The 1973 Triple Crown: The greatest spectacle of Sport in the 20th Century.

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    The 1973 Triple Crown: The greatest spectacle of Sport in the 20th Century.

    The 'K-pop teenagers troll the Trump Campaign' thread reminded me of the '73 Derby. We're annointing our next Temporary King, so it's appropriate we look back at the Sport of Kings.

    Secretariat as an athlete enters a rare, thin atmosphere where the GOAT cannot meaningfully be named. This space occupied by the likes of Wayne Gretzky (they simply called him, without fanfare... The Great One), Wilt Chamberlain, and Babe Ruth.

    But here's the deal: Babe Ruth, Wilt Chamberlain, and maybe even Wayne Gretzky, would be bested by today's athletes. Perhaps only Gretzky can stand with Secretariat in terms of being truly the Greatest of All Time, regardless of context or time period. The Sultan of Swat would get hammered by small-balled roid-heads like Jose Conseco, but 'maybe', with a good Enforcer and great Defense, Wayne Gretzky could still be Great in today's NHL.

    For Secretariat, this is not even an issue. Secretariat holds all 3 speed records for his length in The Triple Crown. For the '73 Belmont, wikipedia puts it this way:

    2:24 flat - Secretariat (1973 ; 1 1/2 miles). Secretariat also holds the fastest ½-, ¾-, 1- and 1¼-mile fractions in Belmont history.
    Because that's simply a fact. The race has been shortened to 1 3/8, then 1 1/4, and now it's run at 1 1/8. But Secretariat ran it at its longest, A Mile and Half, and still holds the fractional records against horses who sprint a 3/8 mile shorter track.

    Races:

    The Kentucky Derby - May 5, 1973

    Secretariat enters the 1st turn 3rd from dead last, in a crowd of 13 horses. He makes 9 passes from the outside to set a 1 1/4 mile Derby record of 1:59.4.

    Here's the important part: For each 1/4 mile length, Secretariat runs a faster 1/4 throughout the race. This kind of muscular acceleration bodes of things to come.



    The Preakness - May 17, 1973

    Ok, we've got a player. The bookies are paying attention and the only horse which can possibly make odds with Secretariat is Sham, himself a great horse and sadly overshadowed by the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century. The field is down to 6 horses, because nobody really thinks they can beat Secretariat.

    Secretariat exits the gates and cruises down the front straight Dead Last by at least 3 lengths entering the 1st turn.

    But then things happen. The world knows that there is a lot left under the gas peddle, but only Ronny Turcotte knows how much. Secretariat darts ahead, on the outside, on the turns, and gains 1st place by the 1st 1/4 of the back stretch. It's like Nitrous. But question is, is he gassed?

    Here's the important part: Entering the final stretch, listen to what Chick Anderson says:

    Sham, under a strong left whip... there's a strong left-handed whip again by Pincay, he goes to it again and again, but Ronny Turcotte has his put away...
    Horses start entering the gate about 1:30, and the race starts at 2:30.



    The Preakness has been run at 1 3/16 since 1925, and Secretariat holds the 95-year record. The record has stood for 47 years this year.

    The Belmont - June 9, 1973
    The greatest race of all time.
    That is a record that may stand... forever.


    The horses have had over 3 weeks to straighten up. The field is now down to 5 horses, nobody's really bothering at this point. It's important that there is an odds contender, so Sham is there, ostensibly to be whipped mercilessly by Pincay just in case Secretariat gets blown or suffers a leg injury and the Bookies get rich.

    This race has inspired not a few books and at least 2 great films, based on the call by Chick Anderson made as Secretariat blazes across the final two turns.

    What is this race? Well, remember that pulse of acceleration Secretariat displayed on the first turn at the Preakness? This race is that acceleration from the 3rd turn until the finish line. Not only is there a LOT of room under the gas peddle, there's a lot of gas in the tank. The Tremendous Machine thunders ahead and runs for the sheer unadultered joy of it. One is impressed that Secretariat himself determines to ring Flank Ahead and transit to the finish line leaving the escorts in his wake. Ronny Turcotte has said as much: this is Secretariat's race.

    The race speaks for itself,

    Horses start gating at 3:00, race beings at 4:10



    So, Secretariat is the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century, and the 1973 Belmont is the Greatest Race of the 20th Century. The Ford vs Ferrari races were sadly marred by the marketing duplicitiousness of Ford and the cheating by the Europeans which cost Ken Miles his deserved place. But then Ken Miles was not the dominant racer or athlete that Secretariat was, so it's not in contention anyway.

    The non-motorsports Athletes have all been overshadowed by their modern counterparts, except perhaps Gretzky, who might remain forever The Great One.

    The great Motorsports athletes like Bubba Stewart, Schumacher, Jackie Stewart, Louis Hamilton, Emerson Fitipaldi, Don Garlits, Ricky Charmichael, Richard Petty, were never as dominant as Secretariat by their talent and skill alone. I don't even think Artyon Senna is the greatest driver in his period of Formula 1, depending on how you measure the Era. I love Aryton Senna: This is a man who used the bouncing of the car on non-aerodynamic braking to set the car up for the next turn. The first time you spot him doing it, you're in disbelief that this is what he's doing. But he does again and again... in rain or shine. Senna deserves a post of his own, but even so... he's not Secretariat.

    There are other Motorsports athletes like Ari Vitanen who had their opportunities cut short by the end of Group B, but even Ari is rivalled by many incredible talents inside and out of the Death Rallys.

    Nope, Secretariat, who for fun opened a 93 yard, THIRTY-ONE LENGTH lead in 2640 yards at the 1973 Belmont Stakes is the clear-cut GOAT athlete, hands down.



    Last edited by evernoob; 06-21-2020, 10:14 PM. Reason: grammar and stuff

    #2
    Quite the horse, the movie that was made about this was kinda cool even though it was a pg rated Disney movie I think
    Last edited by Fullsize80cherokee; 06-21-2020, 11:06 PM.

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      #3
      Originally posted by Fullsize80cherokee View Post
      Quite the horse, the movie that was made about this was kinda cool even though it was a good rated Disney movie I think
      Race is dominating the news, and shamefully one of the things that's going to be overshadowed are the Professionals like Eddie Sweat, Secretariat's personal groom who was depicted in a film that tried to show all the major points about the '73 season and I think succeeded.

      So Eddie Sweat is a black man who works for rich white people, basically stomping around in manure and petting animals for them. Modern Racism will see this as some type of demeaning thing, and perhaps a movie will be made where an analog of Eddie is denied his chance by the Mean Whites, but still does his heroic best for a Secretariat analog.... that's happened dozens of times.

      But here's the thing: Groom on a racing farm is a Profession. It's an honored Profession, and Eddie was assigned to Secretariat because he was the best.

      The closest place of honor that I can think of are White House servants and cooking staff. These are traditional Afr. American jobs and I remember a couple of times in the past where a 'Journalist' tried to make bank off of it.

      But here's what the College Set doesn't understand: Yes, these positions come down from the old Maryland slave days. But for the working-class, these are positions of Honor. Anyone can get a food service job, but only a few get to cook for the President. Either way, you should try to satisfy your guests and be Professional, but in your case, you are serving the most powerful man on Earth as a Profession. It's a position of honor like being a Lightkeeper or a riverboat Pilot.

      I'm afraid that stories like Eddie's and positions like this will get run over by the Communist insurgency. They'll ruin everything.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by evernoob View Post

        Race is dominating the news, and shamefully one of the things that's going to be overshadowed are the Professionals like Eddie Sweat, Secretariat's personal groom who was depicted in a film that tried to show all the major points about the '73 season and I think succeeded.

        So Eddie Sweat is a black man who works for rich white people, basically stomping around in manure and petting animals for them. Modern Racism will see this as some type of demeaning thing, and perhaps a movie will be made where an analog of Eddie is denied his chance by the Mean Whites, but still does his heroic best for a Secretariat analog.... that's happened dozens of times.

        But here's the thing: Groom on a racing farm is a Profession. It's an honored Profession, and Eddie was assigned to Secretariat because he was the best.

        The closest place of honor that I can think of are White House servants and cooking staff. These are traditional Afr. American jobs and I remember a couple of times in the past where a 'Journalist' tried to make bank off of it.

        But here's what the College Set doesn't understand: Yes, these positions come down from the old Maryland slave days. But for the working-class, these are positions of Honor. Anyone can get a food service job, but only a few get to cook for the President. Either way, you should try to satisfy your guests and be Professional, but in your case, you are serving the most powerful man on Earth as a Profession. It's a position of honor like being a Lightkeeper or a riverboat Pilot.

        I'm afraid that stories like Eddie's and positions like this will get run over by the Communist insurgency. They'll ruin everything.
        I miss the pre Obama days when everyone was just treated equal and nobody owed anyone an apology for shit that happened way before our lives started

        Comment


          #5
          I'd make a case for Eddy Merckx. Dude raced at the very top levels between 111 and 154 races per year, none of this Lance Armstrong cherry picking BS. He won all the grand tours (11 total), the 5 pilars, set the hour record, won the world championships, and in 1971 he entered 120 professional races and won 54 of them, shit, he entered over 1800 professional races and won 525 of them.
          RIP PBB

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