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Hollywood Unnecessarily Embellishes the Real Tale of Secretariat

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From Fanhouse.com, a review of the new Secretariat movie. I saw Secretariat run in several of his races, and I was there sitting near the finish line when he won the 1973 Belmont. My concern was that Disney would take liberties with the Secretariat story for the sake of Hollywood script considerations. That concern was well founded. The more things change, the more they remain the same…    

Secretariat was not Pegasus.

On the day he died in 1989 at 19 years old at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, a necropsy performed by University of Kentucky veterinary scientist Dr. Thomas Swerczek revealed that Secretariat's heart was roughly twice the size of a normal horse's heart. It was little wonder then how Secretariat 16 years earlier pulled off a feat that hadn't been witnessed in nearly half a century, and did so with a domination that theretofore could only be imagined: he won the 1973 Triple Crown while setting course records in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont that still stand.

The truth, however, wasn't good enough for the director of Secretariat, the movie about the horse's spectacular run scheduled to debut Friday. For Randall Wallace, who grew up steeped in Baptist churches in the South and majored in religion at Duke, Secretariat was bathed in divine intervention. Indeed, one of the turning points in the film — as if the greatest racehorse, with literally the biggest heart, needed one — is when Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery (played by Diane Lane, photo below) and groom Eddie Sweat (played by Nelsan Ellis) wash him down after a rare loss to the tune of the Edwin Hawkins Singers' hit soul gospel Oh Happy Day. It's the one with the refrain, "When Jesus washed, he washed my sins away."

I don't know what the sin was, or who the sinners were, in Secretariat's biography. 

For the rest of the article, go to http://kevin-blackistone.fanhouse.com/2010/10/07/hollywood-unnecessarily-embellishes-the-real-tale-of-secretariat/

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