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When did Secretariat win the Triple Crown?

I won't lie to you, I really wanted today's doodle to be easy. I have been editing video for a while and planned on querying about Adobe Premier, but alas, that will have to wait until another day. Why you ask? Well, because on this day in history, Secretariat won his Triple Crown at Belmont and broke the track record by more than 2 seconds.

Secretariat was born at Meadow Stables in Doswell, Virginia, on March 30, 1970. He was sired by Bold Ruler, the 1957 Preakness winner, and foaled by Somethingroyal, which came from a Thoroughbred line known for its stamina. He was an attractive chestnut colt, growing to over 16 hands high and was the size of a three-year-old at two. 

He ran his first race as a two-year-old on July 4, 1972. The race was a 5 1/2-furlong race at Aqueduct in New York City in which he came from behind to finish fourth; it was the only time in his career that he finished a race and did not place. Eleven days later, he won a six-furlong race at Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York. His trainer, Lucien Laurin, moved him up to class in August, entering him in the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga, which he won by three lengths. By the end of 1972, he had won seven of nine races.

With easy victories in his first two starts of 1973, Secretariat seemed on his way to the Triple Crown. Just two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, however, he stumbled at the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, coming in third behind Angle Light and Sham. On May 5, he met Sham and Angle Light again at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. Secretariat, a 3-to-2 favorite, broke from near the back of the pack to win the 1 1/4-mile race in a record 1 minute and 59 2/5th seconds. He was the first to run the Derby in less than two minutes and his record still stands today. 

Two weeks later, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, Secretariat won the second event of the Triple Crown: the Preakness Stakes. The official clock malfunctioned, but hand-recorded timers had him running the 1 3/16-mile race in record time.

On June 9, 1973, almost 100,000 people came to Belmont Park near New York City to see if “Big Red” would become the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown. Secretariat gave the finest performance of his career in the Belmont Stakes, completing the 1.5-mile race in a record 2 minutes and 24 seconds, knocking nearly three seconds off the track record set by Gallant Man in 1957. He also won by a record 31 lengths. 

Ron Turcotte, who jockeyed Secretariat in all but three of his races, claimed that at Belmont he lost control of Secretariat and that the horse sprinted into history on his own accord.

Secretariat would race six more times, winning four and finishing second twice. In November 1973, the “horse of the century” was retired and put to stud at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. He sired 653 foals, including 57 Stakes Winners. Among his notable offspring is the 1988 Preakness and Belmont winner, Risen Star. A.P. Indy, Gone West, Storm Cat, Elusive Quality, American Pharoah (2014 Eclipse Champion Juvenile, 2015 Horse Of The Year, and the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years), and Justify (the only unbeaten Triple Crown winner, ever!).

In October of 1989 Secretariat fell ill and had to be put down. An autopsy showed that his heart was two and a half times larger than that of the average horse, which is thought to have contributed to his extraordinary racing abilities. In 1999, ESPN ranked Secretariat No. 35 in its list of the Top 50 North American athletes of the 20th century, the only non-human on the list.

While the Derby may be "the best two minutes in sports", I'm sure the world record breaking at the 1973 Belmont Stakes vies for the best 2 minutes 24 seconds in sports history.

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