It’s been 45 years since Secretariat, the massive chestnut colt that seemed to have been chiseled by God himself, came thundering around the final turn at Churchill Downs. He didn’t start out well that day, as was his wont. After the half mile he was 11th in a field of thirteen. (small by today’s standard fields of twenty) His legendary jockey Ron Turcotte said after the race; “He was running his own race.” The on-hand crowd of over 134,000 didn’t care where Secretariat was at the start. All that mattered to those who wagered on him, was where he finished. And what a finish it was.
Turning for home “Big Red” was moving mightily in pursuit of a horse called Sham. In the shadow of the famous twin spires he had gone from last out of the gate to battling for first down the long stretch for home. With a furlong to go “Red” had taken control of the race and crossed the finish line winning by two & a half lengths in a mind-boggling time of 1:59. The fastest Kentucky Derby ever. A record which still stands today.
History was made in that 99th running of The Kentucky Derby, and it remains arguably (there is no doubt here) the greatest race in Derby history.