WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? – JUNE 18, 1973

Of the thousands of words written about Secretariat’s Belmont, these remain some of my favorites.

They were written by Blood-Horse editor Kent Hollingsworth in the issue following Secretariat’s Belmont. They accurately depict the anxiety that Secretariat’s pace created in the final leg of his Triple Crown. The movie conveys this concern several ways, and Hollingsworth captures what so many had to be thinking…

This is an excerpt.

So when Secretariat broke with the early-speed horses, not last as he had in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, apprehension took the lead. And when (jockey Ron) Turcotte let him run easily to the first turn on the front end, we became alarmed. You Can’t Win A Belmont With A Quarter in :23 3/5! We shouted to him.

He went on, anyway, with Sham right there. Sham taking the lead by a half-length on the turn. Let Him Have It! Drop Back And Take A Breather!

Good Lord, they’ve gone the first half in :46 1/5. Nobody can last a mile and a half at that pace! What’s the matter with that jock! YOU’RE BLOWING IT! Pincay’s taking back. Oh no; I think Secretariat’s Bolted!

Look at that Time! He’s gone three-quarters in 1:09 4/5! Well, it’s over. No horse can do that. Gimme a rifle–I’ll get that jock.

Secretariat looks like he’s still going, though. He drawing off. Why he must be 10 lengths out there! Could be 15 lengths. He’s got a bigger lead now than Graustark had in the Blue Grass. Oh, look at that mile time, 1:34 1/5. It is impossible for him to do that and stay.

He does seem to be rolling along there pretty easily, though; don’t you think he’s going easy? He must be 25 lengths on top. I don’t believe he can lose that kind of lead, can he? EASE UP ON HIM TURCOTTE!

He’s moving out. He’s moving out on the turn! … I believe he’s gonna do it! He IS gonna doit!
Come On With THAT HORSE TURCOTTE. DAMMIT COME ON WITH HIM, COMEONWITHIM! LOOKA THAT DUDE RUN WILLYA! GO. WITH. HIM! GO WITH HIM! GOWITHIM!

Two twenty-four flat! I don’t believe it. Impossible. But I saw it. I can’t breathe. He won by a sixteenth of a mile! I saw it. I have to believe it.

To see that which never before has been seen is an emotional experience. And we figure to be quite snobbish about having seen it. So when old racing men begin to reminisce of Buckpasser’s Suburban, Kelso’s International, the Ridan-Jaipur Travers, Swaps’ Sunset, Tom Fool, Native Dancer, Citation, Count Fleet, Alsab against Whirlaway, War Admiral and Seabiscuit, Equipoise: Gentlemen, we will say, let me now tell you about a nonpareil, a genuine race horse I saw win the Belmont by a sixteenth of mile without working up a lather.