Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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I hope that Big Brown wins today’s Belmont Stakes here in New York, and in fact, I think he will win, especially since his only potential contender of note, Casino Drive, was scratched this morning. If Big Brown manages to win today, he will become only the 12th horse in more than 125 years to win the Triple Crown winner, and our first in 30 years. But do I think that Big Brown is of the same caliber as Secretariat? Not a chance. Big Brown is simply the best individual among a very poor crop of race horses (with the exception of Eight Belles, who is dead). Take a look at what the legendary Secretariat did — not only did he destroy the Belmont field with the largest ever margin of victory for that race, but he set a new track record and a new world record for the distance, too. [5:04].

Even though Secretariat never raced as a four-year-old (the group who syndicated him demanded he retire from the track at the end of his three-year-old year), he ran against older horses and won convincingly, often tying or setting track records in the process. Secretariat’s dominance on the racetrack continues to this day through the victories of his many talented offspring.


  1. #1 Kevin W. Parker
    June 10, 2008

    The world record still stands. And if you could somehow line up every horse that’s ever run the Belmont Stakes and send them off together, none of them would finish less than ten lengths behind Secretariat.

  2. #2 Steve
    May 20, 2009

    I think Dr. Fager’s 1968 world record in the mile set while he carried 134 pounds gives nothing away to Secretariat’s great Belmont run. Both were great performances. Secretariat’s 1 1/2 mile record was finally eclipsed on Turf in 1989, but it was done by a horse carrying only 121 pounds. Dr Fager’s mile record was finally beaten on turf in 2005, but it was done by a horse carrying 116 pounds or 18 less than Fager. Both dirt records still stand.

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