June 9, 1973: Secretariat receives the Triple Crown award
If you’ve ever seen the hit Netflix show, Bojack Horseman, then you’ve probably heard of Secretariat. The champion racing horse had a legendary career and broke more records than you can count. Not only does he still hold the title for the fastest racer in the Kentucky Derby, but he’s also the only animal on ESPN‘s Top 50 North American Athletes list. Follow Secretariat’s journey from amateur to Triple Crown award winner.
Born on March 30, 1970, Secretariat was raised in Doswell, Virginia at the Meadow Stables. His sire was the recipient of the 1957 Preakness award, while his dam was 100 percent purebred. The young chestnut colt was already as big as a three-year-old when he was only two years old. On July 4, 1972, he ran his first race in New York City, where he came in fourth. Soon afterward, he ran in several more competitions. Trained by Lucien Laurin, the horse actually won more than 75 percent of his races that year.
Secretariat was well on his way to becoming a champion. Facing competitors Angle Light and Sham on May 5, 1973, he shattered records by running the Kentucky Derby race in less than two minutes. Then, he crushed it at the Preakness Stakes race, coming home with a gold medal despite a minor clock malfunction. Finally, on June 9, 1973, the horse nicknamed “Big Red” shocked fans by winning the Belmont Stakes competition by over 30 lengths. He went down in history for being the first racing horse to win the Triple Crown in 25 years.
After placing in six more races, the world-renowned “horse of the century” was placed into retirement in Paris, Kentucky. He even sired Risen Star, the winner of the 1988 Preakness and Belmont races. Eventually, Secretariat got sick and was laid to rest in 1989. Although he’s gone, his legacy is certainly not forgotten.