Reading the Screen: Secretariat
Posted by: David Pitt
Secretariat, the new movie about the 1973 Triple Crown winner, is based on William Nack’s 1975 book Big Red of Meadow Stable: Secretariat, The Making of a Champion. Here’s a look at the movie:
Big Red of Meadow Stable – reissued recently as Secretariat: The Making of a Champion — is considered to be the best biography of the famous Thoroughbred, but it’s not the only one.
The first authorized biograhy of the horse was Raymond Woolfe’s Secretariat (1974). It was reissued in an expanded edition after Secretariat’s death in October, 1989, and is pretty easy to find.
Two books by Lawrence Scanlan focus on the relationship between Secretariat and his groom. The Horse God Built (2007) is for adults, and The Big Red Horse (also 2007) covers the same ground, in a lighter fashion, for younger readers.
Younger readers might also enjoy Barbara Libby’s I Rode the Red Horse (2003), which retells the thrilling ’73 Belmont Stakes race from the point of view of Secretariat’s jockey, Ron Turcotte. And for grown-ups interested in the great jockey, there’s The Will to Win, Bill Heller’s 1992 biography of Turcotte.
And we mustn’t forget, of course, Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit (2001), the stirring biography of the horse that captivated the world in the 1930s. The book was made into the excellent movie of the same name in 2003. Secretariat, the new movie, has some big (horse)shoes to hill, and it’ll be interesting to see if Nack’s book, like Hillenbrand’s, starts to fly off the shelves after the movie’s released.