Secretariat 1973 Preakness Garland Offering

Showcase Collector’s Piece is a One-of-a-kind Artifact

Preakness Garland PhotoLOUISVILLE, Ky (July 18, 2016) – In a recent episode of the Smithsonian Channel’s Sports Detectives, investigators follow a trail leading to the long-lost 1A saddlecloth Secretariat wore in the 1973 Kentucky Derby. Following this development in that 43-year-old mystery is news that the 1973 Preakness Stakes garland, an original artifact from the Secretariat archives, will be available for sale to benefit the equine charity R.A.C.E. Fund.

In 1973, Secretariat became the first horse ever to win the Kentucky Derby in under two minutes, launching a season that would make him the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. But amid the celebration of victory, one critical artifact of the win disappeared – his iconic black saddlecloth bearing the number “1A.” For decades it has stood as one of horse racing’s greatest lost treasures.

The provenance for the 1973 Preakness garland, originally lush with traditional black-eyed susans, originates from the private collection of Secretariat’s owner Mrs. Penny Chenery and is verified to be the actual garland that adorned Secretariat in the winner’s circle following his historic win at Pimlico, the second stop on his way to a legendary Triple Crown championship. While Secretariat’s commanding two and a half length victory was historical fact, the official time for the race was scrutinized for 39 years. The Maryland Racing Commission finally settled the issue in 2012 determining that Secretariat’s final time was a record 1:53 flat. The ruling corrected history and officially underscored what many already knew — that the champion Thoroughbred had set records in all three Triple Crown races, records that still stand today.

Leading up to its sale, the garland will be on public display at the Sept. 16-18 Secretariat Festival in Paris, Ky; and other still-to-be determined locations. In the meantime, inquiries for a private sale will be accepted and the possibility of a public auction will be explored for this important piece of memorabilia. While the market will ultimately will determine the value of the garland, authentic Secretariat artifacts have continually garnered significant interest and premiums in the sporting memorabilia community. Recently an original race-worn shoe sold for more than $35,000, and the value of the missing 1A Kentucky Derby saddlecloth was estimated to be $250,000 by Sports Illustrated in 2005.

“The garland carries with it so many memories of that special day at Pimlico,” said Mrs. Chenery. “My hope is that this unassuming piece of racing history will make a mark on the sport’s present and better the future for its horses. The R.A.C.E. Fund offers exceptional work, and I am confident that the proceeds from the garland’s sale will help with the efforts of this most worthy organization and benefit the horses they serve.”

R.A.C.E. Fund, which helps racehorses in need of retirement and rescue from slaughter, will receive proceeds from the sale of Secretariat’s Preakness garland.

“We are so incredibly honored to be a part of the garland that graced the shoulders of one of the greatest Thoroughbreds of all time,” said R.A.C.E. Fund President Marlene Murray. “Secretariat’s victory in the Preakness so many years ago will still benefit Thoroughbreds today as it will enable our organization to continue our mission of helping horses. We are very grateful to Mrs. Chenery and the immortal champion Secretariat.”

To inquire about the sale of the garland, contact


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