone call to make an appointment and a tip for the groom who shows you around.  Actually, it is the mares who are hidden away and not seen.

27 Sep 2010 10:41 PM


Your little daughter is dressed in Zenyatta colors.  Well, I guess the blue isn't quite teal, but..............Wow!

27 Sep 2010 10:41 PM

Zookeeper, MRO, sherpa, Nancy - Thanks!

I love reading about all the mementos and memories you folks have.

27 Sep 2010 11:08 PM

I was lucly enough to see Secretariat in 1978 and 1987. He never looked old. In the above photos he has some mud on him from rolling in his paddock.  It was amazing how Claiborn Farm just let us feed him carrots and hold onto his lead shank.  I have hair from his mane that Gus gave to me as a wide eyed ten year old girl.  They let us (my parents and myself)lead him around and take pictures of him for an hour! We knew someone who worked there in the summer that went to the University of Kentucky and he put in a good word that we were horse savy.  What a day.  As an Eight year old stallion of course Secretariat had a stud neck and had filled out (see Siler Charm from 3 to 4).  Hormones.  He was still so handsome.  And his head would spin around when he heard a camera shutter.  Ran around his paddock like a quarter horse slide stopping, doing roll backs along the fence. He was such an athlete.  One of life's highlihgts, sitting on his back being led to his paddock. WHAT A THRILL.  Never to be forgotten.  He was so well put together you didn't realize how tall he was.  Again in 87 he  looked great.  Still a ham. Security had tightened up but still great to see him despite the changing times.  

As a stallion how could he have produced Secretariat Jr.  Watch the 1988 Derby and watch the start.  Lookin at Lucky has nothing on poor Risen Star.  Talk about horses that should have won the triple crown and why don't they limit the field for the derby?

Finally does the movie address the worries of the Syndicate when the initial test breedings of Secretariat were not up to par?

27 Sep 2010 11:13 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

I have certainly enjoyed your Secretariat stories and photos.  I am in the process of rereading Bill Nack's great book on Secretariat and it's wonderful--again!

28 Sep 2010 12:28 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Kristen Ohler

  Can we arrange a Haskin Blogger's group to come visit you at your house? I want to see all of your Secretariat stuff !!!! That is an awesome collection !!! It's really nice to meet such a big fan of his (blogwise of course). He was always my favorite. I don't know what this article said, or the other movie article because I don't read or listen to anything said about a movie I want to see prior to seeing it, but I'm still reading the blogs as long as they don't talk about the movie. Just kidding about visiting, please don't give any logistical info on your house online but that is one cool place. I love it. Secretariat was the greatest talent for sure. You picked a great one to love and start a collection with. If you take a bus, train, or plane, I bet you try to take the 2:24 if you can. Thanks for sharing that great collection.

28 Sep 2010 12:38 AM

Wonderful post as always, Steve. You hit it spot on. Thank you!

28 Sep 2010 1:17 AM


28 Sep 2010 1:35 AM

Ruffianruns !!  I'll be in HP to see Zenyatta too!   I'm thinking about organizing a group trip to follow your group and pretend we're part of your group.  I have to start working on that tomorrow !! (or today, it's now 1:10AM)

I haven't read this article, just the comments....saving all recent articles for my trip :)

28 Sep 2010 4:12 AM
passing thru

I love Secretariat + these stories, but what really amazes me in these pictures are Haskin's sideburns!

28 Sep 2010 6:03 AM

Arlis: For Secretariat to stand alone, he'd have to push over Man O'War from his pedestal.  Just because we never saw them, doesn't mean they weren't great.  Now, as far as speed, Secretariat would still have to share his pedestal with Ruffian.  I am in no way saying Secretariat wasn't the perfect horse, and one of the greatest of all time.  I am saying we have been blessed with more than one treasure.

28 Sep 2010 7:53 AM


I just reread Ruffianruns post,too. I am also oblivious to all but mention of seeing Zenyatta in the post. How wonderful to gather in honor of Steve! He deserves every tribute and thanks! I am sorry I won't be there,as well.

To those who have suggested Kelso, John Henry, or Exterminator have movies made in their honor:

I pray some Hollywood producer is reading this blog and decides to back such a movie! There was a wonderful children's book called "Old Bones, The Wonder Horse" that would be a perfect script for Exterminator. Next to Forego, Exterminator has always been my favorite gelding of all time. Yet, dear Secretariat outshines all horses except Man o' War.

I guess it finally comes down to the fact that great horse racing writers like Steve Haskin and the ones who wrote about our earlier champions, do more to keep the horses fresh in modern memory than anything else.

28 Sep 2010 8:18 AM

If this posts twice, please forgive me.  My computer is showing some aberrant behavior this am.

Arlis: For Secretariat to stand alone, he'd have to push over Man O'War from his pedestal.  Just because we never saw them, doesn't mean they weren't great.  Now, as far as speed, Secretariat would still have to share his pedestal with Ruffian.  I am in no way saying Secretariat wasn't the perfect horse, and one of the greatest of all time.  I am saying we have been blessed with more than one treasure.

28 Sep 2010 8:25 AM

Tai76 - You got to RIDE SECRETARIAT!  AWESOME!  Thanks for your story.

Dr D - Your post to Kristen Ohler rocked as Kristen's post did.  Secretariat shampoo?  That is amazing.

jayjay - Funny!  I'll be looking for your "fake" group trying to get in with our "real" group!  I left you a message on the JS blog, but it never posted - tried to get you in with us.  I'm sorry.  Maybe I'll see you Saturday.

28 Sep 2010 9:43 AM

Thank God for Disney. They will do what the TB industry could or would not do for itself, promote the great thoroughbred horse & the thrill and beauty of racing. Commercials for this movie are all over the TV, from the movie channels to regular channels. Look what they did for Seabiscuit(I think Disney) and the Dalmations. Randall Wallace is an incredible director for drama/action movies. He directed "They Were Soldiers" with Mel Gibson and was the writer for "Braveheart". This will bring in young, hopefully lifetime fans, as the televised Triple Crown Races did for me as a child. Lets hope the industry can take the ball and RUN with it!!!

28 Sep 2010 9:55 AM
Pedigree Ann

The idea that Secretariat was a failure at stud seems to have gotten currency after his first handful of crops, which included few major winners. In the beginning, Sec was mated like he was a typical Bold Ruler son - he would need some stoutness in the dams to produce classic horses. Well, Sec wasn't a typical Bold Ruler and imparted too much stoutness himself to succeed with stout mares. Once that was recognized and he got mares with more speed, he did just fine. No, he didn't sire his equal. How could he? He was a unique genetic miracle, like Nearco or Ribot or Affirmed or Nijinsky or Spectacular Bid, none of which sired their equal, either.

28 Sep 2010 11:19 AM

His granddaughter stands in my barn.  The only Palomino Qh by Tinners Way.  She so takes after her sire line. Especially the hip and hind leg.  MY truck has Secretariats lip tatoo on the license plate.  He still moves me to tears every time I see his races.  That will never change.  He is a horse that solidified me being a fan of the sport and I will always be grateful that i was Old enough to remember seeing him at the 73 derby.

28 Sep 2010 11:33 AM

Aluminaut : What does twitterpate mean ?  It's a cool sounding word.  I had to go back and look for your post after ruffianruns mentioned it.

I'm itchin' to go see the Queen!  and it's ONLY Tuesday...

Dr. D : Thanks!  I plan on having a great time and hoping to meet Team Z.  Here's hoping for a 50-1 shot to come in 2nd in the LS :)  Any tips on where the best place to hang out ?

Slew : I agree with your last comment, maybe sometime in the near future, we can ask Mr. Haskin to help organize a group trip back in time and watch these horses race.

Ruffianruns : I just watched the '73 Man O'War stakes and you're right, his neck is THICK!  He pretty much trashed my handicapping when lookin at horses lol.  I normally go for the longer thinner necks.  

28 Sep 2010 12:37 PM

Thanks so much for all the writing you have given us on Secretariat, Steve, sharing your love for him. I too cannot wait to see the movie again!  It is so exciting when I think about the new fans it will bring to the sport. This is for certain, because here I am, 7 years later, in love w racing, w Thoroughbreds, a serious fan - it changed my entire life - all because one day I saw a movie called Seabiscuit:)

Just a little note that posters here may find interesting- the winner of last year's Secretariatfest look-alike contest in Bourbon County, a horse by the name of Bull's 'n Blood who is actually related to Secretariat (great grandson) is one of the horses portraying him in the film:)  

28 Sep 2010 1:20 PM

Mr. Haskin, your daughter is a VERY lucky girl. I hope she has some memories of her visit with Red.

28 Sep 2010 1:54 PM

big red was the greatest i have ever seen god made man then god made big red my whole house is adorned with pictures of secretariat and penny there is no comparison to him he could run short or long on dirt or grass fast muddy sloppy firm yielding i still get cold chills watching the belmont cany wait to see the movie and to buy the video immortality ....thats big red

28 Sep 2010 2:48 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  My stomping grounds was Bay Meadows and GG Fields in the 80's and 90's, a lot,  and SA in 71-72 3 or 4 times. I've never been to HP. Ask Zookeeper, she'll be glad to answer you. Have a great, and safe time, and good luck. As far as following the "real" group, we have men working on it as we speak, although confidentially- any group at the track is a real group, just don't tell ruffianruns.


   I just saw that video of Runflatout from July 1st. I totally love him. He's really cool. Very young, give him time. He's a baby, but what talent. He runs beautifully with very little effort. A gorgeous, natural stride, and despite his calm demeanor, he appears to want to lead. Reminds me of his great, great Grandaddy on his Pappy's Mommy's side-Secretariat, who I hear had a movie made about him.


   You think the shampoo is amazing. A few years ago I still had butchwax from the early 60's, and it was still good. Haven't seen it lately though. Relax, have a great time. Don't forget to NOT cash that winning $2 ticket.

28 Sep 2010 3:18 PM
Steve Haskin

Zookeeper, it was my pleasure. I hope you all have a great time. As if there's a chance you won't.

Vickie, I'm sure she was too young, but that's what the photos are for.

Passing Thru, that's a beard, not sideburns.

28 Sep 2010 3:28 PM
The Deacon

Reading all these blogs from everyone is interesting. We all come from different walks of life, and different time zones, and have different values. So we all will have a different opinion on who is the greatest of all time. A person's favorite race horse is no different then your favorite athlete of any sport. Whether you have been a fan of horse racing for 5 years or 55 years, it doesn't matter we all seem to have the answers.

This is no single greatest race horse, it is an illusion. There are single greatest horse races, but to say one horse is better then the other is ridiculous. It is all about passion and how that horse made us feel on that particular day. Sure we have criteria that makes a horse great, but on any given day most great race horses would take turns beating each other. If a horse holds the world record at a particular distance, is it safe to say that since no horse has ever ran faster at that distance then the horse that happens to hold the world record at that distance is the best, but maybe at that distance only. It is all speculation and opinion, means nothing. I can argue that I believe that there are 5 or 6 greatest horses of all time and thatSecretariat belongs on that list. Don't think anyone would argue that. I just don't think it is fair to all of the other greats to say one is better then the other...........This is just my opinion, and it is based on about 54 years of following the sport. Trust me, I have seen most of all the great ones run these past 54 years.  

28 Sep 2010 3:35 PM

jayjay - Thanks for commenting on the neck!  About twitterpate:  for the longest time, I thought my dad invented the word.  Then I saw Bambi!  For a twitterpated education, check this out:  www.youtube.com/watch

Dr D - What is that?  Do NOT cash the $2 win ticket??

28 Sep 2010 4:14 PM


You need to watch "Bambi" to learn about "Twitterpate."  It has do  with springtime and........

28 Sep 2010 4:46 PM

Mr. Haskin,

The only thing missing, to complete the euphoria, will be your presence among us. I'm still hopeful... Miracles do happen! (so they say)  :)

28 Sep 2010 4:50 PM

Damn, I would run over my mother to get a Secretariat iPhone app!  (Well, maybe not my mother...but you get the idea.)

28 Sep 2010 5:18 PM
Steve Haskin

Sorry, Zoo, no miracles. I'm covering the Belmont stakes weekend, and I try to keep away from LA when it's 113 degrees. I hope for everyone's sake the heat breaks by Saturday.

I assume you saw Rachel has been retired.

28 Sep 2010 5:25 PM
Steve Haskin

Deacon, I couldn't agree with you more. well said.

28 Sep 2010 5:26 PM


It's about 97 downtowm right now, and it should be in the 70's by the coast on Saturday.  We will miss you, but have a great time at Belmont!

28 Sep 2010 5:34 PM

Why is it the mere sight of Secretariat gives me goose bumps and brings tears to my eyes? This was more than a horse.. I just hope I am not dissapointed with the movie as I was with the Ruffian movie.

28 Sep 2010 5:46 PM
Mike Relva


May I ask what your theory is why she was retired now? Was certain she would run in the Ladies Classic.

28 Sep 2010 5:49 PM

Several years ago I ordered your documentary on Secretariat.  All Disney would have had to do, and probably did, was follow along and certainly wouldn't get any facts wrong.  The DVD showed the essence of and what a lovely, true lady Penny Chenery was.  Without her, we wouldn't have had a Secretariat!

28 Sep 2010 5:49 PM
Mike Relva


Agree with you. What's your opinion of Citation? Thanks.

28 Sep 2010 6:11 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Mike Relva

   I think that is fantastic. She deserves retirement and can't return to form. They in no way wanted the Ladies Classic. It was either The Classic or nothing for last year's HOY. Like many of us, they felt she was unhappy and struggling to regain her greatness. They bought her partially for super babies anyway, so on with the show !!! To answer your previous question about John Henry-When I saw him I didn't understand the significance of it way back then as a young man like I do now, or his greatness that lied in his tremendous heart and will to win, which I believe is the biggest heart of all time. Others were more talented but his heart was unsurpassed. Did you get yo see him at the Horse Park? I regret not seeing him there. I had grown to love that old warrior as I got older.

28 Sep 2010 6:14 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   That's a valid opinion, and though it's true it's not going to stop anyone from saying who the greatest is, or what the greatest races were. The greatest race might be a 5k claimer you saw where your favorite horse or jockey won in a duel reminiscent of Affirmed and Alydar's Belmont. If you saw only one Secretariat race you might say Onion was the greatest. You're right as usual. I love your posts. A thinker.

28 Sep 2010 6:22 PM


ruffianruns is looking for someplace to have lunch near Hollywood Park.  I don't think anyplace serves Poutine, but we'll look.

28 Sep 2010 6:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   You bet $2 to win on your favorite horse but you don't cash it, so you can keep it as a souvenir. You can buy a seperate one to cash if you want. And buy an extra program to keep in pristine condition to save also.

28 Sep 2010 6:25 PM

Man, I've been busy all day trying to clear out some clutter, cleaning the garage sort of thing - away from the computer.  Open up this afternoon to the death of Real Quiet and the retirement of Rachel Alexandra.  I'm apologizing in advance if this is totally inappropriate, but this news just blows me away and I know you all will share my sadness.  So evidently Real Quiet injured himself in his paddock? And we were just discussing on the other blog how horses are so fragile! Then as we've all hoped so long for Rachel Alexandra to bounce back, we now know we won't see her on the track again.  May she have a long and happy, healthy life on the farm, but it's still a disappointment to me.  Thank you for letting me vent my feelings here.

28 Sep 2010 7:24 PM


How do you know about "poutine"? Boy! you just brought me back to days long gone, in a place far, far away.

I'm clueless about lunch in Inglewood. I only go there when I visit HP or going to the airport. Maybe the locals will have suggestions.

Dr Drunkinbum,

I agree. Many of us felt that Rachel did not look happy... but still, why do I feel that we don't know the whole story? Maybe Mr. Haskin will find out more and let us know.

Mr. Haskin,

Too bad about no miracles... Have a great time at Belmont. The heat wave is breaking, the weather will be terrific at HP on Friday & Saturday. We'll wave at you from the winners circle.  :)

28 Sep 2010 7:26 PM

Today really seems to be one of quiet contemplation.  We lose the champion Real Quiet to a tragic accident, and Rachel is retired from racing.  (I really wanted her to leave racing as a winner, so I'm a bit disappointed she won't be running anymore).  Two more greats who have already carved their own legends.  We seem to lose our heroes much too soon.

28 Sep 2010 7:27 PM

Mike Relva,  Good question.   I, too,  want Steve's opinion on her retirement at this stage in the game.  Why no swan song in the BCL or the BCC?  Even if she lost either one.

28 Sep 2010 7:35 PM

I am happy for Rachel.  I think she will be much happier now in a great open pasture being a mom.

I think RA was sad after leaving Hal.

28 Sep 2010 7:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I think the workout was one last shot if seeing if she was Breeder's Classic ready. She might have been tired rather than perky after the workout. Mr. Jackson was not going to settle for the Ladies. Why risk injury to go on if you can't go in The Classic? He has his heart set on a Curlin and Rachel super horse, so nothing is gained by continuing to race when Rachel can't be the horse she was last year. They gave it a shot, it didn't work. There doesn't have to be anymore to the story although there may be. We said this along time ago. She's not the same on the track this year and it may be that she is just ready to breed. What's poutine? It's really sad about Real Quiet. If it is a barn accident it is even sadder. I don't know why they can't make them safer, fire proof or with sprinklers and with better padding. Yes Slew, too many great ones die too young, horse and human.

28 Sep 2010 7:49 PM
Mike Relva


Visited him three weeks before he died. Was in Palm Springs when I heard he was gone. Remember how sad I felt. Your posts are ALWAYS classy.

28 Sep 2010 7:56 PM


"We seem to lose our heroes much too soon." You are so right. Maybe that's why we get so annoyed with people who make ugly comments about the horses who are still racing, instead of appreciating them.

I wish Rachel happiness and serenity in her retirement. May she have beautiful foals and live a long, contented life.

RIP Real Quiet, you left this world too soon.

28 Sep 2010 8:15 PM

Dr D - How sweet of you to explain.  I'm sorry.  I was kidding you.  I'm getting some win tickets for a few people and myself.

txhorsefan and Slew - I understand being blown away by the news today.  I find myself in disbelief over Real Quiet's accident and reeling with the Rachel news.

Don't know if I'll get to check in again.  I'm off, driving to Phoenix.

28 Sep 2010 9:51 PM
Outlaw Enterprises

Just wanted to add my dos pesos about the news of today.  First, I too am kinda saddened that I will never see RA on the track again.  But, even as one of her biggest fans (I accidently happened across her a while before the Oaks), I have to agree that she seemed to have lost her competitive streak this year.  Looking at her workouts, she still has the strength and conditioning but she lost the drive.

As for Real Quiet, this definitely overshadows the news of RA.  He was a stately horse and the closest thing to the 70s greats that we have seen in the last 30+ years (at least TC wise).

I can only hope that Real Quiet has joined the daily match races of the greats.  You have to know that Big Red has been waiting to run "someone new" =)

29 Sep 2010 12:25 AM
Outlaw Enterprises

One other thing:

ruffianruns - make sure you let Z know that she now has to win out this year.  After losing two greats today, we need another great to get us through Nov so we can start again looking for the next one...

29 Sep 2010 12:30 AM
The Deacon

Dr. D:

    Thanks for your comments, I like reading the interesting blogs you post as well, very informative.  You and Zookeeper make the reading very entertaining.

Mike Relva:

          Citation was an iron horse, that's a given. He won the Triple Crown as everyone knows but some may not know that he won the Jersey Stakes between the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. That's a feat unheard of in today's world. Citation was the 8th Triple Crown winner and won 16 races in a row equaled only by Cigar and broken by Zenyatta (not counting Pepper's Pride). He was owned by the legendary Calumet Farms and trained by Ben Jones. Unfortunately 2 things stand out about Citation that would keep him off my top 5 all time list. He couldn't beat the English invader Noor and ne never won a race carrying 130 lbs. By the way Noor beat Citation and set the world record for 1 1/4 at 158.1 which was later broken by Spectacular Bid (who is on my top 5 list) in 157.4. My dad saw Citation run several times back in the day. He often spoke of him but my pop thought Swaps was the better horse. Swaps was handled very poorly by Rex C. Ellsworth and Mesh Tenney. Sorry this is a long answer to your question. I do feel that Citation belongs in the top 10 of all time greatest horses, but like I said it's speculative and just an opinion. The 1st race I ever saw was Swaps winning the Santa Anita Derby in 1955, my dad felt that I was old enough to accompany him to the track.....great memories for all of us from a time long since gone.

Enjoy these great stories from Steve "the writing machine" Haskin because one day these to will be memories. Hopefully for all of us, not any time soon though.

P.S  I want to add that Lucian Lauren who trained the mighty Secretariat once said that Ruffian was the best horse he ever saw run. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, I'm just saying that this sport is so unpredictable and full of different points of view from so many different types of folks. All answers are valid. I never belittle another person's beliefs about horse racing...........

29 Sep 2010 1:59 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I think you're right about Hal. They get attached just like anyone else. They're not machines.

Mike Relva

  Thank you very much. I'm really glad you got to see him. He had a great long life. Let's hope the same for Rachel. I'm really happy for her. She's been wanting this all year. She thought she had it once, then it was off to the track again after the long layoff. "Hey, what's up, I thought I was retired." Still, she gave it her best shot this year. Did you check out Runflatout on YouTube? He's really cool.

29 Sep 2010 2:53 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  You have to tell the teller how much, the type of bet, the number of the horse, and which race. Also, I don't know if you knew-you won't be able to ride the horse during the race, they have jockeys that do that.

29 Sep 2010 2:57 AM

Dr. D : I agree with your post about RA.  It'e the best news I've heard from Jackson all year, it was pretty evident that Rachel no longer wants to run.  I applaud JJ for finally recognizing the fact that RA has not returned to her form in 2009.  I'm also glad they decided to retire her while she's sound and healthy.  I'm looking forward to her babies with Curlin, speed and stamina is a great combination and her babies will be formidable.  I'll be following their careers.

Zookeeper : I too have some "weird" feeling about the timing of the announcement.  I'm thinking that they just decided there's really nothing to gain anymore, no HOTY chance and I'm sure they weren't confident about running in the Classic with QR there.  I really hope she's healthy and not injured, she earned this way earlier this year and I've no doubt she'll enjoy her new career.

ruffianruns : It's okay, I know exactly where to find your group on Saturday, in the winner's circle after the LS race :)  Good Times!!

Aluminaut : Thanks!  I'll watch it with my lil one.  I wonder if they get royalties from Twitter ? hehe

As for Real Quiet, still don't know what happened.  It is a sad sad day with this news.

Outlaw Enterprises : One to watch next year assuming she doesn't retire is Blind Luck.  I believe she'll be dominating next year, probably even the boys.  Hollendorfer is pretty smart not running against the Queen, he wants a win, not a 2nd place.

29 Sep 2010 3:20 AM
Mike Relva

Very sad to read of R.Q passing. Everytime I read the blogs,always hoping there isn't another one.

29 Sep 2010 9:45 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   Thanks for your kind words. It's been a real treat having you here on Haskin blogs with your knowledge and insight. That's fantastic that you got to see Swaps. Steve Davidowitz said that Ruffian was the fastest horse that ever lived. There are quite a few horses that could qualify as the greatest. I certainly have no argument with Steve's number one-Spectacular Bid. I'll probably stick with Secretariat the rest of my life because of his Belmont. He was just rounding into form. A 4yo campaign could have been astonishing. Even when horses face each other on the track, the issue isn't necessarily settled. Everyone has good and bad days. The Damascus and Dr. Fager matchups were great, as were Affirmed and Alydar. Eventhough Affirmed won the matchups against Alydar, some still believe that Alydar was greater. I can't remember exactly but I believe Dr. Fager and Damascus both won a few against the other, and I'm sure some will say Damascus was better. All champions are champions. All great ones are great in their own right. It doesn't really matter who's number one or number two or number fifty but I find comparisons and lists fascinating. Probably because there is no right or wrong answer. It is speculation based on your own personal history and views to a large extent. Thanks to Steve Haskin we have gotten a lot of insight into many of the great ones that we otherwise would not have. A great mind that wasn't wasted, and he has graciously shared that mind and his experiences with us, and our knowledge has been greatly enhanced. You can't appreciate or understand the present without knowledge and understanding of the past.

29 Sep 2010 1:32 PM

Just returned from visiting Runflatout. He looks very well. His coat is shiny, his eyes are bright and alert. They tell me his appetite has gotten a lot better and he gave proof of that by being quite pushy for the carrots I brought for him. (Good sign!) He is still taking medication (2 more days) then he will go to an outdoor pen instead of being restricted to an inside stall. Don't know how long he'll be at the ranch. It's a beautiful facilities and I was very impressed with it.

So, now it appears that it is only a question of time, just to make sure that he is completely healed and that the stubborn lung infection is not still lurking around the corner.

Now that I have seen him, I feel much more confident that this was just a bump on the road and that we may still see him on the track... whenever he's good and ready.

29 Sep 2010 4:52 PM
The Deacon

Dr D:

   Certainly agree with your last post, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I would take Dr. Fager over Damascus but only slightly. A lot of folks think Secretariat was the best, I happen to think either Man O War or Spectacular Bid was #1. Throw in the Doc, Swaps, Ruffian and Count Fleet and that would be my list. Damascus, Kelso, Citation, Seattle Slew, perhaps Buckpasser and Affirmed and that's a pretty stout list. No rights, no wrongs here, just personal feelings. I concur that Mr. Haskin has made these memories that much more special...........

29 Sep 2010 7:56 PM

I cant wait to see the film and dont mind that its not 100% accurate, Hollywood never is.

Its the best thing going for horse racing at the moment and I'm sure it will have people watching the Breeder's Cup this year and also bring some new fans to the sport.

I was only a little girl when Secretariat ran but I remember his name the most growing up. He has and always will be my favorite.

My preference for chestnut horses most likely has to do with this. I already get teary eyed when I watch the ads for the movie on tv. Im so happy to have met his exercise riders and jockey a few years ago as well. It was like meeting the Pope for me:) I felt like I was in the presence of great men that got to ride the greatest horse of my lifetime.

29 Sep 2010 7:59 PM

Steve, finally someone has had the mind to say what I have often thought, it is ridiculous to say that one horse is better than all others. I love Secretariat, and I think he would have beaten any horse in history in the classic races but every great horse was great, they should be enjoyed on their own merits and not have their individual accomplishments diminished by being held up to those of another. Seattle Slew does not need to be diminished for me to love Secretariat.

29 Sep 2010 8:08 PM
Mike Relva


Want to say thanks for your interesting answer. You have knowledge regarding racing.

29 Sep 2010 9:37 PM

Steve, I wanted to tell you just how right you are on Rachel Alexandra. Her connections show just how much Penny Chenery should be applauded at how special she is in how she managed the public with Secretariat. She made it look so easy. What a special lady. I just can't understand the secrecy on her being retired. No one would think less of her if she got hurt. Look at all that she has run against. They are almost all gone, many with serious leg injuries.

30 Sep 2010 12:29 AM
The Deacon

Mike Relva:   Back at you, your posts are always interesting.

I have always had a good memory, spent a lot of early years around the west coast tracks with my dad and his best buddy. Got to know a few trainers, but my pop was the real horseman. He wanted to own a race horse in the worst way but never got the funds together to buy one. I grew up around horses, my uncle owned a ranch and raised horses, not thoroughbreds though. Got the riding bug at an early age. Long time ago though, in a galaxy far away..........

30 Sep 2010 1:29 AM

The Deacon,

Great post. I agree that we should not belittle another person's beliefs about horse racing.

My Mom and Dad watched *Noor beat Citation.  My Mom had $5 to win on Noor and my Dad had a couple grand across the board on Citation.  What if that bet was reversed?  Wow.

I was born a bit later, so I missed out on Citation.

30 Sep 2010 2:00 AM

Dr. D,

Poutine is a French Canadian "greasy spoon staple" of French Fries smothered in brown gravy and cheese curds.  So says the current issue of Westways magazine.

A "Hot Brown" is another strange dish that I learned about when I went to visit John Henry at the KHP & attended the '06 Breeder's Cup (I still have my $2 win ticket for Invasor! but it's faded.)  

I was raised a vegetarian and still can't eat stuff with a face, so I haven't tried either.

30 Sep 2010 2:15 AM

Zookeeper, thanks for the update on Runflatout.  I'm so glad you've been able to see him for yourself and know that he is indeed doing better.  Please know he is in my thoughts and I'm hoping he will completely recover and wow us all when he hits the track.  

30 Sep 2010 11:45 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Thank you very much for the news. They are doing such a good job with him. It's so important that he strengthen his lungs and entire body after this ordeal before racing. Have a great time Saturday.


  Thanks for the greasy spoon update !! I'm proud of you for your choice of cuisine. I just headed that way myself. My Uncle owned a few thoroughbreds and quarter horses. I went with him once when he bet a few thousand across the board on his TB at the time. The trainer said he was ready to win. I had $100 to win as a gift from my Uncle. He came in dead last, seemingly a million miles behind the rest.

The Deacon

   Man O War intrigues me. I'll have to learn more about him. Spectacular Bid's safety pin still sickens me. His time in the mile and a quarter is unbelievable. It's funny how as humans we are so fascinated with times and records and wins. I'm just like everyone else in that regard but I've never met or seen a horse I didn't like.

30 Sep 2010 12:30 PM

Dr Drunkinbum,

The poutine I know has nothing to do with french fries, gravy and cheese. Yuck! It is a dumpling often filled with a spicy (not hot) meat dressing that is also used as a stuffing for turkey. The poutine is simmered over a stew-like dish comprised of fresh pork shanks and delicious winter veggies like carrots, onions, rutabaga and, of course, lots of potatoes. After a meal like that, we sure were equipped to face the cruel, bitter cold of our winters. I haven't had any since I left Quebec for a warmer climate. Ooof!

Thank YOU and also TXHORSEFAN for the caring words about RFO. It was very reassuring to see him trying to bully me for more carrots. This guy is NO pet but a fully equipped 2yr old colt who, although sweet, likes to assert himself... A good quality for a future racehorse. :)

30 Sep 2010 3:41 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Thanks for the cuisine update. RFO sounds perfect-calm but assertive. He's a winner. I love french fries with mayonaise. How do you eat them?

30 Sep 2010 5:41 PM
Kristen Ohler

Dr. Drunkinbum

You're very funny.  Anyone would be truly ammazed at my album.  I just started looking at it again when the movie was being made.  My first page is the 1973 cover of Newsweek magazine with Big Red on it.  Across the top says "Superhorse".  Indeed he was.  Then there is a pic of Turcotte kissing Red on the nose with the caption "Kiss from a good jockey; And, at times a hit".  A pic of Red grazing with I assume Eddie Sweat the day before the Derby.  Angle Light bleed but OK for Derby.  "Secretariat favored to sweep'.  "Secretariat makes Belmont a farce".  "Prove Out upsets Secretariat".  "Secretariat upset in Whitney".  "Older horses next for Sectariat" after his win in the Arlington Invitational.  How about "Secretariat match race".  Lucien Lauren told the Saratogian, a N.Y. newspaper he would race Triple Crown winner Secretariat against Our Native in a race.  The owner of Linda's Chief would not race at the proposed distance of 1 1/8 miles.  The race turned out to be the Arlington Invition.  My Gallant raced along with Our Native and Blue Chip Dan.  The total purse was $125,000.00.  The winner getting $75,000.00, $30,000.00 for the runner up and $20,000.00 for the third place finnisher.  The results "Secretariat toyed with 3 rivals as expected but failed to set a track record yesterday as he won the $125,000.00 Arlington Invitational at Arlington Park.  Racing's first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, cheered every step of the way by an enthusiastic crowd, won by nine lengths over My Gallant".  "Cougar II to face Secretariat".  "Secretariat roars to victory", which was the Marlboro Cup.  "Secretariat Paris-Bound?:Syndicate must OK Arc Race.  Here's the enteresting part.  The race in "73 was worth almost $500,00.00.  Tweedy was interested.  Lucien was not.  His reasons according to the article why he wasn't:  An American horse can't win the Arc because, the travel to France, and the time it takes the horse to get accustomed.  "Then there's the matter of proper feed and water.  There's the fact they race clockwise around the track in France.   The race is on grass and it's not level.  The turns are not uniform as they are here.  And, maybe most inportant of all, they insist all horses wear the flat European-styled horseshoes. "Everything would be different for Secretariat.  We'd be starting all over from the beginning".  Tweedy had the rights to the horse until he retired, then the syndicate would own the horse.  Obviously he didn't go.  Anyway, that is only a fraction of the orginal articles I have on the BIG RED SUPERHORSE.  Thanks for all who are interested.  I know it sounds funny.  I love Throughbred race horses, but on a very small scale I breed Quarter Horse's for fun.  I have a 2 year old named Indy.  Guess what, he is named after Secretariat's grandson, AP Indy.  Sec. might not have been the best sire, but, as we all know, his daughters were exceptional in the breeding shed.

30 Sep 2010 8:47 PM

Take a look at Bill Christine's column in Thurs. DRF (on line) about Penny Chenery. No doubt a lot more reality to it than the movie, let alone some of the posts here.

30 Sep 2010 9:34 PM

Well, maybe Westways, Auto Club's magazine got it wrong or there are regional differences in the dish.

Back to Secretariat...I don't think the world needs a Poutine blog.

I think Secretariat would look great on all the fancy phones, ipads and such if he was born into high tec times.

01 Oct 2010 1:04 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Kristen Ohler

  Thanks for your response, and thank you for the compliment. That's great that you have that scrapbook to read. I wish I would have been smart enough to even get one thing of Secretariat's. There is more to Secretariat than his Triple Crown and Belmont, and an Arc win wouldn't have surprised me despite the obstacles. I always go back to his Belmont because I am so fascinated by it. I should see if there is a photo I could buy. His time 0f 2:24 has stood the test of time, and is that much more special because he won by 31 lengths, around 6 seconds I think, so it's not like it was a souped up track. It was a slow or average track for the others in the race, and the 31 lengths is special because of the time. The two together just makes it the monster performance of all time because they can't go that fast for that long on dirt, but it happened before our very eyes. Good luck with Indy. Quarter horses-now that is fast. That's the most power most of us could ever see from an animal. Secretariat's name is all over the pedigree sheets of many of the top horses, I don't care how it got there, it's an important link, and I always love seeing his name on there, top or bottom. I give the horse extra credit if Secretariat is on there just in case he has some of his extraordinary talent.

01 Oct 2010 3:12 AM
Stephie Clare

Loved those two photos!  Thanks so much for sharing them with us.  He was drop dead gorgeous!

01 Oct 2010 12:16 PM

Hi everyone, I'm new to this blog, and was part of ruffiansrun group at HP on Fri/Sat, so first of all, I need to thank Mr. Haskin for facilitating that "Queen Z" awesome adventure! As a background, I grew up about 3 miles from SA, and saw many of the early stars as a kid in the late 50's and into the 60's, but unfortunately, the only one that I clearly remember was "Candy Spots," and mainly for his name! BUT, the main reason I'm writing was to say that I, too, was fortunate enough to take my then-husband and pre-teen kids to Claiborne Farm in 1983. Not only did the management bring out Secretariat for us to see, we also saw the Bid, Damascus, and a host of others too numerous to mention (and not withstanding my memory has also faded a lot in the ensuing years!) However, we weren't allowed to touch - these guys were there for one reason, and when pulled out of their stalls, thought that that's why. You get the picture....  Secretariat was much bigger than during his running years, of course, and the hormones had bulked his neck, as on all of them. Glorious, and impressive. And on that note, I'll leave you with this other small story:  As we were leaving this gorgeous farm, after seeing the graves of the big names who'd died in prior years, I asked whether Round Table, who basically built Claiborne with his winnings, was buried nearby. I was told he was still alive, and after asking to see him, was given permission. We drove a short way from the main farm, and there, pulled out of the barn, was a noble, 28-ish year old swaybacked, bay gentleman. I was honored to see such a wonderful animal, even in his old age. And that one, we were allowed to pet! I'll remember him as much as the elegant 'boys' we'd seen earlier, including the majestic Big Red #2 (a ode to Man O'War). RT may not have been a Secretariat in his day, but he made a name that this young California woman (at the time) remembered from her youth!  Thanks again, Mr. Haskin, for making our fantastic adventure possible over the weekend!

03 Oct 2010 10:30 PM


Glad to see you here.  I just stumbled into this post by chance.  Most of the action re the trip has been on the Rachel blog.  Your name has been mentioned by ruffianruns several times as the source of some of our best pictures.

07 Oct 2010 8:42 PM
Kristen Ohler

Dr. Drunkinbum,

    And every other Secretariat fan.  I own a DVD on him that traces his days a a foal at the Meadow to his death in the fall of '89. It follows his racing career and interviews with his jocks and trainers.  I got it in '06.  The web site is Secretariat.com  It's called "The life & Times of Secretariat, An American Racing Legend.  It's awesom.  You will see all his great races.  As for the shampoo.  I went out to my barn to get the poo.  It is actually "Secretariat Hair Polish"  put out by Farnam Co. which is a big horse product co.  It is 98 percent full.  The bottle is a small bottle about 6" tall.  Big Reds pic is on the bottle. It is in great shape since I've had it for 30 plus years out in a barn.  It is supposed to produce a shiney coat after you bath your horse.  It aids in the prevention of stains from grass, manure and leather.  Gentle and safe even for sensitive skin.  Whatever.  His name is on the bottle.  That was probably good enough back then.  Also for anybody interested in an awesome book about the Secretariat family in the early years, check out "Secretariats Meadow" written by Penny's daughter Kate Chenery.  Published in 2010.  www.secretariatsmeadow.com.  Awesom pics and stories.

07 Oct 2010 11:00 PM

Thank you for such a great article!

I just went to see the Secretariat movie, and as much as a few things bothered me, I had to keep reminding myself that if there were people who knew the Superhorse up close and personal and love the movie, than me, a 14 year old girl who has just recently fallen in love with horse racing, should love it, too.

It's now one of my favorite movies, and all the inaccuracies aside, I think it will bring a lot of people to love horses, if not horse racing itself.

Thanks again for the amazing article from an aspiring writer! I hope the movie does well!!

09 Oct 2010 11:01 AM

Saw the opening of Secretariat last night and thought it was a very good movie.  I was very disappointed however, in there not being any mention at all of Riva Ridge.  I remember sitting in front of the TV with my Nana and sister and yelling "Go Riva Go!!"  I was ten at the time of Secretariats TC wins - and I remember watching and cheering him on.  He was a wonder horse, although 2nd in my heart to Man o' War (the ORIGINAL Big Red).  One cannot truly compare the speeds of these two Great Champions - MoW ran in the days before they had the advantages of faster, better groomed track surfaces not to mention no starting gates so there were plenty of "false starts" and races could be help up for up to six minutes before they were given the okay to break (which often used up a good bit of their energy).  In fact, in the only race that MoW lost he was partially turned around at the time the group were given the go ahead and had to play catch up for the first time -- he was closing in fast on Upset and if the race had only been a fraction longer he would have passed him by.  Also, MoW was NEVER allowed to run full out so we will never know exactly how fast he could run. I would absolutely LOVE it if they would ever make a movie about MoW!!!

Ruffian is another favorite of mine and who is to say how much greater she would have become if she had lived.  I was very disappointed in the TV movie that they made of her life and can only hope that won't keep the Big Studios from making a better/more factual movie about her.  Lucien Lauren did make the observation that she "may be better than Secretariat" but alas, her 3 yr old season was cut short by tragedy.  I don't remember offhand which race it was, but she did set the record for the fastest 1/4 mile ran by a racehorse of either gender -- amongst all the other records she set in her 10 race career (in which she either equaled or set a new track record EVERY time).  I was disappointed in The Bloodhorse when they relegated her to #34 of the top TBs of the 20th Century -- much too far down the list in my opinion.

09 Oct 2010 5:01 PM

I loved the movie just for what it was.  I was lucky enough to see Secretariat's first foal in MN.  Quite a few years later on I owned a Thoroughbred mare and she was boarded at a farm in MN and this is where I found Secretary of War.  Secretary of War to me was the spitting image of Secretariat and I was very honored to be near a very famous horse who's sire was Secretariat.

11 Oct 2010 2:07 PM

I saw Secretariat with my two grandchildren (girls, 7 and 4)yesterday.  We had all been looking forward to this movie, but I think that they were disappointed, and I know that I was.

Briefly, the movie doesn't work for kids.  Mine both wanted to go to the restroom during the Belmont Ball scenes. They voted with their feet.

I think that the producers and writers didn't have a clear idea of who their audience was so they threw out something for (they thought)everyone, failing to satisfy anyone in the process.  

The racing fans who have commented about the movie so far have made legitimate complaints about the liberties taken with the truth regarding Riva Ridge, Sham, and Keeneland posing as Belmont.

Not being a long time racing fan I noticed other things and was bothered most by the misuse of Eddie Sweat, Secretariat (and Riva's)groom placing him at the Meadow Farm almost as a servant of the Chenery's.  

I have lots of other problems with the movie, but will not take up space here.  Suffice it to say, I don't think that it will be a children's classic.  I bought the gk's a remake of Black Beauty last year.  They loved it and watch it often.  Same for Black Stallion.  The Secretariat movie doesn't have any of the themes that make a movie one that children want to see again.  Do you think that Penny worrying about how to syndicate Secretariat for $6 million to save her farm will make the kids feel sorry for her plight?

18 Oct 2010 1:59 PM

I really enjoyed the movie, but did'nt think it did the horse justice, too much about Penny Chenery and her family etc. Rent or buy (2003) "Seabiscuit", now that's a great horse movie ! The little horse nobody wanted, with the heart of a lion, and the will to win, once treated with care. Bridges, Maquire,& Cooper were all excellent ! Thanks Gary Ross & Dreamworks Pictures ...

20 Oct 2010 4:38 PM

What a shame we live in a world where great horses live out their racing lives, die in retirement then are only remembered by the public at large through, ....Disney films.  Give me a break!!  If  your kids had to go to see the movie about Secretariat then the parents didn't do their jobs! My kids have enough Secretariat stuff to reference around the house (as well as his birthplace just up the road from me) to open their own library. Will  Barbaro one day be remembered in a Disney film?  Oh..can't wait until Citation and Whirlaway come out next (just kidding). Wow...Secretariat is close to my heart as he is (and always will be ) "a local boy." But shame on the Amnesiac States of America as it stands now (not just in horse racing) to let our legends drift away from our dinner table discussions. Don't wait for Disney to dole out the "memories" to your kids.

25 Jan 2011 3:22 PM

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