Now. There are questions:
Was Secretariat the greatest horse who ever lived?
Was his Belmont the greatest performance ever made?
Could any horse have beaten Secretariat?

The answers to those questions are difficult. Secretariat won by so far, against such a small field of just five horses, that comparisons to other races is not germane. Just five years later, Affirmed and Alydar would battle stride for stride, nostril for nostril for the length of the Belmont Park stretch in the 1978 Belmont. That, right there, could have been as remarkable a race as anyone has ever seen.


Could Seattle Slew, a Triple Crown winner of 1977 have defeated Secretariat? Could Count Fleet, who was never headed in any Triple Crown race, and won the Belmont by 25 lengths, have beaten Secretariat? Could Citation? Could Man o' War?

No none knows. All those horses ruled the turf at a different time than Secretariat.

Long ago, a writer named Joe H. Palmer wrote that Man o' War was "as close to a living flame as horses ever get." Could Secretariat have been even closer to the flame?

We don't know.

What we do know is Secretariat became all that he was ever supposed to be on the June day at Belmont Park. His Belmont Stakes victory is a landmark. It is a moment in time when he rose, absolutely, to true greatness.

So, while we will never know how he would fare, in another time, against other horses, we do know he created a moment when called upon. One great moment.