By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

On June 9, 1973, 50 years ago today, Secretariat captured the Triple Crown of racing by winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. The chestnut horse, known as Big Red on the back track, ran the 1 1/2-mile race in two minutes and 24 seconds, which was nearly three seconds faster than the track record. No horse has come close to matching that time in the Belmont Stakes since. Secretariat was estimated to have run at nearly 38 miles an hour during the race.

The Belmont victory could arguably be the greatest performance ever by an athlete. Secretariat defeated four other horses that day, including a very talented 3-year-old named Sham who faded to last place after trying to keep pace with the winner for the first mile. (Sham finished second to Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. How good was Sham? Secretariat set the track record for a 1 1/4-mile race at Churchill Downs, winning in 1.59 2/5. It’s still the fastest. Who’s the second fastest ever? Sham, who finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Secretariat.)

Below is the video of Secretariat winning the Belmont. If you’re never seen it, you may not believe your eyes.

Hollywood has celebrated the great Secretariat as well with a 2010 drama starring Diane Lane as the horse’s owner, Penny Tweedy, who defied the odds as the owner of a major stable in a male-dominated industry. John Malkovich plays the horse’s trainer, Lucien Lauren, and the great Margo Martindale plays her secretary who named Secretariat. It’s a warm and entertaining look at the behind-the-scenes work and preparation that’s needed to make a great horse great. (Roger Ebert gave it four stars out of four.)

And it’s streaming now on Disney Plus.

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— Phillip Swann