Click to enlargeMarlboro Cup Invtl. - Sept. 15, 1973

The historical racing event that ushered in a new era in sports. The September 15, 1973 Marlboro Cup at Belmont Park was historically significant for a number of reasons. First, the invitational race was an unprecedented marketing approach representing the birth of corporate sponsorship for American sporting events. Second, it provided a public venue for the match that racing fans were anxiously awaiting between Secretariat and his elder Meadow stablemate Riva Ridge. The anticipation of a meeting between the dual Derby and Belmont Stakes winners was further heightened by the inclusion of Onion, Secretariat's upset conquerer in his previous start in the Whitney Stakes, older champions Cougar II, Key to the Mint and Kennedy Road, as well as fellow 3-year-old and 1973 Travers Stakes winner Annihilate 'Em. Coming off the shocking Whitney loss, there were some who still questioned Secretariat's ability to win outside of his generation. But Secretariat's performance in this rich $250,000 dream race with an assemblage of superstar equine talent would forever put that issue to rest .

Breaking slowly, the mighty chestnut colt stayed near the back of the pack before making his move on the far turn to take aim at Riva Ridge who had taken the lead from the fading Onion. There was a brief moment at the top of the stretch that would become crystallized in time for Meadow owner Penny Chenery. With both her blue and white color-bearers poised for victory, the moment manifested the excellence and dominance of the Meadow Racing Stable carried on under her guidance in the early 70's. And then Secretariat began to draw away, easing out to a 3 1/2 length victory in the astounding time of 1:45 2/5 for the 1 1/8 mile distance - a new track and world record.

The official winners circle photo composite of images from the day features the entry of Riva Ridge with jockey Eddie Maple aboard wearing the number 2 and entrymate Secretariat wearing 2B. Groom Eddie Sweat can be seen leading Secretariat to the post parade to finish line. Joining Mrs. Chenery and jockey Ron Turcotte in the winner's circle are trainer Lucien Lauren as well as her sister Margaret Carmichael, brother Hollis Chenery, and husband Jack Tweedy, while Marlboro Cup executive Jack Landry makes the trophy presentation.

This rarely-seen nostalgic photo has become a sought-after favorite, made even more collectible by the fact that the Marlboro Cup no longer exists. Gone but not forgotten, its memory is carried on to this day by the multitude of corporate sponsors spanning the sporting world. Available with the option of being hand-signed by jockey Ron Turcotte. Measures 8" x 10", larger sizes available by special order.


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