Aug. 16, 1972 ~ $25,000 Sanford Stakes ~ 6 furlongs ~ Saratoga Race Course
There was a bit of disagreement amongst fans as to which horse would win the Sanford Stakes. Secretariat had his backers at 3-2 in the betting, but Linda’s Chief, at 3-5, was the odds-on favorite. Linda’s Chief was an excellent racehorse, and would have a nice career, but Secretariat powered to another open lengths victory in the five-horse field. The race caller saw the Sanford this way: “Secretariat,” he reported in the Daily Racing Form, “sent up behind the leaders approaching the stretch, drove between Trevose and Northstar Dancer to reach the front nearing the final furlong while being ridden out.” Linda’s Chief rallied to be second, but this race was all Secretariat. The final time for the 6-furlongs (3/4 of a mile) was 1:10 flat. That’s fast.
The term “ridden out” is racetrack vernacular for how a horse that is winning a race is asked to finish the event. Secretariat had reached the lead, was going to win easily, but jockey Ron Turcotte did not ease the horse to the finish line. Nor did he urge the colt to give him more.
Turcotte, who was then riding at the very top of the horse-racing game, knew there were bigger tests ahead. Sitting chilly in the saddle Turcotte was probably the most interested observer of all as he let Secretariat do it his own way.