I was looking through old pictures a few weeks ago and found one I took on June 9, 1973 that's appropriate for posting today.
It's Secretariat winning the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown.
The story is somewhat long for Photo-A-Day, but here it is anyway...
Not one thing went wrong the whole day. First, my parents quite surprisingly allowed me to go to the race with my older brother, who though schizophrenic, was doing pretty well at the time. We left early in the morning and his old Volkswagen Beetle didn't break down -- another surprise. No traffic jams, no problems finding our way to Long Island and Belmont Park. We got good general admission seats in the grandstand and had a great time enjoying the races and day-long entertainment in the beautiful groves behind the stands.
After a very long time, it was time for the big race. The scene was so amazing, that to this horse-loving 13 year-old, it was a bit of heaven. Had we stayed home, it would have been viewed on an old black and white TV with bad vertical control and commercials. To say the crowd was excited is an understatement. The tension built as the horses paraded on the track -- there's Sham! Could he beat the big red horse? Would Secretariat wilt under the distance?
I don't remember if the crowd was screaming or hushed in awe as Secretariat ran away with the race. I do remember the roar after he won, and a sense of realizing that what we saw was far more than what we'd hoped for.
There was one more race and the crowd thinned out. Afterward, we saw there was still a huge traffic jam leaving the track, so my brother and I took a walk back into the barn area. What did we find but Secretariat in a small paddock, being grazed on a lead line! All the big shots had gone away to celebrate, and there was just a small clump of people quietly standing around. There we were, fifteen feet from the horse that had just set a world record, and we had used up all our film! Aaargh! Fortunately, my mind remembers that image well.
So, the photo may be blurry and technically terrible, but it's from a day that was as perfect as a day could be.