If Justify wins the Belmont Stakes today then he will become the 13th thoroughbred to win the Triple Crown, winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont. On this day in 1973, the greatest thoroughbred of all time won the Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. Of course, I am referring to Secretariat.
If you’re not a fan of horse racing you cannot understand the impact of Secretariat. He was the first Triple Crown winner of the TV era. Yes, TV existed in 1948 when Citation won the Triple Crown, but there were fewer than 50,000 TV sets in American homes. Secretariat was an amazingly handsome horse. I don’t think a photo posted in a blog can do him justice, but here goes:
Secretariat holds the record for the fastest time in EACH of the Triple Crown races and he raced in them 45 years ago. His Belmont performance is the single greatest in the history of thoroughbred racing. Again, if you are not a fan of horse racing you cannot appreciate the magnitude of that performance. Trying to use a baseball analogy and a little hyperbole to make the point, Secretariat’s 1973 Belmont was equivalent to a player hitting five homeruns in the seventh game of the World Series.
Let me see if I can make that point another way. Andrew Beyer has developed a widely used system of rating the performance of horses called the Beyer Speed Figure. The Daily Racing Form publishes this number for every horse in every race in the US. A Beyer figure of 90 is very good, a figure of 100 is excellent. Secretariat’s Beyer number for the 1973 Belmont was 139.
That is a one of a kind painting of Secretariat that I have owned since 1997. If I am to be truthful, the painting is no longer hanging in the house because I have a Belmont Stakes photo of Secretariat hanging in that space. I would like to show you the photo, but Secretariat.com is very emphatic that it owns the copyright to all likenesses it sells and would probably come after me if I posted it on my little blog.
If you plan on watching the Belmont today, enjoy the race.