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Secretariat dead

PARIS, Ky. -- Secretariat, one of the greatest horses in the history of thoroughbred racing, was put to death Wednesday because of an incurable hoof condition.

The strapping 19-year-old horse died at Claiborne Farm, where he had stood at stud since his retirement in 1974, one year after he won the Triple Crown and became a legend of American racing.

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'He suffered an incurable condition and was euthanized,' said Gus Koch, assistant manager at the horse farm about 25 miles east of Lexington. 'He was buried next to stablemate Riva Ridge on the farm.'

Koch said Secretariat suffered from laminitis, an extremely painful inflammation inside the hoof.

'His condition rapidly worsened on Tuesday and he was for the first time in extreme pain,' Koch said. 'He was put to sleep at 11:45 a.m.

The death marked the end of one of racing's great sagas. The gleaming colt, known as Big Red, won the Triple Crown in 1973, the first to do so since Citation in 1948.

Secretariat remains the only horse to break the 2-minute mark in a Kentucky Derby and his roaring 31-length triumph five weeks later at the Belmont Stakes remains one of the resounding triumphs in all of sports.

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Secretariat was voted Horse of the Year after his 2-year-old season and made headlines again when he was syndicated for what was then a record $6.08 million.

In one week he appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated. He once was described as 'the horse who restored mankind's faith in itself.'

In all, Secretariat won 16 of his 21 starts for earnings of $1,316,808; won the first Triple Crown in 25 years; received two awards as Horse of the Year and one each as champion 2-year-old, 3-year-old and turf horse; set one world record, one American record, three track or course records (one unofficial) and equaled one other.

The only time Secretariat finished out of the money was in his first start as a 2-year-old, when he was impeded but rallied to finish fourth. In his next start, he won by six lengths and went on to finish first in his eight remaining starts, including the Sanford, the Hopeful, the Futurity, the Laurel Futurity, the Garden State and the Champagne.

'Secretariat emerged as a superstar to give the sport of thoroughbred racing a tremendous boost,' Churchill Downs President Thomas Meeker said. 'His achievements on the racetrack, and especially his Triple Crown accomplishment, endeared him to race fans throughout the world. Racing has benefitted through Secretariat.'

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Secretariat was foaled March 30, 1970 at Meadow Stud in Doswell, Va. -- a son of Bold Ruler out of Princequillo's daughter Somethingroyal.

Racing in the blue-and-white silks of Meadow Stables, Secretariat won the Triple Crown in unprecedented manner. He set two records (and a contested third) in each of the three grueling races. His Derby and Belmont marks still stand.

He prepped for the Derby by winning the Bay Shore and the Gotham and finished third in the Wood Memorial. Then, with Ron Turcotte aboard, the Lucien Laurin-trained colt charged from last place to win the Derby in a track record of 1:59 2-5, three-fifths second faster than the time of Native Dancer.

In the Preakness two weeks later he made another dazzling move to win in an official time of 1:54 2-5, three-fifths second faster than Native Dancer, but a Daily Racing Form clocker caught Big Red in an unofficial 1:53 2-5. The official mark was broken several times, and Tank's Prospect tied the unofficial mark in 1985.

In the Belmont, his most famous race, Secretariat was sent off the prohibitive favorite and delivered an awesome performance, covering the 1 miles in a record 2:24.

After dueling with Sham for a half mile, Secretariat soared seven lengths in front of the field after a mile and was 20 lengths ahead after 1 miles. He won by the race's biggest margin and shattered the American record for that distance by 2 seconds.

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He finished his 3-year-old season by winning the Arlington Invitational, finishing second to Onion in the Whitney, defeating stablemate Riva Ridge in the Marlboro and placing in the Woodward Stakes. He capped his career by winning two turf races, the Man O'War and the Canadian International.

After his 2-year-old season, Penny Tweedy, who was directing Meadow Stud following the death of her father, Christopher Chenery, authorized Seth Hancock to put together a syndication for the colt to pay taxes on the estate.

Hancock, then 24 and the president of Claiborne Farm, sold shares of Secretariat worth $190,000 for a total syndication price of $6,080,000 -- $640,000 higher than the previous record $5.44 million for Nijinksy II.

Secretariat was not as big a success at stud as he was on the track. But after a slow start in the breeding shed, he became a respected stallion.

He flunked his first fertility tests and when he finally produced mature sperm, his first few crops of foals included just one stakes winner in Dactylographer, who won a minor stakes in England in 1977.

His reputation as a stallion was greatly enhanced in the 1980s, when he produced 1986 Horse of the Year Lady's Secret and 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Risen Star.

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At the time of his death, Secretariat had sired 520 foals of racing age in 13 crops. Among them were 36 stakes winners in North America, England and Ireland, and 16 were graded stakes winners.

Secretariat's popularity never waned. Thousands of his fans visited Claiborne every year, paying homage to Big Red.

Secretariat was voted Horse of the Year after his 2-year-old season and made headlines again when he was syndicated for what was then a record $6.08 million.

In one week he appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated. He once was described as 'the horse who restored mankind's faith in itself.'

In all, Secretariat won 16 of his 21 starts for earnings of $1,316,808; won the first Triple Crown in 25 years; received two awards as Horse of the Year and one each as champion 2-year-old, 3-year-old and turf horse; set one world record, one American record, three track or course records (one unofficial) and equaled one other.

The only time Secretariat finished out of the money was in his first start as a 2-year-old, when he was impeded but rallied to finish fourth. In his next start, he won by six lengths and went on to finish first in his eight remaining starts, including the Sanford, the Hopeful, the Futurity, the Laurel Futurity, the Garden State and the Champagne.

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'Secretariat emerged as a superstar to give the sport of thoroughbred racing a tremendous boost,' Churchill Downs President Thomas Meeker said. 'His achievements on the racetrack, and especially his Triple Crown accomplishment, endeared him to race fans throughout the world. Racing has benefitted through Secretariat.'

Secretariat was foaled March 30, 1970 at Meadow Stud in Doswell, Va. -- a son of Bold Ruler out of Princequillo's daughter Somethingroyal.

Racing in the blue-and-white silks of Meadow Stables, Secretariat won the Triple Crown in unprecedented manner. He set two records (and a contested third) in each of the three grueling races. His Derby and Belmont marks still stand.

He prepped for the Derby by winning the Bay Shore and the Gotham and finished third in the Wood Memorial. Then, with Ron Turcotte aboard, the Lucien Laurin-trained colt charged from last place to win the Derby in a track record of 1:59 2-5, three-fifths second faster than the time of Native Dancer.

In the Preakness two weeks later he made another dazzling move to win in an official time of 1:54 2-5, three-fifths second faster than Native Dancer, but a Daily Racing Form clocker caught Big Red in an unofficial 1:53 2-5. The official mark was broken several times, and Tank's Prospect tied the unofficial mark in 1985.

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In the Belmont, his most famous race, Secretariat was sent off the prohibitive favorite and delivered an awesome performance, covering the 1 miles in a record 2:24.

After dueling with Sham for a half mile, Secretariat soared seven lengths in front of the field after a mile and was 20 lengths ahead after 1 miles. He won by the race's biggest margin and shattered the American record for that distance by 2 seconds.

He finished his 3-year-old season by winning the Arlington Invitational, finishing second to Onion in the Whitney, defeating stablemate Riva Ridge in the Marlboro and placing in the Woodward Stakes. He capped his career by winning two turf races, the Man O'War and the Canadian International.

After his 2-year-old season, Penny Tweedy, who was directing Meadow Stud following the death of her father, Christopher Chenery, authorized Seth Hancock to put together a syndication for the colt to pay taxes on the estate.

Hancock, then 24 and the president of Claiborne Farm, sold shares of Secretariat worth $190,000 for a total syndication price of $6,080,000 -- $640,000 higher than the previous record $5.44 million for Nijinksy II.

Secretariat was not as big a success at stud as he was on the track. But after a slow start in the breeding shed, he became a respected stallion.

Advertisement

He flunked his first fertility tests and when he finally produced mature sperm, his first few crops of foals included just one stakes winner in Dactylographer, who won a minor stakes in England in 1977.

His reputation as a stallion was greatly enhanced in the 1980s, when he produced 1986 Horse of the Year Lady's Secret and 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Risen Star.

At the time of his death, Secretariat had sired 520 foals of racing age in 13 crops. Among them were 36 stakes winners in North America, England and Ireland, and 16 were graded stakes winners.

Secretariat's popularity never waned. Thousands of his fans visited Claiborne every year, paying homage to Big Red.

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