Secretariat: real-life footage is going to be awfully hard to beat
It's tough to pick the most thrilling performance on a racetrack by Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner who gets the Disney treatment in a biopic released in theaters today.
Winning the Kentucky Derby is always special, particularly in the prism of the present time, when a horse catapults from unknown to Triple Crown threat based on the win. In the Preakness Stakes, he went from last to first. In the Belmont, of course, he wrapped up the Triple Crown with a 31-length victory (see photo). 31 lengths.
The Post's Andy Beyer writes:
Secretariat's athleticism was unmistakable. I saw him for the first time in the summer of 1972 at Saratoga, and still remember vividly his first stakes race, the Sanford, when he faced the pro-tem leader of the nation's 2-year-olds, Linda's Chief. As the five-horse field turned into the stretch, Secretariat was blocked by a wall of three horses in front of him; Linda's Chief, on the outside, had clear sailing. When a slight bit of daylight appeared in front of him, Secretariat bulled through the opening in a manner that journalist Charles Hatton likened to "a fox scattering a barnyard of chickens." He immediately unleashed an explosive run and flew past the favored Linda's Chief to win by three lengths. I wrote in the Washington Star that we might have seen the 1973 Kentucky Derby winner. Never have I watched a lightly raced 2-year-old stamp himself so definitively as a potential great.
Watch and decide for yourself which is the best.
The Kentucky Derby
The Belmont Stakes
Secretariat: "Pure Heart", Bill Nack on the horse's last years and death.
Three stars: Post film critic Ann Hornaday reviews the movie.
Celebritology: Interview with director Randall Wallace
Celebritology: Interview with Bill Nack
| October 8, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
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