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By one way of looking at the impact of horses, particularly stallions, the answer is “yes.” The tremendous number-crunching machine over at “Boojum’s Bonanza” has evaluated the 20 most successful stallions in the fourth generation of pedigrees in terms of their sales value and racetrack success, and Secretariat (known more humbly as “His Chestnut Perfection”) was top of the tree. Read more here.

The Boojum wrote: “Secretariat had the highest prices of all 20 sires in the fourth generation, was expected to have the best results, and did have the best results overall. And his results (1.36) were even higher than his prices (1.21). His daughters were better than his sons (no surprise at all there), but his sons were not bad.”

Does that mean that Secretariat was actually as great a sire as he was a racehorse?

Well, purely in terms of his offspring’s results on the racetrack, the answer is “no.” But in terms of lasting success and continuing impact on the breed, the answer is much more in the positive category.

The difference between the great horse’s performance on the racetrack and his results as a sire of racehorses is a puzzle that has fascinated legions of Secretariat fans (and I am one of them and not the least of that number).

That Secretariat’s sons and his daughters both fared well in this study is very interesting. Most of us have become accustomed to thinking of the great chestnut son of Bold Ruler as a massively important broodmare sire, but his other avenues of influence should be considered as well.

And as the broodmare sire of Storm Cat, Gone West, and AP Indy, Secretariat’s contributions to the breed will linger yet a while.