"The Wind of Heaven is that which blows through a horse's ears."
It's Friday, October 8th, and the world is Secretariat-crazy. That's groovy: I love Big Red, I adore Penny Chenery. I met her daughter, Kate Chenery Tweedy in August, and I can see where that apple did not fall far from her brilliant tree. I can't look at the cobalt-and-white checkerboard design of Meadow's silks without getting a chill or a tear. Penny was the first person to encourage me as a racing writer: I consider her to be my mentor.
So I'm thrilled that Penny is being honoured with this film that shares her big horse's name. It debuts today. I think it's deelish that Secretariat--or at least several horses painted to look like him--will storm past finish lines on the silver screen.
Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon: even the DRF features Meadow's silks on the top of their website today. I don't know if that was a financial decision or a genuine expression of respect, but there it is.
For me--and for many racing fans--the most striking thing about Secretariat wasn't his white socks; his perfect conformation; his long, huge stride. It wasn't even that he was the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, effectively overthrowing the kingdom of Citation.
No, for me and for many, the most outstanding thing about Big Red was the way in which he claimed that crown: 31 1/2 lengths in the Belmont. Belmont, the Big Sandy that takes great horses, chews them up and spits them out like they were so-much candy corn.
Secretariat with Ron Turcotte up blew down that track, every 1/4 mile faster than the one before. Moving like a freight train toward glory, he was fast, beautiful and most-of-all--strong.