Secretariat Makes Racing History Again!

Forget all those contradictory times of 1:55, 1:54 2/5, even 1:53 2/5.  Secretariat’s record time in the 1973 Preakness was an astonishing 1:53 flat!

This is what Penny Chenery and her team proved to the Maryland Racing Commission yesterday, June 19.  Their demonstration with new video technology convinced the commission  to change Secretariat’s Preakness time to 1:53 by unanimous vote.  This gives Big Red the full honors of sweeping the Triple Crown by officially breaking ALL three track records.  Congratulations to Penny for her perseverance over the last 39 years and her powers of persuasion! She and Secretariat make history yet again!  And kudos to the Maryland Racing Commission for agreeing to set the record straight.

Here’s an excerpt from the news release: (you can read our previous post for further background)


BALTIMORE, Md. (June 19, 2012) – The Maryland Racing Commission voted Tuesday afternoon in a special hearing at Laurel Park that 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who set records that still stand at the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont States, also set the record in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course 39 years ago.

In a unanimous 7-0 decision, the official time of the Preakness was changed from 1:54 2/5 to 1:53. Secretariat is one of 11 thoroughbreds to win the Triple Crown, with victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont as a 3-year-old.

The Maryland Racing Commission said last week it would investigate the official timing of the race at the request of Secretariat’s owner  Penny Chenery and Pimlico president Tom Chuckas.

“I didn’t know if it was appropriate to cheer but I couldn’t help myself,” Chenery said. “This is a big day.”

For more than two hours, the racing commission heard testimony, backed by modern technology to prove Secretariat’s time was actually faster than the Preakness record of 1:53 2/5, set by Tank’s Prospect in 1985 and matched by Louis Quatorze (1996) and Curlin (2007).

“Justice was served,” Chuckas said. “The Secretariat team made a compelling case that he ran the race in 1:53 flat and added the Preakness record to his resume. This is terrific news for Mrs. Chenery, who has been diligent in her fight for nearly 40 years, and the entire sport of horse racing.”


by Leeanne Meadows Ladin

 co-author of “Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend”

(thanks to Margo at Saddle Up Clothing Company for the cool graphic she sent in honor of Secretariat’s latest victory)

One thought on “Secretariat Makes Racing History Again!

  1. I believe that 1:53 may have been not only a track and stakes record but a world record for the distance at that time as well.

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