Sunday, October 16, 2011


I was able to see the movie on DVD. Someone involved with the ownership of the horse had a house near me in Miami. I never spoke to them but my mother did. What I recall is how they described the horse to her. That made the movie all the more interesting.

Back then, I had no idea what the Kentucky Derby was, but then came Secretariat and my mother's conversation with the people. I watched as the horse set records in all legs of the triple crown. Although his Preakness record wasn't granted, two independent sources clocked him as finishing in record time. The official clock got screwed up and one track guy hand clocked it slower, but it is likely that guy erred.

No horse ever won by such a margin or in the record time he set when he blasted through the Belmont Stakes course. The amazing thing was that the crazy horse was still accelerating at the end.

The actual name they called him was Big Red. It was news to me, but the reason you see such bizarre names in those races is that some committee has to approve the name you submit. I think the first ten names they sent in for Big Red were rejected.

In the movie and in the story told to my mother it was stressed how intelligent that horse was. And how much he wanted to win. I have no idea why I find something about great horses so appealing, but I do. I've hardly ever ridden, but I understand how people could get hooked on that world. It is often a hard life but there is something about it.

Secretariat was the coolest horse ever. And his owner has a story all her own. She went against all odds just to keep the farm, thanks to oppressive estate taxes. I'll never get why something which has been taxed forever has to be taxed again just because it is willed to a person. That is not right, and those who think you do not have a right to see your property go to whom you choose when you die are just mad because it doesn't go to them.

Anyway, I liked the movie. I'm not too critical of how it could have been done differently because I love seeing the race scenes re-enacting what actually happened, then seeing old footage of the real thing. There is no way they exaggerated. What that horse did was amazing enough that it would have seemed pure fantasy before he did it. Especially his Belmont win.

I did find out that the Derby is 1 1/4 miles, the Preakness is 1 3/16 and the Belmont, 1 1/2miles. All the hot shots thought he'd fade on the long race. What they did not know is that Secretariat's heart was actually over twice the size of a normal heart for a horse that size. And it was very healthy. I love it when the smug ones get their come-uppance.

Some people think it is a violation of animal rights to race horses. In the case of Secretariat, I think he liked to race and enjoyed it like a performer loves doing a show in front of a big crowd. Maybe that was one animal who didn't need a self appointed lawyer to speak for him. Save it for the bears and sharks.

When you consider the relationship between humans and horses, and dogs, it is clear that the development of civilization would have been far different without them. It's a strange thing, really; riding on the back of an animal. Somehow it does seem perfectly natural, though.

1 comment:

  1. I have yet to see the movie...I'll have to watch it.


Can't make comments any easier, I don't think. People are having trouble--google tries to kidnap them. I'll loosen up one more thing and let's see. Please give it a try

About Me

My photo
Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


Blog Archive