Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Triple Crown

We watched history being made yesterday as American Pharaoh became only the 12th horse in American history to win the Triple Crown, finally breaking a drought of 37 years (the last winner, in 1978, was a horse named Affirmed). Fittingly, Penny Chenery, the 93 year old owner of the 1973 Triple Crown winner, Secretariat, was in the audience to watch the event.

Secretariat’s margin of victory in the 1973 Belmont was 31 lengths, a record that still stands today. His winning time of 2:24 is the fastest 1 ½ miles in history on dirt, and works out to a speed of 37.5 miles per hour. Even today, the film depicting his victory is electrifying to watch:

1973 Belmont

If you take a look at Penny Chenery’s biography, you’ll probably notice three very interesting facts:

1) during WWII, she worked for a company called Gibbs and Cox, which designed war craft for the Normandy invasion

2) in 1945, she joined the Red Cross, and served as a Doughnut Girl in France to help American soldiers transition back to civilian life

3) her stables, Meadow Farms, nearly captured the Triple Crown a year before Secretariat’s win when their horse, Riva Ridge, won both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont. Inclement weather at the Preakness made the track sloppy, and prevented his win there.

The Triple Crown was first awarded in America in 1919, when it was captured by a horse named Sir Baron. Only 11 horses (including American Pharaoh) have managed to repeat the same feat in the last 96 years. Less well known in this country is the Triple Tiara, a race strictly for fillies. The original new York Triple Tiara originated in New York in 1968, To date, only one horse (Davonna Dale) has won the national Filly Triple Crown.

Numerous other countries have their own version of the Triple Crown, but the very first Triple Crown originated in the United Kingdom, and dates back to 1853.

There are those who say, “it’s just a horse race, get over it”, I can only add that it’s a great deal more than that. Just ask Penny Chenery.

the full length movie

For $2.99, you can watch the full movie “Secretariat” by clicking on the link above. If you do that, I GUARANTEE you that you won’t be saying “it’s just a horse race!”.

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