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Thread: The Immortal Secretariat

  1. #1
    Senior Member CA-35's Avatar
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    The Immortal Secretariat

    I know it's ancient history, but I still get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat watching Penny Chenery talk about this glorious, one of a kind horse named Secretariat.

    Busted out in SoFlo waiting on a Guild,
    Scott
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  2. #2
    Senior Member silverfox103's Avatar
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    There will never be another Secretariat!

    Tom
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  3. #3

  4. #4
    Secretariat was a wee bit before my time at Belmont Park (1975 as summer help), but still qualifies as the greatest horse of my lifetime. I was very fortunate to see him on a tour of Claiborne Farm in the summer of 1989, and he looked so good that you'd swear with 60 days training he'd have gone out there and done it all over again. It was hard to believe that he was dead of laminitis that October at the relatively young age of 19. I was shocked and saddened.

    One thing that I really hated was Disney's adaptation of Secretariat's story. I know that they have to "Disneyfy" things to make a hero and a villain, but the way they portrayed Frank "Pancho" Martin was downright criminal. He trained Sham, who was Secretariat's main rival (he did get close to him a few times), and ran in all three Triple crown races against him, eventually being distanced in the Belmont Stakes. It's a shame, because he would have been a champion, and perhaps even a Triple Crown winner if he had been born at any other time. Mr. Martin (as I always called him, because I had so much respect for him) was depicted as a bitter man who was bent on humiliating his adversaries, which couldn't have been further from the truth. He was quite the opposite, maybe the nicest man of a lot of nice men that I met in my years at the track, and he was always so kind to me. He even used to go shopping for my dogs! He'd pull up in that big Cadillac of his, and pop the trunk. Inside was a plethora or treats, toys, and rawhides that he gave to me saying "This is for the babies" in his thick Cuban accent. What a wonderful man he was, and the reason to this day that I can't stand that movie.
    Sandy

    '59 X175AB, '61 Mark VI, '68 SFII Bass (Green), '73 D50NT, '82 Mark V, '86 Pilot 602P, '87 Pilot SB602M, '88 Pilot SB602MF, '99 DeArmond Starfire Bass
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  5. #5
    Great story Sandy! I don't think anyone in here can top that!

  6. #6
    Yup, there were no villains in the Secretariat vs. Sham story. Just two great, well-trained racehorses…with one of 'em having the additional benefit of being a freak of nature.

    -Dave-
    1962 F-20 Troubadour
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    c. 1971 Foxey Lady

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Quantum Strummer View Post
    Yup, there were no villains in the Secretariat vs. Sham story. Just two great, well-trained racehorses…with one of 'em having the additional benefit of being a freak of nature.

    -Dave-
    Have you seen the movie Dave? I'll agree that Big Red was definitely a freak of nature though. It's not often you see a horse with a stride like his, seen here on his way to winning the Preakness.

    Sandy

    '59 X175AB, '61 Mark VI, '68 SFII Bass (Green), '73 D50NT, '82 Mark V, '86 Pilot 602P, '87 Pilot SB602M, '88 Pilot SB602MF, '99 DeArmond Starfire Bass
    '10 F512NT, '11 F50ce Std (Sunburst), '13 R30S (Resonator), '13 B54ce Std Bass, '13 Orpheum Jumbo Prototype, '13 Orpheum OM Mahogany, '13 GSR M85II Bass

  8. #8
    Sandy, it's disappointing to hear that Sham's owner was so inappropriately portrayed, especially in light of the fact that Penny Chenery was essentially an advisor & appeared in a scene. If what you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt you, Disney should have been much fairer in the way he was depicted.

    There was no need to create a bad guy, as the story of these two horses was stirring enough. But indeed, he was made out to be a true villain, who by story's end, you wanted to see go down in defeat & humiliation.

    As with Seabiscuit, I find documentaries with real footage to be much more interesting, and of course, more accurate in all respects.
    > Guilds: '73 F-30R / '74 F-40nt / '76 G-37bld / '92 D-6nt-hg / '94 JF-30nt / '97 Starfire III / '14 Savoy A-150b
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by twocorgis View Post
    Have you seen the movie Dave? I'll agree that Big Red was definitely a freak of nature though. It's not often you see a horse with a stride like his, seen here on his way to winning the Preakness.

    Yep, I saw the film shortly after it came out. I agree about the film's Disneyfication of the story, though on the whole I enjoyed it. Particularly Diane Lane's portrayal of Penny Tweedy (previously, and also again later, Penny Chenery (I originally mixed up the surnames…now fixed).)

    (To clarify: by "story" in my post above I meant the actual real-life events, not the film's stereotyped portrayal of those events.)

    -Dave-
    Last edited by Quantum Strummer; 05-15-2019 at 07:01 PM.
    1962 F-20 Troubadour
    1970 M-75 Bluesbird
    1971 S-100 "Black Cherry"
    1973 S-100 "Nature Boy"
    1990 Nightbird Custom
    1999 X-170T
    2013 NS M-75 Aristocrat
    2016 NS S-200 T-bird

    c. 1971 Foxey Lady

  10. #10
    Senior Member Grassdog's Avatar
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    I still remember the race announcer's call at the Belmont, down the backstretch, "Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine". An iconic moment in sports, it stills makes chills go down my spine when I see it replayed. God that horse was magnificent.

    And yes, Sandy, you're absolutely right about Sham, he was a great one too. But I think Sham played an important role in Secretariat's greatness, pushing and challenging Big Red to be his best.
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