1973 Secretariat Kentucky Derby Armband Worn by Ron Turcotte (Photo-Matched)
This leather armband carries with it a powerful legacy combining Thoroughbred racing's most recognizable champion with the sport's most legendary race. Directly from the Hall of Fame jockey's right shoulder and offered....
This armband represents one of racing's most historic moments and tells much of Secretariat's amazing story unto itself. The unusual designation of "1A" shows that Secretariat was part of a two-horse wagering entry in the May 5, 1973 Kentucky Derby. His entry mate (who carried the number "1" in the race) was none other than Angle Light, the speedy and accomplished colt also handled by Secretariat's trainer Lucien Laurin. It was Angle Light who had beaten Secretariat only two weeks prior in the Wood Memorial (it was later learned...) . Although Secretariat was still favored to win the 99th running of the Derby, leading up to the race, there was quite a bit of speculation pertaining to Secretariat's health, pedigree and capability to manage the 1 1/4 mile classic distance of the first jewel in the Triple Crown.
But how the Derby unfolded that day is yet another great facet of the Secretariat legend. After Big Red broke tardily from the gate and lagged in last place as the field charged down the long Churchill Downs stretch for the first time, it seemed as if his critics may have their day. Then Turcotte allowed Secretariat to pick up the pace along the backstretch and in an amazing display of sustained speed, power and endurance, made a sweeping move on the far turn to take the lead over his arch rival Sham and culminating in a 2 1/2 length victory.
While history shows that Secretariat crossed the wire in the final time of 1:59 2/5 to set a Churchill Downs track record that still exists today, even more astounding is the fact that the great chestnut champion ran the race in successively faster quarter mile increments - a unique, unprecedented, and unequaled performance, before or since, in the 143-year history of the Run for the Roses.
Upon Turcotte's return from the winners's circle celebration and trophy presentation to the jock's room, he unstrapped and removed the now acclaimed 6-inch leather armband where it was immediately gathered for historic posterity, briefly displayed in the jock's room, then moved to protected storage where it has remained for over 40 years.
Furthering the amazing provenance of this signature racing artifact, it should be noted that the left top of the armband contains a unique minor tear resembling a small "horn" where the safety pin used to affix the armband to the silks has rubbed through the leather. The distinctive tear actually dates to 1973 and can be clearly identified and photo-matched to the multitude of Derby day images capturing the historic racing moment.
Considered by many to be the greatest racehorse of all time, Secretariat is the most recognizable name in thoroughbred racing and a beloved hero to several generations of fans. In vivid testament to his enduring greatness, his record times in all three of these American classic races still stand today. After retiring from racing Secretariat went on to sire 653 foals over a 16 year stud career. His illustrious bloodline as well as his impact on the racing industry can still be felt today through his popular descendants which include 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and racing’s all time leading earner California Chrome. More than four decades since Secretariat first graced the track, he remains the benchmark for athletic excellence and his legacy as a cultural icon transcends the sport.
The armband is officially registered and catalogued within the Secretariat Archives allowing for its identification and authentication for generations to come.