erik lundegaard

Thursday August 18, 2016

The Single Most Dominating Performance in American Sports History

In the wake of Katie Ledecky's dominating 12-second win in the 80m freestyle, Joe Posnanski has put together a top 10 list of the single most dominating performances in American sports: So Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series, Carli Lloyd hattrick, Bob Beamon's '68 long jump. Ledekcy herself comes in fourth. 

And No. 1? An EL favorite:

1. Secretariat, Belmont, 1973
It's probably not right to put a horse at the top of this list, but let's be honest: When you think of dominating American sports performances, the image is of Secretariat. The image is of jockey Ron Turcotte looking back and seeing all those horses a million miles behind him. The image is of the announcer Chic Anderson growling “he's moving like a tremendous machine!”

The extraordinary thing is that Secretariat was basically running for something we will never fully understand. He was all but guaranteed to win the Belmont. He was such a dominant horse that year that only three other horses even entered against him in that Belmont. Secretariat won the race by 31 lengths and so no other horses were pushing him. Turcotte was not pushing him either.

Still, Secretariat ran.

So what made Secretariat run so fast? His 2:24 Belmont time is not only the record, no horse has approached it. When American Pharoah finally won the Triple Crown in 2015, he ran it in 2:26 and change – meaning he would have finished some 12 or 13 lengths behind Secretariat. The amazing Seattle Slew won the Belmont by four lengths to finish off the Triple Crown in 1977. By time, he would have finished 25 lengths behind Secretariat.

“I have goals,” Ledecky said before she raced in the 800m freestyle, and afterward she admitted that her spectacular swim met those goals. One wonders if Secretariat met his goals.

The other day, I read this to my mother, who has loved horses all her life but isn't online. Made her happy.

Me, I'm all in with the pick. Have never seen the numbers on how far American Pharoah and Seattle Slew would've finished behind Secretariat. Amazing. 

Caveat: Chic Anderson growling, Poz? More like singing

Secretariat at Belmont

Secretariat, meeting goals

Posted at 06:12 AM on Thursday August 18, 2016 in category Sports  
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