• by William Nack
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 14 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1973, Secretariat, the greatest champion in horse-racing history, won the Triple Crown. The only horse to ever grace the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated in the same week, he also still holds the record for the fastest times in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. He was also the only non-human chosen as one of ESPN's "50 Greatest Athletes of the Century". The tale of "Big Red" is an enduring and inspiring classic, more than 30 years after its initial publication.


Audible Editor Reviews

You’ve likely seen footage of Triple Crown champion Secretariat’s remarkable racing career, and Grover Gardner brings us even closer to the track in his narration of William Nack’s enthralling investigation of the life and career of the champion thoroughbred first published in 1975. Gardner’s deep and robust voice heightens the intensity of those scenes when Secretariat bounds full throttle towards the finish line. Although aware of the outcome already, the suspense and excitement of the competition build all the same throughout this performance.
Following a record-shattering win at the Belmont Stakes in 1973, American thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat (fondly nicknamed “Big Red” by his fanbase) became the first Triple Crown winner in over a quarter-century. His performance has since been unmatched by any other competitor today. Secretariat charts the horse’s career from his calculated birth to his achieving the Triple Crown. Nack traces Secretariat’s lineage, studying his breeding and ownership by two families — the Chenerys of Meadow Farm in Caroline County, Virginia, and the Hancocks of Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. These individuals involved in Secretariat’s victory make up a fascinating piece of his history and upbringing.
While horse lovers will thoroughly enjoy Secretariat, fans of investigative biographies and suspenseful narratives will devour Gardner’s rendition of this powerful athlete’s success story. The politics of the Triple Crown make for an intriguing sidebar to this story. Gardner plunges into Secretariat’s competitions with enthusiasm, and his smooth southern accent offers a pleasant reprieve from each pulse-pounding race. Secretariat triumphs in its depiction of horse racing and in moments of quiet investigation. —Suzanne Day


What the Critics Say

"Secretariat is an elegantly crafted, exhilarating tale of speed and power, grace and greatness, told with such immediacy that the reader is lost in the rush of horses and the clatter and ring of the grandstand." (Laura Hillenbrand, best-selling author of Seabiscuit)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The story of a great athlete

The headline refers to the fact that in 1999 ESPN counted down the top 50 athletes of the 20th century and Secretariat was ranked 35th. This book by William Nack was the basis for the movie starring Diane Lane as Penny Chenery the horse's owner.
I can remember watching the Triple Crown races with interest for the time in 1973. I had seen the races previously because my mother watched them every year but in 1973 there was enough buzz that I watched them eagerly. This was especially true of the Belmont Stakes when this magnificent athlete was in line to win the first triple crown in 25 years. If you're a fan of great athletes watching Secretariat stretch out the lead in the third quarter mile and eventually win the race by 31 lengths is as stirring as any two legged athletic accomplishment. In fact, to me the only accomplishments that even compare with it are Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game in 1962 and Bob Beamon's 29 ft. 2 & one half inch long jump at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968.
This audiobook goes all the way back to Big Red's sire and dam(n)? About the money issues the owner faced and the rivalry between Secretariat and Sham, as well as between the two owners. There are limits to the audio form; horse racing can only be fully appreciated in video. Still this is the most detailed, most comprehensive book on the horse that was almost human. The writer William Nack came to love Secretariat and the feelings that he had for this marvelous horse are all over the words he wrote about him. When the ESPN rankings came out and Big Red was ranked 35th many athletes were offended to have finished behind him. "A horse; are you kidding me a horse?" Those that knew him though had a rejoinder. "Hey you didn't know that horse."
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- Me & My Girls

Great story ... and true, too!

This is a wonderful story and that it is true and happened makes it even more amazing. I remember Secretariat ... I remember watching his astonishing 39 length win at the Kentucky Derby ... and knowing that I'd probably never see anything like that again. And I haven't.

You don't have to be a racing fan to like it. It feels much more like a novel than history and the excellent quality of the writing and smooth narration make it a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. Grover Gardner is always good, but I think in this book, he's even better than usual.

If you saw the movie, you will find it interesting how much the book differs from the Hollywood version. The basic facts are the same, but there are many difference both large and subtle. It makes an interesting comparison.

Secretariat was a winner and so is the book. A great read. Not a dull moment!
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- History

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-02-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios