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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Big Red

One of my prized possessions is the Belmont photo of Secretariat's huge 31 1/2 length record victory signed by jockey Ron Turcotte that hangs over my desk at work. (Thanks Space Gal!) Today's NY Daily News printed a reproduction of the article from June 10, 1973 covering Big Red's Triple Crown victory, that had me remembering the telecast in rural upstate New York, the epic ride with my dad as a skinny ten year old boy. Big Red was sired by Bold Ruler, out of Somethingroyal.

Interesting story on how Big Red came to be the property of his owner, Penny Chenery. Before he was born in March of 1970, Ms. Chenery, Ogden Phipps from Wheatley Stables and Bull Hancock from Claiborne Farms made an agreement. The agreement was made to get the best mares for Bold Ruler, who was owned by Phipps and Hancock. Chenery sent two mares to be bred twice to Bold Ruler, of which one was Somethingroyal. After the first two foals were born, a coin flip would determine who got to choose which foal. The loser would keep the remaining foal, but would have first choice of one of the second pair of foals. Phipps won the first coin flip, choosing Somethingroyal's first foal and the other mare lost her second foal, thus leaving Chenery with two foals, since she would have had first choice, she ended up with none other than Secretariat!

After winning the Triple Crown, Big Red ran six more races. He ended up with 21 career starts (16-3-1) with earnings north of $1.3M. As a stud, he sired approximately 600 foals, before his death in October 1989 due to laminitis. He is buried next to his sire, Bold Ruler at Claiborne Farms.

The fact that Big Brown will probably have only 6-8 career races will be one of the reasons it will be difficult to ever compare him to the real "Big" horse, the great Secretariat. The Belmont will be Brown's sixth career race and if he makes it through unscathed his trainer has mentioned possibilities running in the Travers (Saratoga) and the Breeders Cup Classic (Santa Anita). Should he pull off the triple next week he surely will draw Big numbers at the Spa should he continue his 3yo season. Let's hope he does.
Bella Cavello Update: La Chica Rica, winner of 3 straight, scratched out of the Ohio Valley Handicap last night at Mountaineer Park. Per her connections, they did not want to run her back on 14 days and decided to wait for another spot. Stay tuned.



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