Today in history: Secretariat wins greatest Triple Crown ever on June 9th, 1973

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American Pharoah Vs. Secretariat: Who Would Win?

American Pharoah ended a 37-year-old drought on Saturday with his resolving Triple Crown victory. But once the cheers softened and the rose garlands were put away, attention once again turned to the horse that caught the world's attention 42 years ago.

Secretariat is widely regarded as the greatest racing horse of all time. He even landed in the 35th spot on ESPN's greatest North American athlete of the 20th century list, ahead of Lawrence Taylor, Mickey Mantle, Billie Jean King and many, many more.

Secretariat - 1973 Belmont Stakes
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Today in history: Secretariat wins greatest Triple Crown ever on June 9th, 1973
American thoroughbred Secretariat, with jockey Ron Turcotte up, works out at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., March 14, 1973. (AP Photo/Horst Schafer)
Secretariat, left, back in his stall at Belmont Park, New York peers at his stablemate, Riva Ridge, May 20, 1973, after returning from Pimlico where he won the Preakness. Secretariat, who will continue his drive for a Triple Crown on June 9 in the Belmont Stakes, was in good company since Riva Ridge won last year's Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. He will not compete in the Belmont Stakes this year, however. (AP Photo/Harry Harris)
Secretariat on the rail, with Ron Turcotte up, wins the 98th running of the Preakness Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths over Sham, left, May 21, 1973, in Baltimore. Secretariat was shipped to New York for the Belmont Stakes, the last jewel in racing's triple crown. the last triple crown winner was Citation in 1948. (AP Photo)
Trainer Lucien Laurin leads Secretariat, with exercise jockey George Davis up, for an early morning workout at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., June 5, 1973. (AP Photo)
With his sights set for victory in the June 9 Belmont Stakes to capture the Triple Crown, Secretariat works out with an exercise rider in the shed row at Belmont Park, New York, May 23, 1973. The horse loosened up indoors to avoid rainy weather. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm)
The field horses entered in the Belmont Stakes leaves the starting gate on Saturday, June 9, 1973 in Belmont Park at Elmont, N.Y. From left, are, Sham; Twice a Prince; My Gallant; Pvt. Smiles, and Secretariat, who won the race and racing's a Triple Crown. Secretariat had also won the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby. (AP Photo)
Jockey Ron Turcotte, left, aboard Secretariat, turns for a look at the field many lengths behind, June 9, 1973, as they make the final turn on their way to winning the 1973 Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes race at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes 31 lengths. The race track celebrates it's 100th birthday next Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff)
Ron Turcotte hangs on as Secretariat romps along the final stretch just before the finish line and a victory in the 105th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, New York, June 9, 1973. Secretariat became the ninth horse to win racing's Triple Crown. (AP Photo)
Penny Chenery, owner of Secretariat, displays her happiness in her clubhouse box in the Belmont Park, Elmont, New York, June 9, 1973, after her colt won the Belmont Stakes and became the first horse in 25 years to win racing's Triple Crown. (AP Photo/Jack Kanthal)
Jockey Ron Turcotte walks Secretariat towards the winners circle after they captured the Triple Crown for 1973 by winning the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, N.Y., June 9, 1973, before a crowd of 70,000 fans. (AP Photo)
Secretariat is shown in the Belmont Park barn area, Elmont, New York, June 9, 1973 after he won the 105th running of the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown. The three-year-old became the ninth winner of the Triple Crown. (AP Photo)
Penny Chenery, right, gets the August Belmont Memorial Cup from New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller in the Belmont Park Winner's Circle, June 9, 1973 after her horse, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes. Watching are jockey Ron Turcotte, second from left and Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton. (AP Photo/Harry Harris)
Jockey Ron Turcotte sits on Secretariat on their way from the paddock area to the track at Belmont Park, June 9, 1973. Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown. (AP Photo)

June 9th, 1973 is the moment when Secretariat cemented his place in history with the Belmont run that still brings tears to sports' fans eyes today. Secretariat won by an astounding, record-breaking 31 lengths. He came in two and half seconds faster than American Pharoah, which may as well be hours when you consider that Secretariat finished that grueling 1.5 mile race in 2 minutes and 24 seconds.

"Big Red" sliced three seconds off of previous track record set by Gallant Man in 1957. Jockey Ron Turcotte famously claimed he lost control of Secretariat during the Belmont and the horse sprinted for victory on his own.

"The Horse of the Century" was retired and put to stud that November. He lived in Kentucky until he fell ill and was euthanized 1989 at age 19.

An autopsy revealed Secretariat's heart was nearly three times larger than the average Thoroughbred's heart. It was estimated to be 22 pounds.

If you want your average half-pound heart to swell with pride, watch Secretariat's epic run:

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