On June 9, 1973, Secretariat won horse racing's Triple Crown with a victory at the Belmont Stakes. Known as one of the greatest racehorses to ever live, Secretariat became the first horse since 1948 to win America’s coveted Triple Crown. Here are 5 things you didn't know about the racehorse commonly known as "Big Red".
Secretariat Had 3 White Socks One of Secretariat’s most recognizable traits is represented by his three white socks. He had those socks at the time of his birth, and they never really went away as he matured. They gave him a distinctive appearance that set him apart from other racehorses. Officially, the “sock” trait in horses represents a white marking that extends higher than the fetlock but not as high as the knee or hock. These patterns are also occasionally referred to as "boots," and they are rather common in the equine world. Apart from his socks, Secretariat's face was marked with a star and a narrow stripe.
Secretariat Holds the Fastest Time in the Kentucky Derby
Secretariat is most well-known for his incredible performances in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont. Not only did he win all three of these races to become the Triple Crown champion, but he did it all in record times. Secretariat broke the Kentucky Derby record time set by Northern Dancer in 1964 – a record time yet to be topped. Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby with a record time of 1:59.40, the Preakness with a time of 1:53, and the Belmont with a time of 2:24.
Secretariat Was Buried Whole
The average horse lives between 25 and 30 years, and Secretariat, the greatest racehorse to ever live, died at 19. He developed laminitis in his last year, a debilitating, painful disease that affects a horse's hooves. After a month of treatment, his condition did not improve and the tough choice to put him down was made. While tradition dictates that only the head, heart, and hooves of a winning racehorse are buried upon its death, Secretariat was actually given the honor to be buried whole. Fans of the great racehorse often leave flowers, peppermints, and apples on the gravestone. Being buried whole is still regarded as quite an honor even in this day and age.
His Heart Was Enormous Not only was Secretariat was known for being kind-hearted, but he also had a big heart in the literal sense. In fact, his heart was about two and a half times larger than the average horse. After Secretariat was euthanized on October 4, 1989, at the age of 19, veterinarian Thomas Swerczek performed a necropsy. Swerczek discovered that the stallion had an abnormally large heart. While the average heart of a horse weighs 8.5 pounds, Secretariat’s weighed between 21-22 pounds.
Secretariat Graced The Cover Of Many Magazines After his outstanding journey to become the ninth Triple Crown winner, Secretariat was featured in many best-selling magazines. He graced the covers of Sports Illustrated, Time, and Newsweek. The big chestnut also received so much fan mail that the William Morris Agency was tasked to manage the Thoroughbred’s public engagements. Secretariat received so much attention from the press and his adoring fans he even learned to pose for the camera. There is even a movie about him called Secretariat.