83 of 89 people found the following review helpful
There will never be another like Big Red,
This review is from: Secretariat (A Da Capo paperback) (Paperback)
A brief and probably pointless quiz: Who is the horse described in the following paragraph?
He was a physically awesome Thoroughbred and a superb broodmare sire. When he was born at ten minutes after midnight, March 30, 1970, his owner took one look at him and said, "There is a whopper." His own firstborn was an Appaloosa colt named 'First Secretary'. Another son - a draft horse cross - is still alive and well and recently retired from the Southwest dressage circuit. Yet a third son won the Belmont by a margin of 21 lengths, in what was the second fastest running and third largest margin in history.
Of course, his Daddy still holds the record for both margin and time.
And who is Risen Star's Daddy?
Secretariat, of course. No one who admires this special breed of horse could possibly have flunked this quiz.
When we watched Big Red hit the wire 31 lengths ahead of Twice a Prince in 1973, crushing the Belmont stakes record by two seconds and change, many of us knew that we would not see his like again. According to his jockey, Ron Turcotte, Secretariat was retired before he had reached his full potential at the longer distances. We would have loved to watch that big red horse run all day and smash every record there was, but it was not to be.
At any rate, reading William Nack's, "Secretariat: The Making of a Champion" is the next best thing to watching him run (unless you are lucky enough and rich enough to own one of his 'blue hen' daughters). At least his fans can relive the races Big Red did run, and Nack has the knack (sorry) of bringing them vividly back to memory. This book and "Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc., America's Premier Racing Dynasty" by Ann Hagedorn Auerbach are my two favorite reads on all aspects of the Thoroughbred racing industry in the United States. "Secretariat" reflects the brilliance of the Thoroughbred and its human interface. "Wild Ride" reflects the dark side of that same relationship.
My only complaint regarding Nack's treatment of Secretariat is that although it starts in the right place (the birth of Somethingroyal's whopping, chestnut foal), it didn't extend much beyond Big Red's last race. I would have liked to follow him through at least part of his career at stud.
However, that might be asking too much of a book that was published only two years after this great Thoroughbred retired from the track.
At the beginning of the new millennium, Man O'War was voted 'Thoroughbred of the Century' by a panel that was assembled by 'Blood Horse' Magazine. But those of us who saw Secretariat win the Belmont will remember him as first, and (as they said about one of his most famous ancestors) the rest nowhere.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 3, 2011 3:03:28 AM PDT
Peter Durward Harris says:
Among my TBR mountain, I have this book. Not sure when I'll read it, but it sounds good based on your review although not everybody agrees.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2011 5:12:23 AM PDT
It's the first and last time I ever formatted a review like a quiz. I probably won't try it again!
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