39 Years Later, Secretariat Nabs Preakness Record

Racehorse now holds records for all 3 Triple Crown races
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2012 8:19 AM CDT
39 Years Later, Secretariat Nabs Preakness Record
Art restorer Steve Roy brushes a protective coat of wax and pigment onto the bronze statue of Secretariat at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., Tuesday, June 5, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Legendary racehorse Secretariat has notched a posthumous victory: The Maryland Racing Commission says he did indeed set a race record at the Preakness in 1973, making him the record holder for all three Triple Crown events. Owner Penny Chenery, now 90, championed the effort for official recognition of the horse's 1:53 race. "It's nice to finally have this recognized, because the sport depends on accuracy," she said. The board's seven present members made their unanimous decision in 10 minutes, citing "overwhelming" evidence.

"The up-to-date scientific evidence was compelling, and proved that we were doing the right thing," said the commission's chairman. Though hand clockers reported a time of 1:53 2/5 and Secretariat's official time was recorded as 1:54 2/5, the commission determined that the actual time was two seconds off of what the electronic scoreboard timed the horse at: 1:55. Chenery's spokesman used tape of the event to prove Secretariat's record, with testimony from video experts saying the tape hadn't been tweaked. The spokesman compared the footage with two other Preakness victories: Louis Quatorze in 1997 and Tank's Prospects in 1985. The two had tied for the previous record of 1:53 2/5, but Secretariat pulled in "at least a length and a half" in front of them, according to the Baltimore Sun. (More Secretariat stories.)

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