Click to enlargeChampagne Stakes - Oct. 14, 1972

The controversial 1972 Champagne Stakes from Belmont Park. It was here that Secretariat circled the field to win by two lengths only to be disqualified for interfering with second place finisher Stop the Music. The disqualification was controversial as many who witnessed the race said that Secretariat merely brushed Stop the Music as he easily passed by and that the action had no bearing on the final outcome of the race. However, the closely reviewed objection was ultimately upheld by the stewards and Secretariat was placed second behind Stop the Music. The disqualification was costly for the Meadow Stable, losing not only the first place purse money (nearly $88,000) but also the prestige associated with New York's richest juvenile race. However, after watching the son of Bold Ruler stretch out to win the mile race in the excellent time of 1:35 there was much optimism that Secretariat had great things in store for his future.

The Champagne winners circle composite shows Secretariat with jockey Ron Turcotte aboard wearing the 1A saddlecloth for the first time as part of an entry with Angle Light, who was also trained by Lucien Lauren (but owned by Ed Whittaker). Taken while the inquiry sign was still flashing, the paradoxical photo also shows only a very somber Lauren and groom Mordecai Williams awaiting the bad news of of the stewards decision that would go against them. Thus the photo of the first place finisher as part of an "unofficial" winner's circle shot documents an oddity in Secretariat's career for historical posterity, certainly unpopular to his fans in 1972, but to the delight of current racing memorabilia collectors everywhere. This very unique and scarce photo is available with the option of being signed by Ron Turcotte and measures 8" x 10", larger sizes available by special order.


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