Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Big Heart

I know it is a small picture, but that is today's hero out there in the front. His name is Secretariat, and yes I am having an equine hero for two days in a row. Did I mention i loved to play the ponies? Our four footed hero was born this day in Caroline County, Virginia. The son of Bold Ruler (quite a horse in his own right), and Somethingroyal. His owner was decided by a coin toss, and if you wish to read that convoluted story, look it up for yourself. The man that won that coin toss, Christopher Chenery, was one lucky bastard. After 10 attempts to name the horse (10 names were rejected for various reasons), number 11, Secretariat was picked, and is a name that horse player revere to this day. In his first race ever, at Aqueduct Park, he finished fourth after being impeded at the start, it was the only time in 21 races he would ever finish out of the money. He went on to win the Eclipse award for best two year old of the year, and even took a share of horse of the year, which has only happened one other time since. He was a special horse, and it was obvious his was in a league of his own. He finished third in his last prep before the Kentucky Derby, but his performance on that first Saturday in May is still the stuff of legend. On his way to a still-standing track record (1:59 2/5), he ran each quarter-mile segment faster than the one before it. The successive quarter-mile times were: 25 1/5, 24, 23 4/5, 23 2/5, and 23. This means he was still accelerating as of the final quarter-mile of the race. When almost any other mortal horse would be slowing down, and running that last sixteenth of a mile slower, he was speeding up. He then went on to win the Preakness by 5 and a half lengths, and only four horses showed up to challenge him in the last leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. It was that race that the above picture is taken from. He won by an amazing 31 lengths, and broke the track record by more than two seconds. It has been worked out that if the Beyer Speed figures had existed at the time (horse players know what I am talking about), his score would have been 139! That is fucking amazing, and would have been the highest Beyer score ever. No other horse has ever came within a second of his record for the mile and a half on dirt, and I doubt one ever will. After his death (he was euthanized at the age of 19), it was discovered that his heart weighed 22 pounds. That is the biggest heart ever recorded in a horse, and is probably one of the reasons his was the legend that he is. So, for that big heart, and for setting records that will probably stand forever, Secretariat (March 30, 1970-October 4th, 1989, at the age of 19), you are my (216th), hero of the day

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