Why Was Secretariat So Fast! What a Horse!

Filed in Movies & Music by on November 25, 2019 10 Comments • views: 10814

SecretariatSecretariatTake a minute and watch this AMAZING HORSE – Here’s the video of his actual win at The Belmont Stakes for the Triple Crown

You know a movie captures your interest when you find yourself Googling for more information while watching, wow, what a horse.  After seeing how fast Secretariat could run, I had to find out the answer to this question, ‘Why was Secretariat so Fast?’

He Has a Lot of Heart – Means a Lot More Than You Think

Did you know that Secretariat’s heart turned out to be approximately 2.5 times the size of an average Thoroughbred Horse? After his death in 1989, the necropsy revealed his heart weighed about 22 pounds; a normal Thoroughbred Horse heart weighs about 8.5 pounds.

According to Dr. Thomas Swerczek, who performed the necropsy on Secretariat, they all stood there in ‘stunned silence’ at the size of his heart. It was perfectly healthy, adding that it was ‘simply a huge engine.’

The X-Factor – No Not the Singing TV Competition

The X-Factor is a term in horse racing given to horses with this rare ‘large heart condition’ passed down from the ‘Dam Line.’ The term ‘Dam’ refers to the horse’s female parent.

Secretariat sired approximately 600 Foals, but his male foals did not achieve the success that he did. It’s said that it may be because the X-Factor is only carried by the X-Chromosome, and therefore could only be passed down to his Daughters. It would make sense that Secretariat’s Grandson, Seattle Slew born via his Daughter Weekend Surprise, was also a Triple Crown Winner. There were numerous other noted racing winners in Secretariat’s lineage, including; General Assembly, A.P. Indy, Rags to Riches, Gone West, Giant’s Causeway, and Storm Cat.

What did Secretariat Accomplish that was So Amazing?

In 1973 he was the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown. Secretariat’s record at the Belmont Stakes still stands today. For those who may not be familiar with the term ‘Triple Crown,’ it means that Secretariat won the three major horse racing events in that year; The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.

The Belmont Stakes Race Was a Stunner

According to the CBS News announcer, Secretariat was said to be ‘running like a machine.’ During the movie, you notice that Secretariat tended to start from last place, then moved up to win. In the Belmont Stakes, he quickly put himself near the front, then ends up nose to nose with ‘Sham,’ his fiercest competitor. The pace that Secretariat started with worried the viewers and horse experts, all believing he could never maintain it. Well, indeed, the speed couldn’t be sustained by Sham, but Secretariat not only kept it, but he also won that race by a record-breaking 31 lengths. He ran the fastest 1.25 miles on dirt in history, at 2:24 flat. That broke the Stakes record by more than 2 seconds, which in horse racing must be a lot.

The Story of the Owner is as Interesting as the Story of the Horse

Since there’s no spoiler for this movie, in that we know the results of the races before actually watching the movie, I won’t say too much about the owner of the horse, Penny Chenery also known as Penny Tweedy…her story, and how she ended up with Secretariat is just as exciting as her winning horse! I’ll leave that part out so you can enjoy some surprises in the movie.

Do You Know Who Named Secretariat, and How His Name Came to Be?

The Stable’s secretary, Elizabeth Ham, had put in five different requests for names to the Jockey Club. All five of these names were not approved. Finally, she submitted her own choice for a name; ‘Secretariat’. The name sounds so ‘official’ and to learn that Elizabeth Ham used a variation of the word ‘secretary’ is a remarkable piece of this historical story as well.

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Comments (10)

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  1. Iris Draak says:

    This was a fun read. I knew about Secretariat’s heart being bigger but I had no idea how he got his name. That was a great addition to the story.

  2. Thank you for the comment, appreciate that! – the story of Secretariat sure is fascinating isn’t it

  3. Susan says:

    I remember watching the Belmont that year, watching Secretariat make history. Very interesting to read about him and, especially, his offspring and the X factor.

  4. CherylsArt says:

    I loved that movie and enjoyed reading your article. It was interesting to find out why Secretariat could run so fast and for so long.

  5. Thanks Cheryl for the visit and comment 🙂

  6. Steven says:

    Even though you know the ending, watching the Belmont race in that film is one of the most emotional scenes in a movie that I have ever experienced. And knowing that it is true, just makes all the more amazing.

  7. What a horse! thanks for stopping by – he really was spectacular

  8. Deb Evers says:

    Agree with Barbara, an amazing horse with a magical personality. There will never be another Secretariat, at least in my lifetime.

  9. To this day I can feel the charge of excitement that this Wonder Horse brought to an entire nation. It rivalled the news of the Moon landing…and has endured beyond it. To anyone who witnessed Secretariat that beautiful, perfect day, it will remain for the rest of their lives, (and generations to follow).

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