Pending results of a new investigation, Secretariat could make history 39 years after his infamous Triple Crown. His records in the Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5) and Belmont Stakes (1:59 2/5) are yet unbeaten, but his official Preakness time–1:54 2/5–has long been disputed.
According to the Blood Horse, electronic timers used during the running of the 1973 Preakness Stakes recorded Secretariat’s victorious romp at 1:55–a full one and three-fifths seconds slower than observed by two of the Daily Racing Form‘s independent clockers (1:53 2/5). Ultimately, as recorded by Pimlico’s official hand clocker, a time of 1:54 2/5 entered the record books.
1:54 2/5 wasn’t good enough to beat Canonero II’s track record of 1:54, but 1:53 2/5 would’ve been–and the record would still stand today, matched by Tank’s Prospect (1985), Louis Quatorze (1996), and Curlin(2007), completing Big Red’s trifecta of record-breaking Triple Crown wins.
At the request of owner Penny Chennery and Maryland Jockey Club President Thomas Chuckas, a public, investigatory meeting using “advances in modern video technology” will take place next Tuesday, June 19, at 1:00 p.m. EDT at Laurel Park.
“During the last 40 years, video technology has been accepted in other professional sports as a supportive mechanism for officials to ensure fairness and accuracy in their decisions,” Chuckas told the Blood Horse. “It is important for horse racing and the record books to confirm the correct time in this historical race. It is the appropriate thing to do.”