There are better movies about champion horses than Disney's Secretariat. But forgiving the generic writing, and the inescapable feeling of an after-school special, I have to say, I was seduced by the horse. Secretariat wasn't just a beautiful stallion, he was perhaps the top thoroughbred racehorse of all time, who won the 1973 U.S. Triple Crown, smashing previous records at the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes races—records that remain to this day unbeaten. At the Belmont Stakes, he ran the fastest 1.5 miles in history, astonishing the crowd by crossing the finish line a full 31 lengths ahead of the next horse. The trophies, earnings, covers on Time magazine and Newsweek meant nothing—he just loved to run.
Greatness is mesmerizing. Standing before a glorious painting or a majestic building or watching an athlete surpass every expectation, we are ennobled by excellence and verve. Yes, those are actors, it's true the horse onscreen is much smaller than Secretariat, maybe a few of the details are rushed, but I was thrilled to see him win.