Secretariat’s super mares

Created: Sunday, 04 June 2017
There’s no doubt that Secretariat’s lasting legacy as a sire is through his daughters. According to Equineline, 338 Secretariat mares produced 3,283 foals and 154 black type winners, for earnings to date of more than $152 million.

The most successful producer of the bunch, at least in terms of stakes winners produced, is Lady Winborne. She was the dam of G1 winners Al Mamoon and La Gueriere, G3 winner Lost Soldier and three other stakes winners – that total of six leads all Secretariat mares.

Not far behind is Weekend Surprise with four stakes winners. Of course, she rises to the head of the class in terms of their impact on the breed, being the dam of A.P. Indy, a dominant force in sire lines today, plus successful sire Summer Squall.

A.P. Indy is just one stallion that keeps Secretariat’s name in Northern Hemisphere pedigrees. The others are Storm Cat (one of two stakes winners produced by Terlingua), Gone West (one of three stakes winners out of Secrettame) and to a somewhat lesser extent Chief’s Crown (one of two G1 winners from Six Crowns). In the Southern Hemisphere, legendary New Zealand sire Volksraad is out of the Secretariat mare Celtic Assembly, who produced two stakes winners in addition to the leading sire.

While I never saw Celtic Assembly, I was fortunate over the years to visit with Weekend Surprise, Terlingua, Secrettame and Six Crowns, and their photos are included in this gallery.

Weekend Surprise
A nice stakes winner with earnings of $402,892 on the racetrack, she launched a breeding dynasty for Lane’s End Farm. Her first named foal, Summer Squall, was a classic winner and good sire in his own right, counting Horse of the Year Charismatic among his offspring. But it was her 1989 foal, A.P. Indy, that would become a dominant breeding force. I saw Weekend Surprise race a couple of times as a four-year-old at Santa Anita, and visited her twice at Lane’s End.

This flying chestnut filly helped salvage Secretariat’s sagging reputation after a lackluster first crop. Remarkably, she set stakes records in six of her seven stakes wins, ultimately retiring with earnings of $423,896. She single-handedly built Overbrook Farm with her second foal, Storm Cat, and also produced stakes winner Chapel of Dreams. While I never got to see her race, I was fortunate enough to see her three times at Overbrook.

An elegant chestnut filly born in 1978, Secrettame flashed some of her sire’s brilliance in her 10 races, which included one stakes win, for earnings of $101,598. She hit paydirt with her first foal, Gone West. A talented G1 winner, Gone West would go on to be a very good sire and sire of sires – his sons include Elusive Quality and Speightstown. Thanks to the graciousness of Mare Haven Farm, I was able to visit her a few times during her producing years.

Six Crowns
If there was ever equine royalty, this filly was it. 1974 filly Triple Crown winner Chris Evert was bred to Secretariat in 1975, and produced this lovely filly (hence the name, Six Crowns). Like Terlingua, she was one of six stakes winners in Secretariat’s second crop, and she earned $136,274 in her 15 starts. She produced G1 winners Classic Crown and Chief’s Crown, the latter becoming a champion two-year-old and solid sire, still appearing in pedigrees today. I saw Six Crowns briefly at Claiborne Farm in 1993.