April 7, 1973 ~ $50,000 Gotham Stakes ~ 1 mile ~ Aqueduct Race Course
The next test for Secretariat in the spring of 1973 was a step up in distance in the one-mile Gotham working on a conditioning pattern that would lead to the 1 1/8 miles Wood Memorial, and then the 1 1/4 miles Kentucky Derby.
A mile, of course, was just candy for Secretariat. His daddy Bold Ruler was one of the great milers of all time and Secretariat breezed through the Gotham in a blazing 1:33 2/5 that equaled the track record, and was just a second and one-fifth off Dr. Fager’s 1:32 1/5 world record set in 1968.
Secretariat, with regular rider Ron Turcotte again aboard, showed a new front-running dimension in the Gotham, running closer to the pace and closer to the rail.
The Daily Racing Form chart caller noted that Secretariat was “away in good order, ducked to the inside to join the leaders before going three furlongs, opened a clear lead while saving ground around the turn, was roused when challenged by Champagne Charlie after entering the stretch and drew off under a hand ride.”
Secretariat’s Gotham triumph not only set the racing world abuzz, but even general sports fans who seldom paid much attention to horse racing now eagerly awaited the next installment in Secretariat’s triumphant march toward the Kentucky Derby.