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We Are Flying Solo

January 12, 2010

Quiz Answers

Just because I know you were dying to find out, our two mystery horses from the 29 December 2009 quiz were successfully identified!

molly was the first commenter to successfully identify our stunning chestnut, Secretariat. A son of Bold Ruler, this red speed demon was not expected to have the staying power for the distance stakes races. It appears no one informed Secretariat of this. Not only did he win the Triple Crown in 1973, he blew it out of the water. In the Derby, he achieved the unprecedented feat of running each successive quarter mile faster than the one before it. That record still stands. He also won the mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths and in the fastest time for 1.5 miles on dirt ever before and ever since. He is still listed in "Top Ten" lists of great athletes even in non-horsey circles, won $1.3 million, and his blood lives on in his descendents despite his death from laminitis at age 19 in 1989. As an honor for a great legend, he was buried whole at Claiborne, where he still lies. He also sired the first TB yearling ever to sell for more than $1 million; the colt, Canadian Bound, brought a $1.5 million sticker price, but was a failure at racing. Secretariat later became known for his penchant for producing mediocre colts, but excellent broodmares. Interestingly, necropsy revealed that his heart weighed 22 pounds, the largest ever recorded for a horse.

The grey was a toughie, but Kate chimed in, solving the mystery (even I couldn't figure out who he was): Spectacular Bid. He was a Bold Ruler grandson who may have also been a Triple Crown winner, only the morning of the 1979 Belmont, "The Bid" stepped on a metal pin in his stall and his jockey was in a fist fight, the two of which together cost him the prize. Nevertheless, he won 26 out of 30 races and never lost between 7 furlongs and 1.25 miles. He won $2.8 million and was syndicated at stud for $22 million. He left Claiborne in 1991 and he died of a heart attack in 2003 in upstate New York, 27 years full of heart.


  1. Great site and I loved your quiz! Ex-racers are my heroes. I am on a quest to become a jockey myself. I write a daily blog and would love horse people to read and comment.


  3. Thanks for the quiz result, I had been waiting to see who the grey was. Everyone knew who the chestnut. I watched all the legs of his triple crown on TV. He was amazing.

  4. Thanks and you're welcome! I am not a fan of horse racing but have the deepest admiration for the athletes who survive it!

  5. We had a direct grandson of Secretariat at the thoroughbred breeding farm I was working out at. He was huge, and looked just like a bay version of Secretariat in that picture. My boss had an idea to make him into a big eventer, but unfortunately he is overly egotistical, clumsy (don't know if he's inherently so or its something worse), has a bad penchant for randomly taking off without warning while you're leading him (and there's not much you can do to prevent that big of a horse from going wherever he feels like going), he's lazy, and if you work him for over five minutes, he won't catch his breath for like 8 years, no matter how much we've tried to condition him. And watching him jump is painful. Not going to cut it as an eventer, or, well, much of anything. Maybe he'd be good at dressage; except he hates taking orders from anyone. Well, he's a really beautiful 17.2 hand high pasture ornament....!

    But we have another mare that was the grandaughter of Secretariat. She was absolutely adorable, on the smaller side, but cute package, fiery, and beautiful mover. She's not broke yet, but I wanted to get her broke so bad. I thought it was funny you mentioned the thing about Secretariat's mediocre boys and good broodmares, seeing as that seemed to be the dichotomy at the farm. :)