You’ve likely seen footage of Triple Crown champion Secretariat’s remarkable racing career, and Grover Gardner brings us even closer to the track in his narration of William Nack’s enthralling investigation of the life and career of the champion thoroughbred first published in 1975. Gardner’s deep and robust voice heightens the intensity of those scenes when Secretariat bounds full throttle towards the finish line. Although aware of the outcome already, the suspense and excitement of the competition build all the same throughout this performance.
Following a record-shattering win at the Belmont Stakes in 1973, American thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat (fondly nicknamed “Big Red” by his fanbase) became the first Triple Crown winner in over a quarter-century. His performance has since been unmatched by any other competitor today. Secretariat charts the horse’s career from his calculated birth to his achieving the Triple Crown. Nack traces Secretariat’s lineage, studying his breeding and ownership by two families the Chenerys of Meadow Farm in Caroline County, Virginia, and the Hancocks of Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. These individuals involved in Secretariat’s victory make up a fascinating piece of his history and upbringing.
While horse lovers will thoroughly enjoy Secretariat, fans of investigative biographies and suspenseful narratives will devour Gardner’s rendition of this powerful athlete’s success story. The politics of the Triple Crown make for an intriguing sidebar to this story. Gardner plunges into Secretariat’s competitions with enthusiasm, and his smooth southern accent offers a pleasant reprieve from each pulse-pounding race. Secretariat triumphs in its depiction of horse racing and in moments of quiet investigation. Suzanne Day
In 1973, Secretariat, the greatest champion in horse-racing history, won the Triple Crown. The only horse to ever 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 the Belmont Stakes. He was also the only non-human chosen as one of ESPN's "50 Greatest Athletes of the Century". The tale of "Big Red" is an enduring and inspiring classic, more than 30 years after its initial publication.
©1975 William Nack. New Preface copyright 2010 by William Nack (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Secretariat is an elegantly crafted, exhilarating tale of speed and power, grace and greatness, told with such immediacy that the reader is lost in the rush of horses and the clatter and ring of the grandstand." (Laura Hillenbrand, best-selling author of Seabiscuit)
If you love horses, you'll love this book. If you're interested in the life story of an American icon, you'll be interested in this book. And if you're a reader who values crisp, strong writing, this book will reward your listening time with many pleasures. Ably narrated by Grover Gardner and concluded with a portfolio of Nack's later writings about Secretariat (read by the author). A winner all the way around the track.
This is a wonderful story and that it is true and happened makes it even more amazing. I remember Secretariat ... I remember watching his astonishing 39 length win at the Kentucky Derby ... and knowing that I'd probably never see anything like that again. And I haven't.
You don't have to be a racing fan to like it. It feels much more like a novel than history and the excellent quality of the writing and smooth narration make it a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. Grover Gardner is always good, but I think in this book, he's even better than usual.
If you saw the movie, you will find it interesting how much the book differs from the Hollywood version. The basic facts are the same, but there are many difference both large and subtle. It makes an interesting comparison.
Secretariat was a winner and so is the book. A great read. Not a dull moment!
This book is well-written and the "calling" of the race is well-done. The first several chapters delineate the sires and dams of Secretariat and I found this section somewhat tedious. Once we get into the story of Secretariat and his owners the story picks up and the "book" is hard to put down.
The narrator or the editing process could have used some work, however. There were several words that were simply incorrect. The one that I remember vividly is when the author is relating an exciting segment about Secretariat in a race. The narrator reads it as "Secretariat was lopping along. . . " That stopped me cold (as you can imagine). "What?!" I exclaimed. Then I realized that the word should be "loping". I rewound back a bit because I had lost the momentum of the story.
As opposed to the movie based on this book, the text just drones on and on and on... and on. I really enjoyed the movie and figured I would really enjoy the book, but this wasn't the case. It is a GOOD book, don't get me wrong there, but it is more "the facts behind the story" type book. If your looking for a book about the excitement of horse racing, go somewhere else. If your looking for a book about bloodlines, animal husbandry, and family business, go ahead, waste your money.
Cut the horse bloodlines and family history since the 1800s
Made a very boring boo the best it could be.
They probably were all necessary.
Unless you are a historian for the bloodlines of race horses, the first 4-5 chapters will put you to sleep as they did me. Then the family history back many generations I don't think was necessary. Loved the movie, the book NO. Boring and will return the book.
If you're not interested in the bloodlines of race horses in America during the 20th century, this book has little to offer. Perhaps it becomes more engaging but I gave up after several chapters.
As a horse lover, I loved this book: the quick tempo, the description coupled with facts, the characters, the post-racing life of the horse, and the excellent narrator—I loved it all. And yes, just like Secretariat himself, the book does start slow but takes off down the homestretch. Some may find the early info on breeding/confirmation too detailed. By the end you may wish the book would never end.
But note this: Nack’s Secretariat is more than a book about a racing legend. It is a biography about the people who raised Secretariat and were affected by him. It is a book about believing in oneself, taking risks, and taking a stand against the status quo. Note that these actual events took place in the 1970’s – a time when few if any women owned racehorses and farms, let alone were willing to leave their marriage to campaign a horse. What Penny Chenery and her barn risked and achieved was remarkable. They had courage. And in the end, they all won.
Enjoy the read.
07 Dyna Low Rider
I was married on the day Secretariat won the Triple Crown. I was sitting in the living room, in my wedding dress at 5:30pm June 9, 1973, waiting for the race to begin. I was to be married at 6:30 and had a good 45 minute ride to the church..........but I wasn't gong anywhere until the big red horse ran. When he crossed the finish line and then into history, I felt this was a good sign for my upcoming marriage. And so it has been....... some 38.5 years later.
It starts out SLOWLY, going through all the bloodline history. If you're not a race fan, it's boring. But once you get to the part where Secretariat was born and his journey into greatness and history........you cant stop listening. What a one of a kind champion, who's record times in the Derby, Preakness and certainly the Belmont will probably never be broken. Cant wait to see the movie.
Not the best written book I've ever listened to and the reader fails miserably on some pronounciations that should have been so easy -- Keeneland, Lexington's track, for one. But, the story is interesting, sidebars fit in nicely. Insight into the owners' lives and relationships is amusing. If you lived in Lexington or followed Thoroughbred racing anytime in the last century, the names of the social gentry and places will fit together.
Eclectic, avid listener, favorite book is the one currently in ear.
Found it long, rambling, jumping back and forth telling same story though numerous eyes. Way too many horse's histories and details. Could use a generous edit, but would be fasinating to a horse breeder. The good news I have fallen to sleep so often trying to read it... it makes a dependable sleep aid.
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