There may never have been nor ever be another horse as good as Secretariat and his owner knew it. As Penny Chenery recalls her chestnut colt's Triple Crown win 40 years ago, she tells 60 MINUTES SPORTS she never used the nickname “Big Red.” That was the name rooting fans used for the racehorse that would win the last leg of the Triple Crown by 31 lengths in a world record time some believe may never be broken. Chenery is joined by Secretariat's Hall of Fame rider, Ron Turcotte, in an anniversary feature on the great thoroughbred's historic achievement reported by Morley Safer and only on SHOWTIME Wed. June 5 at 9:00 P.M.
“I called him Secretariat, because “Big Red” was not my doing,” Chenery says with a laugh. “Because he was an important horse…he wasn't a nickname kind of horse; he was Secretariat,” says the 91-year old racing blueblood.
The big red colt looked as good as he ran. “He was always so good looking…he's just a stunning horse. He had good physical conformation…to be a racehorse, but he could have been a show horse,” says Chenery.
“I remember very well the first time I saw him,” recalls Turcotte. “And I said, ‘Oh, my God…who is that beautiful colt.”
Chenery and Turcotte spoke to 60 MINUTES SPORTS at Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore last month before the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of Thoroughbred Racing's Triple Crown that begins with the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. This Saturday (8) the third leg, the Belmont Stakes, will be run at Belmont Park in New York, the site of Secretariat's record setting Triple Crown victory 40 years ago.
Only 11 horses have achieved the U.S. Triple Crown in almost a century of racing. Secretariat also set track records in the Derby and the Preakness on his way to the Crown – a record that still stands today.
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