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You are here: Home Opinion Doug Ford DOUG FORD: Pride of Virginia

DOUG FORD: Pride of Virginia

We all know by now California Chrome did not win the Triple Crown, falling short at the Belmont Stakes as many horses do after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

If California Chrome had won all three races, it would have been the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed accomplished the task in 1978.

Before then, the last Triple Crown winner came in 1973 and was perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time.

Yes, Virginia, it was one of our own.

Secretariat, otherwise known as Big Red, was born at Meadow Stables in Doswell, near Ashland.

He grew to over 16 hands high and was at two years the size of a 3-year-old horse.

His racing feats matched his size, with Secretariat winning the Kentucky Derby in a record one minute and 59 seconds, the first and only horse to run the Derby in less than two minutes.

Secretariat won the Preakness, also in record time, according to hand-recorded timers.

On June 9, 1973, Secretariat became the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown and in dominating fashion.

He completed the longest race (1.5 miles) in the Triple Crown in two minutes, 24 seconds, another record, and he won by 31 lengths.

Retiring to stud after six more races, siring such notables as 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner, Risen Star.

An autopsy performed after Big Red was euthanized in 1989 revealed a heart that was two and a half times larger than that of an average horse, perhaps contributing to his legendary stamina.

Secretariat dominated his sport in such a manner that in 1999 ESPN ranked him No. 35 in its list of Top 50 North American athletes of the 20th century, the only non-human on the list. 

I only have one question, why didn’t Mr. Ed make the list?