In 1973, Virginia-bred Secretariat, the greatest champion in horse-racing history, won the Triple Crown. The only horse ever to grace the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated in the same week, he also still holds the record for the fastest times in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. Beyond his astounding records on the track, Secretariat also displayed unusual equine charisma. His biographer, William Nack, recalls that “Big Red,” as he was known, was a “chivalrous prince of a colt who was playful and mischievous -- and stayed the same as a stallion in retirement. A kid could have ridden him. The older he got, it seemed, the more of a ham he became, and throughout his life he used to stop and pose whenever he heard the click of a camera.” Indicative of Secretariat’s unique place in horse-racing history is the fact that he was the only non-human chosen as one of ESPN’s “50 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century.”
Speaker: William Nack
William Nack is one of America’s most prominent and most respected sports journalists. For eleven years he wrote about sports, politics, and the environment at Newsday, before joining the staff at Sports Illustrated in 1978 as an investigative reporter and general feature writer, often focusing on boxing and horse-racing. Since leaving Sports Illustrated in 2001, Nack has freelanced for numerous publications including GQ and ESPN.com. He has written three books including Secretariat: The Making of a Champion; My Turf: Horses, Boxers, Blood Money, and the Sporting Life; and Ruffian: A Racetrack Romance. He has charmed Great Lives audiences in the past with presentations on Muhammad Ali and Babe Ruth, as well as on Secretariat in 2007. The extraordinary popularity of the latter lecture has led to the unusual circumstance of his being invited for a “return engagement.” In the interim he has served as an advisor on (and appeared in) the Disney film, Secretariat. His presentation will include film clips from all three of the ’73 Triple Crown races that Secretariat won.