SECRETARIAT: AN OLD HOLLYWOOD MOVIE-MOVIE
First of all, full disclosure. I’ve been a horse racing fan for more than 50 years. As such, I remember 1973 when Secretariat became the first horse to win the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont) in 25 years. No other horse has done it since. In particular, I remembering watching in wonder as Secretariat won the Belmont that year by over 30 lengths, stamping him as the greatest race horse I ever saw and maybe the greatest horse of all time.
What I didn’t know back in the 1970s was what was happening behind the scenes with Secretariat. Now, I do.
The film Secretariat is an astonishing story of faith, love, trust, redemption, and hope. It’s also this year’s version of The Blind Side (one of my favorite films ever) in that it is touching, poignant, inspiring, uplifting, and life-enhancing. It’s also the kind of film that the Old Hollywood used to make with regularity and the New Hollywood makes only occasionally. Do you get the feeling I absolutely adored this movie? Heck, yes! And that’s an understatement. It’s my favorite movie so far in 2010 by at least 30 lengths.
Secretariat tells the true story of Penny Chenery Tweedy whose father was a top horse owner and breeder in the 1950s and 1960s. When her father falls too ill to care for his business, Penny takes over just at a time a young colt is born on the farm. Huge, imposing, and gorgeous to look at, Secretariat (who is known as Big Red to his handlers) becomes the focus of Penny’s life. With a huge family tax debt to pay off, Penny hires a newly-retired and colorful (to say the least) trainer named Lucien Laurin and Ron Turcotte, the toughest jockey of his day, to shepherd Secretariat along.
The connection between Penny and Secretariat is unique, heart-warming, and a joy to behold. In addition, Penny takes on the old-boy horse racing culture with a style and grace that brings a smile to your face as you also want to jump in your seat and yell, “You go, Penny!”
The movie is just too wonderful to capture in just one blog so, tomorrow, we’ll continue our blogalistic love affair with Secretariat