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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."
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
If you love horses, you'll love this book. If you're interested in the life story of an American icon, you'll be interested in this book. And if you're a reader who values crisp, strong writing, this book will reward your listening time with many pleasures. Ably narrated by Grover Gardner and concluded with a portfolio of Nack's later writings about Secretariat (read by the author). A winner all the way around the track.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful