August 26, 1972 ~ Hopeful Stakes ~ 6 furlongs ~ Saratoga Race Course
For two-year-old horses, the climax of the Saratoga meet is the Hopeful Stakes and “Hopeful” is about as apt a description as a horse race has ever had for its name. Two-year-olds are the stars of the future, and everyone who has a good 2-year-old in the barn is hopeful. That they’d ever have one as good as Secretariat is to hope beyond hope.
The Daily Racing Form’s description of Secretariat’s Hopeful is simple, and tells a big story in few words: “Secretariat, outrun away from the gate, looped his field on the turn to reach the front approaching the stretch and drew off with authority.”
Couldn’t be any more straightforward than that summation: “drew off with authority.” Secretariat was a big and bold colt, a son of the leading sire in North America, Bold Ruler, and a picture of strength and power. That’s how he looked, and that’s how he ran.
And the world was paying attention.
In the Hopeful, Secretariat was sent away at odds of just $.30 to $1, or 3-10. He paid $2.60 to win. That’s peanuts, of course. Nobody would be getting rich betting on Secretariat. However a sure way to become poor would be to bet against the Big Red Horse.