July 15, 1972 ~ Maiden Special Weight ~ 6 furlongs ~ Aqueduct Race Course
Eleven days after his racing debut Secretariat was back at the races at Aqueduct Race Course. The strong betting favorite, and this time he would win.Not a perfect start, but like his first race when he ran fourth, Secretariat would again display the powerful stretch- running ability that would become his hallmark: the farther they ran, the stronger he was.
Out of the gate 6th, he settled into form and went after victory. The Daily Racing chart caller noted that Secretariat was “rushed into contention after failing to break alertly, caught the leaders while racing well out into the track nearing the final furlong and drew off with authority.” His running lines reflected the Form’s description: from the start, he was sixth, then fourth, then first by a half a length as he assumed command in mid-stretch, then went on to win by four lengths as he cruised to a four-length victory. (A length is a racing measurement, roughly the length of one horse.)
Paul Feliciano, apprentice rider working for trainer Lucien Laurin, and the brother of veteran jock Ben Feliciano, was aboard Secretariat again.
Next, the stable would ship north from Long Island to the late-summer “Spa” at Saratoga Race Course, in upstate Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Since the Civil War, Saratoga has been the summertime racing playground of the rich and famous — and their rich and famous racehorses. At Saratoga, the eyes of the racing world would become focused on the Big Red horse.