That day--September 16, 1972--was Penny Chenery's father's 86th birthday. She called him at a hospital in New Rochelle, New York where he was a patient to give him the news that their horse had won--again! The nurse informed her that he already knew that, according to the account in Bill Nack's book.
That day was also the day of Bull Hancock's funeral. He was the owner of Claiborne Farm, the great character in the film Secretariat who stares Penny Chenery down with the coin toss to see who gets the colt. Again, according to Bill Nack, he was buried at Paris (Kentucky) Cemetery, at about the time that Lucien Lauren was saddling Secretariat for the Belmont Futurity.
Working in concert with groom Eddie Sweat and regular Meadow Stable farrier George Collins, Gaffney collected many of Secretariat's racing plates, meticulously cataloging each one as the colt was routinely shod. The Futurity shoe was obtained on October 8, 1972, when Secretariat was re-shod after winning the Futurity Stakes and prior to his following race, a winning effort in the Champagne Stakes. The Futurity was Secretariat's third stakes victory and his first start at Belmont Park.
The Futurity shoe, from Secretariat’s left front hoof, is mounted on a wooden plaque with blue metal backing, and it contains a plate engraved by Gaffney that identifies the race. On the reverse side of the plaque, the frame has the handwritten inscription documenting the mounting by Gaffney along with the individual identification numbers. The plaque is signed by the Meadow Racing Stable team of Gaffney, owner Penny Chenery, and Secretariat's Hall of Fame winning jockey, Ron Turcotte. The shoe is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and the official winner's circle photo from the race.
|The nails from Secretariat's shoes were saved too, and you can buy them. Note that this is a Japanese Izumi nail. Now there's a bit of Secretariat trivia for you!|
Here's what Ed said in an email, "It is a Thoro'bred Low Toe Front shoe. The size is hard to see, it is either a 5 or 6. The two marks under the number indicate Low Toe. I would say that it is authentic. He raced in our shoes his entire career to my knowledge. (My) Dad knew George Collins, and the name is familiar to me too, but I don't remember, sorry."
The most interesting thing we noticed about the shoe are the little bumps back by the heels. These would be what's left of copper rivets that held either a felt or leather pad. Why did a two-year-old colt need a pad? Nowhere in Bill Nack's Big Red of Meadow Stable is there a mention that the horse had a definite problem, although he does mention rumors that Secretariat was not sound at that time. Did his soles sting? Did he have some kind of an infection? And what did Jim Gaffney do with the pad? We know he kept the nail heads--wouldn't he have kept the pad, too?
Here's a front Thoro'bred raceplate, also attributed to Secretariat, that was auctioned off by Claiborne Farm. It's a different shape from the two-year-old shoe, and perhaps a different size. Presumably this would be one pulled off Secretariat when he arrived in Kentucky from New York to stand at stud. He would have still had his raceplates on, so it would make sense that Claiborne Farm would have them.
Proceeds from the sale of this shoe will benefit the Secretariat Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization created by Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery to assist the Thoroughbred industry in the areas of research, rehabilitation, retirement and recognition.
The auction will end December 19th at 9:00 p.m. (ET). As I write this, 60 bids have been placed on the shoe, which is now up to $5,950 and expected to go much higher. Bidding ends on Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 3:22 p.m. EST.
I noticed that there is another shoe up for auction on eBay that says it is off Secretariat; it is priced at $3500 (not an auction) and is for sale loose. That's not the one for the fundraiser!
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