Writer’s Forum

“Superhorse – Secretariat”

This installment of the Writer’s Forum reaches back into the Secretariat Archives scrapbook courtesy of Newsweek magazine to share the legendary sports journalist Pete Axthelm’s signature piece on the Meadow Stable champion. The article was originally published just prior to the 1973 Belmont Stakes, as one of the unprecedented trio of national publication cover stories (along with TIME and Sports Illustrated) chronicling Big Red’s Triple Crown quest. To this day it is considered one of the finest articles ever written on Secretariat.


By Pete Axthelm




Pete Axthelm covered a variety of sports for Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Herald Tribune during the 1970s and 1980s. The witty journalist seemed to sense how one special horse could fire the imagination of everyday people from all walks of life. Axthelm understood the race track. He’d torn up his share of losing tote tickets, and cashed a few, too. He’d heard hoof beats over a harrowed track at dawn, just as he’d seen heavyweight champions skipping rope in the gym. Sometimes he could tell. Sometimes he couldn’t. But he never missed the Big Story when it came along – as it did in the spring of 1973. Axthelm passed away in 1991 at the way-too-soon age of 47.


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