Viva Big Red!

So, after nearly 40 years, the Maryland Jockey Club, after hearing two hours of testimony and forensic analyses, finally has awarded the Preakness stakes record to Secretariat. When Penny Chenery first began her crusade to change Big Red’s time in 1973, it appeared as if the true time was 1:53 2/5 instead of 1:54 2/5 instead of 1:55.

It was unanimously agreed upon that the original time of 1:55 was a tote board malfunction. The commission decided to go with the Maryland Jockey Club hand held time of 1:54 2/5 and not the Daily Racing Form hand held time (by two clockers) of 1:53 2/5.

When CBS ran Secretariat’s Preakness from start to finish on a split screen with the 1971 Preakness won by Canonero, who held the track and stakes record of 1:54, it clearly showed Secretariat hitting the wire three lengths ahead of Canonero, another indication that Secretariat’s final time was indeed 1:53 2/5. But that evidence was dismissed by the Maryland commission.

Now, 39 years later, the commission not only decided to change Secretariat’s time once again, they went right by the originally sought after 1:53 2/5 and gave him a time of 1:53 flat. While that establishes a new stakes record, it still is not a track record, which was set in 1991 by Farma Way, who won the Pimlico Special in 1:52 2/5.

So, what does this new ruling actually mean in the grand scheme of things? To yours truly it is mainly window dressing to an already legendary career. It is not going to make Secretariat a better horse in the history books or in the eye of the public. It can now be said that Secretariat set track records in all three Triple Crown races. A sensational feat, yes, but that’s pretty much it. Most people felt he had accomplished that feat anyway. Had it been awarded to him in 1973, it would have had a far greater impact.

The most important aspect of this ruling has nothing to do about time in our opinion. What it does is bring the 1973 and 1971 Preakness back into public awareness and bring attention to two of the greatest, most memorable, and most shocking moments in Triple Crown history.

We watched the 1973 Preakness from atop the Pimlico roof and got a tremendous view of Secretariat’s explosive last to first move on the clubhouse turn, a move no one had ever seen before. Horses just don’t make that kind of move on the first turn. At first, when we saw the opening quarter of :25 flash on the tote board, we couldn’t understand how Big Red could be last off such a slow quarter. No sooner had we completed that thought when Secretariat decided to take matters in his own hand. He ignited his own afterburners and took off with such force it looked as if were about to become airborne. It was Ray Woolfe’s photo of Secretariat seemingly leaping in the air beginning his move that was used as the model for the horse’s statue that has become such a familiar sight in the Belmont Park paddock.

No one could believe what they were seeing as they watched Big Red inhale the entire field on the first turn, going from last to first in a matter of seconds. Turcotte said years later that the move caught him by surprise and he nearly fell off when Big Red launched his move. He was moving so fast he blew the number off the sleeve of jockey George Cusimano, who was aboard the front-running Ecole Etage. Cusimano said it sounded like a freight train coming up on his outside.

Track record or no track record, it was Secretariat’s jaw-dropping move that will forever define the 1973 Preakness. And as a side note, how about Sham, who now has set two track records in the Triple Crown and didn't win either time.

When Canonero shocked the racing world by coming from 18th, 20 lengths back in the Kentucky Derby, and blowing his field away to score by nearly four lengths, it was considered by almost everyone to be an aberration; a freak occurrence. After all, how else could you explain a gangly, crooked-legged horse coming here from Venezuela of all places, with every one of his ribs showing, and smoking the best 3-year-olds in America in the Kentucky Derby? It made no sense and offered no logical explanation.

The Preakness would be a different story. It was a shorter distance, which would favor speed-oriented horses such as Eastern Fleet and Executioner, respective winners of the Florida Derby and Flamingo Stakes. And there was also the Preakness Prep winner, Sound Off. Eastern Fleet, owned by Calumet Farm, was coming off a pace-stalking fourth-place finish in the Derby, and there was no doubt he would fare much better at the shorter distance and around the seemingly tighter turns at Pimlico.

Also, Eastern Fleet and Executioner had drawn well in posts 5 and 6, respectively, while Canonero had to break from post 9 in the 11-horse field. The Venezuelan colt was expected to drop back to the rear of the field anyway, as he had done in the Derby, but this time it was not going to be easy to make up 20 lengths or even 15 lengths. And even if the race did set up for a closer, which seemed unlikely, the Derby runner-up, Jim French, was a far more likely recipient following a rough trip at Churchill Downs.

At the break, Eastern Fleet broke alertly and quickly moved up to take the lead. But, wait, is that Canonero running third on the far outside, now second? How can that be after coming from 20 lengths back in the Derby?

Eastern Fleet opened up by two lengths passing the wire the first time, but Canonero was moving strongly and getting closer with every stride. His jockey, Gustavo Avila, like Ron Turcotte, was now merely a passenger, as Canonero set his sights set on Eastern Fleet. Before they even hit the backstretch, Canonero was eyeballing Eastern Fleet, and even stuck his head in front for an instant. Down the backside, Eastern Fleet, determined from the start to set the pace, maintained a head advantage over a tenacious Canonero, who refused to let him get away. The pair quickly opened five lengths on the pack. It appeared they both were on a suicide mission, especially after running the third quarter in a scorching :23 2/5, while hitting the three-quarter mark in 1:10 2/5, faster than they ran most sprints at Pimlico.

No one could believe what they were witnessing. Canonero had ripped the past performance lines to shreds and tossed all logic aside. He just wasn’t supposed to be doing what he was doing. Horses don’t run this fast after coming form the clouds and going a mile and a quarter in 2:03 1/5. In fact, in terms of lengths, Canonero had run his six furlongs 23 lengths faster than he ran in the Derby.

Canonero and Eastern Fleet continued at each other’s throat down the backstretch and around the far turn, with no one else within six lengths of them. By the time they passed the three-sixteenths pole, they had run the mile in a swift 1:35 flat. If they could keep it up, they were on course to break Nashua’s track record of 1:54 3/5, set 16 years earlier. But surely, at least one of them had to crack.

Canonero, as he did in the Derby, refused to changed leads. But shockingly, it was Eastern Fleet, who caved in from the pressure and the blistering three-quarter and mile fractions. Canonero began to draw clear, still on his left lead, and hit the wire 1 1/2 lengths in front of Eastern Fleet, who had 4 1/2 lengths on third-place finisher Jim French. By coming home his final three-sixteenths in a brilliant :19 flat, Canonero, shattered Nashua’s track record by three-fifths of a second.

To this day, the sight of Canonero moving up to challenge Eastern Fleet and going head and head with the Calumet speedster through such fast fractions, remains the single most shocking moment we have ever witnessed on a racetrack. Right behind it was Secretariat’s amazing move two years later.

So, thank you, Maryland Racing Commission, not so much for giving Secretariat the record, but for bringing back memories and focusing attention on two of the most  remarkable races and indelible moments in Triple Crown history.

(A documentary on the amazing life and times of Canonero is near release and will serve as a preview to a full-length motion picture to be released at a later date. We will provide more details on both as they become available. This is one story that even a Hollywood script writer cannot improve upon).


Leave a Comment:


So why didn't they just go right for 152 or something and give him everything his connections wanted...and more.  That makes the same sense as the 153 they "decided on". If you think the asterisk has been moved from his official time, think again.  This calls for an even bigger one.

20 Jun 2012 9:46 AM
Gary Tasich

Thanks for the memories Steve! Great read!!

20 Jun 2012 10:14 AM
anita b

Hi Steve,

It is way too long for Big Red's Preakness time to be made "official." Thanks.

Because my sister lived in Venezula, I picked Canonero in the derby. That and he was the only horse who had run 11/4 mile before.

thanks again, Steve. Anita

20 Jun 2012 11:12 AM
Diane in Los Angeles

Without the controversial Preakness timing, would Ronnie Turcotte have let Secretariat go in the Belmont?  Without that frustration, he might not have been inspired to go for it in the race that truly defined the greatness of the horse.

20 Jun 2012 11:25 AM

I never get tired of watching his races! That jaw dropping move in the Preakness still takes your breath away -- can only imagine what it was like to see it in person.  It didn't look like Turcotte ever touched him with the whip in either the Preakness nor Belmont. Such a joy to watch that horse run for the sake of running.

I just watched the 1971 Derby & Preakness. Grainy footage on Youtube but able to follow the Derby field quite well (and a large field it was) Canonero won that race with authority - very impressive.  BUT, the Preakness was amazing!  The only clips on YouTube were in Spanish and while not fully understanding the race caller, you can certainly pick up the horses' names. When Canonero & Eastern Fleet moved away from the pack in tandem and raced that way til nearly the end, it gives you goosebumps.  First I saw flashes of Rachel Alexandra as she bolted to the lead from her outside post position, as did Canonero.  Then there were shades of Affirmed/Alydar's Belmont and the mini match race unfolded.  I can't believe I never saw that race until today.  I wish there was footage in English... I'm going to look further; perhaps there is... However, the Spanish version is a hoot, the race caller has all the excitement and jubilation that you expect to hear at high level international soccer matches! He's overjoyed to say the least!

Thanks again to Steve for bringing these stories to light.  Will look forward to Canonero's story when it becomes available.  

20 Jun 2012 11:32 AM

Always enjoy reminiscing about the "Great One." I agree that nothing can improve on Secretariat's legend, but the ruling does recognize another accomplishment that had not been previously acknowledged.

Jon, I think that videos of the race were reviewed extensively before the decisions was made. I could be wrong, though.

Thanks, Steve, once again, for bringing history to life.

20 Jun 2012 11:35 AM

My husband & I witnessed BIG RED's Preakness......AND clocked him at 1:53     After all the years of controversy he deserves this record!

20 Jun 2012 11:44 AM
Pedigree Ann

Canonero II didn't crack because he was bred to go long, by *Pretendre, who had been second a neck in The Derby. *Pretendre also sired Suffolk, winner of the Italian Derby (12f); Trasi's Son (Dante S-10f), Recollect (S.A. St. Leger-13.5f), and Gay Pretender (Natal Derby-12f).

I loved 'Little Jim' (Jim French), a throw-back to the iron horses of another era. Run on three consecutive weekends in Florida, New York and California? No problem, and he won the Santa Anita Derby on the third weekend! What a shame a old-fashioned dirt horse like him went to stud in France; he didn't take after granddad Ribot, got only a few good turf runners. We could have used crosses of him in modern dirt peds.

20 Jun 2012 11:56 AM
Ida Lee

What a fun article!! Of course, those of us who still love Secretariat beyond all reason, knew he won the Preakness in record time and what a show he put on. Of course, we did not know that the REAL show was going to be the Belmont. Also thank you for the Canonero memories. This beautiful and talented horse was one of my favorites especially since we were both Hispanic.

20 Jun 2012 11:59 AM

I can hardly wait for the Canonero movie!! He was one of my very favorites.  Oh boy!!!

20 Jun 2012 12:17 PM
Bill Two

For me, a Maryland resident and fan of Maryland racing the dithering reluctance to give Secretariat his due makes me sick. It was obvious to everyone that the horse broke the track record; everyone that is except the MJC which stood by their malfunctioning electric timer.  No excuse whatsoever.  

As for Canonero II and Secretariat what else can be said?  Well, for one thing Pimlico in the early 1970's really did have a severe rail bias - particularly into the first turn - but not limited to that part of the track.  To do what those horses did is nothing short of miraculous.  Secretariat didn't simply beat up on a bunch of bums.  The horse Cusimano rode - Ecole Etage - was trained by Buddy Delp and he won some nice races.  The horses in Maryland at that time were pretty salty: Port Conway Lane, Festive Mood, Ecole Etage and others all won many stakes.  So, for Secretariat to go around all of them on the first turn like they were tied to a pole is no mean feat.  Canonero II was a miracle sent to us by God.  This horse had no business even running in the Derby and Preakness much less dominating these races.  Like you, I still ask myself "How did that happen?"  Never seen anything like it before or since.  Thanks for the memories.

20 Jun 2012 12:29 PM
steve from st louis

Only Secretariat could get faster years after he was buried. He was not resting in peace but he is now. Well done, Maryland.

20 Jun 2012 12:36 PM
Karen in Texas

Exciting news! I thought they would eventually succeed in correcting Secretariat's original Preakness time, but that a new record was revealed makes it even more special. "His only point of reference is himself" becomes truer still.

JON R----I'm quoting the Maryland Racing Commission's executive director, Michael Hopkins, from a  Bloomberg Businessweek article. He said, "The seven member panel used technology, including 'layered-on timing devices' and digital replays of the race" to establish the corrected time.

Steve---Thanks for the information on the upcoming Canonero documentary.

20 Jun 2012 12:49 PM

It is never too late to make right the errors of the past. the Matyland Jockey club needs to be applauded for this.

Great read again Steve.

20 Jun 2012 12:56 PM
Steve Haskin

I added a few other little things to the story, one of which is that Sham now has set two track records in the Triple Crown and didn't win either time.

20 Jun 2012 2:10 PM

Oh yeah, almost forgot about Sham!  Poor guy.....such distinction yet it's only good enough for second place. Guess he and Alydar can commiserate!  Those horses of the 1970's sure gave us some fantastic memories to treasure.

Also reviewed Whirlaway's Preakness and, he too, had an explosive move -- ran from the back of the pack, through the bundle of horses - not around them - and burst into the lead as Eddie Arcaro said, "running twice as fast as the other horses"

The Preakness, which some people under regard, has give us some really impressive and exciting races.

20 Jun 2012 3:02 PM

Another great article by the master, lets face it Steve he was and will always be the best throughbred to ever hit the race track, he was just simply magnificent, when he died and they posted him didn,t they find he had a heart way bigger than average horse, I remember seeing him live he was huge, Quite a pony.

20 Jun 2012 3:33 PM

Finally Maryland DID something right.  Allbeit alittle late, but HE didn't need it anyway!

20 Jun 2012 3:42 PM

Yes, Bravo to the Maryland Racing Commission.  And thank you Steve for another great article.  I will be looking for that documentary on Canonero.  What a shame he got the rash.  He might have beaten Secretariat to the Triple Crown prize 2 yrs earlier than Big Red.  But Secretariat is in a category all by himself.  Hurray Penney Chenery for never giving up.

20 Jun 2012 3:43 PM

Does anyone out there miss the ability to make a "field" bet?  Because I always used to put a bet on the field, I won some money when Canonero II won the Derby.  Also, is it now ok to drop the II from his name?

20 Jun 2012 3:52 PM
big john t

Thanks Pedigree Ann for that bit of information on Jim French. I didn't know he went to France. He was my pick in the Triple Crown that year. I wondered why I never saw him in any pedigrees.

20 Jun 2012 4:07 PM

I remember watching years ago,on a tv show, the side-by-side replay of Secretariat and Canonero. It was obvious that Secretariat beat the time of Canonero. Whenever the discussion came up, I would always recite the show that I had seen the side by side races. (Does anyone remember the show?)

I would like to thank the Maryland Jockey Club for correcting an obvious mistake made years ago. Secretariat moved like a tremendous machine, but justice finally crossed the finish line 39 years later.

I love the Canonero story. He qualified for the Derby because of his breeding. With current and future Derby qualifications, he would not have raced in the Derby.

20 Jun 2012 4:07 PM

In his declining years, the great racing journalist Charles Hatton was usually to be seen of a morning sitting on the track apron in his wheelchair watching the workouts.

It is said that when a certain big red unraced two-year-old first came into his view he stood up and walked down to the fence for a closer look.

Charlie said geriatrics precluded his ever seeing again the likes of Secretariat. But he did live to see him and was glad.

20 Jun 2012 5:15 PM

BTW, does anybody else hate the "tremendous machine" comparison? I always watch that Belmont with the mute on.

Anybody know if it's true that the race caller is now working NASCAR?

20 Jun 2012 5:18 PM


Where can I find a video of Canonero's Preakness run? (in English, I found a lot in different languages on YouTube)

20 Jun 2012 6:01 PM

No Cassandra, he's not calling NASCAR: Chic Anderson died suddenly of a heart attack in 1979. Whatever you may think of his call of the Belmont, it will live on as one of the best known race calls in history.

20 Jun 2012 6:20 PM

wow- no pun intended, but it's about time.

as for the "tremendous machine" call- i still get chills hearing that comment and watching that race. it's (then comment) still right on target, and no horse since then has come close to that kind of move and fractions for that distance.  probably the best race i have ever seen, and i could watch it all day.

20 Jun 2012 6:54 PM

They doubted Secretariat!! shame

20 Jun 2012 7:00 PM

Webster defines "secretariat" as an administrative unit responsible for keeping records, sometime governmental.  Now, Big Red, the State of Maryland finally has your "records" straight!  Rest in Peace, great champion.

20 Jun 2012 7:55 PM

Congrats Penny Chenery!!  Your Big Red horse got his due.  I think it is a very special thing to have set the stakes records in all 3 Triple Crown races that still stand 39 years later. I honestly never knew this was being worked on all this time.  And congrats to you Secretariat, my favorite racehorse ever!!  Your accomplishments in the Triple Crown have now been recognized.  And thanks Steve,  I love all your articles but mostly the one's on Secretariat.

20 Jun 2012 8:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I timed Curlin's Preakness and came up with 1:52 flat using the most precise method known to man, "one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand ..." but I have no problem with the greatest thoroughbred of all time holding all three Triple Crown records. If Secretariat had raced at four he probably would own a lot more records that would still be standing. I just think that in fairness to other winners that they should retime  the rest of the past Preakness races also using the exact same method and use that same method in future races also. When exactly do they start the clock?

20 Jun 2012 8:07 PM
Paula Higgins

Steve, thank you for this article. Big Red deserved to have it written and so did Canonero. I am really looking forward to the movie about Canonero. You know the Brits are going ga-ga over Frankel, and yes, he is a truly spectacular horse. But when I read in a British paper that Frankel is the best ever, it makes me crazy and I just post a comment and say one name "Secretariat." As a writer said at the time, "his only frame of reference is  himself." To me, his Preakness was absolutely jaw dropping. That move on the first turn was one of the greatest things I have ever seen in sports. Whenever I saw Zenyatta circle the field and surge at the end of her races, I always thought of Secretariat's Preakness. To me, it was as great as his Belmont. What a gift from GOD he was. I also thought the comment "he is moving like a tremendous machine"  captured the moment perfectly. It is iconic for a reason.

20 Jun 2012 8:20 PM

Thank you for another great read, Steve!  

I am so amped about the documentary and movie coming up about Canonero.  Did you have input, I hope?  Better yet, are you appearing in the doc?

20 Jun 2012 8:25 PM

Oh to have witnessed such greatness.  At least there is You Tube for folks like me who missed the greatest athletes of all time.

Congrats to Penney Chenery and Big Red.  

I love the tremendous machine call, its so much representative of the times.  

Thank you Steve Haskin once again for making my week!  

Looking forward to the documentary and the movie about Canonero.  Hope they don't mess up the movie with corny, childish stuff.

20 Jun 2012 8:42 PM
White Plains Eric

Steve, would love to hear your thoughts on Secretariat being the greatest horse ever even though, I don't believe, he ever conceded weight since he didn't run as an older horse.   Greatest 2yo and 3yo for sure, but  does not giving weight knock him from the top spot as greatest horse ever?  

Second, I recall Bill Nack making a comment that Native Dancer and Affirmed couldn't even "warm up Secretariat".   Seems a littl extreme considering the immortal Onion did ok "warming" Big Red up a couple of times.

Love this blog, Steve, and many of your regular contributors.  

20 Jun 2012 8:42 PM


No! Are you kidding? If anything I miss the type of sports announcers we had back then when Secretariat ran like a "tremendous machine". One of the most memorable calls ever.

Back then there was another horse I think one might have imagined this expression being applied to, namely John Henry, but more for his namesake from the great folklore of the steel driving man, that beat the machine.

Interesting if one looks at the breeding of Secretariat, Canonero and John Henry and we see a common lineage containing Prince Rose. Very interesting, I would love to have seen that horse, he is too incredibly beautiful in pictures. Sad he was killed in a bombing raid in World War II.

20 Jun 2012 9:09 PM

I don't think Chic Anderson's Belmont call is one of the most famous calls in history.  I think it's THE most famous racecall in history since horse races and their calls were recorded for posterity!  Even young fans who weren't even alive in 1973 know about that call.

And Diane from LA, I'll bet that Secretariat's clocking in the Preakness was just about the last thing on Turcotte's mind in that Belmont.  He wasn't "going" for anything!  Secretariat pretty much ran that race on his own, and the main concern Ronnie probably had was doing everything he could to keep from falling off! LOL!

It's a good thing that the historical record has been corrected.  After 39 years, the MJC was finally presented with incontrovertible technical evidence, and they just couldn't run from it anymore!

That said, I couldn't help but feel a little something for the people connected with Tank's Prospect, Louis Quatorze, and Curlin, having the Preakness Stakes record that they co-held just sort of go away.  The historical significance of Secretariat is without question, and the righteousness of this decision is undeniable, but still.......

20 Jun 2012 9:29 PM

Cassandra, the mention of Charles Hatton brings back such memories. He was the most erudite horse racing writer I've ever encountered in 45 years as a fan. Following racing before the age of simulcasting you had to rely on writers like Hatton. It was obvious even with Riva Ridge's 3 year old heroics that Hatton thought Secretariat was something special as a 2 year old. How right he was. Thanks for triggering another Big Red memory.

20 Jun 2012 10:07 PM

Some years ago I used video equipment with a built-in timer to time Secretariat's Preakness. I came up with a time just under 1:53 and one fifth, a few frames under so the time of 1.53 flat seems correct. I then clocked the race with a stop watch and came up with 153 1/5 on occasion and 153 2/5s on other occasions. There is no doubt that Sec set the record that day. In Raymond Woolfe's book on Secretariat, if I recall correctly, he said the Maryland Racing Commission in '73 had some issues with the CBS synchronized version not being able to verify that the starting gate positions were the same in both races, not sure how much a difference that would have made but still they were not entirely convinced about the accuracy of the lengths Secretariat finished ahead of Canonero. The latest digital technology may have left no room for doubt about the finish and time. Also no doubt about the abilities of Sham whose time is also adjusted to 1.53 2/5s (if the old measure of a length for a fifth is used), now the second fastest Preakness time on record (along with Curlin, and two others). Just a quick note: Sec's adjusted time was a mere 2/5s of a second off the world record time for the distance at that time, set by the 4 year old Fleet Bird in 1953 on the West Coast, and Secretariat was just playing with the field that day.  

20 Jun 2012 10:32 PM

Finally, Secretariat gets his due. I remember the Preakness controversy well. I couldn't believe that Maryland officials stood by a time that malfunctioned. Thank goodness, sense finally prevailed and what most everyone already knew is official - Secretariat won the 1973 Triple Crown and set the stakes record winning times in each race. A Secretariat is still the ultimate goal of each and every breeder, everywhere. And Sham was the only other horse who could run with him when Secretariat was "on." He just had the misfortune to be born the same year Secretariat was. I was a big fan of Sham's and I think he was a wonderful racehorse. And Canonero - what an incredible story! He didn't look healthy enough to be racing and look at how he ran and won. I will also be looking forward to seeing his documentary.

20 Jun 2012 10:55 PM

I saw Secretariat's Preakness run, and it was awesome!  However, I didn't have to see the record corrected to know I had seen an amazing horse.  Too bad one of his connections, Mrs. Chenery, has spoiled the "new record" for me  with snide remarks about I'll Have Another's connections.  So uncalled for, but then she owned Secretariat so guess that makes it OK.  

And, Maryland always does things right!

20 Jun 2012 11:49 PM

Great stuff, Steve!  I'm curious the comments that were being made from the Pimlico rooftop as you guys watched what Secretariat was doing???

I've studied Secretariat as best I can, from watching his races over and over again.  I am convinced that his Preakness run was nothing more than a breeze for him.  He was definitely amped up for "race day", adrenaline, as only Lucien Lauren could get him prepared, so he was feeling quite good so his breeze was a little turbo but still a breeze.

Also, Turcotte did say that if he had called on Big Red in the stretch run he could've opened up another 5 or 6 lengths on Sham.  

The greatest thing, to me, about the wonder that is Secretariat, is that Turcotte's piloting was conservative and we're only left to speculate what we COULD HAVE seen from "The Big Horse".

Absolutely amazing!

Thanks, again, Steve.

21 Jun 2012 1:16 AM
Mike Relva


As far as I'm concerned Mrs. Chenery is the "gold standard". If Doug didn't put himself in the situation who did?

21 Jun 2012 1:33 AM

Our greatest memories of racing are those of decades gone by. The future of the sport appears to be wondering which promising horse will break down next. Will their fate be retirement or one far worse? One disappointment after another, one tragedy after another. The glory days are dead and buried. For what little it's worth, congratulations Mrs. Chenery. The time correction will make no difference in the minds of people who believe Big Red was the best. Thank God for the Euro ponies, perhaps they'll save the sport of kings. Frankel you were AMAZING, bring your bloodline to the states, are you listening Ann and Jerry Moss? Black Caviar, I don't really know who you've beaten as rivals, but you are a raving beauty. Good luck Mr. Moody, hope she chalks up another win to add to her unblemished resume.

21 Jun 2012 2:04 AM

Smarie, I've always loved Sham, too bad he was born in the same year as Secretariat. He pushed Big Red into greatness to some extent. Sham and Secretariat both had enlarged hearts which allowed them to run as they did. With all due respect, they were "freaks of nature". I always felt they had an unfair physical advantage over the other horses. It doesn't detract from their greatness, it simply changes the way I see things.

21 Jun 2012 2:22 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  No. It was one of the greatest if not the greatest race calls in history, and the "tremendous machine" line was a brilliant, concise description that summed up perfectly what was going on. Instead of rambling on like an idiot trying to describe how this is impossible for a horse of flesh and blood to be doing this like most of us would have done in our stunned state of mind, Chic summed it up just right so that we could understand what we were seeing. Secretariat set the standard for a racehorse that we all want to see again but will be damn lucky if we ever do. Chic Anderson set the standard for a race call and that moment when we heard "like a tremendous machine" was a goosebumps and chills moment when we realized what we were seeing. He also said near the end, "an unbelievable, an amazing performance, " which summed up the race. Right now after seeing the replay again and getting teary eyed again I'm shaking my head at how fabulous and perfect Secretariat's stride was for the entire race. The tempo and length of stride remained the same for the entire race, and what a stride it was.

21 Jun 2012 8:16 AM
Steve Haskin

Doodge, I am a consultant on the movie, and a lot of it was inspired and based on an extensive blog I wrote on the life of Canonero. It has appeared here on two occasions, the latest being a two-parter in 2008. It remains the most remarkable story I have ever encountered in racing.

21 Jun 2012 8:18 AM
Tiara Terces

I remember the jubilation in the winner's circle for Canonero II.  Some thought his longer races over the deep, sandy tracks in Venezuela had increased his stamina.  Thanks, Steve, for telling us about his upcoming documentary. I also am not very fond of the fictionalization of outstanding racehorses careers even though it does bring them into the general public's awareness.  No way did the film Secretariats approach his true charisma. But it is unreasonable to even think that possible. Of course the movie was more about the humans, which is like looking at a Rembrandt and praising only its frame.

Anyone who watches Secretariat's Preakness should be awe struck.  He made even Arazi's BC Juvenile acceleration seem less impressive.

Why couldn't they have done more inbreeding with Secretariat's progeny the way they have with Native Dancer?  I read that Storm Cat crossed with A P Indy was initially successful but has statistically become average.  They are also now discrediting the large heart genetics theories.

Is it too late for cloning, even if just for exhibition purposes?

21 Jun 2012 9:05 AM
Indiana Johnny

I was at the 1973 Ky Derby and seen  Secretariat race. I was 20 yrs. old, I bet on Sham, my brother bet on Secretariat. That was the only Derby I've been to, although I live close by. Secretariat was the greatest ever, what a legend. Thanks for the memories and great article Steve. John

21 Jun 2012 10:01 AM

I was fifteen and glued to the television set on that Saturday in 1973--there he was LAST as usual--then on the first turn,going around EVERYBODY on the outside. I don't know how, but I think he knew how anxious his being last,and making those astonishing  moves made me. And I think he thought it was funny, to have me biting my nails one minute and screaming my lungs out the next--how did he know that with me in Arkansas! The correction of his time in the Preakness for me is the cherry that has been missing on the top of the sundae. When I got the news via tweet, the entire office knew--because this old woman SHOUTED!!! And the fifteen year old girl got misty eyed.

21 Jun 2012 10:26 AM
Love 'em all

Mr. Haskin, your Canonero blog - parts 1 and 2 are the absolute best, and I'm thrilled reading there will be a documentary of his life and your part in it.  Can't wait to see it!!

I've read the Canonero blog many times; his story is a favorite of mine.  Easy to find on the internet for those interested.

21 Jun 2012 10:45 AM
Rachel NH

I agree...1:53 flat is a BIGGER asterisk beside his name.

To me he still ties the track record, as I've always believed.

21 Jun 2012 11:21 AM

Jon R.....Really?? Come on man Jealousy is a bad thing. And your not far off anyway, his time was closer to 1:52! Really!

21 Jun 2012 11:43 AM
Steve Haskin

For those interested, here are the links to the two-part Canonero story.

21 Jun 2012 11:49 AM

ksweatman9, you are so right when you say that Sham helped push Secretariat into greatness. I was so sad when I learned that Sham had been injured and subsequently retired. I am sure he would have had a great 4 year old season at the racetrack. I read a book on Sham - I forget the author's name. It was very poorly written from the standpoint that all the author did was bemoan Sham's racing fate at the hands of Secretariat. Sure, these two horses will always be linked like Affirmed and Alydar and Sunday Silence and Easy Goer, but Sham's career should be remembered for what he accomplished and not for his losses to Big Red.

21 Jun 2012 11:52 AM
A Horsey Canuck

Thank you, Steve, for this wonderful piece. I watched Secretariat in all of his 3 Triple Crown races, and remember being so totally frustrated at the end of the '73 Preakness, with all of the timing issues. Good for Mrs. Penny to make sure that this great horse of hers got his due, albeit 39 years late. He was, and still is, one of a kind. No disrespect to Seattle Slew and Affirmed, but I don't think we will see another horse that will come close to Secretariat in a long, long time. As a Canadian, I want to say "hoorah" to our Ronnie Turcotte. We were proud of you then, and we are just as thrilled for you now, that you and your horse have achieved redemption. He was America's horse, but he was also Canada's horse as well; in the end, he belonged to the world and you took him there. God speed, Ronnie and may you rest in peace, Big Red!

21 Jun 2012 12:48 PM
Mike Relva

Jon R

Talk about sour grapes! I've no doubt they got it right- long overdue.

21 Jun 2012 1:44 PM
Needler in Virginia

It's about frickin' time! Well done, Pimlico and WELL DONE, BIG RED!

Cheers and safe trips to all.

21 Jun 2012 3:11 PM

In losing to Curlin in a photo finish, Street Sense also ran the Preakness in 1:53 2/5.

Had there been the internet back then, I would have known that it was actually possible to visit Secretariat at Claiborne... one of my life's regrets.

I have heard that I'll Have Another's connections are considering an offer to stand him at stud in Japan.  Just wondering something.  Once a horse is sold to a foreign entity as a stud prospect, is there a way of preventing the horse from being raced in that country if the new owner so chooses?

21 Jun 2012 5:29 PM

I keep saying, Secretariat was from another planet. Too awesome, and it's about time Maryland did the right thing.  

And Sham was one of my favorites.  He was simply star-crossed.

Hank: The xfactor gene for a large heart has not been discarded.  With the average horse's heart weighing 8-9 pounds, Princequillo's progeny had hearts that averaged 14#'s.

Sham's heart was weighed at his necropsy and was 18 pounds, the 2nd largest recorded.

Secretariat had the largest heart recorded though it was not actually weighed.  It was estimated at 22 pounds.

Sham and Secretariat were both from the Princequillo line.

Cassandra...the power of Chick Anderson's "tremendous machine" call is historic.  Muting the call is really a disservice to Secretariat, Anderson, and the racing community.  

21 Jun 2012 6:23 PM

Tiara Terces

I am in agreement with you, the Secretariat movie did not do justice to the horse.  I really, really hope someone will do a movie that is of epic proportions for / about Secretariat.   It would be a spectacular movie experience.  Can't wait to see the Canonero piece.

Steve, surely you have a Top 5 All Time???

21 Jun 2012 7:43 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA with everyone about Sham. He was brilliant in his own right and when I think of Secretariat, I always think of Sham. I believe he would have been a Triple Crown winner in any other year. Sham was one of the greats. Good luck to Black Caviar on Saturday and may she get home safe on that wet and probably heavy track.

21 Jun 2012 9:57 PM

Slew thank you I rember reading somewhere that he supposedly had a very large heart in comparison to other horses, but rember he was a very large pony, pony is slang for horse, I saw him at saratoga he was huge

22 Jun 2012 6:21 PM

Good story Steve and I am so glad for Secretariat that he got the Preakness stakes record.  Kudos to Mrs. Chenery and the Maryland Jockey Club.  Secretariat is legendary.  All I can remember of him is his name splashed across the newspapers in large print, at the time I had no idea as a kid what or who it was.  We need a modern day version of him.

Ok, now I've read today's BH news headlines and am saddened, well, upset and freaking out is more like it.  If Reddam is so sad about IHA breeding in Japan and not here, well, hell, doesn't he control that?  So they chose money over keeping IHA in the USA and in their lives?  In Japan IHA is far removed from their lives.  I don't agree with it I think he should stay here and be bred here on good old USA soil.  That bloodstock agent in England is lucky he is not mine, I'd fire him TODAY.  As far as I am concerned that makes two bloodstock agents that made poor decisions on IHA.  I've agreed with Reddam on everything, EXCEPT this.  I would have stood my ground, accepted a lesser offer here, and kept IHA where he belongs.  I love Team O'Neill but I just don't like this decision, but that's just me.  IHA goes on a magical journey in quest of the Triple Crown across the USA only to end up on the other side of the world in Japan and not his own country?  Bad move if you ask me.  I admire Japan racing and their training facilities are state-of-the-art, but IHA does not belong there.  Too much will change for him, he loses everybody and everything.  Please change your mind Mr. Reddam.

22 Jun 2012 7:23 PM

Looks like it's official, I'll Have Another is off to Japan. Gosh, THEY love our Derby winners!!!! Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Charismatic, and now IHA... oh well, he didn't manage the Triple Crown, so he's of little interest to American breeders? I find that pretty hard to swallow.

After this week's Royal Ascot races, I am again reminded that there is top class racing in many other countries, and we here in the US are really the weird oddballs with our oval dirt tracks and our demand for speed, speed, QH speed... and they wonder why interest is flagging, and all the rest of the things that plague us (injuries, drugs, etc.). What is it about shooting oneself in the foot? Does it feel good?

Someone should get something going with 3 top class American tracks to set up a 3 year old TURF series to parallel the English Triple Crown, races starting at one mile, 1.5 miles, and so on like the 2000 Guineas, Derby, and Doncaster St. Leger... and offer BIG bucks and prestige, and invite lots of foreign horses the first couple of years... we need desperately to turn things around and the only way I see is to make it desirable to have turf and distance runners...

Ah well, it'll never happen, and we'll go staggering on...

For someone who has been a horse freak as long as I have, and a racing lover, and horse owner, this is so disheartening. Not a slap at Mr. Reddam, as his statement pretty much says it... but he owns for RACING, not breeding, and he would not have kept the horse anyway from what I understand.

This sure puts a sour note onto the end of my afternoon. Shame on the American breeders who ignore yet another chance to help turn things around...

Hope Black Caviar can do her thing tomorrow, I'll be watching... along with every person in Australia--!! The whole Southern Hemisphere will shake if she wins, with all the folks jumping up and down <G>

22 Jun 2012 8:40 PM

Well, I'll Have Another certainly has taken me through a whirlwind of emotions this year. From surprise to excitement, from shock to disappointment, and now from feeling sick to my stomach to sheer anger. I hope Reddam never again gets the privilege of owning a special horse like I'll Have Another. I hope he enjoys his money, that's clearly what he values most. I highly doubt Reddam cared enough to have a buy back clause in the contract, so the worry won't be IF I'll Have Another goes to the slaughter house in the future, but WHEN. I really need to stop before I say something I regret. I'm getting a headache from crying anyway.

22 Jun 2012 8:51 PM
Linda in Texas

And now I'll Have Another is readying for a journey to his new home in Japan. I am just about speechless. And i know you all find

that hard to believe.

But do believe me.

Re: Canonero II, i mentioned his name on Steve's blog one day and Steve sent the location of where i could read his wonderful story Parts I and II about him. So much i did not know.

The thing about Canonero II was

the hope he brought his country at a time of angst for them. He was

a hero to them and i remember so well when he won his race when he

was not expected to. This story will be a winner i am sure. I just

hope they try and keep it as natural a story as it really unfolded. And with Steve Haskin sharing his expertise,i know it will be right.

And Chic Anderson's call of that race still reverberates in my memory. He loved horse racing and it truly showed.

Thanks Steve.

22 Jun 2012 9:49 PM

I hope the movie on Canonero brings up the fact that the SPCA tried to keep him out of the Derby...He worked 5f around 1:06 and was considered a joke...If he had not been in the mutual field, there is no telling what his odds would have been...Easily the greatest Derby upset of my life

22 Jun 2012 10:56 PM

Hank: Surprisingly, Secretariat is listed at 16 hands 2 inches.  But he was very, very muscular.

Seattle Slew is listed at 16 hands, but he was extremely muscular and strong...and he puffed himself up going in the post parade...perhaps they should have named him "The Intimadator".

I don't think size of the horse has to do with size of the heart.  It's a specific genetic trait passed down from sire to daughters only (though a mare will pass it to her colts and daughters)...which is why the tail line of a horse is important.  Princequillo carried the lineage.  The trait itself has been determined to be a genetic mutation that may have started with Eclipse.  "Large hearts have been found in four major Thoroughbred lines, all descendants of Eclipse: Princequillo, War Admiral, Blue Larkspur and Mahmoud."  

In contrast, many of today's horses are huge (and I feel it is more difficult to keep them healthy in a racing career, considering the weight they carry.)  Rock Hard Ten was one of the largest at 17 hands 3 in, and Zenyatta came close.  First Dude and Stately Victor are both over 17 hands.  A lot of Unbridled's are also.

On Tuesday at Ascot, they loaded Al Khawaneej in last because they weren't sure he'd fit into the gate...and he's a son of Arch (Kris S of course).  I was rooting for him in the 2.5 mile race, but he came in 2nd. (He sure looked like RH10).

23 Jun 2012 7:50 AM
an ole railbird

morning steve ole boy, am glad to hear that the big red horses time got changed. i personally dont see where it will effect anything, anywhere, neither good nor bad. but if it touches the hearts of so many, i suppose its a good thing.

  im not going to say very much about the ill have another deal. except i would like to offer this up for thought if i were paul reddam& faced with the decision, of whether to keep iha, in the usa& leave $15million on the table. or sell him to a successiful japanese breeder.  i would have ask myself? how much allegiance do i owe to these amercian fans who have made a mockery of me &my companys, they have persecuted & attemped to prosicuted my trainer, belittled my jockey, because of his humble begings& his youth & enexperince. you have categotized my team as crimnals & mis fits. do you think i should sacrifice anything for them. i think not. vengence is mine, sayith reddam . al though mr reddam has too much class to gloat , but if i were in his position, it wouldnt bother me a bit. i can handle it.    "an ole railbird"

23 Jun 2012 12:51 PM
Karen in Texas

The sale of I'll Have Another to Japan does not make me happy, but I'm not totally surprised. Mr. Reddam made it clear in the retirement press conference that he would not be keeping the horse. We can hope for IHA's success at stud to rival that of Sunday Silence--an appropriate retort to American breeding facilities. We can pray for his safety. Buy-back clause or not, the Japanese heard the outrage over Ferdinand; and good people such as Michael Blowen are helping to keep track of our exported American stallions. I'll Have Another, be a little red train in the breeding shed as you were on the track! You will be missed by many here in the U.S.

23 Jun 2012 1:00 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBigFan, longtimeracingfan, ksweatman9, Karen in Texas:

  I agree with all of you. Unless Reddam is going to use the extra money to find good homes for retired racehorses or to save the wild elephants in Africa from being slaughterd for their ivory and from going extinct then he has proven to be just a greedy man whose primary belief is that one should do anything to make as much money as possible. I don't care how witty he is, I will never root for another Reddam horse. I'm also sick of American trainers always being referred to as "the horsemen." Sir Henry Cecil in England is a horseman. A trainer that gives lasix to every horse in every race is not a horseman. I don't think we are going to see another Triple Crown until we eliminate raceday meds that contribute to broken bones, weak joints, ligament and tendon problems. The body is not prepared to endure the rigors of a Triple Crown run while running dehydrated. You don't even see horses peeing on the track that much anymore. They're too dehydrated. The sport in this country is going down the drain. We lost Empire Maker and I'll Have Another this year. Two of the most promising for siring a horse capable pedigreewise of getting the Triple Crown. Where is the respect and love of American racing? Don't you want to give back to the sport and help it survive? No, you want to make money. It's a disgrace.

23 Jun 2012 3:00 PM

an ole railbird

It's really not a question of what Mr. Reddam owes to the American fans--it's about what he owes to that horse!!!!! This was a $$$ decision, plain & simple. I have lost all respect for him as an owner. Up until now I believed him when he would say "we'll do what's best for the horse." Apparently, he changed his mind and did what was best for his bank balance.

23 Jun 2012 5:20 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Very well stated. I really don't believe a word Reddam says. He made a ton of money off of I'll Have Another including a hefty Derby bet. I sure hope IHA will be treated well and have a happy life. The transition has got to be scary though.

23 Jun 2012 7:19 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA with everyone that thinks IHA should be staying here and not going to Japan. Not happy about that at all. On another note, congratulations to Black Caviar, her connections and the people of Australia on her 22nd win. She hung in there to pull it off against a very solid field. It took alot of guts to bing her to Ascot and hopefully they will get the respect they deserve. Seeing alot of commentary from the Brits about how she isn't that good and how much better Frankel is. Comparing the two is rubbish and both are great horses.

23 Jun 2012 11:07 PM

Mr Reddam doesn't owe US anything. He owes I'll Have Another his due respect. I'm fully aware that this is a business and the horses are  viewed as financial investments, not pets, but I can't help how I feel. Reddam is wealthy, how much money is enough? Is EVERYTHING for sale for the right price? People have been caught trying to sell their own children, so what surprises me about a horse? Perhaps I expect too much from people. Society as a whole has changed over time, and not for the better. Would Riddle have ever even considered selling Man O' War, for any price? How about Seabiscuit? I believe in my heart that these horses were more valuble than money to those fortunate enough to own them. I'm sure there are other examples, but sadly, I'll Have Another isn't one of them. Once upon a time, pride, respect, and morality had meaning. Today they are just words. There is no retirement for champion horses in Japan, they earn their keep or end up on the dinner table, so I hope "Red" proves to be a good investment for many years, and I hope he is well cared for. Too bad you ponies can't choose your owners, many of them don't deserve you.  

24 Jun 2012 1:54 AM
an ole railbird

ok mr berthart, i ask you. how many ex race horses do you support? how many sucessiful race horses have you owned & retired. how much money will you spend @ sales like keenland & ocala. how much of your money is recircalated thru the industry because of your imput. and finally how many jobs have you created for people in race horse industry. whats your payroll each week @ the training barn, or @the vet clinic, the feed store.

 take a minute to ruffly figure out , how much of these millions that reddam & people like him, return to the racing industry. its quite a bit, i can assure you.

i would like to bet, that your imput in comparesom is limited to less than $50, on days you go to the races, plus the profit that some vender makes on 3 or 4 beers, that you drink on the rare occassions you attend live racing.

but, i would like to wish you a nice day anyhow. "an ole railbird"

24 Jun 2012 10:20 AM
Linda in Texas

"There was no interest in I'll Have Another in the breeding sheds in The USA." I believe i read that in the article. Would be interesting to see if any offers were made by an American Breeding Farm and how much was turned down.

Isn't the name of Mr. Reddam's business CashCall. Then what did we expect? I don't want to appear trashing Mr. Reddam after praising him. Steve you said you have been friends with him a long time, perhaps you will be able to better

explain to us why. Maybe i have my blinders on. Interesting Mr. Reddam was a Philosophy Major and earned his Ph.D at USC. Taught at California State University. And later founded, i remember those ads. And later sold it to General Motors in 1999. General Motors.???

Dashed dreams, beautiful horse, a whole season with high hopes, then a day before The Belmont total mental meltdown. I am still despondent and that is a long word in my vocabulary repertoire.

I don't know whether to cry or hide.

Someone please teach IHA some Japanese. Or hopefully he gets to take along the man who was with him most of the time. And watched his every step.

Sayonara I'll Have Another. I think that means good bye, won't see you for a long time. And thanks for the memories.

My favorite memory will be the video i saw of I'll Have Another

being walked to the Stakes Barn on

Wednesday before the Belmont, he was dancing and high step prancing. His neck was bowed and he just looked beautiful.

Good luck fella. You gave us some some great racing moments and high hopes.

Thank you Steve.

24 Jun 2012 10:38 AM
Katie L.


For me I never believed in his ''we'll do what's best for the horse''. I never believe when he said the retirement was only a sport decision and not buisness. The injury was minor, they could've wait one year and come back as a 4 YO, like they did with Animal Kingdom.....but they was chance it would hurt his stallion value

Racing today they don't care about racing anymore, they just want fast horses who can be speedy 2YO and run couple of good 3YO races before retiring fast and make $$$ at stud. In those so-called horseman, its all ''all race 'iron horse' who can stand time and distance if we only need them for couple of races??''

I'm having a hard time believing that absolutely no US farm wanted IHA....that just show how Mr. Reddam just chose the best offer for more money

24 Jun 2012 10:59 AM

I think we have to keep in mind, with I'll Have Another headed to Japan, is what IHA will contribute to the world.

I was broken-hearted when Sunday Silence shipped out...but...he turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to Japanese breeding.  Most of their present champions are Silence's progeny.  They are fans of Flower Alley, and IHA will command as much respect as Sunday Silence did.

We get South American and European champions here for breeding.  Where would our champions have come from without Nasrullah?

Most world champions carry the blood of Canadian Northern Dancer.

World racing gets the most benefit from migrating sires, and it's a two way street.  Lonhro is supposed to come from Australia to the USA to stand at Stud. We have Einstein and Leroidesanimaux from Brazil, Invasor from Argentina, the list goes on.

Consider that, while Bernardini is at stud in Kentucky, he's really owned by Saudi's who are quick to buy his progeny.

What's going on trade that is effectively working and improving breeding all over the globe.

24 Jun 2012 11:26 AM
an ole railbird

dr. drinkingbum, sir i have a question for you. how many tickets have you ever cashed, on a horse that, urinated in the post parade. just thought i would ask. will await your answer. have a nice day .  "an ole railbird"

24 Jun 2012 10:57 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

an ole railroad

  I don't recall precisely. Seems to me there was a few back in the old days. Maybe a s much as five or six or more. Lost on a few jockeys that did though. I guess I should track it but I don't. Now as far as the lead pony I have no idea. Anyone else peeing out there in the post parade I haven't really noticed. And in fact I don't really pay that much attention to the post parade. It's prior to the paddock, the paddock and walking ring where I really try to look at them. Honestly I don't really pay that much attention to who pees and who doesn't either. I'll have to pay more attention. It certainly would be interesting to see how many win that pee in the post parade.

25 Jun 2012 8:59 AM
Karen in Texas

LiTexas----The BH article stated that interest in IHA as a stallion prospect was "light domestically", and that the estimates of his value here were very different from those in Japan. There were offers here, I believe, but the profit margin not as great. We'll probably never know how many millions were involved. His success at stud will be the best revenge, and I tend to share Slew's view of "world trade" with these stallions overall. That said, I had hoped he would go to Three Chimneys.

25 Jun 2012 10:43 AM
an ole railbird

dr drinkinbum, in your previous comments, you ranted  that you dont see horses urinating on the track anymore. well sir that is a good thing.

as a horse trainer , there a few excues that i would allow ahorse of mine to urinate in the post parade , but when i see a seasoned  race horse urinate after he is mounted. i am gonna be lookin for a problem. & if that state vet is not "all over " the horse, then i am going to be "all over" the state vet.  I am gonna say that 88% of the time, there is a problem.

 i am not interested in opening " birds school of horsemanship on line " or anything but upon your request, i will be glad to name the few reason it should ever be allowed to happen, without alarm. but right now if you will excuse me, i have got to go tend my horses. have a good day " an ole railbird"

25 Jun 2012 11:06 AM

"Jon R" is a freaking dumbass. There WAS an asterisk because there was a technical error in the 1973 time, if you paid any attention. they studied the tape FRAME BY FRAME and used 2012 technology to get the time right and it is. You sound like just the sort of know nothing casual observer of horseracing that watched Barbaro break down and said, "What's the big deal? The horse just broke its ankle or something" Go the hell away and never come back....

25 Jun 2012 11:24 AM

The problem in the USA right now is that we have a glut of champion stallions at stud.  It ends up lowering the stud fees for all.

It was almost impossible to find a stable for Bold Chieftain when he retired from No Calif racing.  This marvelous grandson of Seattle Slew, hero at Golden Gate, at 9, entered the stud market at the wrong time.  That's why the offers on IHA were not high in the USA.

There are simply too many available stallions presently at stud.

I love Howe Great.  But, even as the grandson of Sunday Silence, can he eventually command a high price for stud in the USA?  I will doubt it.

So if the Japanese are willing to spend the money, if only they are overwhelmed by IHA's pedigree, more power to them, Reddam, and IHA.  I hope his progeny are as superior as they hope. It's the best thing for the global sport of horse racing.

25 Jun 2012 12:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

an ole railbird

  I get to tend to the rabbits.

25 Jun 2012 1:45 PM

I don't view IHA going to Japan as "world trade" exactly I view it as "outsourcing" for a better price for the commodity.  I understand this is a business and Mr. Reddam has to pay vets, stables, trainer, fees, food, workers, insurances, etc. but IHA was campaigned across our great country, his great country and should get to live his life here.  He has "no voice" of his own in this.  Yes we have the overabundance of stallions here in breeding with all of these premature retirments at age 3 going on.  I think Dr. D. hit it out of the ballpark and said the key to the entire process, the meds have to stop the fragility in the breed, we get a TC winner and stamina and endurance instead of speed, and the horses stay on the track for longer intervals prior to breeding.  The meds may be that key to everything to turn the industry around.  I'm sure there were USA offers for IHA but they chose the more lucrative one in Japan.  I don't care what amount of money was offered, I would want to be part of my horse's life, especially a dual classic winner like IHA. Maybe Steve can explain Reddam's decison better for us.  I surely don't agree with it.  I could never turn my back on IHA like this.  Rob Whiteley, ROI's breeder, wrote a great piece a few months ago on an industry proposal whereby any thoroughbred purchased must have a retirement clause in it's purchase contract whereby that owner must contribute to it.  Great idea.  Mr. Reddam should use the extra money for thoroughbred retirement funding.  This makes the Mosses look like saints, doesn't it! Kudos to the Mosses for being in Zenyatta's life and not abandoning her to a foreign land.

25 Jun 2012 7:23 PM

How can I weigh this with IHA going to Japan?

The comments on how the media treated team REDDAM during the Triple Crown run are valid.  It made my blood boil.  He may very well tried to stick it to somebody on this deal.  If so, I'm with him.

My first instinct on the man, though, is the way he took care of his people - Team O'Neill, jockey, and all those under his tent, including IHA.  I will tend to stay with how, as I interpret what I saw, he led and loved his team.

On the flip side, I'd like to think that as all the insiders in the sport seem to be so concerned about the state of horse racing in the US that they might "take one for the team (industry)" and keep a horse like IHA in the states.  That didn't happen and it pissed me off!  This was my first instinct on the "deal".  What a sucker I am for thinking this one possible!!!

However, make the right investments in this sport and strengthen your position as a breeder, owner, etc. and the sport continues forward, hopefully, to the overall benefit of the industry and to the fans.

Me personally, I would become too attached to my horses and never sell them, period.  You like my horses, "bring your mares and colts on over and let's do some breedin, Hoss!!!"

But that's me. My horses would become family & I could never let go of family.

25 Jun 2012 10:45 PM
Mike Relva

James Rockford

Agreed! Pity is some actually think they have their fingers on the pulse of racing.

25 Jun 2012 10:52 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  That would be it with me too. I'll Have Another would be family, how could I send him overseas? Or anywhere. I can't see it happening. I would have been inlined to give IHA his own ranch and bevy of beauties and let them have the run of the place. If you keep him as a sire, who knows how many hundreds of millions you could make down the line from his progeny? We won't know for awhile but it is possible he could have made more in the long run by keeping him. How much has Sunday Silence made for his Japanese breeders? Billions? I have no idea but it's a lot if money is the issue, but like you, family would be the issue for me. Once you own and animal you're responsible for their welfare and happiness for life and they do become a member of the immediate family.

26 Jun 2012 8:25 AM
an ole railbird

" fragility in the breed ". this statement or phase has been created by the untrained& in experinced fans. who are primirly female or males that are so infulenced by feminine ways, that they stay in the house ,all time & never get out in the real world. there is no fragility, in the breed. the fragility lies within the untrained minds of the bleeding heart fan base. the lack of route horses, has come from the fact that there are few route races. the trainers no longer seek route horses because they cant run them as often as lets say a miler.

  when i started in this business 52 years ago. there were only 19 parimutel states. now there are 31 states all competing for horses. the "information age" that we live in now was unheard of. when a horse broke down there was no multitude of bleeding hearts, armed with cell phones ,cameras, tweets & lap tops to publisise it. therefore it was not heard of.  there also, was fewer horses in those times& the horseman were well versed in running sore horses. it was just part of the game.

since the addition of more tracks, more horses & the birth of the "information age", the trainers have bowed to the demand of the industry. they no longer train for "route of ground races"

. because there are not many races written because the betting public dont gamble as many $$ on them ,as shorter races. when you bleeding hearts shut up& let horse trainers do their jobs like the professionals that they are. only then will you see a difference. not  only @ the track but in the breeding sheds ,also.

i am not a numbers person. but some of you are. SOMEBOBY PLEASE figure the ratio of break downs, now, as oppossed to the 50s. if figured on a per capti, bases, im gonna gamble that the break down rate is LESS than in the 50s. some of you retired fans surly have the time on your hands to pursue this.

 me i retired so i could go into training horses full time. and its time for me to go to work.

 "an ole railbird".

26 Jun 2012 8:36 AM
an ole railbird

suggestions to broaden you knowledge. read the history of horse racing. research some of the 2nd &3rd& also rans of classic races, of days gone by. read some history of trainers. not only the hall of famers, but some of the less successiful 1s also. get out of your penthouses. go visit horse farms. ( both the seccussiful & th meat & taters farms). go to the races & dont get a box seat. hang out on the apron& @ the beer & hot dog stand, where the horseman hang. get to know some horseman. if you arent so damn critcal, who knows you might get an invitation to the barn area. last but NOT least. when you make a post,please know what you are talking about. dont just read a post that someone has posted& go about repeating rumors 1/2 truths & some down right lies.

its not lasix or drugs or crippled horse that is destroying horse racing. its the propaganda being put out by peta & a bunch of other groups, that in most cases dont know the real deal. i beg of you please dont let this great sport ,drown in the assumptions of un trained minds. im winded. "an ole railbird"

26 Jun 2012 8:58 AM
Karen in Texas

Alex'sBigFan----I believe NY has had a voluntary "Ferdinand Fee" for several years now. It would be great if a mandatory retirement fee were implemented industry wide. Apparently it would require only a modest amount of money. I don't think it would affect the sale of stallions to foreign interests, though. Clauses could probably be created to see that the stallion would be supported after his career ended wherever that might be; it would be a really good adjunct to the buy-back clause concept, I think.

26 Jun 2012 12:19 PM
Fran Loszynski

Mrs. Chenery I have the utmost respect for you so I'll give you the Belmont but the greatest Preakness race run was by Afleet Alex to fall down and almost die and get up and win the race.  AWESOME. I have to say who cares about "time".

I can't believe IHA can't get anyone to breed to him, are all you breeders in California a little off the wall all of a sudden. This is an extraordinary racehorse! He not only has heart, but courage- and I should know because I'm a fan of the greatest racehorse-Afleet Alex. Have a good life IHA, you deserve the best.

26 Jun 2012 1:22 PM

I do hope that Reddam put a buy back clause in the sale documents stating that if I'll Have Another proves to be a inferior stallion or a disappointment as a stallion that he reserves the opportunity to buy him back and have him returned to the United States. I worry everytime I hear about any of our horses being sent to Japan. They eat horses there. There isn't that much land available to keep horses. I have read where the vast majority of so called "unproductive" horses are sent to slaughter there. Remember Ferdinand? The Japanese said nothing about sending him to slaughter until someone in this country started inquiring about his well-being. Imagine - someone ate a Kentucky Derby and Breeder's Cup winner! This is still very upsetting to me. I don't understand why Reddam had to sell IHA so quickly. Surely he could have afforded to keep the horse at a farm somewhere for a while. Maybe he could have bred a couple of mares to him while he waited for a better offer from breeders here. Why the rush to sell? The horse took him for the ride of his life and he can't wait a while before unloading him? I will never understand some people. It isn't as if Reddam was working several jobs in order to feed his family and pay for upkeep and training of his animals. It always comes down to money. No matter what your horse has done for you on the track, owners always want something more, whether it be stallion fees or foal upon foal from mares. Some just can't get enough from their horses. Maybe Reddam should name his next horse I Can't Get Enough.

26 Jun 2012 2:48 PM

I just bought the entire televised broadcast of SECRETARIAT's 1973 PREAKNESS and it's awesome to see the entire broadcast - not just the race but all the pre & post-race footage.

I bought it from this website:

and it also has SECRETARIAT's KENTUCKY DERBY & BELMONT broadcasts too.

A++++ recommendation.

26 Jun 2012 4:50 PM
Karen in Texas

smarie----I've mentioned Ferdinand several times on this thread/blog. Michael Blowen has been working with Megumi Igarashi of Narvick International Japan to see that our American stallions are tracked while on stud duty in that country. I am not happy that IHA is leaving the U.S., but Mr. Blowen is a man of integrity, and I believe that he is "watching".

26 Jun 2012 5:56 PM

Since Ferdinand, G1 horses are protected when sold overseas.  Clauses are included to prevent slaughter.

Reddam is not in the breeding business, and does not care to be.  His only option was to sell IHA.  The point of Kentucky breeders is...why breed to IHA when his sire, Flower Alley is so accessible for a low stud fee.  That's why they were not willing to bid higher in the price wars.  

And to people who keep saying that if they bred horses they wouldn't be able to part with them...Wake Up.  You wouldn't last 2 years as a business.  It's the sale of the colts and fillies that keep the stallions and mares fed and well tended....not to mention the taxes.  Horses are property, and therefore taxable as an asset.  Even Penny Chenery discovered that when she had to syndicate Secretariat to keep the farm viable.  Then there's the insurance premiums.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey are throwbacks to another age when the Duponts and the Astors made their millions and had no income taxes to pay.  They bred horses for fun.  From those old time farms, Claibourne is one of the few still maintaining traditions.  Gone are Calumet and Belair and Ridgewood.  Farms that are left have been whittled down in acreage.

Since the Japanese were able to offer a good profit, and are looking for a sire to pump up their breeding...I say why not?

The Moss's on the other hand, do breed horses.  Giacomo's been very busy.  He stands at Adena, but is owned by Moss.  And Zenyatta had a special quality to her that partly made her a pet...but she is now in the breeding business too...and we don't know whether or not her progeny will be sold.

So I think everyone needs to get off their high horse about the sale of IHA.  And now everyone wants to believe the worst of Reddam and O'Neill.  Pitiful!  Lava Man's a gelding, is 11 years old, and treated like a shedrow pet.  I've liked what I see, just in the way they love him.  I simply can't agree with all the conspiracy theories and derogatory comments.

26 Jun 2012 6:15 PM

Dr Drunkinbum and Old Rail Bird,

You two had me in stitches over the "peeing in the postparade" rumble (LOL) Hardly ever a dull moment on these blogs.

26 Jun 2012 8:53 PM

An Ole Railbird,

Sir I beg to differ with you.  I was the one who stated "fragility in the breed."  There is no weakness then that you see?  Where then is the ironhorse of years past?  They are masking a lot of pain and running them on pain meds from snakes snd now frogs, Dermorphin.  Why so many injuries off the  Derby and TC trail last year alone?  The meds are the culprits in the frailness or weakness, they may be good for one thing but detrimental to another part of the anatomy.  I had a conversation on a plane last year with a physician in pain medication from Kentucky coming back from Morocco.  He agreed with me that the Lasix is doing something to the bone calcium.  If we are breeding for speed and not endurance don't you think that has weakened the breed in itself?  Look at Moe's enzyme issues.  I think it is ironic that we have not had a TC winner since the 70's when they began the administration of Lasix.  I appreciate all your experience but I certainly don't pontificate from any penthouse, I'm out at the track and like to stand by the rail feet away from the horses, not in box seats.  If I created that phrase, then I grew up an athlete, am married to one of the greatest 5K and 10K runners in this country, am an avid NBA fan and horseracing fan, I would hardly call myself a medical equine expert but I am certainly not an "untrained mind" and I see something weakening our thoroughbreds.

27 Jun 2012 7:04 PM
an ole railbird

ok alex, in defence of your opinion, you came with another miss guided statement or phrase. "since we are breeding for speed & not endurance ". you show me a breeder who is breeding for speed & not indurance& ill show you a 1/4 horse breeder. i think you will go along ways to find a tb breeder that will cop to that. you will have to get out of town & in the country, to prove or disapprove that point.  studys have proven that living in smaller spaces, with less places to roam has weakened the bone masses of all livestock. there lies another contribter to the problem, we no longer consider horses livestock. the more we humanize them the more softening of masses will continue.

i will agree that the( tb) gene pool has been closed ,far to long,& something needs to be done to "excite" it. but we are not to epidemic stage, by any streach of the imgination.

your doctor friend was right. (but here we go again with 1/2 truths.) prolonged use of lasix can cause damage to bone marrow. what hasnt been mentioned is the "prolonged use " they speak of is 2 to 3 years. nobody in his right mind would keep a horse on it that long.

alex its good to know that you at least veiw the races from ground level. it makes it easier to really feel the racing atmosphere& give you the chance understand the industry better. have a nice day. "an ole railbird"

28 Jun 2012 10:12 AM

Karen in Texas - thank you for the information.

28 Jun 2012 4:21 PM

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