Sunday, February 22, 2009

Secretariat: Triple Crown Legend

If I was raised and lived far removed from churches, Holy Scripture, or anyone proclaiming Christ, ...I would know God, my Creator, through horses.

I’ve had a love of horses for as long as I can remember and have shared my life with them since age 6. Reading about horses, watching them on t.v., drawing them, spending hours at the barn riding, grooming and listening to them munch hay is a tightly woven part of my life’s tapestry.

I can recall a little motorized toy that my parents bought for me on Christmas one year that allowed me to place each differently colored horse on a little track, press ‘go’ and watch them race over and over again with varying outcomes, much to my delight.

I spent days outside in the summer reveling in Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series
and actually fell over backward in my lawn chair after throwing my hands in the air, celebratory style, as I read about the conclusion of a long and arduous desert horse race.

It isn’t the sport of racing that appeals to me as much as the opportunity to witness perfection in God’s most noble creature. In fact, there’s much to lament about the
sport ...the misuse of drugs, some calloused owners and insurance policies, the questionable breeding and other ethical matters.

What I wish to share with you is the essence of the animal, a heart and spirit that kindles praise to my Creator.

There are times in our life when we can witness perfection or experience it ourselves as God’s grace is given. When we see an athlete such as Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope or Lyman Bostock who sought to return a salary he felt he didn’t earn, or Troy Polamalu who speaks openly about his love for God, we can gain a sense of something outside of themselves, something greater...something far greater and wonderful. In animals, perhaps even more so since they haven’t the propensity toward sin. Every perfect thing in us is from God above; how glorious when we gain glimpses of the eternal on earth!

I was only a toddler when Secretariat wowed the world with his stamina and heart. But through the recordings of his races and the words of those closest to him, I can share in his amazing life. In watching him run as God created him to do, it is not just thrilling to behold, but deeply humbling in the sense that here, before us, is a glimpse of perfection, of God’s handiwork.

In 1973, Secretariat won each leg comprising the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, setting new track records in each and a new world record in the Belmont. Since 1919, we’ve only seen 11 Triple Crown winners...and after the Belmont Stakes, the last and longest of the races at a mile and a half, Pat Lynch remarked:

“It was like the Lord was holding the reins, ..Secretariat was one of His creatures and maybe whispered to him a “Go” and that horse really went. It was really an almost supernatural really was.” 
--Pat Lynch NY Racing Association 1957-1981 on Secretariat’s performance in the Belmont Stakes

*To the best of my knowledge the above image is in public domain; for more information on Secretariat, please visit 


GretchenJoanna said...

I'm so glad you linked back to this post which I hadn't read -- so that I could know about how horses taught you about the Creator. I don't have a lot of direct experience with horses, though both of my sisters and many friends owned horses. Still, the few times I've gone to the county fair, I am never happier than when watching the horse races -- glory to God!

amy said...

Thank you for reading, GretchenJoanna = ' )

Glory to God, indeed!

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