The horse named Secretariat

Last weekend I was watching the Kentucky Derby and remembered going to the Derby a few years back. What an event. The Derby will draw almost 200k people rain or shine and is one of the top sporting events in America.

In 1973, history was made by a horse named Secretariat and many of his records of the three races that make up the triple crown, still holds today. His margin of win at the Belmont stakes has never been even close to duplicated.

The thing about this story that impresses me is that the horse, its owner, its trainer and its jockey were never supposed to win. They didn’t come from the right background, the right location and had no history of winning and they were shunned from the establishment and told they didn’t have what it takes. That is why I love this story.

If you haven’t watched the movie Secretariat, you should rent it and watch it. It is simply an inspiring movie about not listening to what others say about how far you will go in life and your potential. We all have those types of people (and even family members) in our life that speak words of discouragement to you. The movie is about reaching your God given potential and shutting out what others think about you.

In our office at Avison Young, I have an original picture of Secretariat taken at the finish line of the Belmont Stakes in 1973 signed by the jockey, Ron Turcotte. The picture shows the 31 length (length of a horse) winning margin at the Belmont Stakes, the race that won Secretariat the Triple Crown in 1973. That same year, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes and all three records still stand today. Secretariat was named the 35th best athlete of the 20th century, and I believe the only animal to ever be so named. He was simply the best race horse of all time.

Why am I writing about a horse? See, the horse was owned by Penny Chenery who had no experience in horse racing and was a woman and very much unwelcomed by the establishment. The trainer, Lucien Laurin, had never trained a horse that won any triple crown events, and he was considered by many, a loser. The jockey, Ron Turcotte, was unproven as a competitor and shunned by the racing establishment. Secretariat was never supposed to be fast and or be able to run long distances because of his bloodline; in short, because of who his parents were. There was no reason to expect any success from this team because they didn’t come from the right class of folks, grow up in the right places, and come from the right family. Sound familiar?

If you look at the greatest inventors, the greatest leaders, and the greatest wealth creators, they mostly come from backgrounds and environments that should have limited their success and ensured they would only achieve average at best. The story of this horse is like many of us, we’ve been told we will never make it and we don’t have the education, talent, looks or background to go very far in life. Yet somehow, God has a different plan if we will listen to him. KT

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