Secretariat's winning time in the 1973 Preakness Stakes will be reviewed upon a request by the horse's owner, Penny Chenery, and Maryland Jockey Club President Thomas Chuckas.
In an effort to investigate the official timing of the race, the Maryland Racing Commission said it will consider the inquiry at its next meeting on June 19 at Laurel Park.
In 1973, Secretariat became the first US Triple Crown champion in 25 years, setting new race records in two of the three events in the series -- the Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5), and the Belmont Stakes (2:24). The Preakness is the only one of the races in which Secretariat didn't set a record.
During the last 40 years, video technology has been accepted in other professional sports as a supportive mechanism for officials to ensure fairness and accuracy in their decisions, Chuckas said in a statement. It is important for horse racing and the record books to confirm the correct time in this historical race.
Records indicate that the electronic timer used at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course recorded Secretariat's win in 1 minute, 55 seconds, while two independent clockers from the Daily Racing Form each hand- timed the race at 1:53 2/5.
But due to extenuating circumstances with the electronic timer's recording the official time was later changed to 1:54 2/5, the time reported by Pimlico's official hand clocker, the Maryland Racing Commission said.
While the Daily Racing Form still recognizes Secretariat's time for the 1 3/16-mile distance as 1:53 2/5, which would have broken Canonero II's then-record of 1:54 set at the 1971 Preakness, the Preakness's current official record time of 1:53 2/5 was later set by Tank's Prospect in 1985 and matched by Louis Quatorze in 1997 and Curlin in 2007.
For me, revisiting this dispute on a new day is a matter of resolution -- for historians, for sportswriters and for racing fans, Chenery said. Their voices are supported by sound evidence, and they deserve to be heard.
Having set the track record for Churchill Downs and The Kentucky Derby, Secretariat ran each quarter-mile segment faster than the one before it.
The successive quarter-mile times were .25 1/5, .24, .23 4/5, .23 2/5, and .23. This means he was still accelerating as of the final quarter-mile of the race. No other horse had won the Derby in less than 2 minutes until Monarchos in 2001.