1973 Secretariat Race Worn Horseshoe Nail from the Infamous "Onion" Upset
A classic piece of horse racing history is offered here - an actual nail taken from the racing shoe of this legendary thoroughbred icon. Acquired from Buck Peters, official photographer for Phillip Morris assigned to cover the 1973 Marlboro Cup at Belmont Park in New York. This nail (along with two others) came along with the horseshoe sent to Peters as a gift from Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery in 1973. The horseshoe this came with brought over $36,000 in our Summer 2015 catalogue auction. The nail is beautifully framed with copy of the lid of the original "Victory Racing Plates" box this was sent in as well as copy of the bottom of the box which was written, "Secretariat Shoes 9/13/73." It is in the hand of Secretariat's exercise rider Jim Gaffney, who participated in Secretariat being shod on many occasions. The importance of the writing on the bottom of the box is quite significant. When the farrier removed the previously worn shoes, Gaffney would document the occasion, meticulously placing the worn shoes in the new shoes' empty box and dating it as shown. This time he also placed three nails along with it. The date of "9/13/73" is just prior to Secretariat's record setting victory in the inaugural Marlboro Cup. The shoes were worn by Secretariat in his previous race, the Whitney Stakes nearly a month earlier in the stunning "Onion" upset. Peters undoubtedly took photos of Secretariat and met Penny Chenery during the promotion and lead-up to the Marlboro Cup and Ms. Chenery ultimately took it upon herself to gift him one of Big Red's coveted shoes and the coveted nails still inside the box. The nail also comes with a particle of the leather "sock" that protected Secretariat's hoof from the horseshoe framed right next to it. It is mounted on a photo of the Onion horseshoe that accompanied it as well as a vintage sterling silver ingot showing "Big Red." NOTE: Mr. Leonard Lusky, President of Secretariat.com and representative for Ms. Chenery has confirmed the correspondence between Penny and Buck Peters and associated provenance of the shoe. The lot is accompanied by an all important letter of authenticity on stationery of the Secretariat Meadow Stable. According to Lusky, the nail, "Is in accordance with the information recorded in a detailed memorabilia inventory ledger from 1973 which now resides within the official Secretariat archives." And that this is, "A very rare public offering as very few Secretariat race plates and their companion nails reside outside of the collections of museums or persons closely associated with the Meadow Stable team."
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