Secretariat’s Grade 1 winners

Created: Sunday, 19 March 2017
Of Secretariat’s 57 stakes winners, nine won Grade 1/Group 1 races, races at the highest level of the sport. Seven were in the United States, one was in England and the other in Australia. From his 16 crops, 1982 was the most prolific – three of the nine G1 winners were born that year: Fiesta Lady, Image of Greatness and the best of them all, Lady’s Secret. Four additional stakes winners came out of that crop; the total of seven was the most born in any of the 16 years. Although his first crop was roundly dismissed as a failure, it did produce his first Group 1 winner in Dactylographer. Secretariat book-ended his stud career with the multiple G1 winner Tinners Way in his final crop, those born in 1990.

This first-crop son out of the Ribot mare Artists Proof was Secretariat’s first stakes winner, taking the G1 William Hill Futurity in England in1977. He wasn’t able to duplicate that success at three, and was returned to the United States to enter stud in Florida in 1979. I saw him at the farm in March 1993.

General Assembly
One of Secretariat’s best offspring on the racetrack was also his best son as a sire. The General was one member of the 1976 crop that helped boost Secretariat’s reputation after a rather dismal first crop. A chestnut with a strong resemblance to his father, I saw him in 1991 at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky, although he spent most of his stud career in Europe.

Fiesta Lady
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, this G1 stakes winning filly ran in the very first Breeders’ Cup in 1984 at age two. I saw her on race day at Hollywood Park. She was the first of Secretariat’s three G1 winners from his 1982 crop.

Image Of Greatness
A flashy chestnut with lots of chrome, Image of Greatness recorded a G1 win in 1985 and was briefly on the Derby trail for D. Wayne Lukas. He fizzled out and was retired to owner George Steinbrenner’s farm in Florida. I saw him training at Santa Anita and again years later on the farm.

Lady’s Secret
This diminutive gray filly looked nothing like her sire, but she certainly had much of his speed and talent within her. She compiled an enviable record to become known as the Iron Lady, and was named Horse of the Year after a remarkable 1986 campaign. She is Secretariat’s only offspring to join him in racing’s Hall of Fame. I saw her a few times at the races, but for most of her career I was still in college. I enjoyed a personal audience with her one afternoon at Hollywood Park in early 1986, and many years later watched her go through the sales ring at Keeneland.

Risen Star
Although he was a far different physical type than his sire, Risen Star evoked strong memories of Secretariat with his runaway win in the 1988 Belmont Stakes. I was at Belmont Park that day as a fan, but unfortunately my camera failed and I was left to simply watch him power through the stretch. I finally photographed him a month later at Belmont (thanks to Louie Roussel) while he was recovering from his injury, and once again as a sire at Walmac Farm. He died relatively young, at age 13, and I regret not visiting him more often.

Kingston Rule
This regally-bred colt was born in Kentucky in 1986, trained briefly in France but raced exclusively in Australia, where he won the 1990 Melbourne Cup, the “race that stops a nation.” I traveled Down Under to see Secretariat’s look-alike son in early 2007; the owners of the farm couldn’t have been more accommodating.

Super Staff
This 1988 filly found her best stride in America after beginning her career in Europe. Twice in 1992 she defeated future Hall of Famer Flawlessly, gutting it out with her distinctive “head down” running style. I saw her training at Santa Anita in the winter of 1992/93.

Tinners Way
By far the most accomplished member of Secretariat’s last crop, and his third-leading money earner overall, Tinners Way became a stakes winner at three in Europe but blossomed into a multiple G1 winner in the United States. I’ve seen him many times – at the tracks, at stud at Vinery and Key Ranch, and a few times at Old Friends, where he remains to this day.