This is Buzzy's Country Store blog designed to keep you apprised of what's going on at the Store. Buzzy's is a general store located in St. Mary's County, Southern Maryland near Pt. Lookout State Park. Buzzy and Jean Ridgell purchased the Store from Jean's father Harry Raley in 1953. Buzzy operated it until his passing in 2009. His son J. Scott Ridgell is the current owner.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Preakness - 1973 - Secretariat

Secretariat Wearing Preakness Winner's Black Eyed Susan Blanket
Yesterday should have been the 145th running of the Preakness.  This year's event has been rescheduled to October.  (Quick aside here - maybe this year the Black Eyed Susan flowers used to make the winner's blanket (above) will be real ones.  The ones used in May are fake Susans because the real ones don't bloom until later (click here.)  The winner's blanket is actually made up of daisies with their centers painted black to look like Black Eyed Susans.) 
Bud Ridgell and I attended that 73 Preakness where Secretariat certified his greatness by winning the race in record time (click here.)  It was also in that race where Secretariat made his famous last to first move in a matter of seconds, took the lead and went on to win easily by 2 1/2 lengths.   I recently found some photos that I took that day.

The first is Secretariat just chilling in his stable before the race.  (His pre-race lunch sure looks a little slack doesn't it?)  Bud knew a horse owner who took us behind the scenes with him to get a look at Secretariat.  I remember the owner saying how everyone was talking about what a good looking horse Secretariat was and he wanted to see for himself.  

You  really can't tell it here from my so-so photo of him, but Secretariat was not only a big horse but he was also a beautiful chestnut color that made him even more impressive when you saw him up close.  (A criticism of the movie made about Secretariat was that the horses portraying him did not look like anything like him.  None could.)  
Secretariat Horsing Around
Something else I remember about that Preakness was seeing Johnny Unitas in a car riding  around the track and I took this photo of him.  Johnny had been traded to San Diego and was being honored that day for all he had done in putting Baltimore on the football map.  It prompted a NY Times column by Red Smith with the clever headline "An Old Colt Stars at the Preakness" (click here.)

After winning the Preakness that Saturday in May, Secretariat appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated the following week.  As I stated above, the Preakness victory really was Secretariat's launch into super stardom.  (Another quick aside here, only 6 other athletes have ever appeared on these 3 magazine covers in the same week.  Can you name them?  If not (click here.)

Here then is the video of the 73 Preakness.    Keep your eye on the top of the screen around the :36 mark where it looks like  Secretariat, who had been running last until then, says "Screw this. I'm going around these bozos" and does so in about 15 seconds time.

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