Glad to have all you “younguns” (under 50) give me a peek. I’ll try to make this worth your while with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Yesterday, the Preakness was run at Pimlico in the City of Baltimore. This run for the “Black Eyed Susans” (those are flowers, not a group of dark haired 20 somethings) was won by a horse (it’s a horse race) named California Chrome (which has nothing to do with Platinum LA). Since “CC” also won the Kentucky Derby, murmurs are beginning ranking CC with the greatest race horses of all time. California Chrome has a long way to go.
In 2005 as returning home from Virginia on a crosscountry motorhome trip, we (I & and somewhat older companion) stopped at the “Kentucky Horse Park’ outside Lexington, KY. It was like a retirement home for race horses of some acclaim. First was Cigar who once won 16 races in a row including all 10 in 1995. Better though was John Henry. He raced until he was ten ( a real gray beard for racing). Won horse of the year twice, the second time at age 9. He won 30 Stakes racesall in all quite an accomplishment. If you want follow in his hoof steps and run fast, while you can with a little sniphe was a gelding. But they were not the best. That honor belongs to Secretariat.
In the Belmont Stakes in 1973 he ran what some call the most dominating race ever run. Racing for the Triple Crown (he set a record in the Derby), he was such a heavy favorite (1 to 10) that only 5 horses were entered (no Show betting). He didn’t disappoint. He pulled away around 3/4 and won by an incredible 31 lengths. Now it wasn’t because the other horses were slow, but because he set a record that day. He ran the Belmont 1 1/2 mile in 2:24, a new record. But there’s more. He beat the old record by over 2 seconds or the equivalent of 13 lengths. It is still the record by 2 seconds ( At the 1 1/4 mile pole he beat his own Derby record just set.) But there’s more. That set an American record for dirt tracks at 1 1/2 miles. But there’s more. It also set a world record for 1 1/2 mile dirt tracks. And to finish with “there’s one more”, it still the fastest 1 1/2 mile ever run a dirt track any where in the world 40 years later.
At the Horse Park we didn’t see Secretariat (he died in 1989), but there is a life sized statue at the entrance. I don’t believe California Chrome will have a statue. Take a look on you tube for the actual grainy black and white film of the Race. At the finish it looks like he ran the race alone. I saw the race live on my 21 inch B&W set in Buffalo, NY.