Have You Seen Secretariat?


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I saw the movie Tuesday evening at a prescreening. Thought that even with the facts that were either changed or left out that the movie was great! What a breath of fresh air to be able to take kids to a movie and not have to cringe at all the language, sex, violence, etc.. I enjoyed the entire movie myself, my friend and her daughters(13 & 17) LOVED it! I will go see it again!

08 Oct 2010 2:06 PM
d. miller

Just saw the movie.

A little too much "Disney", but filmed very well.

Thoroughly enjoyed it, as did everyone in the theater. Heard many positive comments on the way out.

Highly recommend.

08 Oct 2010 3:08 PM
Secretariat Fan

I saw the movie at a sneak preview last week. I've never been to a movie where people cheered and clapped so much! You knew what was going to happen, yet people clapped and cheered like they were seeing each race and it's outcome for the first time. A wonderful movie! If you haven't seen it but you're a Secretariat fan, a racing fan, or just want a feel good story, go see it. I'll see it again. Two thumbs up! :-)

08 Oct 2010 3:21 PM
Soldier Course

I saw the movie today and posted about it on the BH article by Kate Tweedy. I'll add a few more thoughts here.

I compare the movie "Secretariat" to piano tuning. If you tune every key on a piano to mathematical precision, you're going to get dissonance, especially in modulating from one key to another. This is where "the art of the whole" comes in, and I think Disney did a good job tuning Secretariat's story to a gold standard, rather than to perfection.

The factual errors didn't bother me as much as I thought they would. My mind and heart skimmed over them as I watched.  

The Pancho Martin-Sham aspect was ham-handed, but I saw it as shorthand for all the competing forces that Secretariat and his connections had to resolve.

I have no complaints about any of the actors chosen or their performances. I especially enjoyed "Penny", "Eddie Sweat", and "Miss Hamm". I lost my father last year, and the scenes with Penny and the dying Christopher Chenery meant a lot to me.  

The racing scenes were the best I've seen in any racing movie.

I was dreading the music "Oh Happy Day", but it struck me as surprisingly appropriate in the end. I have never thought of that song as a "gospel", just an uplifting tune for the times.

I talked to a few people from the audience after the movie. All of them had a big smile and a kind word about what they'd seen.

08 Oct 2010 4:03 PM

I thought the movie had good and bad spots.  The racing scenes were pretty good and I thought Diane Lane did a great job portraying Penny Chenery.  I thought there was a lot of poetic license taken with the character of Lucien Lauren, that the relationship of Secretariat and Eddie Sweat was downplayed, and that the part his exercise riders played in his life was pretty much forgotten.  However; with all that said, I think the movie will be good for racing and that is surely needed in this country.  Friends that have taken their children to the movie have loved it and that's what we really want.

08 Oct 2010 4:52 PM
Mary P

Seeing the movie soon, but had to chime in.  I saw Penny Chenery interviewed and was in total agreement and newly wakened to the need to reach out to Non-racing people, for no other reason then race preservation.  I am the biggest TB fan and am wildly pushing everyone I talk to, to go and see this movie.  Where are the Secretariat parties?  Get the gang all out!  Have fun, make it exciting.

08 Oct 2010 4:58 PM
Go For Wand

My mom and I got to see the movie at a Special Sneak Preview last weekend. My mom lived through the era and she would regale me with stories and such of Secretariat and how much he meant to everyone who saw him run. I was born a few years later and have gotten to see a number of fine horses myself, but nothing quite like the great red machine.

What I have been is one of the most dedicated Thoroughbred racing fans and historians for some time. While I was disappointed the movie took so many liberties in many areas (and I was very annoyed with the song chosen for his Belmont run), including not showcasing more of the power and brilliance that was Secretariat and why during that time he was such a national hero, I am surprisingly not as annoyed as I was with Seabiscuit.

With that movie and after reading Laura's brilliant book, I saw it expecting a lot and felt the movie more than not ruined the story of the great legend Seabiscuit was.

So it's not surprising, I didn't come expecting a whole of truth to the story. What did surprise me, was what the producers and director did to bring the great red horse back into the limelight for a new generation.  Perhaps what I wanted to hear the most, was Chic Anderson's famous calls in the movie. Those never happened unfortunately, so that was a little depressing (made up announcers in the movies REALLY detract from it). But overall the movie was a delight (YAY! NO language!!) and my mom and I enjoyed watching it. I hope the DVD when it comes out has lots of extras and more Secretariat stuff! HINT HINT!!

08 Oct 2010 5:08 PM
Kelly W.

Wow, loved the movie.  I had tears in my eyes a few times!!  What a horse!  The audience just loved it - lots of cheering as if we were really at the races.  Only saw an audience get so involved in a movie one other time - it was like being at the Rocky Horror Picture show.  I want to go see real horseracing now.

08 Oct 2010 5:10 PM

Without having seen the movie, I know it will be outstanding.A movie of Secretariat is long over due. No matter how it is presented, or what is not actually correct, how could it ever take away from Secretariat's breathtaking performances on the track. I watched them as a young person, and had chills and tears as he romped home, everytime. What if this movie sparks interest in a young person to follow the sport of Thoroughbred Racing? They are all great when they give their all at the wire, no matter what their name is, and no matter what their breeding is.

08 Oct 2010 5:21 PM

I will be going to see Secretariat tomorrow evening.  I cannot wait. I love it at Kentucky Derby time when we get to see 'Big Red' again in the back tracks. I love horses and horse racing and I know this movie will be worth it to me.  I loved the Seabiscuit movie (seen it 5 times before the DVD came out).  My question is, how long before a movie about Zenyatta comes out!!

08 Oct 2010 5:47 PM

Please allow literary/cinema license and prepare to 'suspend disbelief' if you know anything about the true Secretariat story.You MUST or you wouldn't be on the Blood Horse site. Once I gave up counting the errors I  enjoyed it.

08 Oct 2010 6:18 PM

From the previous postings, the general view is that it is a good movie.  I have not seen the movie and don't really like to comment as such.

However, I grew up as an avid horse fan during that era (was 19 in 1973).  A friend from college lived in northern New Jersey, and I talked him in to going to Secretariat's Belmont (the only time I have ever been to that track).  The champion Forego (also 3yrs old at the time) won a race prior to the Belmont at 1 1/16 miles in under 1:41.  People were saying that he should have entered the Belmont instead (though that was all forgotten after Secretariat's race).  The margin and time of the Belmont were incredible.  What is often not told is that he went head-to-head with Sham for the 1st 6 furlongs in 1:09 and change.  To do that and then win a 1 1/2 mile race the way he did (while Sham finished last) is why people who saw it scoff when other horses are compared to him as close in talent.  Almost as impressive a race as the Belmont was the Marlboro Cup that year where Secretariat soundly defeated Riva Ridge and Cougar II (two champions in their own right) in the unbelieveable time of 1:45.2 for 1 1/8.

As a result, I don't think that I'm going to enjoy a Disney-fied version of Secretariat.  The real story is so great that I don't see what the appeal was of changing it.  It also sounds as if the focus was more on Penny Chenery than Secretariat.  I have nothing against her, but the story that I care about is Secretariat's, not so much the connections.  Maybe I'll watch it when it comes to cable.

08 Oct 2010 6:26 PM
Backside Sweetie

I just got home from seeing the movie,my daughter suprised me and got the tickets and we went together.I was in my twentys when Secretariat was racing,my Dad introduced me to racing as a young girl and of course we always watched the big races together.Not only was it great to relive watching Big Red again,it was a sentimental journey seeing Penny and her Dad's relationship as it was very similar to my Dad's and mine.It is a great movie,seemingly enjoyed by most in the theatre in Stanton,Delaware,which by the way is about a mile or two from Delaware Park Racetrack.There were several track employees in the crowd,some children,some people who probably were reliving Red's career,point is it was an ectlectric crowd.A good time seem to be had by all!The only negative comment was by a horse person who said,"Well you'll never learn anything about horses by watching this movie".I disagree,because I believe the relationship between Penny,Eddie and Red,the closeness between them played a big part in his greatness!When the scenes where they were looking into each others eyes and into there souls were so touching,it made me want to run back to the barn and see some of my barn's horses.I think this movie may inspire some to want to work with horses or to go to the track and feel the excitement first hand.Everyone should see this film,it is even better than I thought it would be!!!  

08 Oct 2010 7:10 PM

Loved it.  I thought the Disney-fication would be bothersome but I discovered I didn't care.  The movie made me feel good--about racing, about Secretariat and about Penny. Go see it, let go of your inner film critic, and enjoy!

08 Oct 2010 7:19 PM

I have'nt seen the movie yet but I just got thru watching the real story on ESPN2. I can't hardly make it thru that.I was crying so hard I couldn't see or breath. That horse no one could ever bring back like the perfect one he was but whatever the movie is like I know will be a tribute to him. I lived him and I will understand the meaning. I just hope I can control myself in front of people because I know I'm going to cry.I can't even talk to anyone about him to this day and keep a straight face.A friend of my daughters is taking us Wednesday so I get a free movie and all the goodies so that will make it even better.  

08 Oct 2010 7:22 PM

Just back from seeing the movie and then going out to dinner with a friend.  She's not a horse racing person at all...this was an early birthday present for me.  Well, after the movie, at dinner, all the talk was about how much we both loved the movie; she couldn't get over everyone singing My Old Kentucky Home on Derby Day...and people waving signs for Secretariat at the Belmont. (horses don't read, she said)  I told her that they really do sing My Old Kentucky Home and it always brings a lump to my throat, and people sure do wave signs for "their" horse - and long and short of it is, I got talking about the upcoming Breeders Cup and she made me promise to remind her when it is closer, because she wants to watch!  Perhaps a new fan has been born!

08 Oct 2010 8:12 PM

I saw it today.  It was great.  It was wonderful to be able to go to a movie without foul language and unpleasant scenes; great for the famiy!  It was almost as good as Seabiscuit, but I still find Seabiscuit and his story a little more exciting and miraculous.  I found one error toward the end.  Man'O'War was the greatest thoroughbred ever; Secretariat was 2nd.  Over all, it was a terrific movie; hope it gets oscar nominations!


08 Oct 2010 8:15 PM

Going to see the movie tomorrow evening, and I can't wait. I look forward to every movie that comes out with race horses. Which horse will be next, Zenyatta??

08 Oct 2010 8:17 PM

I never saw Secretariat; however, I used to work for Ms. Chenery at Meadow Farm and I used to take a certain mare out of her stall every day and walk her 1/2 mile to her paddock every morning and then return her to her stall every evening....she was Somethingroyal...the dam of Secretariat.  I used to tell her how special she was.  If only this movie had been able to capture how the lives of ordinary people, like me, were profoundly affected by being around these animals.  As it was, the movie, ultimately, was all about a person......that was a grave mistake.  We all know it is always about the horse.  That is something Hollywood will NEVER grasp, comprehend or acknowledge.  Phar Lap remains the best horse movie ever made.

08 Oct 2010 8:23 PM
Big Red's Fan

I totally enjoyed the movie...at that time the country was at war in Vietnam and the nation needed a hero of some like to look up to and they chose Secretariat....to me the movie is about the people behind the horse and made him what he is today...a super horse...

How many of you recognized Penny Chenery and her daughter Katy in the movie towards the end...from my understanding Penny Chenery loved the movie and so did Katy which she saw the movie three times....

Let this movie be a tribute to the great Secretariat...  

08 Oct 2010 8:23 PM

Saw the movie today and it was very entertaining, if a bit schmaltzy at times.  The theater was full of gray-haired people for the matinee.  It's been a while since I've been to an afternoon movie and seen that many people or that many older folks.  It was great.

By the way, I hope someone does a John Henry movie some day.  I loved that hard-knocking boy.

08 Oct 2010 8:48 PM

Saw the movie today...sweet, very sweet. It's going to be esp. great for lots of little girls that love horses. The whole family will enjoy it.

08 Oct 2010 9:04 PM

very good movie but not enough about Secretariat. I can never forget his dramatic runs under a hand ride breaking records.  How fast could he really have gone ?  He was a horse for the ages and when I watch his Belmont run it seems as if he's in another plane,as if no one,  nothing else exists in this world except an empty track ahead of him and he is running for the sheer joy of being a thoroughbred race horse.  He was magnificent.  He was a lovely looking horse and they might have gotten prettier horses to play him and the lack of Chick Anderson's calls was a disappointment.   think people who never saw him run will not understand the greatness of Secretariat from this movie but it was good all the same but again not enough about Secretariat himself.

08 Oct 2010 9:07 PM

Well I watched it today and loved it.  This is why, I enjoyed seeing two strong females support each other.  I enjoyed seeing horses on the screen, to me that is a beautiful site and to see it on a big screen was great.  Just the sound of hoofbeats took my breath away.  

The close-up of the hands on the reins gripping the mane - this is stuff I only read about - I've never seen it.

 The poster who said let this movie be a tribute to the great Secretariat said it best in my opinion.  If this movie brings fans to racing - than that is good.  It this movie is simply entertaining to others - that's good too.  Some of us will never see a great horse up close - we may only watch on our tv's or from the stands. We just know seeing a horse galloping down the track is a sight so beautiful we want to cry - and than have to explain to the non-horsey people why we are crying...hearing the cadence of hoofbeats makes our day just a little more exciting - it gives us the extra push to make it through the rest of our day.  Just my two cents.

08 Oct 2010 9:19 PM
John T

No I have not seen the movie and

don,t plan to.But in the movie section of my local paper to-day,the Toronto Star they give it a

rating of 3 and a half out of 4 and I an happy about that.But as for me I would rather remember Secretariat for what he was a great performer on the racetrack that deserved more than an oscar.

08 Oct 2010 9:30 PM
GT Bloodstock

I just got home from watching "Secretariat".  As a longtime racetracker myself, I have to say that they got enough of the story right to make it worthwhile to see.  The movie is at times touching, at times humorous, and--based on the feedback I heard from others walking out of the theater--appeal and charm for non-racing fans.  And elements of the racing footage were filmed in an exciting, effective manner.  Lastly, I loved seeing the actual footage of Secretariat's Preakness in the movie!

08 Oct 2010 9:30 PM
carol b

I saw the movie today.  I think also that it was too much about Penny and not enough about Secretariat.  It was also disappointing that they just showed Secretariat's Preakness from a television screen in the family's Denver home and not a live version of it as they did for the Kentucky Derby and Belmont.  I did enjoy the parts of the movie that were about Secretariat.  I think that Secretariat was the greatest horse that ever lived and they could have done a better job telling his story.

08 Oct 2010 9:50 PM
Robin from Maryland

Can't wait to see the movie very soon.  Huge Secretariat fan - it does sound like Disney did Him some justice.  Secretariat will always be #1 for what He accomplished.  Great Horse!!!

08 Oct 2010 9:53 PM
Paula Higgins

Wonderful movie. No it isn't accurate in some respects, but who cares. It is not a documentary and it is very much about Penny Chenery Tweedy's story. But the story is compelling and heartwarming. I think Diane Lane captured Penny very well. She should be nominated for an Oscar for her performance. Unlike other movies about famous horses, this one had alot of horses and Secretariat scenes. In short, the horse was not missing from the film. I loved it. John Mahlkovich was hilarious and no he doesn't look a bit like Lucien but it was a great performance anyway. The Eddie Sweat scenes were great. What a sweet spirit he was. Ditto the secretary who was a quite a character herself. Go see it. you won't be sorry. I am going to get it when it comes out on DVD. Remember, it is a movie and not a documentary. If you want to see the real wonder boy, go to Youtube and watch his races. His Belmont is the greatest sporting feat by any athlete, human or animal, ever. P.S. Made me also appreciate Sham even more. If Secretariat had not been there, he would have won a Triple Crown. He was very special also.

08 Oct 2010 10:02 PM

Since I'd seen several reviews that foretold of some of the liberties taken with the events, I went to the movie this morning almost prepared to be disappointed.  Not in the least!  Nope, not in the least was I disappointed as it was beautiful in scope, thrilling in the excitement of the racing and some of the errors/liberties that had been pointed out ahead of time really were inconsequential to me.  It seemed like most of the others in the theater were enjoying it as well, but my daughter and I know we both did and plan to see it again and buy the dvd.  Like others have already said, though, I really would have loved to hear the real race call of his Belmont, "moving like a tremendous machine" would have just blown the fans away, in my opinion.   Two thumbs up!

08 Oct 2010 10:35 PM

Secretariat’s story is deeply embedded in the consciousness of every racing fan. But people connect to his story in different ways. We all have our own internal story about Secretariat and what he meant to us. I think we all secretly hoped that Disney would tell *our* version of the story. But Disney could not synchronize with the internal storyline of every racing fan; they couldn’t make this movie just for you and focus on what you felt was important--or me--or any other individual. They didn’t make this movie for us, the people reading this website. Instead, clearly they were reaching out to all those people who don’t yet know the Secretariat story.

And how do you get those people interested? To keep the attention of viewers, I concede that the facts had to bend a little. The story needed comic relief, so they made up a new Lucien Laurin. And to make it fit the “Rocky” sports movie mold, they had to try to paint Secretariat as an underdog, with a bad-guy rival for him to conquer; so Sham becomes the villain. Without a clown and a villain, the non-racing public wouldn’t connect with this movie. To us who know the real story, it made no sense. But like I said, they didn’t make this movie for us.

If new racing fans are created because these liberties were taken, then I’m all for it. It won’t hurt my Secretariat story if someone else has a different one. But maybe it will inspire someone enough that they will want to know the real story. Maybe it will send them to YouTube to watch the race footage, or inspire them to buy Bill Nack’s book. Then maybe they’ll take an interest in today’s races. If they do, then it will be worth it.

That said, I do have a few nits to pick, in service of that goal. Primarily, I worry that the overall tone of the movie was unfocused; I would have liked to see it have a more inspirational tone, like the Seabiscuit movie did. Heck, they could have had Bill Nack provide some of those poetic voiceovers that he does for the Triple Crown races. I wish they had included more of the factual groundwork from Bill Nack’s book that helps explain exactly how Secretariat came to be, what he accomplished and why it was so amazing. It wasn’t just that he won. The audience should have been allowed to understand what it meant to run each quarter faster than the one before, or how breathtaking that move in the Preakness was, or how unattainable 2:24 is. Let them understand the limits that he transcended. Without that, will Secretariat be, to them, just a horse who won a race?

08 Oct 2010 10:45 PM

I just saw the movie tonight with my mom. I have been a huge horse racing fan for 25 years. I was not around when Secretariat was running. I am only 32, but I have read upon him throughout the years and saw his races on youtube. I think this movie was the best movie I have seen in years. I don't think what movie, I have said I would go back to see it in a heartbeat. Well seabiscuit I did.

Even my mom said the same thing. While going out of the movies I heard people saying that it was the best movie that they have seen in years. I did buy William Nack book a few days ago. I am looking forward to read more of Secretariat. I gave  the movie a  5 star rating.

08 Oct 2010 10:59 PM

I saw the film today and gave it a 3 rating. Diane Lane's portayal of Penny was wonderful. However, I have to agree with Carol B. I think too much time was spent on Penny and not enough about Secretariat.

08 Oct 2010 11:20 PM

seabiscuit was a great movie. sadly this movie was bad, very bad. I just saw it 9pm showing. same time seabiscuit was sold out, secretariat was half full. movie made a terrible light on almost all characters minus penny and shams trainer was so hoaxie it wasnt even funny. filming the belmont at keeneland is like filming the indy 500 at a dirt track. I wanted to like the movie, waste of $10.50

08 Oct 2010 11:36 PM
needler in Virginia

For those who wanted more of the horse and less of Ms Chenery.........the only time that worked was in BLACK BEAUTY, and even then, ONLY in the book. Sadly for us, horses don't talk.....at least in human voices, so their stories must be told through their connections. I've always wanted to meet Big Red through Mr Sweat; he spent more time with the horse than anyone else and probably knew him better than anyone ever did. I know it broke his heart when he had to leave Secretariat at Claiborne and just walk away as if nothing had  happened.

Nope, you can't have a good horse movie with the horse talking in the background; you MUST have the words of those surrounding the horse as the voice of the story. THAT'S why PHAR LAP is still the best horse story ever made. All the rest is smoke and mirrors. All that said, I will be seeing SECRETARIAT Saturday afternoon, and have few expectations. How can they present his Preakness on a TV set? How can they make Mr Laurin look a fool? How can they make Sham a villain? How can they NOT have Chic Anderson's call of that Belmont? I'm still amazed that the REAL story wasn't good enough for Disney, but then that bunch is, well....... 'nuff said.

Cheers and safe trips.

08 Oct 2010 11:37 PM
Richard g

Any film with Diane Lane and John Malkovich qualifies as a must-see. That said, it really isn't necessary to polish the facts (Meadow Stables dependent on Secretariat's success) to create artificial drama. The truth was dramatic enough - 31 lengths! The best sports film of all time might be "Pride of the Yankees." Simply told, modestly polished. At least "Secretariat" isn't "Ruffian" (gee, where WAS the horse in that film?). Hopefully a REAL director will make HER story...but it isn't "Seabiscuit," either, which sought to place the story of the horse in the story of the times - literature, not mere description. Even its fiction underscored its fact. "Secretariat" is (for me, unfortunately) in the same Disney league as "The Rookie" and "Invincible," both of which also played with fact. All - including "Secretariat" - are...pleasant. This SHOULD HAVE BEEN the film version of Bill Nack's brilliant "Pure Heart," but is intended as "National Velvet" for the "Zenyatta" girl-power generation.

09 Oct 2010 12:05 AM

I didn't mind the historical inaccuracies (I went in expecting them), but it just played to me like a Lifetime movie of the week.  My husband, who isn't a huge racing fan, but who picks up a lot through osmosis, wondered why they bothered to make up false drama, when there's enough passion and interest in the real story.  The friends I dragged along, who know next to nothing about racing, thought it was okay, but even they thought the Disney was being laid on a little thick.

I personally was unimpressed with Diane Lane's performance, but I enjoyed just about everyone else's portrayal.  Sadly, my favorite scene was Bill Nack's cameo.  I'm such a fan of his work (and of the book the movie was based on in particular) that I was happy to see him get to play a reporter...next to the guy playing him as a reporter.  I guess I'm just too close to the subject matter to be an honest critic.

09 Oct 2010 12:08 AM

I have not seen it yet.I plan too. PLEASE TELL ME. Do they show when Secretariat has to be put to sleep?IF they do I wont go to see it.

09 Oct 2010 12:09 AM

It was with great excitement that my 10 yr old daughter and friend and I attended the first local showing of Secretariat today. We all enjoyed the movie and it was great to hear kids clapping at the end. For myself, I agree with others here that the movie failed to capture the true brilliance that was Secretariat, but perhaps that is an impossible task, and one that was not really attempted. Possibly we expect too much as we yearn for the exhilaration that this horse inspired in us, and that we still remember. Let's look at this movie in another way....as an amazing horse story that countless people will enjoy, that will encourage our children to watch those races on YouTube and pull out our old scrapbooks, and keep Big Red's legend alive for yet another generation. And yes, despite the poetic licence and odd foolish moment, the racing moments will still bring tears to your eyes. See it, enjoy it, and be thankful that the story has been told.

09 Oct 2010 12:31 AM

Lame. Hate to be the scrooge at this party but the movie was silly.

It is good that Big Red has returned to the national stage but it was not real world. The truth is more exciting and full of rich stories and textures. Why do we have to dumb it down? Why do we have to compromise the truth to tell the story? Why does it have to be trivialized to get the public's attention? Why does Lucien have to be portrayed like a buffoon to make him more appealing?


09 Oct 2010 12:39 AM


09 Oct 2010 1:45 AM
Paula Higgins

The movie ends with the Belmont race. It does not end with him being put to sleep. People, do not look for a documentary. Expecting any movie company to stick to the facts is just not going to happen. The majority of the story is accurate. The story is very much about Penny and it is pretty much right. It's a compelling story. Secretariat is not missing from the movie. He is much more of a presence than Seabiscuit was in the movie Seabiscuit, where one reviewer said that "the only thing missing in Seabiscuit, is Seabiscuit." Some people should stick to documetaries; they would be happier with the final product. As someone above said, horses can't talk and speak dialogue.

09 Oct 2010 2:01 AM

saw it this afternoon. definitly a disney movie but i have to agree with the peeps that said if it brings in new blood to our sport then its worth it. what i would have liked to have seen was the actual belmont footage. to people who have never seen it,i dont think they can really comprehend what 31 lengths looked like. had my picture taken with sec at claiborne in 1981. i was a dorky 12 yr old but man, im glad i got the proof that i met secretariat..wonder if claiborne is getting requests to see his grave..movie never mentions his death in 1989 or burial location

09 Oct 2010 2:10 AM
christy tate

saw the movie last night and thought it was an excellent film in spite of some ofthe poetic lisence taken. but as i've said before if you want literal cold hard facts, watch a documentary or read a biography about Secretariator any other famous horse, if you want to be entertained, uplifted, and toss whatever's getting you down in life, out the door for a couple of hours, then by all means, go see the movie. there was almost a packed house at the theater and people laughed and cheered. it was cool.

09 Oct 2010 2:36 AM

The best horse racing movie of all time is Let It Ride.

09 Oct 2010 5:51 AM


The movie ends with a kind of corny shot in the Belmont winners circle, then your typical, "Where are they now" kind of comments on all of Secretariat's connections. Go! See it! Enjoy the horse & his accomplishments & the fun fictitiousness that is the Disney of it! It is definitely a feel-good movie.

I was a little annoyed at some of the corny stuff. But then I adjusted my thinking.  That this IS a Disney film. That it was mostly about the people surrounding Secretariat, but what an effect he had on ALL of their lives! The racing scenes were a spectacle & I give huge thumbs up to THAT effort!  I loved it, my 7 year old daughter has a new hero & even my husband, who is not a racing fan, was smiling throughout & had compliments on the way out. Everyone laughed at Lucien, cheered when Red won & clapped at the end. This film will be very good for racing if enough people go see it. Tell your friends!

At least where I saw it, it was a 10!

09 Oct 2010 7:54 AM

I took my mom to the opening matinee yesterday. I thought it was a sweet movie and Diane Lane does a wonderful job. Its not a documentary so we dont need to discuss the flaws and things not mentioned. It seems to be about spirit and Penny Chenery and a great horse.

The only thing I can say I didnt like is that they used Kentucky tracks instead of the large grand stages of Belmont, Aqueduct, and Saratoga for those races. I recall when they were filming and those tracks were available. I go to those tracks all the time and they are spectacular and to not have used them is the only disservice in my opinion. The tracks they used didnt provide much in size and also what was all that crap on the backside?

Those of us in racing know the flaws but the general public wont know or care.

It is a great movie and I loved Diane Lane's wardrobe:)

09 Oct 2010 8:21 AM

Saw it last week at a sneak preview.  It was a good movie and everyone applauded at the end which, to me, says success.  I was a bit disappointed in the fact that it did not explode off the screen at me like Seabiscuit did.  I wanted to feel extreme emotions about this magnificent athlete and wanted the race scenes to grab hold of me and take me for a ride, and have tears in my eyes when they were over.  It didn't do that.  Secretariat was too special not to have the movie do that.  Diane Lane, as always, does her job well.  I didn't like John Malkovich as Lucien Lauren; thought that was a miscast.  All in all, the movie was good, and I will buy it when it comes out on DVD.  If the people loved it, even those who know nothing about horse racing, or weren't born when Secretariat ran, then I would say it's a successful movie.  I hope it makes millions of dollars and renews interest in the Sport of Kings.

09 Oct 2010 8:48 AM

I saw the movie last night with my husband. Most of the audience were those who remember the real Secretariat or young families with horse-loving children. The young adults present without children seemed to be horse people or farm folks. The families loved it! It is an excellent family film with no uncomfortable surprises or controversial themes. Indeed, the strong themes presented in the movie about "running your own race", never giving up, and faith were refreshing! We thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It is purely a character study film about Penny Chenery Tweedy. Accept it as such, and it becomes easier to overlook the glaring inaccuracies about horse racing, the tracks themselves, and the rather unsatisfactory presentation of Secretariat,Sham, Lucien,etc.

I was very impressed with Diane Lane's portrayal of Ms.Tweedy. Scott Glenn's portrayal of Mr. Chenery was particularly poignant to me. Also, I didn't take Sham to be a villain nor his trainer to be anything other than a loudmouth who loved his own horse. I believe they were trying more to contrast Sham's trainer with the gracious housewife that was Secretariat's owner than anything else. I also got the idea that "Oh Happy Day" was supposed to be Secretariat's favorite song. Earlier in the movie,he's listening to it on the radio. Who knows? Maybe while the real Secretariat was widening in the Belmont homestretch to a thirty-one length lead, while the tremendous crowd was crying or rapturously cheering him,a song really was running through his brain. Disney seems to think so. Of course, the song also wraps up the theme of Faith expressed in the movie as well. I would rate this as an excellent family film and a good horseracing film. I will buy it on DVD.

09 Oct 2010 8:50 AM
Rachel (original)

The Rachel from the first "Rachel" post is not me, Rachel, who has been posting here forever ♥

This original Rachel saw the real. breath taking trilogy, loved Secretariat, rooted for Sham, thinks Penney Chenery is the best proponent of horse racing and the fan/horse love connection EVER...I will not go to a Disney "based on" movie that hurts people and horse reputations.

09 Oct 2010 9:10 AM

My family and some friends went to see Secretariat last night; it was a wonderful feeling seeing Big Red again, hearing hoofbeats and watching the dirt fly beneath him; and even though you know how it all turns out, you find yourself cheering him on!  Beautiful filmwork, solid acting, money well spent on being entertained! As far as any inaccuracies, this was a movie, not a documentary.  I will recommend this film to everyone!

Mr. Haskins, just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog, comments, writings!  And thanks for sharing your photos and memories, too!

09 Oct 2010 9:13 AM

Saw "Secretariat" yesterday...it was wonderful to relive these moments in time...each race had me pounding my foot & cheering (couldn't figure why others weren't doing this!)...& the race cinematography was superb...it did seem, however, to be focused more on Penny Chenery than on Secretariat, & I believe this is what causes Steve Haskin to say that it fails to capture the majesty & magnitude of Secretariat...the elements of the sport that we take so seriously are dealt with superficially or not at all...moments after being just a foal, he emerges in the next scene as a 2yo (at first I thought this was some other horse!)...& Secretariat is portrayed as valued by all his connections more so as an economic solution to their monetary woes than as the immortal superhorse who awed us with his sheer magnificence...nonetheless, I went away feeling immensely uplifted & happy to have been immersed once again in the life & times of our beloved Big Red!

09 Oct 2010 9:28 AM

I too was concerned about seeing Secretariat, having been crushed with disappointment by the Seabiscuit movie. And yes, it was odd to see Keeneland portrayed as Belmont, see HOY honors announced in the newpaper and distracting to watch the other horses being pulled up so that Secretariat would win... but those things are beside the point. What mattered is the way that my heart pounded with every race, and how tears pricked in my eyes when Secretariat burst away from Sham and the grin across my face every time Secretariat crossed the finish line in triumph. Yes, I thought about how Riva Ridge was actually Penny's favorite... but the rest of the audience in my horse racing ignorant town only saw the Big Red horse. What matters most from this movie was the crowd of little girls behind me who screamed in excitement throughout the whole movie, and the older couple next to me who watched with their hands clasped together, tears pricked in their eyes as they remembered days gone by.

I'm already a die-hard horse racing fan; no movie will change how I feel. The important thing is that it WILL change how others will feel. May new fans be born with every screening!

09 Oct 2010 10:23 AM

I saw the movie yesterday with my Secretariat T-shirt on.  After, I had several people come up to me, I assume because I had the T-shirt on, to state what a great movie it was and how much they enjoyed it.  That is great for racing.  For me, I found the movie should have been titled "Penny Chenery" instead of "Secretariat". And Malkovich's portrayal of Lucian Lauren was very distracting to me.  Basically, I was disappointed in the one movie made about this great horse being more about his connections than about him.  So many things could have made the movie better, like more of the truth, but at least the movie was made and Diane Lane did a great job, and it was also great seeing Penny in the crowd scene. Maybe there is no way to make a movie about the great Secretariat that would do him justice.

09 Oct 2010 10:24 AM
Ray A. Hussa

Secretariat was the greatest horse of the era, and the movie captures

the superstar like no other equine film. Seeing the Belmont stakes in

1973 inspired me to work full time in racing. I once saw Secretariat at Claiborne Farm right after we had just run second in the 1983 Derby with Desert Wine. I had some tourists in tow, and Secretariat showed off for the women. One of the men, a  quite arrogant mining executive, approached Secretariat

at the fence, and the stallion bit the lapel of his jacket, much to our amusement!

09 Oct 2010 11:48 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

I saw the movie last night with my mom, who got me into horses at birth, and three teens who have little to no equine experience. We adults appreciated the movie and agreed that the historical inaccuracies were needed to convey the story to people who are uneducated to horses and racing. The elimination of Riva Ridge and various other facts would have made the movie far too long and confusing to some. The teens all enjoyed the movie and had wildly different ideas through-out the movie as to what would happen. One thought the Triple Crown was one race, another thought that horses raced as a team, and another thought that Secretariat was going to die. The third has always been a fatalist so I half expected that response from her. I was honestly surprised when people were cheering in the movie. That was when I realized that the movie had touched people otherwise uninterested in racing.

While I would LOVE to see a Secretariat documentary, complete with original video and race calls of Secretariat's races, I did enjoy the Disneyfied movie for the most part. It was more about the Chenery family and less about Secretariat than I expected, but maybe I'm not a great story teller. Diane Lane was spectacular as Penny Chenery Tweedy and is so beautiful that even polyester looks fabulous on her. I was so happy to see Mrs. Chenery in the crowd scene that it made me cry.

09 Oct 2010 12:34 PM
Kat- Big Red's Biggest Fan

I went to the movie last night. I thought there would be a much larger audience... Fri. Night at 7:10 PM.... but there were so few people.

I was prepared to put aside my nitpicking and enjoy the movie and I did.... for the most part....

but then, at the end, I got outraged--- mad--- that they Could Not Even Give Secretariat his due at the end, outside of the movie's story!!!! As the credits ran on by with all the people's names scrolling on and on... It was against a background scene of the real Secretariat running about his paddock.... and They Did Not Even Have THE DECENCY to show the real Secretariat in all his GLORY!!! I could not believe they made that piece of film footage all shadowy so that only the faintest trace of the horse could be seen whereas Their Names were center stage and large!!! What an insult to the horse and to us.... that they could not even give him and his fans that least little bit of satisfaction!!!

Shame on them!

What was the problem??????

Could they not get permission to use that footage? unless they blurred it all to pieces?

I think that highly unlikely!

As for showing the Preakness race on the TV... I thought that a nice touch---- after all, it was the real Secretariat running the real race!----- but then! like the poorest of storytellers, missing all the power glory drama athletics, they kept cutting to the faces

of the cheering family!... Geeez, who wants to see that???? We wanted to see Secretariat!!! After all, it was His Name as the title of the movie!!! Why couldn't they have shown that scene looking over their shoulders?? then you could sense their excitement without Without MISSING seeing what they all were excited about???

The racing footage filmed and shown did not capture Secretariat's greatness .... in wanting to convey an intimacy to the scenes, it made them lose the essentials! You Could Not See the Forest  For The Trees!!!

I enjoyed having Penny's story told, I put up with the inaccuracies..... but I won't be seeing the movie again... I won't be buying the DVD when it comes out....

Instead I will be watching forever the Real Drama, the Real Power, the Real Glory of the real Secretariat

in all the real film clips and documentaries that are available, that I have.... and thrill again and cry again over the commentary and the races ....

09 Oct 2010 1:04 PM

Thought it was a great movie. I really loved seeing the real penny at the end of the movie. Secretariat was such a great horse. And the Canadian connection to secretariat. Make him Canada's favorite horse too. I Know This movie is all about Secretariat. But I really love Riva Ridge. Hope one day they Can make a movie about him. because Meadow stable would not be there with out Riva Ridge. But all in All it Was a great movie. Can't wait till it comes out on dvd. So I can add it to my horse racing dvd collection. Phar lap, Seabiscuit, Barbaro a nations horse, Ruffian, dreamer and racing stripes.

Long live Secretariat.

love Alex Winnipeg Manitoba Canada.

09 Oct 2010 1:27 PM

There have been more than one movie made of certain athletes and I think it's required with Secretariat.  I've seen 2 great films of Steve Prefontaine.  Disney should've given this movie a different title.  I really enjoyed the movie for the inspiration it provided with Penny and the circumstances dropped in her lap.  She was courageous and convicted and I LOVED her "...I'll find a way" attitude.  I don't think the movie does justice, however, to Secretariat.  His charisma, charm, physical presence, raw athleticism, intelligence, and legendary speed will, I hope, be made into a movie.  I didn't understand, in the Belmont scene, when we awaited the "big horse" to come around the final turn, how they could start FANTASTICALLY with a tremendous boom of thunder and then tone it down to "Oh Happy Day"!  I expected the forceful, heart pounding "300" type of music to finish his amazing feat of the Belmont and Triple Crown.  The Opening to the movie was AWESOME though!  

There has to be another movie made with a LOT of Secretariat and much much more Eddie Sweat, Lucien, and the rest of the shed row characters.

I think Ron Howard could put a bang up movie together on Big Red.  

Movie about Penny - 4 stars

Movie about Secretariat - 2 stars

Overall - 3 stars

09 Oct 2010 1:49 PM
Barbara W


Do you realize you had the best job in the world? Walking Somethingroyal--wow!

I am a die-hard horse fan, but I have to admit to missing part of Secretariat's real run because our adopted daughter was in the process of being born on April 23, 1973. I'm taking her and another friend to the movie tonight. We can't wait.

For those who are new to loving horses, please do 2 things for me:

1) Go on Youtube and watch all the footage of the real Secretariat and

2) Read Bill Nack's book. I almost think it should be required reading for seeing the movie.

We have by no means plumbed the depths of wonderful horse stories that the public would love to see.

It strikes me that in hard times, God always sends a horse:

*WWI--Man O'War

*the 30's/Depression Era--War Admiral/Seabiscuit

*Watergate and Viet Nam aftermath--Secretariat and

*now the marvelous Zenyatta.

I fervently hope that another generation of horse lovers will rise up

09 Oct 2010 1:52 PM

I have to admit Malkovich was hilarious even though he was not portrayed like Lucien Lauren..."his horse couldn't beat one who's feet were buried in cement that was being pulled backwards by a freight train!", or, "He couldn't train a flea to jump!"...speaking of Pancho Martin!  Truly funny!

09 Oct 2010 2:01 PM
Barb Dwyer

I was a huge fan of Riva Ridge.   He is the horse that sparked my interest in horse racing. So I was very disappointed to see that in this movie he did not even exist.  Mrs. Chenery has many times stated that had it not been for Riva's earnings then should would not have been able to campaign Secretariat.  So IMO Riva was an integral part of the story.  

And I don't think including Riva in the movie would have been too confusing for movie-goers.  Most people aren't too stupid to follow a story with 2 horses in it, regardless of whether or not they've ever seen a horse race.

Overall I didn't like the movie, because IMO is took way too many liberties.  And again, I don't think most people are too stupid to have followed and understood the real story, which was so much better than Disney schlock.

On the other hand, it's good that horse racing in this movie is depicted in a positive light.  So I very much appreciate that aspect of it.

09 Oct 2010 2:16 PM
Soldier Course

It's a day later, and I find myself less enthusiastic about the movie.

Although I had a good feeling immediately after the movie was over, I suspect it was relief that the movie was not bad, rather than elation that it was great. I have to agree with Steve Haskin and some commenters here that the movie did not capture Secretariat's magnificence or his historical significance.  

I keep comparing it to another movie about "an impossible true story", "Apollo 13". The birth of Secretariat and the safe return of Apollo 13 happened within weeks of each other in 1970. Both stories involved themes of uncompromising training and teamwork. They gave new meaning to courage, risk, and luck. I believe that both outcomes also involved an element of divine intervention.

"Apollo 13" transported my mind and emotions straight back to those excruciating days in April 1970 when I held my breath along with the rest of the country.  I wish "Secretariat" had been able to do the same thing, not for my sake but for Secretariat's.      

09 Oct 2010 2:24 PM
Blue Blue Sea

Sad that I have not - was in Kentucky until last Sunday for the Festival then had to go to Germany for work ): Hoping to see it this coming weekend

09 Oct 2010 3:04 PM
Soldier Course

Barb Dwyer:

Last year in an interview with Lenny Shulman, Penny Chenery offered a good explanation about the decision to leave Riva Ridge out of the movie. She pointed out that it would be almost impossible to sustain excitement about the Kentucky Derby twice in the same movie. That interview is posted again on the BH website.

09 Oct 2010 3:20 PM

I am going to see the movie in three hours.  I will be back to give my review.  I'm so excited about seeing it I can hardly contain myself.  I grew up in the 70s and Secretariat was a big part of my childhood so I cannot wait to relive some of the happiest times of my life.  Be back in a few hours with my review.

09 Oct 2010 3:32 PM
Whinny's Mom

Our boarding stable had a private showing of Secretariat at the local theater with a pizza lunch following.  The participants were mostly "horse people" ranging in ages from 6 to 66 and the movie was perfect for that audience.  The movie had a little something for each generation and was beautifully done.

09 Oct 2010 3:46 PM

Being a west coast person I always felt estranged from Secretariat due to the distance and not seeing him up close and in person.  This movie helped bring him closer to home for me and I think the Disney people did a great job with their depiction of horse racing and keeing the movie entertaining for both fan and non fan alike.  Good casting job for most characters and I loved the up close racing shots!

09 Oct 2010 3:56 PM
Carol Faver

I truly hope this movie brings in new fans to the sport.It's necessary to keep the sport of racing going.

As for movies...I'll keep the picture in my mind as I watched Secretariat emerge from his stall at Claiborn Farm...shaking his massive head with anticipation at showing off in his paddock. He seemed aware that a "movie star" was about  to play for his fawning public one more time. We rose to the occasion. We worshipped at the shrine. We saw him and he saw us. We breathed the hot air as it slid from those delicate nostrils. We had  the REAl experience that can still bring tears,smiles,love from inside everyone who was ever close enough to know what power comes from a walking legend! I don't need a movie about him....I'll never forget the real deal. Oh how I still adore that blessed red horse who still runs free and painless in my dreams. I love you beautiful horse of heaven. You will never die.

09 Oct 2010 3:59 PM

Secretariat raced into legend while millions watched and cheered.

Most of them knew nothing about the nuts and bolts of racing, nor did they care. It was about the big red horse and his beautiful owner Penny. Instead of complaining about "the facts" rejoice that Secretariat and Penny are once again making a nation cheer.

09 Oct 2010 4:36 PM

just got back from the movie and i loved it. i remember watching secretariats races on tv. i don't know anything about historical accuracies even though i have been a horse racing fan for years. i felt like i was right there at the track. all that power on four legs. i will go see it again and wait for the dvd.

09 Oct 2010 4:56 PM


09 Oct 2010 5:00 PM
needler in Virginia

Just got back from the matinee showing of SECRETARIAT. All my low expectations were met. I give it a 2 for the racing shots and Ms Lane's portrayal of the First Lady of racing, otherwise it could not have been sappier or less accurate. Sad, sad, sad. Again, why on earth is the real story not good enough?

Cheers and safe trips.

09 Oct 2010 5:09 PM

In my dark theater the gray hair quietly glowed like the phosphorescence of waves leading to the screen, except for four semi-noisy kids.  When the matinée finished, I thought "Where was the horse? It needed more horse."

As I walked out two mothers with the kids were commenting on one of the mother's small stuffed toy chestnut horse, unmistakably a Secretariat momento.  No mistaking it, she had brought her cherished  childhood hero to the movie with her to show her children what Red really meant to her and to the whole generation of which she had been a part.

Not enough horse or not, I was incredibly touched.  

09 Oct 2010 6:10 PM

The idea that animals don't think is ludicrous.  The idea that Scretariat didn't know he was the best and like Muhammad Ali both  revelled in the roaring applause, because they knew they wer the greatest.  This may have been a stretch of the imagination in the 70s, but too much is known about animal behavior now to know that animals, like us, have their personalities, and egos.

Zenyatta is perhaps even better proof.  She is such a champion in her own mind and such a hog for the lime light that she dances for more adulation, and for the joy of doing it.  Just as some people need the worship, so does this ultra great athlete.

Although I am not speaking to race comparisons, I hope through this  movie for the masses, that this adulation will be passed onto Zenyatta, a present day Secretariat, in terms of a great athlete who knows their own worth.  We need heroes who know what they are doing, and Zenny is just that heroine for the masses.  Don't quibble, just take it as all good for racing.

09 Oct 2010 7:28 PM

I doubt Zenyatta's story will be next. Zenyatta didn't have the odds against her like Secretariat, Phar Lap and Ruffian.

09 Oct 2010 7:47 PM

Gave my review about Secretariat above.  Great movie.  Will someone please consider one for Smarty Jones?  The drama and hardship behind his success would really make a great movie; the public in general would like it, I believe!

09 Oct 2010 7:59 PM

I watched this movie with the idea in my mind that it would be a movie about a horse named Secretariat.  

Other reviews I had read had me believing some things that just didn't occur in the movie.

Even with its flaws which really in the grand skeem of things--its a good movie.  So what that in real life that Penny wasn't there when Secretariat was born--they had to change some things around to market it to people who may not have even been alive in the 70's.  They weren't trying to rewrite history.  Penny and Disney I feel really knocked themselves out to make a good movie.

Two moments that struck me...1  Was the horse playing Secretariat when he reached around to nuzzle Penny 2 When Secretariat comes running into the camera out of the fog.

In case you haven't seen this movie and are wondering where Penny is in the movie--you can't miss her.  Look for her at the Belmont.  I don't want to give anything more away.

As my dad would say You done good kid.

09 Oct 2010 8:35 PM

I was 11 years old when I watched all 3 races, I remember crying then and I cried now watching them all over again, I have rode a few race horses and many others throughout my life.  Facts right or wrong in the movie... this was an amazing horse that saved a family and inspired the rest of us.  Horses have saved my life more than once.  They are that powerful.  And I thought the movie was wonderful.

09 Oct 2010 8:44 PM

Not perfect, but I'd recommend it.

I knew about the inaccuracies, so I had that part out of the way.

Beautiful cinematography and possibly the best racing sequences ever filmed.

What I left feeling, though, was that somehow in the end they made Secretariat less than he was, not more. The Belmont sequence is OK but it just doesn't convey the magnificence of the performance the way just watching video of the original does. It's hard to put into words, but it misses something.

09 Oct 2010 8:56 PM
Lena Turner

I loved the movie, I remember watching the Derby. I have always loved horses and Big Red was a great horse.  I wish there could have been more about his retirement and the rest of his career.

09 Oct 2010 8:59 PM

I wasn't the inaccuracies - it was the lack of good storytelling.. As someone above said, it was "unfocused". The first 3/4 of the movie set painfully slow fractions - The track scenes were crammed at the end and went by way too fast.!

Seabiscuit was inaccurate too,  but it was well scripted and directed and musically scored. There's a richness and rhythm to the movie that brings you to the key moment coming down the stretch during the match race.

I just never connected with anything or anybody in this movie...Least of all, eye-rolling moments like watching the trainer, owner, groom and  family friend boogaloo around their racehorse.

09 Oct 2010 9:21 PM
Cathy B

The movie was wonderful!  But  just when I thought it couldn't get any better, to the right of Diane Lane (Penny) was the REAL Penny Chenery!  What a treat to top off a great Disney production.  

09 Oct 2010 10:10 PM
Ida Lee

I left work early to see the first afternoon showing.  I was too excited to wait.  I loved the film. I would have preferred if it had been more about Secretariat than about Penny but I loved it. Anything having to do with Secretariat I love so....But it was very good and the racing scenes were heart pounding. And the movie Secretariats were beautiful, of course not as drop-dead gorgeous as Big Red was but still beautiful. I'm planning on seeing it again when I'm  not quite so excited.

09 Oct 2010 10:17 PM

I absolutely loved it, but I wish they had gone more into his career.

09 Oct 2010 10:24 PM
Barbara W

Just returned from the movie, and I am so relieved after reading some of the critics here. I thought it was absolutely stunningly beautiful. Of COURSE we wanted more of the horse, but all horse stories are people stories too. That's what makes it so wonderful--that horses every day help people heal and become more than they thought they could be.

This one has Penny's blessing. What more endorsement could we want? She was the one who lived it.

I can think of at least a dozen horses who would make good movie heroes--Man O' War, Cigar, John Henry--the list goes on and on. There are probably many most of us have never heard of whose stories would be fascinating.

So many horses, so little time.....

09 Oct 2010 10:48 PM

A little too schmaltzy for my taste, but entertaining nevertheless. Hollywood screenwriters always have to embellish a true story. That's what they're paid for. The audience appeared to be enamored. There was a collective round of applause at the end.

09 Oct 2010 10:57 PM

As far as horse racing movies go, this was OK, but certainly not done as well as "Seabiscuit". The attempt to shoot the Belmont race at Keeneland was poor. The Churchill scenes were realistic, but why decide to run the taped TV version of the Preakness? That part fell flat other than it injected some real-life facts.

   The trainer's part came off well as did Eddie the groom. And Diane Lane was very good at playing Penny.  

   For those of us that grew up with Secretariat, I think the film could have done a better job telling what a superhorse this was. The Penny story is interesting to a point but became too much. And of all things, we see the REAL Penny in the crowd at the running of the Belmont! That was very awkward. Nice try, but have to give it a "C". This movie will certainly not be nominated for any awards like Seabiscuit was.

09 Oct 2010 11:20 PM
Karen in Texas

Go see the movie! It's not totally accurate, but there is enough fact to essentially tell the story. I thought Ms. Lane's performance was very good, and John Malkovich is quite enjoyable (although strangely cast) as Lucien Laurin. The movie begins and ends with Penny Chenery quoting or reading from the book of Job---perhaps this Biblical reference had something to do with the choice of "Oh Happy Day" as a theme song. The racing sequences are truly exciting and realistic! To me this movie is better than "Seabiscuit".

09 Oct 2010 11:24 PM

Just got back home from seeing "Secretariat".  Awesome movie!   Diane Lane was wonderful and she is so beautiful. John Malkovich,  he's a rip!  The only thing about Malkovich which didn't seem real asa far as Lucien's character, was that he is much taller than Lucien was, and that was the only thing that bothered me about that.  Otherwise,  Malkovich was great and he wore the polyester suits from the 70s, the soup hats, etc...lol!  I got a kick out of that--too funny! I was a teen then.  It's a 70s thing, and you had to be there.  If you know what I mean.

I liked the way they explained the foal sharing/coin toss agreement and how she raised the money to payoff the estate taxes after her father died.  That was very interesting, and from Nack's book, pretty accurate. Sham's trainer was portrayed as an arrogant jerk, but I don't recall Poncho being quite that boisterous and cocky.

I know a lot of people didn't like that the Belmont Stakes was filmed at Keenland,  but I was so engrossed with the movie at that point--I didn't care.  However,  it was obvious that it was not Belmont Park,  but non-racing fans who see the movie won't know that and it doesn't matter.  I'm guessing it was too expensive to film at Belmont--only guessing.

The other thing I noticed and maybe I'm going color blind, but the famous blue & white colors didn't appear right.  The blue didn't look like the right color blue---it didn't appear dark enough--it looked like a lighter color blue.  It was noticeable enough to me but, like I said,  maybe I'm going color blind.

I loved the movie...thought it was great.  There is an instant during Kentucky derby or maybe it was the Preakness,  where they did a quick flashback to the original race,  but its very quick and you have to be able to catch it--I noticed.  During the triple crown races the movie theater was rocking.  I live in a town where there are a lot of cattle ranches and horse farms...people were screaming & clapping in the theater, I had tears in my eyes. I watched him win the triple crown at my neighbor's house, and there were about twelve of us there and we were screaming and clapping back then just like the people in the theater did tonight.  Oh, the memories it brought back.  Go see it.

09 Oct 2010 11:29 PM

it was ok.... it was too disney, meant for little kids, it didnt build up any suspense. it was just like "he was born, yearling for a second, suddenly a 2 yr old, won horse of the yr (which came out of the blue, they only said something bout it once), then went through the triple crown races in about 5 minutes. I realize this is a disney movie, and they mainly focus on making movies for kids....and it was an enjoyable movie, but i found it to be too rushed.

09 Oct 2010 11:39 PM

Excellent. A movie cannot be as detailed as we want it to be or it would be 10 hours long. Realize that the average viewer will had very limited knowledge of racing and then see it through their eyes .People in my theater loved it and it was full.

09 Oct 2010 11:46 PM
Afleet Treet

LOVED IT! Of course there were things about it I would have enhanced...and of course Big Red should have gotten more camera time than all the people although I LOVED the story and Diane Lane did a great job! Also loved John Malkovich who played a quirky Lucien Lauren! I did NOT like how they portrayed Laffit Pincay in th emovie howvere. Having met Laffit in person and hear some of his many stories about the horses he has ridden (and even about Sham) I don't see that rude side of him at all that was shown in the movie. I especially LOVED that Mrs. Chenery herself is in the movie too! I did a double take when I saw her in the stands! SO AWESOME! Thanks Disney. FOr us die hard horse racing fans of course there will always be things we think could have been added but to the masses who most have never seen Big Red in person and many other know little to nothing about his story, the populations should LOVE IT!

Thanks Disney!!!

Hoof Hoof Hooray!!

09 Oct 2010 11:47 PM

For the common person a very good movie.. but for horsemen like me ummm a little too disney and cheezy... but o well its a movie and it did the industry well

10 Oct 2010 12:07 AM

Saw Secretariat today with my husband.  I am a true horse lover and would have been a member of that elite group to enjoy the breeding and raising of such horses had I not become a nurse.  I left the theater with a full heart after watching that movie and really liked the WHOLE story about Big Red from birth to the Triple Crown.  Penny Tweedy knows her horses and the story is her story as well.  The sacrifices she made for her belief in that magnificent animal is heart warming.  My heart was pounding through all the races and just loved the whold movie.  Thanks for making it.

10 Oct 2010 4:13 AM
Will W

Just seeing the promo clips was enough to give me nausea at this overdramatized, overly sentimentalized piece of nonsense. The name "Disney" is all the explanation need be given why this Hollywood production was a disservice to racing history, to Secretariat, his legacy, and to his entourage. Pox on all of Disney's intrusions into the world of thoroughbred horse racing.

10 Oct 2010 7:58 AM

The movie was very good--Diane Lane was excellent in the role of Penny Chenery. BUT---THERE WAS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH ABOUT SECRETARIAT HIMSELF---nor the people like Eddie and the exercise rider---who spent almost all there time with the great horse during his racing days.  Those stories would have profoundly enriched the movie and pulled the audience into the horse's story as well.  Last year's big hit-- The Blind Side--showed us the life of both Micheal and Lee Ann.  Disney fell very short in telling us about the compelling life of the horse---the reason for the movie---the one and only SECRETARIAT!

10 Oct 2010 8:57 AM

Not a great movie, but not a bad movie either. Well-acted and good cinematography. Of course the script is not "true-to-life"-- it's a script.  But the movie does a good job of showing what Secretariat meant to the public, even though it does not adequately show the magnitude of his talent. Something in the script or the editing or both makes the Derby seem like the climax and the Belmont an afterthought, when that race should have been the most riveting point of the film.

If you can't willingly suspend disbelief, you will be dissatisfied.  If you can just enjoy the portrayal of one of racing's greatest stoies, you'll enjoy it.

If your non-race fan friends are moved by it, so much the better. Give them Nack's book and drag out your videos of the Belmont. Invite them over to watch the Breeders' Cup and point out Goldikova and Zenyatta. Use the movie for what it can do-- show people the beauty and emotion of racing.

10 Oct 2010 9:07 AM
Barbara W

One comment for DanceSpell--

Yes, they did say it would have been too expensive to traipse up to New York for the Belmont. They already had 2 locations.

Can't wait to see it again!

10 Oct 2010 9:16 AM
A huge horse and horse racing fan

Went on opening night, Friday 10-8, had to be there, had to see it.  It was a GREAT, uplifting movie that puts a very positive light on horses, horse owners and horse racing.  In this day and age where everything is computerized, catagorized or just ignored completely, this is a breath of fresh 1973 air.  I did not get to see Big Red (I was too young) but I sure wish I had.  What a magnificent guy who gave the world something to cheer - even now - in a world where there is very little to cheer about.  We need this movie and it is wonderful!!!!

10 Oct 2010 10:28 AM

I had already heard about the flaws with the facts so I did have an open mind going in.  Although it is a little too much "Disney", it was a very entertaining and well acted movie.  The race sequences were very good.  I almost wish they had used the actual Belmont footage rather than try to recreate it.  Even if it is black and white, it is the greatest

performance by any horse I have ever seen.  By the reaction of some in the crowd, I could tell they had never been to the races and were all caught up in it.  I am so hoping this will inspire them to visit the track and see for themselves.  

10 Oct 2010 10:38 AM

I have not seen the movie yet, but here is some interesting info concerning the Belmont scene....the reason they used the real footage of the Belmont stakes is because they tried for two weeks to get a horse to finish 31 lengths in front and couldn't do it..they even used a quarter horse from the top of the stretch to the wire and could not duplicate Secretariats triumph...this leads me to one conclusion..he is the best horse to ever run period...

10 Oct 2010 10:48 AM

Just saw it last (Sat) night.

I give it a 'meh'.

Movie was slow in many parts and I found the religious aspects unnecessary & unfitting.

Theatre was maybe 1/3 full, 90% adult audience. A few laughs at Lucien's 'character', but no applause or cheers during the racing scenes or at the end.

I much prefered Seabiscuit.

Phar Lap trumps both by a huge margin.

10 Oct 2010 10:51 AM

I saw the Secretariat film on opening day and while I would not classify this as a great film by any means I was heartened to hear people in the audience actually applauding certain scenes. I know it brought back memories for those old enough to have seen Secretariat race live and for those of us who were only children at the time and have only seen grainy footage of his races on Youtube it reminded us how beautiful and powerful he was and how beautiful and powerful horse racing is. My 13 year old daughter went with me, and while I don't think she will ever share my enthusiasm for the sport I know she enjoyed the film and maybe someday it will stir her to dig deeper into the history of this most maginificent animal and this wonderfully beautiful sport. I won't go into all the details of how historically inaccurate the film is. Just remember, it is a Disney film not a documentary. If you go into it with that in mind you will enjoy this film

10 Oct 2010 10:52 AM

I saw the movie last night.  I cried, cheered and laughed.  The acting was superb, the horses beautiful and the scenery spectacular.  I was fascinated by the up-close and personal shots of the starting gate and the close ups of the racing legs.  Whoever saw the movie and is not a racing fan, should become a fan after seeing it.  The essence of horse racing was all there.

10 Oct 2010 10:55 AM

It could have been educational and a fun movie.

All my life I have heard,read and enjoyed video's of Secretariat I was disappointed that the horse was not in the movie, like I thought he should have been...it was a child's movie..a good movie one that I will forget..darn, just not enough information about that wonderful Triple Crown Winner.......Secretariat...the best part of the movie to me was the coin toss and the study of the pedigree by the owner...

Like Helen stated, more about the people caring for the horse's and their love of them should have been included...how blessed Helen was to have that job walking Somethingroyal.  It could have been a great movie but was not...Seabiscuit movie was far more interesting but I would buy a DVD of the Secretariat...

10 Oct 2010 11:10 AM
Carole Hemingway

Just as "Seabiscuit" pulled everyone out of the depression, that thought re-appeared after I saw "Secretariat" and how the film

gave hope for a better tomorrow.

Randall Wallace, did a fine job; since he directed "Braveheart" I knew he was going to get up, close and personal with this story; and the tension in the starting gates, the dirt being kicked up, and as was noted somewhere in the review,

when the BIG race came up, and the horse walked through the tunnel, it was indeed like a Gladiator

entering the arena...which brought tears to my eyes.  Penny Chenery has done so much for the horse world and our world, I have such respect and admiration for her, she is truly a LADY of integrity.

We ALL needed this movie, at this time...

Carole Hemingway

Freeport, Maine

10 Oct 2010 11:42 AM
Dreamer's Mom

If you have a daughter or you are a daughter, go see this movie!  It shows what women are capable of doing when everyone around them tells them it can't be done.  

I, too, expected "more horse", but was not at all disappointed.  I loved the scenes with Penny and Turcotte.  As an owner and a trainer believe me when I tell you that never happens nowadays!  I loved their "family"-Penny, Eddie, Lucien, Ms Ham and Ron.  All for one and one for Secretariat.  It is hard for non-horse people to understand what we horse people know and love about our 4-legged family members and I think this movie showed beautifully what we can and will do for them.

10 Oct 2010 11:52 AM
Love 'em all!

It took "Secretariat" to get me back in a movie theater; it had been five years!  "Oh Happy Day"!  

Was prepared to sob through most of it ... had a lap full of tissues ready from the start, but, surprisingly, didn't shed a tear.  "Oh Happy Day"!

Truthfully, I loved all 116 minutes of "Secretariat" ... silly stuff and all, and thought it was even better than I had expected from the reviews.  We need more movies like "Secretariat".  "Oh Happy Day"!

10 Oct 2010 12:00 PM
Disappointed in Fresno

I went expecting to see a movie that was comparable to Seabiscuit.  I'm afraid it fell short on the feel good quality.  There was very little character development and we didn't feel compassion for the jockey or even the horse.  A good ploy for women power but I don't see it helping the industry much.

10 Oct 2010 12:02 PM

disney really dumbed this movie down i wanted to see it until i saw the trailer on tv where he was born a bay i do hope it does encourage more people to become racing fans there is nothing like the world of horse racing got to see him in all his glory in '85 will never forget him

10 Oct 2010 12:05 PM
anne of nj

Saw the movie twice and still doesn't compare to the dvd races and real story. Saw Secretariat in person twice at stud and such a thrill! Diane Lane did a great job, in the role. However, could have done without the gospel music at the end - too Disney!

10 Oct 2010 12:32 PM

I saw the movie last night with some good friends. To them I'm regarded as the racing fanatic, so through the whole movie I was asked questions like "Why didn't he win the Wood? Was he sick? Was Sham really the 'villain?' Why are they flipping the coin?" So I missed some of the movie because of the q's. It was a pretty good movie, glossed over a bit, but good. And when 'O Happy Day' came blaring off screen during deep stretch of the Keeneland Staged

Belmont, it scared the crud outta me! I love Penny's hippie daughter. That cracked me up a bit :) After the movie I was approached and asked, "How do you know the Secretariat story by heart? Have you read the book?" To which I said, "Nope, I read Steve Haskin's blogs (and looked him up on google...)!" I often get weird looks when I start talking about Big Red or Ruffian, or Citation or Cigar. These horses raced before I was born... After all, I'm only 13!  

10 Oct 2010 12:41 PM

I would like to add something further to my previous review. I followed Secretariat throughtout his career. And when I went to see his film I did not expect a documentery. However, I did expect to see a film about Secretariat. What I saw was a film dominated by Penny. Don't get me wrong. I admire Penny for her vision and strength. Competing in a man's world at that time took a lot of courage. IMO, had the film been stretched out to three hours. I believe Secretariat would have have dominated the rest of the film. I was disappointed that there is no mentioning of his record setting Derby or Belmont. Or the controversal malfunction of the timer in the Preakness. Running the Belmont at Keeneland really took away the athletic show that Secretariat put on that muggy June afternoon. I think this incredible athlete deserved better.    

10 Oct 2010 12:49 PM
Soldier Course

Dance Spell:

I went back to Bill Nack's book to see if there was any reference to Pancho Martin's boorishness, as portrayed in the movie. I was surprised to find an explicit reference to this, as well as his rudeness to Lucien Laurin, in the section about the Kentucky Derby. Maybe the movie ran it into the ground, but apparently it was there.

10 Oct 2010 12:51 PM
Dwight New

Wonderful ! I saw a premiere in Lexington , visted a bit with Penny and Kate and met the sweet and talented Diane Lane. I believe it's awsome representation of Penny, the family and of course the greatest Thoroughbred of all time, Secretariat.

Having been cast as an extra in the Lafayette, LA. filming and a long time collector of Secretariat memorabilia, you must understand that I'm a bit partial.

10 Oct 2010 1:27 PM
Boss Mare

Went with horse friends all from "back in the day." Having been in attendance at the Ky. Derby on that day I do not think that any film maker can capture the excitement that being there can. I watched the Preakness and Belmont on TV and again film makers cannot duplicate the all the excitement and emotion of "in the moment." If the movie goers could have seen the actual footage of the Belmont how Secretariat DEMOLISHED his competition and ofcourse the finalization of a Triple Crown winner and the dreams of all connected with Secretariat realized ..."OH HAPPY DAY."

Some scenes are too contrived to satisfy those connected with racing but the one most difficult for me to swallow was Eddy Sweat just standing there leaning over the rail watching as his charge was stampeding down the stretch answering the prayers of so many...I don't think there is a groom alive who wouldn't be hootin', hollerin', and jumping for the sheer joy of the moment.

A great family movie with no bad language.  A great celebration of a wonderful story that doesn't leave a black mark on racing.

10 Oct 2010 2:03 PM

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Disney attempted to "fix" the fabulous true story of Secretariat.  Instead of improving the true story, the movie is embarrassingly corny run-of-the-mill underdog tripe.

All of us who actually saw that magnificent animal were capable of grasping and appreciating his story as it really happened.  IMHO it's beyond arrogant to assume that today's generation is too feeble to grasp the true story.

I for one am tired of the excuse that the industry needed this fictionalized cheese.  It's a sell-out of one of the greatest stories in horse racing.  Nobody likes a sell-out.

10 Oct 2010 2:14 PM

I saw the first showing at the Regal Hamburg in Lexington and was surprised at how few people were there.  Some of the kids coming in were only 7 or 8 years old, some teenagers, some my age.  I was 25 when Secretariat won the Triple Crown and was able to see him three times while at Claiborne.  I think he's the greatest horse I've seen in my lifetime.  The movie was pretty good.  It did show scenes that never happened, i.e., the foaling of Secretariat.  Was he really almost scratched from the Derby because of the abcess?  I don't remember that, but...I don't remember a lot of things!  LOL.  They tried to portray Keeneland as Belmont Park and I suppose in the eyes of the non-horse racing fan, it passed, but they even photoshopped a lake in the infield!  Whoa!  I had tears in my eyes through the second half of the movie.  Just couldn't help it.  I would see it again, but it's a shame Riva Ridge didn't exist in the film, as he was the one who really saved Meadow Stable.

10 Oct 2010 2:19 PM

We went to see Secretariat yesterday afternoon. I thought the movie was very good, the inacuracies didn't really bother me, and unlike a lot of the people here, I did not think the movie was too Disney. I think Disney did a good job with the film.

I wasn't born when Secretariat ran, but my Mom watched him and said it seemed pretty accurate from a fan perspective of the races themselves. I liked that they used the real footage from the Preakness, and didn't care that they cut to the faces of those watching. Didn't mind the song during the Belmont. I found that Secretariat was in the movie enough for me, and didn't really find it about Penny. As one poster said, horses don't talk and the story has to be told somewhat through their connections.

Only beefs I had with the movie were when they did a "where are they now" type finish at the end, they completely ignored Secretariats death in 1989 from laminitis, and where he was burried. I think they should have at least mentioned it. Also irriated me a bit that they referred to him as the greatest racehorse ever, when I personally think that title should either go to Man O' War or Phar Lap, though granted, greatness can be subejctive since we never saw these horses race against each other.

Anyway, I'd give it a four out of five starts. In my opinion, its better than Seabiscuit, but not as good as Phar Lap.

10 Oct 2010 2:53 PM
Bill Daly

Having lived through Secretariat's career and thrilled at his brilliance in realtime, I have mixed emotions about the movie.  I think Diane Lane's performance was tremendous and Fred Thompson's Bull Hancock was excellent. The Ogden Phipps portrayal wasn't bad either, but I think it was a bit over the top. What Disney to Frank Martin and Laffit Pincay is criminal, however. Unless I am very mistaken neither one of them acted as badly as the movie would have you believe. Otto Thorwarth's portrayal of Ron Turcotte was excellent. I didn't care for John Malkovich as Lucien Lauren, however.  I think his character was a misrepresentation.  Overall, I certainly hope the movie does well and attracts some good attention to racing.  Who knows?  Maybe some folks will get curious and visit their local race track.

10 Oct 2010 2:58 PM
Max's Mom

LOVED this movie.  Even though I was totally familiar with the facts, still felt the excitement and anticipation conveyed by the movie.  The racing scenes were fabulous.  Anyone that has loved a horse will totally appreciate the photography.  Especially touching was the scene where Penny helped give him a bath.  I acknowledge it had Disney characteristics...... but that is a GOOD thing.  Not a worry about profanity or anything unapproriate.  Could not be totally accurate as the portrail was for the general public.  We want this to be a success and show off the racing world and the Thoroughbred.

10 Oct 2010 6:14 PM

This is a really good movie.It brought back alot of memories for me.I really appreciated how the people in the theatre were cheering. It is great promotion for the game of racing.

10 Oct 2010 6:54 PM
susan kennedy

I LOVED that the audience in the theater here in DFW cheered and clapped for Secretariat as he ran in the Derby and the Belmont.  Now if only those "ordinary citizens" would get themselves out to the track this spring to see the living horses run!

10 Oct 2010 7:01 PM
Kathy Kimber

Saw the movie today,loved it. Penny wanted it to be a tribute to horseracing it is and a tribute to Secratariat.  What a great lady she is the Queen of Horse Racing she campaigned this horse against all odds and changed our lives forever.  She raced him to glory, to greatness and into legend.  What a joy to see it all brought back once more.  Thank you

10 Oct 2010 7:10 PM

It was a good movie but I thought the story line and music weren't quite up to Seabiscut or the Black Stallion (hooked me to horses when I saw it 1/2 dozen times as a little girl). Also they didn't develop much with Secretariat himself. He stood around looking way to pet-able for a thoroughbred only given a few close ups of his eyes that started to give him some depth but not much more. Diane Lane did a great job and John Malkovich though under utilized was great. My husband (not at all into horses) liked it and was awed by the Belmont facts listed at the end of the movie. I think non-racing fans caught the part about the 25 year gap in triple crowns and the fact that his records still stand. I will be doing history lessons to compare notes with what I saw and I'll be watching the You Tube video of all 3 of his triple crown wins tonight you bet!!!

10 Oct 2010 7:12 PM
racefan in Dixie

Go and see this movie.

No screen nor script could ever portray the greatness of Secretariat. Those of us who were fortunate to witness his beauty and thunder can relate to the opening, the reading from the bible of God speaking to Job describing the horse,for it wss he who breathed life into this horse that we hold sacred. We had a hero and he thrilled us. The movie could never have equalled the horse, but it does give those who weren't around when he ran a taste of his magic, and for those of us who were, we get to witness the revival of Secretariat's greatness. I went to see the movie at the first showing in my hometown. I, too, took off early from work, I was so excited. I was surprised to see a crowd at the 12:55 pm show on Friday. There were people of all ages who were definitely race fans, for they cheered and clapped and sometimes I couldn't hear the movie for the all the fanfare. But, I loved it! I loved what it did to the people who watched. I heard one young girl tell her friend that she was glad they didn't talk about how he died, for her mother would have cried. A senior citizen remarked to me "Wasn't that a great movie?" And I replied "He was a great horse." Go amd see this movie and maybe filmmakers will be encouraged to continue to make movies about the horses who have inspired us. We are all kids at heart and to share this with those who have never experienced the thrill of horse racing, we can say- watch the Breeders Cup in November on ABC and you will see one of the greatest horses of this day run. And if she wins the BCC, they can tell her story 37 years later to their children and grandchldren!

10 Oct 2010 7:37 PM

Respectable, respectful, entertaining. "Disneyizes" the characters a bit much. Great for the industry and the memory of Secretariat. Worth the cost and worth going again. Bring a friend, enjoy the story, remember the horse. Left me with an awe of the horse, respect for the owner and appetite for the sport.

10 Oct 2010 8:16 PM

I LOVED the movie!!  My former boss and i went.  She likes horses and knew about Secretariat.  She said her mother followed Penny Chenery and had bought a pair of earrings similar to what Ms. Chenery wore.She thoroughly enjoyed the movie.  Watching that movie brought back a flood of memories of the time.  I was in college and was working at Montgomery Ward.  I made sure my dinner break came when the Belmont would be run.  I DIDN'T want to miss a possible triple crown feat.  I headed over to the television area of the sales floor to watch the race.  Shoppers stood around and watched.  As Secretariat raced away and steadily increased his lead, my jaw dropped, and dropped and dropped.  I wish Disney would have used tape of the real race.  I think that would have been a grand ending to the movie.  The movie also left me with wanting to know more about Secretariat's connections.  Was Lucien really like that?  I would have like to have more on Ron turcotte.  And Eddie Sweat.  And my respect and admiration for Ms. Chenery has grown.  I remember that era VERY well and the blatant chauvenism back then.  how she dealt with that is classy and right on target.  Great movie!  I will see it again with another friend and get the dvd when it comes out.  hope they add the REAL triple crown races to it and back ground to all of Secretariat's connections.

10 Oct 2010 8:18 PM

I love that video interview with Penny Chenery. She is a hoot! I could listen to her talk horse racing all day. I saw the movie today and loved it. Yes, there are things that are just plain silly in it, but overall, I got emotional watching Penny's and Big Red's story. Diane Lane did a great job as Penny Chenery and that's what I was hoping for. John Malkovich is always a blast on the big screen and Nelsan Ellis as Eddie Sweat was a highlight. I wish someone would do Penny Chenery's story as a documentary just so I can hear her talk horse racing. I loved HRTV's Inside Information called 31 Lengths about Penny and Secretariat. Good stuff.

10 Oct 2010 9:26 PM

Racingheart, Thank-you for the imfro. And yes it is a Disney film.So I thought they would keep it happy. BUT, I just loved Secretariat, and always will. But i wonder if we will ever see a T/C.Winner? Thank,s.

10 Oct 2010 9:32 PM

I loved it even the hokey parts like Penny staring into Secretariat's eye - it worked.  We don't always have to have angst for something to be good.  I saw all his triple crown races and he was magnigicent.  I wish they would have shown him going to the corner of his stall when he realized it was race day. Her was a very smart horse.  And, I'm sure Zenyatta does something comparable.  And, a movie with wonderful connections, where no one tries to kill or maim the horse, a one of a kind subject.  People would line up around the block.  I'd be one of them.

10 Oct 2010 9:44 PM

Zenyatta movie ?? No thanks. I appreciate what she has done and i think its great for racing. But I am not a supporter of cushion track champions. I will take a Personal Ensign movie over a Zenyatta movie any day.

10 Oct 2010 9:50 PM

I know the story of Meadow Stable too well to suspend my disbelief as to the accuracies of the film.  Weird to see all of those Kentucky hardboots spending so much time in Virginia! I'm just too much of a realist to be a Disney believer.

Highlight of the film was seeing the actual footage of the Preakness--of course none of the horses in the film could capture Secretariat's majesty or could emulate his flawless stride.

Diane Lane was wonderful (as she always is) but the movie just didn't flow for me--The Black Stallion remains my favorite racing/horse film.

The racing footage was lauded in the reviews but I found the editing choppy.  

Still for those who are young or new to the sport the project will bring joy to the viewer.

10 Oct 2010 10:02 PM

I went in not expecting to like the movie, and was pleasantly surprised how much I truly enjoyed it.  I even cheered during the Belmont!  

What we need to remember is this movie is about Penny Chenery, it's not meant to be a documentary about Secretariat's racing career.

10 Oct 2010 10:10 PM
Pedigree Shelly

         Knowing that my Mare is out of a Summer Squall mare who's damsire was Secretariat makes it extra special to see the movie !! I cant wait !!

10 Oct 2010 10:17 PM
Norman P

Accepting the fact that it was a Disney dramafication and understanding that the casual fan would not realize the difference between Keeneland and Belmont, I was still very pleased with the movie up to the final part of the movie. I just don't think the movie captured how incredible Secretatiat's Belmont win was. That could have still been done without taking away from the poetic license of the movie; in fact it could have strengthened the message. Still, I think this is a good thing for horse racing and I recommend it.

10 Oct 2010 10:25 PM
Horse Crazy Gal-Michigan

I went to the movie today and loved it!  Yeah, there were cheesy parts and some truths and situations stretched a bit, but overall, I thought it was a terrific movie.  I was a bit disappointed in the turnout - at the afternoon matinee the Theatre was only about half full.  But people were cheering and clapping and it seemed to be well received.  I agree with the previous post about not using real Secretariat footage as the credits were rolling.  That was crazy!  It would have been beautiful to see Big Red romping in his paddock at Claiborne Farm instead of what they used.  I remember seeing Secretariat win the Triple Crown - I was 15 and just went crazy for him and his whole team.  It was truly a magical time.  Overall I think the actors were very good, especially Diane Lane, and I think it was a well done movie.  4 Stars from me!

10 Oct 2010 10:32 PM

From the time I heard that they were doing a Movie on Secretariate, I have been on pin and needles with anticipation.  I was not disappointed.  I was born 2 years after the Triple Crown Win. This was my chance to see the race. I know - go to Youtube. But the story is what touched me. Hats off to Penny! She is the kind of person I would like to be someday. She didn't let anyone tell her "you can't do that!" I have read some think it was not about Big Read, but it was.  It was about him, and the people around him.  We may never know, what would have happened if things were different and the Farm was let go.  The Big Red Machine, may have never gotten to "run his race."

This movie, was thrilling, and inspiring.  

11 Oct 2010 12:02 AM
Elizabeth Tobey

I loved the movie.  The few inaccuracies did not bother me that much.  I think the film really did capture how extraordinary the horse and his connections were.  I had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Chenery and Jimmy Gaffney (his exercise rider).  Everyone involved with the horse has been so incredibly generous in sharing this great champion with the world, and the generosity of spirit of Secretariat and his connections are definitely conveyed by this film

11 Oct 2010 12:16 AM
milk n honey

Saw the movie today. On the whole was enjoyable, but had a wierd religious undertone that I felt didn't have anything to do with the actual events and for me was kind of off-puttiing.

Otherwise, typical Disney; anthropomorphysing Secretariat, Taking artistic liberty. Would recommend, but also would tell people to read Mr. Nack's book to get the "real" story.

11 Oct 2010 2:37 AM

Lucien Laurin is 5'1.

John Malkovich is over 6'.

Filming the Belmont @ Keeneland ???

Come on !!!!

I will wait until its available on Redbox or on DVD.

Lucien Laurin NEVER wore loud suits, ever !!!

Ask Ronnie & Rudy Turcotte & Angel Cordero !!!

11 Oct 2010 2:59 AM

Took my son to see Secretariat yesterday and he loved it - said it is his newest favorite movie.  I thought the movie was well done and I was moved to tears several times, especially during the scenes depicting Penny and her father Chris.  However, I thought the movie was more about Penny Chenery than it was about Secretariat.  It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the movie without vulgar language.  Lucien Lauren's character was colorful and amusing - much to my son's delight.  The movie was a breath of fresh air to the thoroughbred industry - when is the movie about Zenyatta being released?

11 Oct 2010 6:28 AM

Secretariat = the power of GOD, Women and Horses over the life of men...

11 Oct 2010 7:17 AM

I felt the screen play was poorly written and not very deep.  I would have liked to see a little more focus on Secretariat the horse, his personality, and his interactions with his people. On a positive note, the racing scenes were exellent, making you feel like you are in the race.  

I look forward to the remake of this story in the future.

11 Oct 2010 7:51 AM

My husband and I saw the movie on Friday - the matinee.  

There was lots of cheering and a lot of laughs.  I cringed and winced at a lot of inaccuracies which really didn't have to happen.  But Disney does as Disney does.

I thought the entire cast was sensational - especially Diane Lane.  It's a feel good movie and well worth the price of a movie ticket so long as horse racing fans don't get upset about the myriad of artistic license taken by this movie's producers. Will it do anything to revive interest in racing?  Doubtful!  Seabiscuit and Dreamer didn't.  There's too little tv coverage of horse racing, and horse racing has only itself to blame for that.

11 Oct 2010 8:22 AM
Sue S.

We saw the movie on Friday night and totally enjoyed it.  There were some inaccuracies that we were aware of but they did not detract from the story.  Some really good shots of the horses in the gate and racing.  We found ourselves cheering him on even though we already knew he was going to win.  Have an even greater admiration of Penny Chenery.  A good movie.  Definitely recommend seeing it.

11 Oct 2010 8:49 AM

Saw the movie last night....I loved the movie and wish that some day we (the horse industry) could have a horse that comes even close to BIG RED.

11 Oct 2010 10:26 AM
racefan in Dixie

For all Secretariat fans looking for a documentary on the real deal, with the story of Secretariat from his birth to his untimely death, his races, Penny, Lucian, Ronnie and Eddie and Big Red himself, in all his glory, go to Secretariat.com. The video is The "Life & Times of Secretariat", licensed by Penny Chenery for $49.95. It is one of my treasures.

11 Oct 2010 10:34 AM

Many parts of this movie I loved.  I was thoroughly enjoying it up until the trple crown run.  The racing sequences left a great deal to be desired.  SOme great shots, but they were not edited in a way to tell the story of how the races unfolded.  Just shots of horses in a race.  Very disappointing.  The handling of the Preakness was a fizzle.  Very annoying that the words Belmont Park were everywhere trying to convince me it was not Keeneland.  Lackluster music to boot.  Finally, nothing about Secretariat's connection to the racing public.  Why did children and men and women love him?  The movie made it appear that only Penny and her family loved the horse.  

The Belmont was the greatest race of all time, but I left with an unsatisfied feeling.  Why didn't they use Chick Anderson's actual call?  THere was no reason not too.  

Really good movie up until the Derby and then everything seemed rushed.  

11 Oct 2010 10:54 AM

I absolutely loved the movie.  I managed to tear up several times and went through a few tissues.  I loved the fact that it was kind of a "Throwback" for Disney and I thought they chose the characters perfectly.  The inconsistencies didn't bother me at all.  I think there was a nice balance of fact and added drama to hook non-horse racing people!

11 Oct 2010 11:24 AM
Jeanne from Texas

I, like so many others, really didn't appreciate the "O Happy Days" song being sung during Secretariat's stretch run.  Something much more rich and dramatic would have been more appropriate; maybe no singing at all, just music from a grand orchestra~!   All in all, it was a good movie; loved Diane Lane and John Malkovich as they did an outstanding job.  I didn't like the horses used much because the main one used in the races  ran with his ears "up"...did anybody else notice this?  Secretariat always ran with his ears flat against his head.  Most all horses running their heart out like thoroughbred do, have those ears pinned against their head.   After all that, I would still highly recommend the movie because there were so many good parts in it and each one brought tears to my eyes.  

11 Oct 2010 11:30 AM

I loved the movie but how can you leave Riva Ridge out of the movie?  Ken

11 Oct 2010 11:44 AM
Bob R.

Secretariat "the movie" didn't even hit the board.  It should have been name "Penny".  Compared to the movie Seabiscuit, it finished up the track.

11 Oct 2010 12:01 PM
Tricia Smarty

Overall I liked it and it was very moving, but I think that Seabiscuit did a much better job of mixing it up between the human aspect and the horse/horseracing aspect.  I would have loved to see alot more of Secretariat in the movie and a lot more racing.  He was something else though, loved his Belmond when he pulled away from that other horse after being a confirmed closer and leeaving him in the dust.  Go Bid Red!!!

11 Oct 2010 12:31 PM
Zenyatta Forever

I saw the movie Saturday night, and it was the most thrilling movie i ever saw, i could my heart match the beating of the horses hooves when they were racing, i felt encouraged to let my dream take me, and my dreams lead me to racing

11 Oct 2010 12:31 PM
Severely disappointed

I went in with an open mind as I was aware of some of the inaccuracies but I was extremely disappointed with almost every aspect of the movie.  Normally, I think of Diane Lane as a very talented actress but I thought she lacked scope in this movie.  Not once was I convinced that she was "tough as nails".  The only time she seemed believable is when she was having weak moments.  She did not do the First Lady of Racing justice.  Go back to romantic dramas where you came from.

The title is very misleading as it makes you think the movie is actually about the horse.  It should have been named Penny Tweedy.  As an avid fan of Secretariat, I knew what races he was running in as a 2 year-old when all the trophies were piling up but not once did they actually explain where they came from.  How can you just shove aside what he accomplished his 2 year-old year with no mention of his performances?

The script was absolutely terrible.  Obviously, the writers felt that we as a society are too simple-minded to comprehend an amazing story such as Secretariat's so they dumbed the script way down.  I realize that the appeal was to draw in younger children but I felt it was even to simplistic for them.

The most disappointing scenes were the actual racing scenes. I understand it is hard to recreate an actual race but they were beyond ridiculous.  Holding every horse back so they are barely cantering and letting "Secretariat" blow by just isn't believable.  The calls of the races were terrible.  Are there any reasons they couldn't use the actual race calls?  Or at least use the actual script from the calls.  That would have been more entertaining if they could have used the actual race calls.  If it wasn't for the fact that the movie was practically over, I would have walked out after they messed up one of the most famous lines in sports history.  How hard is it to get the infamous lines by Chic Anderson correct?

I thought that the real story of Secretariat was a dramatic enough story that Hollywood wouldn't need to add embellishments.  Clearly, I was wrong.  I would not recommend this movie to anyone that is remotely familiar with the story of Secretariat.  You are better off to read Bill Nack's book.

11 Oct 2010 12:42 PM

Have to agree with the person who was disappointed that the movie didn't do a better job explaining, or demonstrating, that Secretariat's greatness was more than just winning races, all champions have that in common.  It was the way he did it, the power he had--there was no mention of his gargantuan stride, the way he ran impossible fractions, and did things no racehorse had ever done before.  I liked the way the Belmont started out, with peoples' comments and reactions to what was happening in the race, wish they had kept using that approach.  Thought they also shouldn't have glossed over his 2-yr-old season--they really didn't explain why he was named Horse of the Year, or how unusual it was for a 2-yr-old to get that honor.  

I also thought the horses that played Secretariat didn't do him justice in the slightest.

That all being said, still enjoyed it, it was about horses and racing after all!

11 Oct 2010 1:18 PM

Saw the movie this weekend and loved it.  I also think there could've been a lot more Secretariat and a little less of Penny's story but it was very well done, uplifting and inspiring.  The beginning of the movie is rather somber and that is why I think Lucien Lauren became a bit of comic relief.  He may not have been spot on character-wise but he was a wonderful, fun character and very well played.  I would've like more of Eddie Sweat and more scenes with Secretariat but those racing scenes were thrilling.  Even knowing the races completely (have watched the race DVD countless times) I had knots in my stomach over the Derby and it was great to hear the cheers in the theater.  I wish it had been made clearer to the non-racing viewers what an unbelieveable, incredible, unmatched athletic event his Belmont was.  Yes, they did make it dramatic but I wish they'd said that no human or animal has ever come close to such perfection. It wasn't perfect but I loved it.  I have several more people I intend to take and will buy the movie as soon as it comes out.  After all, it's about Big Red!

11 Oct 2010 2:22 PM

As an avid horse person and former race owner, I loved it.  This explains why Penny has such a presence in all racing events and galas.  I met her on several occasions in the Lexington area and even received some fabulous Secretariat items that were signed by her and Ron.  Although she was kind and lovely when I met her - I had no idea what a force she is as a woman.  My hat is off to her and it's because of her that he had his chance to shine and prove himself.  Diane Lane did a beautiful job and I loved the whole movie.  Of course I was looking for more farm scenes - but hey, it was a fabulous fun movie and I'll buy the DVD.  Thanks Disney!

11 Oct 2010 2:42 PM

I kloved it and in that theatre alone there was 120 people and I went to a late night show as well, it was the 1st day, so far i've seen it 2 times and when I 1st saw it at the end I yelled out "Yeah Secretariat!!" and people started cheering ands whistling, it was great!

11 Oct 2010 2:56 PM

Read an article today about Ron Turcotte seeing the movie. He liked it even though there were a few parts that weren't really his character.

11 Oct 2010 3:01 PM

Saw the movie last night.  It was fantastic!  But it should have been called PENNY, not SECRETARIAT.  The movie was really about the woman.  I didn't catch/ see any original film of the original horse, which would have been nice.  Also the very last bit of ending was disappointing.  It showed PENNY.  I would have loved to see a beautiful full screen view of the real Secretariats face.  Instead, for the ending shot, we get the actor horse's forehead only, and a nice clear shot of PENNY.  Penny's not the star here, so a long freeze, then a fadeout of Secretariat would have been appropriate.  The original horse was the star, so he should have been the last thing the audience saw before the film faded to black.  And who was that galloping so very faintly under the credits?  The actor horse or Secretariat?  That complaint aside, the filming of the races and being right next to the racing horse was such an unusual visual.  I felt like the jockey!!!   More famous racehorse movies PLEASE.  OOh, is BARBARO next?????????????

11 Oct 2010 3:29 PM

I was a young person when Secretariat raced and became a Triple Crown Champion.  I enjoyed the movie but would have enjoyed more story about Big Red. I understand about Riva Ridge but I think it  could have be woven into the story. he is too great a champion to be neglected. Penny C. still seems to have the spunk and determination she did as a young woman. I enjoyed seeing her at race #19 for Queen Z, she seems to feel as many of us do that Queen Z is the greatest horse since her Big Red. I not so sure there won't be a movie about Queen Z, she had the right owners and trainers but who was the last horse to win 19 straight,most of the Grade 1.

11 Oct 2010 3:30 PM

I saw the film last night. Maybe I knew too much of the "real" story, but this grossly fabricated tale was much less interesting than the real facts. Can you imagine not mentioning Riva Ridge in a movie that focused a lot of Lucien Lauren and Ron Turcotte???Well, this movie didn't showcase Mr. Chenery's great Riva Ridge who won the Derby and the Belmont the previous year at all. Treating Lucien Lauren as a fool also was not right. I wish that the movie was able to live up to "Big Red" in a manner that he deserved, but it's so hard to do justice to an immortal. Good movie for kids that don't know the facts, but for race fans that loved this horse and couldn't wait to see him race in 1973, it's only light entertainment.

11 Oct 2010 3:43 PM

I loved the movie, cried off and on through the whole thing.  It was a Disney fairy tale but then the real Secretariat story is a fairy tale too.

11 Oct 2010 3:44 PM

I was very excited to see the movie

because I love that horse.  Have

watched his races, all of them,

many times.  Have sat through the

full ESPN feature and the DVD

many times.  Nothing compares to

the real thing.  Read Bill Nack's

book more than a few times.  I braced myself for the liberties that Disney took but I was disappointed.  That horse deserves

the very best and this was not it.

Diane Lane did a great job as Penny.  Loved Eddie and Ron but

Lucien's character was bafoonish.

No Riva, No Belmont Park, silly

music at the end, too preachy--the

story alone would have said it

better.  I went home and watched

Secretariat's Belmont again.  He

was a gorgeous, powerful creature

who deserved better--like the true


11 Oct 2010 5:55 PM


11 Oct 2010 6:18 PM
Golden Gate

I was blessed to be able to watch opening day showing of Secretariat at the beautiful Kentucky Theatre in downtown Lexington.

Now warning if you don't want more info on the movie (spoling) stop reading HERE (-:

I really liked the movie except for where it was mentioned that Ron Turcotte blew up a horses heart...if that isn't fodder for anti-racing propaganda I don't know what is. Also  emphasizing deciding to push Seecretariat so hard in preparation for the Belmont when Sham wasn't. And the trainer burning the racing failure slips in a tin cup in the barn and walking awaybefore the flames were extinguished--argghhh. Also why was Ms. Tweedy always hugging the trainer and never was her husband seldom shown embracing her after the races and why was Billy Silver not in the picture or his exercise riders but one time??

Questions aside I cried each time Big Red ran in the movie... half the time I was weeping out of nostalgia...such a great and wonderful horse and wasn't David Carridine great as the elderly father?

Jim Gaffney was Secretariat's regular exercise rider who passed awy this June.


I had the opportunity to chat with him through email a few times and he sent me a number of signed copies of photos of secretariat to auction for the Don MacBeth fund. Such a kind man.

11 Oct 2010 6:18 PM
Golden Gate

Talk about flashbacks... I just realized I mixed up Scott Glenn with David Carradine who has passed away 0-:

I think Scott Glenn did a good job as the eldery Mr. Chenery

11 Oct 2010 6:41 PM

Saw the movie this afternoon. I hate to say it but I was slightly disappointed. If I didn't know anything about Secretariat, it would have been okay. But I was a teenager when Big Red ran and I vividly remember watching him win the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont. I've read Bill Nack's book.

I don't like how they made Pancho Martin and Sham into villians. Sham was a great horse, too. Too bad he was born in the same year as Big Red.

I don't like that they changed who won the Wood Memorial. Sham did finish ahead of Big Red but Angle Light won that race. At least they got it right about the abcess in Big Red's mouth.

Diane Lane was good as always. Malkovich was a little over the top. The jockey who played Ron Turcotte did a very good job.

But if this movie gets more people interested in thoroughbred racing and what happens to these magnificent creatures once they retire then it is a very good thing.

11 Oct 2010 6:57 PM

I think the movie, warts and all,

was terrific. Especially the racing

sequences. True, there were liberties taken with facts, but such is always so with biopics. Its

called artistic license and its done for dramatic effect. I guess I felt the most significant liberty

taken with fact was the absence of

any mention of Riva Ridge, a fine

horse in his own right, who'd won

the Derby & Belmont for Meadow Stable the year before Secretariat

won his Triple Crown. But Penny Chenery wasn't as involved with that segment of Meadow Stable's operation and her father was still

alive when Riva Ridge was racing. Truth be told the money troubles while CT Chenery was alive were

ameliorated by Riva's wins and by

the sale of Sir Gaylord to a French

breeder. Penny Tweedy's cross to bear was that estate tax looming after her father's death in Jan. of 73. There was also no mention, and perhaps should have been, of Sir Gaylord, when they were running down the merits of Somethingroyal, who produced him a decade before she foaled Secretariat. Fact is, Somethingroyal was no afterthought:

she was a blue chip producer. Sir

Gaylord sired the English horse of

the year Sir Ivor, and led the sire

list over there one year. So Somethingroyal was no chopped liver, producing 3 stakes winners before Secretariat and indeed was the oldest mare ever to foal a Triple Crown winner. Other dramatic license was taken with the champion's foaling: now y'all know that crowd of peeps was not in the foaling stall! And I wish Big Red's exercise rider Jim Gaffney had been given his due, as he and Eddie Sweat (who was given his)were as big a part of Big Reds

legend as anyone. But all

nitpicking aside,I think the movie

was richly textured, and all actors

were uniformly excellent. This film was a respectable 3d at the box office its opening weekend and

Roger Ebert has named it one of the

10 best movies of the year. Maybe those non-racing set folks & those born after the 70s will search the

history of Big Red, and learn some

things, and that in the end is one of the biggest added values of film making.

11 Oct 2010 7:48 PM

Truth is stranger than fiction as the old saying goes.  Then why stray from the truth?  Good, not great, movie - too much Disney.  It was probably a better movie for those who don't know the facts.  But all in all, if the general public accepts this film then that's OK with me.

No mention of Riva Ridge.  They could've wiggled in a few tid-bits about him too.  Did not like the way Lucien Lauren was portrayed.  Too much was made of the "woman" thing.  Penny holds a Masters degree from Columbia University not exactly your run of the mill housewife.  One last thought, why couldn't they use the actual race calls?

11 Oct 2010 7:50 PM

I saw 'Secretariat' on Saturday. First thing I have to say though is, they released it on the wrong week-end.  It was a holiday weekend and many people had off and went out-of-town. The theater was about 1/3 full.

For those of us who are really into Secretariat, his life and racing - I have read extensively and watched videos of his races - it was passable.  They did not really develop his personality, great presence, power, speed, heart and the wild adoration of his fans who witnessed his Triple Crown races.

That being said, I met two women at

the end of the movie who had never been to a horse race, but were enthralled by this movie about him and racing.  We three strangers spent the next four hours over a cup of coffee in Barnes and Noble with Raymond Woolfe's book looking at pictures of Secretariat, while I regaled them with his glory.  He absolutely entranced them!

As to the other thoughts about the movie - it told Penny's story very well.  When I first heard John Malkovich was going to play Lucien I cringed, but he did very well over all.  I think the actors who played Eddie and Elizabeth Hamm were perfect for their roles, as was Thompson as Bull Hancock.  The horses who played Secretariat were wonderful also.  I think the one that represented him going into the Belmont Stakes was a knock-out.  Visually, he resembled Secretariat a great deal.  So, all in all I think it was very good, I would have been happier if they presented more of Secretariat's persona and physical prowess and achievements.  Also, it is too bad that they did not find a way to incorporate some small segment regarding Riva Ridge - after all - he won two legs of the Triple Crown and he was Penny's favorite.

Given my four hour encounter with two perfect strangers discussing the movie and racing - I would say it was a 5 and a success, because it put racing in a very positive light and gave a glimpse of racing excitement.  Steve Haskin was right on the money about the realism of showing the horses in the starting gate.  The filming of the racing scenes were much better, more realistic than those presented in the Seabiscuit movie.  

I really enjoyed Lenny's interview with Penny.  She is a grand lady!

Secretariat lives on in all his beauty and courage!

11 Oct 2010 9:30 PM

I have seen the movie twice.  I really enjoyed it.  The first time I saw it the music they played during the end of the Belmont Stakes didn't seem to fit but the second time I saw the movie the music made more sense.  I have also watched the ESPN SportsCentury program on Secretariat.  They have aired it three times in the past week or so.  That featured interviews with Penny Chenery Tweedy, Lucien Laurin, Ron Turcotte, Bill Nack, and Lafitt Pincay Jr among others as well as the actual footage of many of Secretariat's races.  Enjoyed that as well.

11 Oct 2010 9:49 PM

Saw the movie and took my mother, who is not a racing fan, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was a little bit Disney at times, but certainly well done and does have broad appeal. Non-racing fans in particular will enjoy this movie. As a racing fan, I thought that the racing scenes themselves could have been a little more dramatic (i.e. I would have loved to see the camera pan back on the rest of the field as Secretariat drew off in the Belmont, just to hammer home what a remarkable feat his race was), but as far as telling the dry bones story of Secretariat, I feel the film did a very good job and as a racing fan am, overall, pleased with the movie. Hopefully some members of the audience will leave as new racing fans!

11 Oct 2010 9:52 PM

I went to the movie prepared not to like it as I'd seen the trailer and clips and knew there would be inaccuracies.  Yes, the inaccuracies were there, but when the credits came up everyone in the theater clapped, I realized the movie is good for racing and racing badly needs all the good press it can get.

11 Oct 2010 10:04 PM

Saw it last night in Louisville, Kentucky.  Of course, much buzz in our area about movie.  Like all horse movies, they are very difficult to film with accuracy, but like the rest of the comments, I quit counting errors and just enjoyed it for entertainment value, and marvelled that my favorite interest had been made into a feature length movie.  Diane Lane was excellent, writing and dialogue were good.  Needed to see that Time magazine cover!  Thought Seabiscuit racing sequences done better, but Secretariat movie used good computer techniques to simulate big crowds.  Probably need to let it settle in and watch it again in a few months, then re-evaluate it.  But so grateful that anyone took trouble, time, and money to do a horse racing movie.   We need it!  Good scene where they used real footage of the Preakness worked in with the family watching it from home on t.v.  Races need to be shown in their entirety, and not interrupted constantly by panning into the crowd.  It can work!

12 Oct 2010 12:46 AM

On June 10, 1973, my family and I sat in a house furnished with our TV set and 4 lawn chairs and watched Secretariat's Belmont.  We were moving that day and I refused to leave until after the race. I cried when he ran around the far turn into history.  I cry every time I watch the reruns.  I cry when I THINK about him winning that race.  I cried today when the movie version of Secretariat came roaring around the turn into the stretch.  

I also loved Sham - until the Belmont, Sham was my favorite horse that year.  It is too bad that Sham has disappeared into the background.  This movie further diminishes this wonderful horse who had the misfortune to be born in 1969.  Sham is one of only 3 horses who have run the Derby in under 2 minutes.  We should not forget that.

It was a good movie.  Not the best I've ever seen, but the racing sequences are excellent.  I want to praise the moviemakers for taking a lot of care in selecting the horses to "be" Secretariat.  Other than some odd face markings, I found it difficult to tell them apart--unless of course they used only one horse (which I seriously doubt).

My recommendation to those who are going to see the movie is this:  Try not to look to closely at anything.  If you squint just a little bit so the images aren't too clear, it's almost like watching that old color TV and the story seems more real.

Good cast, great subject, memorable movie.

12 Oct 2010 1:59 AM
Secretariat Fan Forever

A little disappointed. Diane Lane did a fabulous job and portrayed a very strong character. Most of the facts were correct. But the film didn't focus enough on the horse. I was privileged to see him at the Belmont in '73 and at Claiborne in late '85 (I kissed his cheek). He was awesome!!

I guess I was expecting more of a "horse" story. We didn't really get to know the horse and his connections very well. He grew up in an instant. No transition. What about his personality & idiosyncrasies? Seabiscuit was overall a better movie, bigger budget, more developed characters (including the horse).

Someone above commented on the color of the blocks on the silks. I noticed it too; it should've been a deeper blue and the design on the side of the blinkers was different.

It wasn't a bad movie, just too superficial. The soundtrack was lacking too. Seabiscuit had a much nicer soundtrack (original music).

12 Oct 2010 2:01 AM

I saw the movie earlier last night and absolutely loved it. There were some questions pertaining to casting and of course, the glaring omission of Belmont Park (who knew the Belmont was run at Keeneland). I find it hard to understand why Disney chose to shoot the climax of the film at a place other than Belmont. While I didn't expect a history lesson, seeing Keeneland used as a backdrop for the 1973 seemed like a serious corner that didn't need to be cut.

Despite this, I enjoyed the film immensely. From the portrayals by Mrs. Lane and Mr. Malkovich to the use of Oh Happy Day. The film captured the tension and brilliance of Big Red and his amazing accomplishments. Secretariat is unlike any horse that we will ever see, and Disney's adaptation of his story was one that I am sure to see over and over again.

12 Oct 2010 3:21 AM
The Deacon

Visually well done, typical Disney movie. Been in the racing industry too long I guess because I sure didn't like Disney taking liberties with reality. Using Keenland as a backdrop to the Belmont Stakes is insulting to true racing fans and knowledgeable people. Making Sham look like the heavy was just awful. I happen to take offense to that. Sham was a brilliant colt who ran into a legend in 1973. You don't make Secretariat greater by minimizing his competitors.

On a visual level the movie is worth seeing, but thats about it for me. True racing affectionados will see the mistakes and cringe.

Finally, Riva Ridge saved the farm not Secretariat...........

12 Oct 2010 3:29 AM

I loved the movie. Thought the racing scenes were the best. As my son aptly stated, "It was like an MGM theme park ride!" I recommend it. The portrayal of Eddie Sweat was bittersweet. Of all Secretariat's connections he loved and knew the horse best and it was a travesty that he was not able to continue as his groom at Claiborne. But enough said, the movie was a trip back in time. It was worth seeing to revel in the GREAT horse's accomplishments. Will we ever see the likes again? I'm still follow racing just for that chance.

12 Oct 2010 6:29 AM
Fran Loszynski

Before my best friend and I went into the theater there were a group of women standing outside deciding which movie to see, Wallstreet II or Secretariat. I remarked "Secretariat" wearing an Afleet Alex hat, they replied: "Sure you're a horse lover, you would say that!"

While watching the movie; I discovered something I never knew, Secretariat "played" with Sham in the Belmont till he tired him out, Secretariat was not only an awesome horse but intuitive. I also happened to notice alot of kids in the theater and "future" racehorse fans- their eyes glued to the screen but I think the one thing Penny Chenery would love to hear is that at the turn in the Belmont in the movie; I stood up and clapped but no one clapped louder than "the five women" that couldn't decide which film to see. With tears in their eyes and in mine all I can say is "Secretariat and Penny Chenery-you won another race!"

12 Oct 2010 7:29 AM

Saratoga scenes were a joke, and the Belmont appeared to be at Keeneland, or where ever they shot it.Has the producer ever attented a triple crown race??

Best tribute is ESPN' one hour special about the horse.

12 Oct 2010 9:15 AM
Hanover Bill

I just saw the movie yesterday. Of course for anyone who considers themselves a racing fan there are liberties taken, and inconsistencies in the movie which we can criticize, but. I thought what a great way to educate the younger generation about this great horse. I consider myself fortunate to have lived through this "Golden Age of Horse Racing", with it's Triple Crown winners and great rivalries. I still get goose bumps when I re-watch Secretariats races on You-Tube, something which I do often. Anything which brings this magical time back to life is a winner in my book even with it's little flaws.

12 Oct 2010 9:30 AM

inept moviemakers

missed the mark big time in delivering the essential heroics

a dramatic true story told in a pedestrian manner

a movie called Secretariat that has so little of Secretariat in it that it is a dismal disappointment

incompetent storytellers

12 Oct 2010 10:06 AM

I saw the movie Friday at the first showing here.  Not many others attended, which in a way made it even more personal.  As someone who lived the whole wonderful Secretariat saga, it took me right back to all the emotion I felt at the time.  So what if some facts were inaccurate?  I think they captured the feeling of awe we all felt, and I left the theater inspired like I haven't been in awhile.  That's what I call art.  I was afraid I couldn't like Diane Lane as Penny, for I thought, who can possibly play Penny?  But, I was very impressed with her performance.  Sometimes we racing fans can be a little TOO critical; I commend the makers of this movie, and thank eveyone involved, esp. Penny herself.

12 Oct 2010 12:46 PM

yes the movie big red was good a very good movie and a verry smart horse just like man of war the other big red horse they both had very good groom i will like to know one thing what was the groom saying to those horses to make them that smart i will see the horse put his head close to the groom mouth to here what the groom was saying to the horse mrs chenery other horse like big red groom to i been saying this for years get you a good groom you have a triple crown winner one thing a horse will trust some one to look after him the movie show eddie sweat was there when big red was born it was big red other groom who groom big red over to eddie big red real love was for his groom that i wish was more in the movie if you peoples really want to know about horses talk to the groom one thing i will say both big red groom what they know about horses they took with then to they grave to all you owner if you want a good u a groom that will baby that horse they know how to talk to them and respect them .

12 Oct 2010 12:50 PM

I gave the film 5 stars. I think the racing scenes were excellent,  and though there were a lot of liberties taken in the movie, it was realistic enough to bring me to tears and laughter more than once. Like others have commented before me, I agree that more attention should have been given to Secretariat. He is,in my mind the greatest racehorse that has ever lived and while not perfect, I think Disney has tried to make a movie that is a tribute to that greatness and the will and determination of Penny Tweedy.

12 Oct 2010 1:28 PM

Saw Secretariat this weekend, totally enjoyed it & plan on buying it when it comes out on DVD.

It brought me to tears more than once, very well done. A must for all horseracing fans.

Diane Lane is worthy of an Oscar nomination for her role.

12 Oct 2010 6:29 PM

Saw this on Sunday with a friend who knows nothing about horses or racing or Secretariat.  She gives it one more star than I did.  I'm at a 3.5 to 4.  We had dinner at a nearby place, seated next to other moviegoers, one of whom asked me if the abcess before the Wood was true.  This tells me that people knew they were seeing the Hollywood version, not reality.  I said yes, but the whole Sham trash-talking owner thing, and the plot point that Secretariat "saved the farm" was much exaggerated.

Loved: photography from the Oscar-winner for Dances with Wolves.  Loved the action scenes.  Diane Lane was wonderful.  Great costumes.  Wish we had those ladylike clothes today. Enjoyed the way his story was spun, though ten minutes less of family squabbles, anti-war protests, or Ron Turcotte slumped on that bench after the Wood would not have hurt the story one bit.  I hate "flab" in films.  If you are going to run more than 115 minutes, it had better be really necessary.  Cons: the dialogue was occasionally really awful, and I would have liked fewer villains and side plots, more real racing stuff.  

Did I cry?  Oh yeah.  Did I want to stand up and cheer when that brief, lovely glimpse of the real Big Red flashed in the closing credits?  You bet.  Will I buy the DVD the moment it is released?  Oh, yeah.  And I stayed up late Sunday night watching my Secretariat DVD.  Every single race.  Oh, Lord, I loved that horse.  And I'm glad he got his very own high budget movie, for all its little flaws.                    

12 Oct 2010 7:44 PM

Ophelia 10/9..you had it right, lame.

It was not the "Secretariat" story, but the Penny Chenery story..and poor at that. There is so much more to her life than the reduced feministic view it showed. I purchased "The Meadow" commemoritive book, and her daughter did so much right in releasing this book in conjuction with the movie to show what the whole story was about. During the movie I thought..gosh..Dakota Fanning in "Dreamer" did such a better acting job than Diane Lane to show the love and obsession with thoroughbreds. Granted, John Malkovich was great in interpreting a quirky character from real life in Lucien Luren. And the final showdown..which was not a show down at all..I don't think it displayed to new fans, people not alive to witness the Triple Crown victory,  the utter demolishment of apponnents..and the time records. Did the movie audience know that the three pointyrd trophey she acepted was the "Triple Crown Trophy"? They should have incorporated actual footage..and Chick Anderson's original call. (modified in the movie) I don't know how the makers of Seabiscuit did it, but they incorporated the times, the people and the horse. Secretariat did not do this. Thank you Disney..not! $30 million budget, not enough involved partners willing to step up against the creative team? The story of Secretariat deserved better. No offense to Ms. Chenery, and I understand her place in horse racing and feminist history. But this horse has not become a legend due to lore, as we now view Man O'War..Sereatariate IS a legend, because we have seen it, still in our own time. And this movie did nothing for THE HORSE, in presenting and carrying these legendary stories forward,only the people, human stories. Movies are nothing but the oral stories people have carried

forward for thousands of years, in thousands of cultures, although our culture has different media and dollar constraints for sendintg these oral/pictoral histories out to the gerneral public (tribe). I understand this movie was not meant to be a documentary. But the responsibilty of Disney to spend the money and come up with a sembelence that could have combined the truth, with the living legend, was sadly missed. Maybe 27 years was to soon to reinvent the still living legend. When you want to create a legend maybe all observers should be deceased.

12 Oct 2010 9:19 PM

Very unsatisfied...Thought I'd see a factual but entertaining film but instead received only the fake and dramatic parts, i.e. "Needed to win the Triple Crown to make her (Penny) horse racing career meaningful/ successful." Come on, I'm a life-long horse racing enthusiast myself and having a horse of mine race even race in a stake or handicap, whatless a Triple Crown would be above and beyond what I'd ever could dream of. Too "Disney-esk" as well, fake acting, facts were distorted and/or left out. And so on...DON'T recommend.

13 Oct 2010 1:37 AM


Good for you! When I was your age we didn't have the internet at our fingertips. I'd be in the libary reading up the history of horse racing and studying the pedigree's. As for Secretariat. I have just about every book ever written about him and kept all three magazine issues that he appeared on during his Triple Crown run. If you'd like to learn more about Secretariat please visit www.secretariat.com it's a great website honoring his memory and legacy. Enjoy!

13 Oct 2010 8:52 AM

Yes, Ron Howard should have made this movie.

13 Oct 2010 1:30 PM

I have always loved Secretariat and my sister even  showed a granddaughter of his in barrels. I loved the movie and fell in love with penny Tweedy  What a remarkable woman!  I think that even folks who are not horse crazy like i have been for the last 49 years can find a wonderful story and inspiration  for what your journey in life is . May we all Run at it!

13 Oct 2010 2:15 PM

I LOVED the Movie!! Secretariat was & still is my Equine Hero of all time. As a teenager in 1973, my parents had just divorced, & Secretariat was my escape. I admire Penny for making her father's dream of winning the Kentucky Derby come true. I will go see the movie again, as many times as I can. Thank you Penny & Disney, for bringing Secretariat to the silver screen :)

13 Oct 2010 2:18 PM

We're going to see it Saturday, getting ready for the Breeders Cup Races mood ! I have heard good & bad about it, just hope it is deserving of the great champion Secretariat was. As for that other horse 19-0, what's her name, Zenyatta ? Polytrak or not, she definately deserves her own movie for sure ! This garbage I here about not being a true champion because she mostly races on a "cushion track" is the laughable and total nonsense ! She is the new generations Queen of the sport, and deserves all the cudos we fans can give her.Zen has brought back the sport all by herself, despite the "recession", and she is perfect 19-0, how can you argue with that ? GO ZENYATTA

13 Oct 2010 2:26 PM
Soldier Course

Grey K:

I agree than the movie was about 10 minutes too long. I felt the same way about "Seabiscuit".

The first part of the movie dwelled in the gate. Then how many times did we have to be told that the daughter went through a hippie phase, or that Pancho Martin acted in an obnoxious manner? Disney should have given its audience more credit.

You mentioned the Wood Memorial. According to Bill Nack's book, Lucien Laurin and Eddie Sweat knew about Secretariat's abscess before the running of the Wood. The movie showed them finding out after the race, not before. Guess Nack's account would have been too hard to explain in the movie.  

13 Oct 2010 2:32 PM

I loved the movie :) For those who want a documentary on Secretariat, You need to watch the DVD: The Life and Times of Secretariat. It is available through Secretariat.com. I admire Penny for helping her father achive his lifetime dream. She is a TRUE Hero !!

13 Oct 2010 2:32 PM

Come on with all these raves this movie is for the non horseracing fan.Let it Ride captured more of the gut wrenching that comes with horseracing.Seabiscuit was a great Doco/Drama that made you cheer at the end.This story was about a housewife? who against all odds won races with a underdog horse,Secretariat a underdog,give me a BREAK.

It is indeed a family film,but thats as far as it goes.

13 Oct 2010 4:43 PM
Soldier Course

There have been some comments about the movie getting the order of finish in the Wood Memorial wrong. I paid close attention to this part when I saw the movie the second time, and I don't think there's a mistake, just confusing dialogue.

The end of the Wood in the movie shows the correct order: Angle Light, Sham, Secretariat

A few minutes later we see Penny talking with Ron and Lucien in the barn after the race. She mentions that Sham has beaten Secretariat. That comment in the movie has caused the confusion. I think she said that because Sham was Secretariat's main rival at the time, and of course Sham had come home ahead of Secretariat in the Wood because he was second and Secretariat was third. She did not say that Sham had won the Wood.

That scene may have been based upon a comment that Edwin Whittaker (Angle Light's owner) made to Penny after the Wood. Look on Page 312 of the new 2010 edition of Nack's book and you'll see where Whittaker seems to suggest that Penny is more angry about being bested by Sham than about losing the race itself.

13 Oct 2010 4:45 PM
TJ Conway

Excuse me while I point out some negatives:

- A little too much like "Seabiscuit"

- Totally ignored Secretariat's last race on the grass course in Canada......maybe they should have made this film 10 minutes longer. This could have shown Secretariat's great versatility. Big missed opportunity!

- No mention of "Riva Ridge"

- No mention or picture of Lady's Secret (oops!)

- Just barely heard "Forego".

- Background music, as a whole, was pretty lame.

- Should have shown some numeric fractions in motion to "showcase" Sec's speed.

- Were Sham's owners really that "cocky"?...overkill here


- Eddie Sweat yelling at the sky (the morning of the Ky. Derby)......awesome scene

- The acting was great........even if some of the "characters" weren't

- Live footage of Preakness on TV. Smart scene.

- Probably a good movie for a new generation of potential horse racing fans...which our industry desperately needs.

- I understand there is a high degree of difficulty in filming a movie like this. Overall, it seems like it was done pretty well.

All in all I'll give the movie 3.9 stars out of 5. This could have been an Epic movie. As Arlene said, a little more about the horse.............a little less about the "human" interactions.

13 Oct 2010 4:53 PM

I was 29 years old moving from Detroit to Los Angeles.  That is when I became interested in the Sport of Kings and Secretariate.  Enjoyed the movie whole-heartedly along with my memories.

It is entertaining and refreshing and looking forward to more movies of horses:  Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, Quality Road.  Thanks for the Memories.

13 Oct 2010 5:26 PM

One of the Best Horse racing movie ever made!! LOVED IT!!

13 Oct 2010 6:25 PM
Robin from Maryland

Just returned from seeing the movie.  Not bad, not perfect.  Despite other bloggers not liking "Oh Happy Day" at the end; I did.  Loved the actual film footage from the Preakness, and agree with some - they should have incorporated actual footage of the Belmont too.  It was great just going back in time remembering all of his greatness.  For me, it was my "feel good movie".  Will definitely get the DVD when it comes out.  RIP Big Red.

13 Oct 2010 6:29 PM

From the coin toss then to the foaling, they got it all wrong! Penny didn't get Sec because she lost the toss.  What she got was Somethingroyal's  foal the following year which was Sec.  The scene shows the foaling barn in the day time.  Foaling occurs at night.  Sec was foaled on March 30, 1970 AT 12:10 am. Those present at the foaling were Howard Gentry, farm manager, his friend Ray Wood and groom Clarence Richards.  None of these individuals appear in the movie.

If the movie was titled, "Penny", which it should've been called, maybe I would forgive the numerous liberties with the truth but not in one called, "Secretariat".

13 Oct 2010 6:32 PM

AT the end, when the comments about the real people and Secretariat were scrolling on the screen, why was there no metion of Secretariat's honors: 1973 HOY, 3/o colt, and Grass Chamion. Dosney only said he sired 600 foals, but not of some of his champion off-spring like Lady's Secret (HOY) or Risen Star. Tje Preakness time has been controversial because of a timer problem. The Daily Racing Form uses their time, which would place each of his Triple Crown wins as record times, yet the "official time" by the Preakness race officials is different due to a malfunction. Why wasn't it mentioned that his fractions in the Derby increased as he progressed along the track? For the Triple Crown races, it would have been better to show the real races to allow those who didn't get to see them what he was really like.

I do agree, ignoring Riva Ridge was wrong: especially since in Secreatariat's last race in the MArlboro CUp at Woodbine on the grass, he beat older horses, including his stanblemate Rive Ridge.

Yes, in reality this movie was based on Nack's book, which was about the connections of Secretariat. Disney briefly touched on why Secretariat liked to come from behind - due to his first race (he was bumped & squeezed at the start). It ignored his getting beat in is first attempt at taking on older horses, and getting beat by Onion.

It completely skipped Secretariat's stable pony, Billy, the appaloosa that traveled every where with him.

Disney conviently neglected to touch on the Watergate scadals that hurt our country during those times and the gas crisis. The war was okay to talk about i guess. That is why so many people latched on to that Big Red stallion. He was a symbol something better: that racehorse became their horse whne he ran. Even Penny Tweedy said SAcretariat belonged to teh people, but Riva Ridge was her horse.

13 Oct 2010 8:35 PM

I still remember so well that 31 length win and just like in the movie thinking he's going to burn out before the race is over.  I remember Sham and had actually favored him to win Derby.  Forgot that just like Aladar and Afirmed it was Sham came in second.  Wasn't sure what to expect but very pleased with the movie.

13 Oct 2010 10:53 PM

Hi. I haven't had a chance to read the other blogs so I hope I don't repeat too much. The movie was lacking in information about Secretariat's personality--it didn't show what a character he was . . . how the other horses in the barn knew he was the greatest and treated him as royalty for one. I also agree that the daily life relationships with his groom plus others in his daily life was lacking. Those relationships were so important. There were spots that lulled, too, but overall I give it 4 stars. My mother remembers watching the race on T.V. However, I don't think the movie will help the state TB racing is in--it won't hurt it, but I don't think it is going to help it improve and bring more fans to the sport, in my opinion. Also, Sham was a great horse and broke records, too, and had

Secretariat not gotten in his way, he would have gone down in history as one of the greatest ones also. I think every Zenyetta fan should watch this movie--the movie brought Z to mind to me, because sometimes on the blogs it seems like Z fans think there never was a horse greater but yes there was a horse greater--Secretariat. The way he broke racing records, won the triple crown and then took the Belmont when it was at 1 1/2 will never happen again--I truly believe that with all my heart. Big Red lost a couple of races, and it was no big deal to his fans, he was a racehorse, the real deal, he was THE HORSE, none other will ever hold a candle to him--I believe that. Does anyone know, I think Zenyatta has a small amount of his blood in her--going way back in her pedigree. Anyone know the answer to that trivia question? Happy trails everyone.

13 Oct 2010 11:28 PM

Disappointing from the perspective that I went to see a movie about Secretariat...It would have been more appropriate to title the movie "The Penny Tweedy Story - Owner of Secretariat". The movies' focus (alas) was not the great Secretariat -  as IMHO he was treated as a side note. That said it was an enjoyable Disney movie for adults. (I am afraid that it will bore young folks to death with it's pedestrian pace.) I just wanted to see more of the horse and maybe learn some things about him that I did not already know. Of course, I guess, nothing could top the feeling I had back in '73 when the real deal played out before my eyes. Worth seeing but not a movie about Big Red.

14 Oct 2010 7:43 AM

I never saw Seabiscuit race but I saw that movie and was dissapointed. I was 18 when Secretariat set the world on fire and have so many great memories of that season...don't want to risk another letdown but I hope the movie attracts younger viewers to the sport.

14 Oct 2010 8:46 AM

I truly enjoyed the movie, but what I liked best was the the "sound effects"during the races. Those sounds brought back to me the true joy of riding flat out with the wind in my face, hearing only the hoofbeats and the breathing of my horse!!!

14 Oct 2010 10:17 AM

As the owner of Secretariat’s Fire, I was anxious for opening-night to arrive, and viewed the film from a different perspective than others in the theater.  I was emotionally involved in every detail of the film; most especially, the birth of Secretariat.

In the spring of 2011, Secretariat’s Fire will give birth to a foal sired by Midnight Lute, who won the 2008 Breeder’s Cup Sprint in 1:07 flat—the fastest time in the race’s 25-year history, the only horse to ever win the Breeder’s Cup Sprint two consecutive years in a row.  At this point, I am unsure as to its gender, but I intend to be present through the whole birthing process.  Of course, I am hoping for a chestnut colt,

Before seeing the movie, I had just finished reading, The Horse God Built, by Lawrence Scanlan, which revealed the importance of the “team”, most importantly…the role of Eddie Sweat, who loved Secretariat as a good father he would love his own son

I am now curious as to the, ‘historical inaccuracies’, mentioned by Mr. Haskin’s review, and will read his initial review with great interest, but as a female entrepreneur in a small town in north Florida, I applauded the courage and tenacity of Penny Chenery, who never lost faith, from before the moment she saw Secretariat hobble to his feet in record time, that his pedigree earmarked the makings of a champion.  The movie revealed how she never doubted for a moment through all the trials she faced, and how Secretariat surpassed her greatest hopes and dreams.

Signature Thoroughbreds owns 7 Broodmares in foal to world-class stallions, plus several ready-to-train racing-age crops, and this movie inspired me and rekindled my own aspirations.


14 Oct 2010 11:20 AM
Soldier Course

Before seeing the movie, did any of you have a particular song or instrumental in mind for the Belmont Stakes scene?  I kept hearing "Save The Country" by The Fifth Dimension.

14 Oct 2010 3:29 PM
Soldier Course

I have to wonder what the movie "Secretariat" would have been like if his owner had been Mr. Tweedy instead of Mrs. Tweedy. At least we would have seen a lot more of the horse, because the owner would have been a non-story.

14 Oct 2010 3:55 PM
Kristen Ohler

I'm glad I read Steve Haskins review before I saw the movie.  I was thinking it would be about Secretariat, and Secretariat alone.  After reading the review I went to the movie knowing it was a Disney film and it was more about Penny Tweedy (Chenery) and her "handling and ownership of him".  With that in mind I loved the movie.  I followed Secretariat through his 3 year old racing career.  And I watch all of his great grandsons and granddaughters race through his daughters sons, (AP Indy, Storm Cat, Gone West, Pioneering, etc.)  I know Lucien Lauren wasn't that tall and Iknow he trained Riva Ridge to win the Derby and Preakness before Sectretariat "saved the farm".  But what a great story.  Steve even prepared me for the sometimes corny music during some of the races.  But, all in all, I think it was great.  And I will buy the DVD and watch it again.  But have to see it on the big screen to get the sound effects and the surround sound.  So thank you Disny, you did Secretariat good.  By the way, they had the markings down on these horse's.  I think the horses did a great job also.  Give them props.  And Diane Lane, what a great actress.  I also looked for Penny during the Belmont and saw her the 2 times she was in the grandstands.  What a wonderful lady.  Go see the movie for what it is.  Disny.

14 Oct 2010 7:17 PM

Hi everyone. I agree with you, Ike. Making a movie about Zenyetta would be boring--watching a horse win consecutive races, over and over, no records broken, no "villian like Sham was made out to be (Sham was a great horse), and watching the consecutive wins at the same track in California (but two). . .  Winning consecutive races will NEVER compare to winning the Belmont when it was 1 1/2 by 31 lengths! Also, Z was bought with a silver spoon in her mouth whereas Riva Ridge and Secretariat's were from a poor horse farm and their successes were necessary in order to keep the family farm! Zenyetta's record, with all due respect, will be surpassed someday, just as Eclipse's was, but no horse will surpass Big Red! He is one in a trillion! Happy trails!

16 Oct 2010 11:17 AM

Well it was'nt "Seabiscuit", but it was pretty entertaining ! I gave it an 87 out of 100, but was a little disappointed as it did'nt give justice to the greatest horse of all time, so far ! Too much about Penny & her family, although Diane Lane was very good.Just not enough technical jargon about Secretariat and just how difficult winning the triple crown and setting the 1 1/2 track record at Belmont, wining by an incredible 31 lengths !I sure hope queen "Zenyatta's" movie is technically better, and more about the horse not the humans ! She too, is a very special super animal worthy of her own movie.  

16 Oct 2010 7:03 PM

My daughter and I went to see "Secretariat" last night and we both loved it. The theater was pretty full and there were many young girls in attendance. Don't most girls fall in love with horses? Diane Lane was wonderful as Penny Chenery Tweedy. I was also glad to see that Elizabeth Ham was remembered in the movie. She was such an important person in the running of Meadow Stable. The horses they used to play Secretariat were so gorgeous. It was like stepping back in time. Listening to the calls of the Triple Crown races, I heard names of Thoroughbreds that I had forgotten who ran against Secretariat back then. I never really thought about how much Penny Chenery went through trying to balance her family duties and the running of Meadow Stable at the same time. She was incredible and is still my favorite Thoroughbred owner. I am so glad that Disney decided to make this movie. Secretariat and horse racing are back in the limelight where they belong.

16 Oct 2010 10:37 PM

This is the best review I have seen of the movie:


17 Oct 2010 1:39 AM

Why does anyone accept the fraudulent fabrications this movie uses because of its inability to write a script, as if a script is needed. The movie is an insult to Secretariat and any intelligent racing fans. Take your kids, and then explain to them how wrong the Disney story really is.

17 Oct 2010 1:44 AM
Yvonne Baker

I've seen this movie twice and cried both times. I am just happy that Disney was able to present the story of "Big Red"- "Secretariat" in such an awesome way as to put history before the people. This movie was able to reinforce the fact that it was 25 yrs up until Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973 and it's now been 37 years and still no Triple Crown winner.....Secretariat was a beautifully magnificent horse with a huge heart and drive!!! The world waits every year for the next Triple Crown winner---the race distances have not changed the world waits for the next horse to claim the "Crown".  I will go to see the movie until it stops running in the theatres and then purchase it in DVD when available....I LOVE THAT HORSE--he was AWESOME!

17 Oct 2010 2:57 AM
Amanda Mery

Loved it so much! did awesome with the belmont and my frieds loved it too! She was shocked that it was something that she would like and i am glad. Can't wait for another movie like it to come out with another big champion... maybe Zenyatta.

17 Oct 2010 3:34 AM

Excellent film, beautifully photographed.  Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Margo Martindale and Nelsan Ellis gave award consideration performances. And the music tied the whole production together like a treasured memory.  Oh Happy Day!

17 Oct 2010 11:42 AM
Nancy Jacob

I want to thank Disney for making the film, documenting the life and times of Secretariat's two primary years in the the spotlight.  We needed a film for future generations to remember and appreciate this special chestnut. How amazing God's genetics are to create such a powerful animal!  It revealed how Sham's team must have felt as Saliari felt watching Mozart. I truly wish I have, in my life time, another opportunity to see such an incredible creature with literally a 22 pound heart.  He was a red horse in white and blue silks.  It was such a patriotic image when our country was struggling with men o' war.

17 Oct 2010 3:53 PM
The Big Fella

Disappointing. Had been eagerly awaiting this movie, however from the very begining I thought, Uh-ow. Quoting from the bible? Really? The discracefull way Lucien

Lauren is introduced as a cantankerous curmudgeon who wants nothing more to do with racing is appalling. How about the thinly disquised racial portrayal of Secretariat's groom? I half expected him to say something like "Lawdy miss Penny, please don let 'em sell da farm!" As for the music - good grief. We get two playings of Oh Happy Day. To quote a line from another movie, "that's like putting an elevator in an outhouse. Don't fit"

    In 1973 I saw Secretariat's live Belmont triumph on t.v. & was dumfounded. It was shortly after that I made my first trip to a thoroughbred race track. I wonder if the people responsible for this film have actually ever been to one. I wouldn't bet on it. I'm not going to bother with the historical inaccuracies, many reviewers have gone into those allready.

    All that being said, this is not a bad movie. Diane Lane's performance is exceptional, & of course you get a flavor for the mighty Secretariat himself. No, it's not bad, it's just so unsatisfying.

    You know after Secretariat died there an autopsy performed on him and it confirmed what many people allready knew, his heart was twice the size of a normal racehorce. We will probably never see the likes of him again.

17 Oct 2010 6:43 PM
Eric Rickard

I took my four kids today. Age 15, 8,6,5. They loved it. I have been a racing fan for over 35 years. I know the history. It didn't mater. I still was teary eyed and got excited when he ran in the movie. Well acted, well written, and well produced. The best was when my 5 year old jumped up and shouted, " best movie ever".

17 Oct 2010 8:39 PM
Mike Relva

Seen it. A Tour De Force!

17 Oct 2010 10:22 PM

After looking forward to it and reading all about it (from Steve's articles of course) for quite some time, I finally went and saw the movie last night...  As a younger (20's) racing fan, and one who would've loved this movie years ago when I knew nothing about TB racing itself, I found it worth watching but lackluster on several accounts.  Of course, now I have actually worked and seen and been in the industry (I love it!), and practically live at the bloodhorse.com as I do not reside in KY.  Some of the scenes, as Steve says, are beautifully done & the racing scenes are beyond compare (although I can do better in my head).  How lovely was the slow-frame of Secretariat crossing the finish line--poetic--but it made me wish for actual footage of him like that.  Diane Lane impressed as Penny, and, although not true to character, John Malkovich's comic relief was appreciated nonetheless. Nelsan Ellis nailed the part of Eddie Sweat; I don't know how "Bull" Hancock was in his own life, but he was portrayed nicely enough on film. Disney should have left out the "typical villain" bull.  Sham was a great champion too--just like Alydar (who I much prefer over Affirmed, sorry), any other year would have been HIS! They really "dumbed it down" for true horse racing fans who know facts & history. Yes, I wish they had focused more on the real story--the one about the horse.  It was, but it didn't deliver all that it should have.  I also thought they could have shown an actual Belmont win photo--just to show audiences how much distance really was between the horses at the end.  They said "31 lengths" but for the non-horsey or racing person, that doesn't mean a whole lot (since they may not know).  Show us!!!  This great champion set records that STILL STAND!  Why couldn't they have proven that?  And where were the photos of the Time, Sports Illustrated, & Newsweek covers that he graced as THE HORSE of the time?  What racehorse (or any horse for that matter) has EVER been honored this way???  * sigh *  Oh, it was also really pathetic for those who know Keeneland and that it is not Belmont Park.  Oh well... at least they show you his statue in the end of the movie; & a kind of "where are they now" tribute to Penny, Lucien, Eddie, etc.  What really surprised me though, was the footage of the real Secretariat at the finish of the movie--flying free in his paddock as a stallion at Claiborne Farm--I didn't expect to see the REAL him...  and cry.  THAT choked me up.  I want the expensive DVD that they made about him, but I suppose I'll have to buy the movie too :)

18 Oct 2010 9:11 AM

My husband and I saw the movie over the weekend and we both really enjoyed it.  I was a bit worried whether I would be able to overlook the liberties taken with the story but was happily surprised to find I was so caught up in the movie I didn't even mind the "goofs".  The racing scenes were outstanding, much better than Seabiscuit where they used fake horses for the up close shots of the riders.  I was also very impressed with Otto who played Ron Turcotte - what a great job he did with no acting experience!  I do agree with Mr. Haskin that I'm not sure they really captured the greatness of Big Red and how much he meant to the country at that time but overall the movie was really good.  The group in the theater was a mixture of older, middle-aged and young kids with their parents.  Everyone was clapping and cheering (myself included) and everyone came out of the movie uplifted and happy.  Quite a few of us stood around afterward and discussed Secretariat...how often do you go to the movies and stand around afterward discussing it with strangers?  If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and go; well worth the money and time.

18 Oct 2010 9:51 AM

Just went to see the Secretariat movie.  I was prepared beforehand for the awful choice of music for his Belmont stretch run and liberties taken with the actual events, so overall I was pleased.  The human drama that unfolded around him was interesting and well played by all the cast members.  If they ever do another Secretariat movie as they did for Seabiscuit I would love to see it from the perspective of the events of the time, the historical implications of what Secretariat accomplished, and the unbelievable physical presence and acceleration he possessed.  I don't think anyone watching the movie really got the sense of why he was the greatest racehorse ever seen.  

I'm grateful for some of the choices made to depict the story, the old advertising page for the Meadow Stud, the picture of the actual Secretariat winning as a two year old at Saratoga, the explanation of the abscess for his defeat in the Wood, but most of all the actual footage of the Preakness being used to show his win in the 2nd classic to set him up for the Triple Crown.

The only saving grace for the original Seabiscuit movie was the actual footage of Seabiscuit's races.

18 Oct 2010 2:01 PM

The movie was very good and as others have stated I enjoyed the portrayals of Penny Tweedy and Miss Hamm.  I do wish they could have found horses to play Secretariat who looked more like him; I thought the horse 'actors' used in the close-ups to be ordinary and they failed to convey Secretariat's charismatic presence.  This was punctuated at the end of the movie as the credits rolled and there was a clip of Secretariat running in his pasture.  What a magnificent looking horse; he looked like the legend he was and is.

18 Oct 2010 5:08 PM

I was honestly disappointed in the movie because of too few races shown! Too many human story lines and too little Secretariat. But it's Disney and has to appeal to all ages and demographic groups. What I did like was how it portrayed the close relationship between owner and Secretariat and groom and Secretariat. Those were touching! The horse 'playing' Secretariat was beautiful and soulful. The actors were good! The few race scenes were well done with excitement elements. But lots was missing! Sham was vilified, unfortunately! However, as long as it generates racing interest among the general public, it serves its purpose!

19 Oct 2010 7:36 AM
Jenet Vlotaros

I was truly disappointed in the Movie--there was so much more to that great horse than was shown.  The movie was more about people than it was about the horse.  

19 Oct 2010 1:25 PM

I thought the movie delivered!

My wife, 7 year old daughter and 4 year old son loved the movie.

19 Oct 2010 2:44 PM

Was Lucien Lauren properly fined for lighting a fire in the barn area?

19 Oct 2010 8:41 PM
Fran Loszynski

AceofSpades: You may only be 13, but you are our future in horseracing. Go to every race you can, listen for the hoofs as they beat down on the turf and enjoy every time you pick a winner with heart. Being older now, it's nice to know the future of horsracing is in good hands like yours! It's two minutes of your life everytime you attend a race that you will never forget. The fact that you can talk about Big Red and Ruffian, tells us old-timers alot about the future of horseracing. Thank You.

20 Oct 2010 8:28 AM
Yvonne Baker

This was an awesome movie---I've paid to see it twice and will go again--the racing scenes were beyond compare and "Big Red" -"Secretariat" was the most beautiful stallion with a heart of gold....I just hope someday we can see another horse win the prestigous "Triple Crown".....

20 Oct 2010 2:13 PM

How appropriate to villify Sham the Santa Anita Derby winner and the best hope from the west.  Sham ripped 2 teeth out on the starting gate that day at Churchill and still ran the 4th fastest time ever.  I think Monarchos is the only other horse to break the 2:00 minute barrier since Big Red.  Who was playing Pincay?  Omar Berrio?

I also waited around for the credits but did not see who played any of the jockeys who were the "extras."  Thought I caught a glimpse of Kent D. in the starting gate.  

I know it was Disney and all but they left the whole aspect of gambling completly out.  Never saw a window.  What's the win pool look like for a horse to pay .10 cents?  Lots and lots of 1973 dollars put on that horse never mind the recession.

Was that Andy Beyer (the dude in the cap) making all the "negative" comments about Secretariat's pedigree, distance limitations, etc. etc?  Not the reporter the other guy that hung out with him.

20 Oct 2010 2:35 PM
Kelly E.

I am going to see it this weekend, but wanted to post here that the best racing movie ever made was Phar Lap.  It only reaffirmed my love of the sport and it was, indeed, more than just about a horse and more than just about a person.  Same thing with Seabiscuit which was the second best racing movie, in my opinion.  I have not been much of a fan of the other Disney-esque films...but I will give Secretariat the benefit of the doubt.  I am just so happy to finally have some sort of a way to honor this great champion in this fashion.

20 Oct 2010 5:19 PM

I thought the movie was pretty good. It should have been more about him. I watched Big Red win the Triple Crown in my dad's living room. I was 16 years old. I cried then, and I cried during the movie. My mom passed away 2 days before he won, and his winning that day made me forget all that I had just been through. My dad also took me to see him at Arlington Park. What a magnificent animal. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

25 Oct 2010 10:41 PM
My Juliet

   I was looking forward to seeing 'Secretariat' since last yr after hearing it was in the works. Overall, a decent wholesome movie that I think most people will enjoy. Personally I was  disappointed the main focus was  on his owner and not the horse. Penny Chenery is someone to admire but I was expecting it to center on Big Red. I enjoyed seeing the relat between her & her father, her fight to save the farm, her belief in this great horse. I do think the people assoc. with a great horse, the 'human interest stories' are what makes horseracing so special. I just thought in this movie the horse was a side character to the owner. It didn't even tell anything about his races after The Belmont. It would be more fitting to be titled 'The Penny Chenery Story'.

26 Oct 2010 3:37 PM

My heart raced the entire time!! I especially liked the moment of waiting before Secretariat came around the final turn in the Belmont but the music choice at that very minute squelched the feeling inside of me. Afterward yes, fine, but at that very moment-wrong timing! All in all, I love the movie and I will own it on DVD as soon as it's released. Thank you to all who worked so hard to bring us this movie!

27 Oct 2010 4:40 PM
Ms Hancock

I made it a special event and took my daughter,brother, niece and all three of her girls,plus a friend bought the tickets in advance, spared no expense, The movie was a real treat, My only rift with this movie was why couldn't the "whole story be told? To include Riva Ridge,and expound on how good a horse Sham was as well? All of it would have taken nothing away from the story of Secretariat,To have had a movie with the Quality of a Seabiscuit isn't asking too much,since they told  mainly a story of the Chenery Family and how it was kept together, I loved the movie,I knew the story, I will buy it when it comes out on DVD, I just wish't they'd have told the WHOLE story, The whole story would've been Great too !

28 Oct 2010 6:26 PM
Sarah from Rochester

I'm a long time horse person and horse racing fan, I've watched foals being born.  I remember Secretariat's Triple Crown win.  There was a lot of poetic license in the movie, but overall it was wonderful.  I saw the movie with a non-horse person, who now will pay some attention to what is going on the racing world (a plus for the industry).  Although the movie "Secretariats" could never capture the true fire seen in the real animal, they did the best they could to make a movie safely.  Two thumbs down on "Oh Happy Day" - I think that wrecked the moment of the finish.  Horse and track sounds would have been enough.

05 Nov 2010 11:43 AM
Tony D

truly wished they would have ran the REAL Belmont race at the end of the movie as the credits rolled so that younger people not around then would understand and appreciate just how special this horse was - I don't believe the movie truly captured the feeling that the real Sectrariat gave people and what made him the most revered horse ever - it would have really made the movie much more memorable because the emotion that race brings out in people can in no way be duplicated by a film.  And as for a lot of comments from people that they could have gotten better looking horses to play the part of Secretariat, you have to understand that this is one of the things that really made Secretariat so special - the real Secretariat seemed regal - he was larger and better looking than every other race horse - it is not going to be possible to find one that does the original justice - Secretariat was the Elvis Presley of horses - all imitators pale in comparison.  There was ONLY ONE SECRETARIAT!

31 Jan 2011 8:48 PM

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