Goose bumps!

This terrific film is beautifully presented with a great cast, great photography and a great, great story. I already knew that "Secretariat" was, in 1973, the first winner of the Triple Crown of horse racing in 25 years. I did NOT know that his record in two of those three races still stands today. He won at Belmont by an astonishing 31 lengths!

Let's talk about the wonderful cast:
  • Diane Lane ("Nights in Rodanthe") is Penny Chenery Tweedy, the beautifully coiffed daughter of the owner of a failing horse farm; she wins a big red colt on the toss of a coin.
  • John Malkovich ("Burn After Reading") is Lucien Lauren, the cantankerous trainer she is determined to hire; he tends to spout his invectives in French when irritated and wear outrageous clothes; he plays terrible golf and none of his horses have ever won at Belmont.
  • Margo Martindale ("Million Dollar Baby") is my favorite character actress. This time she is Miss Bess, the long-time faithful secretary at the Chenery stables. She is the one who names the red colt Secretariat.
  • James Cromwell ("W") is Ogden Phipps. When he won first dibs in the coin toss, he opted for a filly with a great blood line but, as it turned out, no racing spirit.
  • Dylan Walsh ("Nip/Tuck") is Jack Tweedy, the husband who keeps the home fires burning while she manages her race horse; they have four children.
  • Nelsan Ellis ("The Soloist") is Eddie Sweat, Secretariat's devoted groom. He spent more time with the horse than any other living person; there is a statue of him with jockey Ron Turcotte in the winner's circle at Kentucky Horse Park holding "Big Red" (his name for Secretariat).
Of course there are other cast members but the pleasure is in the races and a couple of slow-motion shots of a powerful race horse in full stride.

This is a PG movie with the only sweaty bodies being those of the horses, and the only gunshots being those at the starting gate. Sound systems in movie houses have improved so much the floor shakes as tons of straining horseflesh pound past. They were kind enough to include some "Rest of the Story" snippets during the final credits so we know what has happened since the film. Our screening audience applauded this one!