by Margaret Ransom
This year marks the 46th anniversary of the great Secretariat’s record-breaking performance in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, a race that earned the flashy red son of Bold Ruler his Triple Crown, which was in a 25-year drought at the time. The colt’s victory made him and his joyful owner Penny Chenery national heros and they appeared on several prominent magazine covers after the win, including Time and Sports Illustrated.
Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes performance remains the gold standard for all horses in any race anywhere and in addition to establishing a record for margin of victory when he crossed the wire 31 lengths ahead of the field behind him, Secretariat also set the North American record for 1 ½ miles in 2:24, a mark that still stands today.
Virginia-bred Secretariat, who was campaigned by his Chenery’s Meadow Stable, was trained throughout his career by Lucien Lauren and ridden in all but three of his of his 21 career starts by Ron Turcotte. Both jockey and trainer are members of racing’s Hall of Fame. Secretariat was retired at the end of his 3-year-old season to Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, with a record of 21-15-3-1, $1,316,808. He was honored as the 1972 and1973 Horse of the Year, as well as champion 2-year-old, 3-year-old and male turf horse, and was the leading broodmare sire in 1992. He was inducted into Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1974.
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.
She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law in Kentucky known as the “Borell Law.”Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time.She lives in Robinson, Texas, with her longtime beau, Tony. She is the executive director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit horse rescue, The Bridge Sanctuary.