Many will have already heard or have been moved by watching the movie dedicated to him … Secretariat, born on March 30, 1970, was an English thoroughbred born in the USA and made history because he won the very difficult Triple Crown at the age of three. Secretariat not only wins the Triple Crown, but it does it by setting speed records in all three races: Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby, still the best time for the quarter mile, and at the Belmont Stakes it still has the best American time on the mile and a half dirt road and at the Preakness Stakes. His notable victories that had elevated him to the status of an American national icon and elected horse of the year for two consecutive years. Secretariat, nicknamed “big red” due to his chestnut coat, ended his career by being a stallion. He died in the fall of 1989 at the age of 19 suffering from severe laminitis. It is curious that during the autopsy, when the vets examined the heart of the deceased Secretariat they were amazed at the total absence of problems, and determined that Secretariat’s heart (10kg) weighed two and a half kg that of an average horse ( 3.9kg): this is a rare genetic characteristic present in thoroughbreds which is often referred to as “x-factor” and which can be traced back to the historic Eclipse, who died in 1789. However, the existence of this x-factor genetic has not yet been confirmed, and we do not know whether it contributes in any way to the animal’s athletic performance. Whatever the truth, “Big Red” Secretariat remains a historic and unforgettable horse.

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