This morning, the Washington Post has a story that wonders where all of Virginia’s great race horses have gone.
In 1973, when Secretariat, a stallion born and raised in Caroline County, Va., won the Triple Crown, the state was a regular contender in the nation’s highest-profile races.
Virginia has been famous as a producer of great horses since before the Civil War. But this month, not one Virginia horse ran in the Kentucky Derby; in fact, no Virginia horse has raced in the Derby since 1996. Their absence is a sign of steady decline in an industry that was once a hallmark of the state.
Our entry on Secretariat can be found here.
At the final race in the Triple Crown, the arduous mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes, Secretariat stunned the racetrack crowd and television viewers alike with what Sports Illustrated writer Whitney Tower called “the greatest performance by a racehorse in this century.” He won by an amazing thirty-one lengths over Twice a Prince in a time of 2:24, the fastest mile-and-a-half ever run on a dirt track.
That’s Secretariat at the Belmont in the picture above.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Secretariat.com