Secretariat may be one of biggest letdowns

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Secretariat may be one of biggest letdowns - THE TRIBUNE-STAR, TERRE HAUTE, IND. SUNDAY,...
THE TRIBUNE-STAR, TERRE HAUTE, IND. SUNDAY, NOV. 20, 1977 39 Secretariat may be one of biggest letdowns By JENNY KELLNER NEW YORK (UPI) - They are scattered scattered like carelessly strewn pearls among the landed gentry of four nations, 28 colts and fillies who serve as the harbingers of what may become one of the biggest letdowns in the thoroughbred breeding industry. They are the 2-year-old sons and daughters of Secretariat, the gleaming chestnut stallion who flashed through the racing world in 1972 and 1973 and became the first Triple Crown winner since Citation. So great were Secretariat’s achievements achievements that he was syndicated for a then- record $6.08 million before he raced as a 3-year-old. before he even set foot on the Churchill Downs strip and set a record for the lVi-mile Kentucky Derby and went on to sweep the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes in unforgettable form. Businessmen, heiresses, breeders and other horsefolk invested $190,000 for each share in the breeding syndicate, for the privilege of mating their blueblooded mares to Secretariat, whose own bloodlines bloodlines are as impeccable as his racing reputation. . Only the finest were permitted in the breeding shed with the handsome chestnut, like the stakes-winning mares Chou Croute, Windy’s Daughter and Cold Comfort, as well as the daughters of the great racehorses Northern Dancer and Buckpasser. Those who were not lucky enough to get a share paid $3.4 million last year in public auction for nine of his yearlings, including a record $1.5 million paid for the colt Canadian Bound, a half-brother to Dahlia. Those colts, as well as the homebreds, reached racing age this year. And this was to be the year, the season Secretariat's first crop of foals went to the races and took the juvenile racing world by storm. Wrong. Only two of his get are winners — a colt with the improbable and nearly unpronouncable name of Dactylo- grapher, who won the William Hill Stakes at Ascot in England Oct. 8, and a filly named Feuille D’Erable who won at six furlongs at Woodbine in Toronto Sept. 12. And the others? Less than a half-dozen of the colts and fillies have even made it to the races; the rest, because of assorted injuries and slow development, remained on the farms, waiting, as always, for next year. This summer at Saratoga, racing fans perused the enrty list every day, waiting for a Secretariat to appear. Only one did. That one colt, a half-brother to Majestic Light named Brilliant Protege, was unplaced. unplaced. He started again at Belmont later in the fall, but still failed to break his maiden, finishing third. Another, a filly named Sexetary. was the first of his offspring to start, going to post in May, when she finished fourth. She did not race again until October, finishing a distant third at the Meadowlands. Dan Lassiter's Secretariat Secretariat filly Messina was ninth in her first start at Calder Nov. 9. Canadian Bound, the $1.5-million dollar baby, finished second in his first start in France, then retired for the year What is — or rather, isn’t — going on here9 “Secretariat was a brilliant 2-year- old, but that doesn’t mean his progeny will be as precocious,” says John Russell. Russell. Brilliant Protege’s British-born trainer. “It’s entirely possible he won't have a good horse in his first crop. “I do think, however, that the total investment in these horses is so great that trainers tend to be more cautious with them than they would with cheaper horses. If you’ve got a valuable piece of property, you’re not going to train them on bad tracks. With horses of lesser quality, you can afford to overlook minor problems.” So that bucked shins, sore fetlocks, splints and other ailments that would be hurriedly patched up on a cheap claimer are agonized and brooded over in a Secretariat foal. Yet breeders remain eternal optimists. optimists. It took 10 years for anyone to admit that Citation was a dud at stud and Secretariat’s failure to produce a major stakes-winning colt doesn't seem to have anyone looking to sell their shares at a loss. Yet. Something that does concern the horsemen is Secretariat's failure to “stamp” his offspring, to pass on his powerful build, clean white markings and glossy chestnut coat. “Oh. yes, Brilliant Protege looks exactly exactly like Secretariat.” quips Russell. “He's swaybacked and gray.” Some of Secretariat's 2-year-olds are chestnuts, most are not. There are a tremendous black filly, a few bays and a couple of grays. The yearlings that went at the summer sales are similar to this year’s crop, as are the weanlings who will sell next year. “A dominant sire, like a Vaguely Noble, will stamp his get,” says Frenchman Maurice Zilber, who trains Canadian Bound. “The ones I have have the same color, but I don’t think they have the same acceleration. “We will see exactly what he is next year. I do think the Secretariats would be better off training in Europe, as they do not rush their horses as much there. Next year, I don’t know if they will be on top, but I don't think they will be very far from the top." “They are good. But they have been a disappointment this year.” Even the man who ran the syndication, syndication, Seth Hancock, admitted this year's crop was a disappointment. There are twinges of hope Dactylographer's victory in the William Hill vaulted Secretariat into second place on the leading juvenile sires list in Europe; in the United States, however, he is nowhere near the top of the list. In fact, Sham. Secretariat’s leading opponent in the 1973 Triple Crown, is way ahead of him in sixth place, having sired five winners including the stakes- winning Sherry Peppers. The leading juvenile sire is Roberto, a son of Hail To Reason who raced in Europe, was retired to stud after his 4- year-old season and has produced 10 winners in 29 foals as opposed to Secretariat's two in 28. But the breeders and owners and trainers all chorus: “Wait. Blood will tell.” If Secretariat was a fleet horse of obscure breeding, no one would be terribly terribly surprised if he failed as a stud. But if nothing else, even if Secretariat were a medicore racehorse himself, his bloodlines bloodlines are as valuable as one could want. Secretariat confirms the well-worn, but appropiate adage of the thoroughbred thoroughbred breeder: “Breed the best to the best, and hope for the best.” Secretariat carries the blood of Bold Ruler and Princequillo. being a son of the leading modern sire and a Prince­ quillo mare, Sorfiethingroyal. A much- hoped for blend of speed and stamina resulted from the cross But then, as Russell says: “You can never tell who's going to be good and who isn t. There is no guarantee. Citation Citation was worthless as a stud. Certainly I don’t think you could begin to judge Secretariat this early. “I'd tell you this, though — I’d rather have one by Secretariat than two by The Minstrel. Mr. (Odgen Mills) Phipps has two mares in foal to Secretariat, along with two yearlings, and we're certainly not despondent about them. They can bring all the Secretariats they want into my barn. I'd be more than happy to have them ”

Clipped from The Terre Haute Tribune20 Nov 1977, SunPage 39

The Terre Haute Tribune (Terre Haute, Indiana)20 Nov 1977, SunPage 39
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  • Secretariat may be one of biggest letdowns

    bender235 – 03 Dec 2016

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