Updated on 06/15/2012 2:26PM

Secretariat's Preakness time from 1973 to be reviewed by Maryland commission


The Maryland Racing Commission will conduct a formal review of the official time recorded for Secretariat’s win in the 1973 Preakness Stakes at its monthly commission meeting on June 19, representatives of Secretariat said on Tuesday.

The review will seek to settle once and for all a controversy that has dogged the 1973 Preakness since Secretariat crossed the wire at Pimlico in an official electronic time of 1:55, one second slower than Canonero’s record at the time for the race. Two clockers from Daily Racing Form had hand-timed the race in 1:53 2/5, and, after lengthy hearings, Pimlico’s stewards and the state racing commission agreed to revise the time to 1:54 2/5.

Leonard Lusky, a representative of Secretariat’s former owner, Penny Chenery, said on Tuesday that three separate companies have conducted “forensic analysis” on the replay of the race and have established a time that they believe is accurate to .03 of a second. Lusky declined to provide the time that the horse’s representatives would seek for the race, but he said that the analysis had produced “compelling evidence” to revise the official time again.

“We’ll be bringing in the forensic film analysis and we’ve been doing a lot of scientific study of that film,” Lusky said. “New technology has opened up some new avenues that haven’t yet been explored.”

Although the official time maintained by the track remains 1:54 2/5, DRF has continued to use 1:53 2/5, based on its own review of the evidence.

An official revision would have some impact on Secretariat’s legacy. Secretariat broke the track record in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, and a revision of the Preakness time lower than Canonero’s record would give the horse the track record in all three races at the time they were run.

The track record for the 1 3/16-mile distance of the Preakness is held by Farma Way, who ran 1 3/16 miles in the Pimlico Special in 1:52 2/5 on May 11, 1991. Farma Way’s time broke a record set a year earlier by Criminal Type, who won the same race in 1:53.

“For me, revisiting this dispute on a new day is a matter of resolution – for historians, for sportswriters, and for racing fans,” said Chenery, in a release. “Their voices are supported by sound evidence, and they deserve to be heard.”

Three horses that have won the Preakness since 1973 have done so in the 1:53 2/5 time that is used by DRF for Secretariat’s win: Tank’s Prospect in 1985, Louis Quatorze in 1995, and Curlin in 2007.

Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Ridiculous. Secretariat set a record for Belmont with 31 lengths . Why bother with a fraction of a second.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
that fraction is the difference between breaking all three race speed records or only breaking the Derby and Belmont records. I would rather see him break all three.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing ridiculous about correcting a final time that's been in dispute for as long as Secretariat's final time in the '73 Preakness has been.
Cynthia Ann Barham More than 1 year ago
I remember very plainly the races Secretariat ran. I cried like a baby when he won each one. He was amazing. There has never been a horse like Secretariat since then and I doubt if there will be in the future. He deserves a correct time. I hope he gets it.
Dixie Cameron More than 1 year ago
I disagree with the lot of you. His time is important. It is part pf racing history and should be correct. It's like shaving a couple run's off of Hank Aarons record. It is what it is and it should be correct. Yes, he is a champion and we all know that. He was the best im my opinion and I don't think we will ever see another like him. But give him his due. It is history and you can't mess with that.
Shachar More than 1 year ago
Frank Altieri More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Cheney just continue with the work in getting the facts pointed out. You don't need to apologize for Secretariat's greatness. Let the record officially show a track record for all three races, something most of us know.
Valerie Wehmueller More than 1 year ago
Ok, this is just crazy! We all know, & most of us, love Secretariat. He was a true, natural champion, he loved what he did as much as he loved his owner & "family". A natural born athlete. He won the Triple Crown, regardless of his times. Why on earth, 39 years later, does anything need to be changed? Secretariat is a legend, once in a life-time, he won ALREADY! Let this champion rest in peace, no one can or will ever take his place, he is etched in our history, our memories, our hearts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You said it right on the button,Valerie. An excellent and evocative and loving summation. Hopefully this will put it to rest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did you see Penny Chenery lately? She used to be so beautiful and classy. She was making cheap and in appropriate comments about IHA. on TV. Lets just be kind and say she did not grow old gracefully and she sounded very low class. Sad.
Tom More than 1 year ago
She has always been a underhanded person out for self promotion.
hayduke More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One more point. In this particular race, Secretariat was never asked to run. Turcotte never touched him with the whip. He broke the track record in a gallop. Turcotte explained that he was saving Secretariat for the Belmont. Someone please show me a horse setting a track record with such ease. You won't find it. Not only that, the record was broken in a classic race that has been run by America's best three year old for over a hundred years. Unbelievable.
Frank Altieri More than 1 year ago
The above is my post. Somehow the computer gave it to anonymous.
Robert Gotland More than 1 year ago
Come on Maryland Horse Racing Commission etc you should be concentrating on your white collar crimes which is well supported by your Corporate and State crimes refer to conspiredcorruption.word.com
D More than 1 year ago
This is stupid. Does it really matter what his time was at this point. WE all know he was and still is the greatest TB the world has ever seen. Is it me or when Penny Chenery opens her mouth anymore she looks and sounds low class in her elderly years...?? Kepp your mouth shut about other peoples horses and relax no real racing fan is going to care a less what his time was in the Preakness! WE GET IT HE IS A LEGEND!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm afraid you are right, Penny Chenery did NOT grow old with the grace and looks which captivated us all back then.It is a sad ending to such a fairy tale. How did she get so common? You know looking back with 20-20 when she retired him at 3 it was the end of an era when the horses raced for the public and not for the breeder's. We are lucky to have been around in such glorious times, First Man on the Moon,Elvis, Ali,Sinatra,Three Triple Crown winners ,Cable TV,the Internet and all the information around for handicapping---------(I still can't beat 'em!} It's sad we have to settle for such mediocre fare nowadays! but we have a lot to be thankful for too like blogging with people like you. We must be understanding about the smaller world and dreams and futures younger people have nowadays and just smile wryly when they get all shook up for IHA,The Kardashians etc. I have to say I sure would not like to wake up with Penny Chenery who was the like an American Queen to a to many a starry eyed youth.I was one of them too and I never thought,in a million years, I would say this..
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
The 'glow' of Penny Chenery in my eyes left when I watched "Heart of a Champion" and she said "You have to have a PRODUCT you believe in." That stung a little. Then later when I read her saying "They're just horses." that was it for me. :(
Charlie No-nothin' More than 1 year ago
And this will prove what? Its 39 years after the fact, guys.
jim samson More than 1 year ago
That wild brush into the first turn never ceases to amaze.