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Secretariat: Zephyr on the Racetrack

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Horse Racing

Secretariat was one of the most famous and fastest racehorses ever, setting numerous records in a brief yet meteoric career.

Born in 1970 in Virginia, Secretariat was a large chestnut colt with "Big Red" as a nickname. He aced for two years, winning 16 of 21 races and being named Horse of the Year for both of those years. It was in 1973, however, that Secretariat entered the history books.

That year, the famous horse won the Triple Crown of American racing, powering to track records at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, and setting a new world record at the Belmont Stakes. At the Belmont, on June 9, 1973, Secretariat won by an astonishing 31 lengths, claiming the first Triple Crown in 25 years. (See video here.) Only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown, perhaps none so convincingly as Secretariat.

The margin of victory was the largest ever and six lengths longer than the previous record, set in 1943 by Count Fleet. The finish time was 2:24, more than a full second faster than any other horse has run the one-and-one-half-mile distance that is the Belmont Stakes. One reporter put it this way: "His only point of reference is himself."

Secretariat won his last race, the Canadian International, and then retired. He sired more than 600 foals. He was put to sleep in 1989 after developing laminitis, an incurable hoof condition.

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