Under Review: Secretariat’s Preakness Time

Electronic timer at Pimlico might have shorted the champ a record run
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2012 2:38 PM CDT
In this May 9, 1973, photo, Secretariat wins the 98th Preakness Stakes. Secretariat's owner has asked the Maryland Racing Commission to look into changing the horse's winning time.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – About 40 years after Secretariat ran away with the Triple Crown, the long-dead stallion is getting a chance to break—or at least tie—another record, reports Bloomberg. The Maryland Racing Commission is reviewing his 1973 Preakness victory at the request of owner Penny Chenery to see if video technology can prove that the race's official timing was off. The official electronic timer clocked Secretariat's run at 1:55, but two independent hand clockers timed it at 1:53 2/5. "Extenuating circumstances" were blamed, and the official time was later changed to 1:54 2/5.

The Preakness was the only leg of the Triple Crown in which Secretariat did not set a record: Pimlico's record at the time was 1:54. So if Secretariat's win is revised to 1:53 2/5, it gives him a record that still stands today (though three horses have since tied that time). “For me, revisiting this dispute on a new day is a matter of resolution—for historians, for sportswriters and for racing fans,” says Chenery.

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