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The anniversary of the birth of the great chestnut son of Bold Ruler and Somethingroyal prompted some imagining, some wondering about what might have been.

If Secretariat’s high-class second-crop son General Assembly had caught muddy or sloppy tracks in the Triple Crown, he might have turned the tables on Spectacular Bid. Now don’t get me wrong, you ‘Bid” lovers! I’m not suggesting that General Assembly was a better horse day in or day out. But he had the peculiar misfortune never to catch Bid when General Assembly was super, or at least as super as he was in the Travers he won by 15 lengths.

That day, Bid would have been in real trouble. Off their best form in the Champagne at 2 and the Kentucky Derby at 3, Spectacular Bid had only 2 or 3 lengths on General Assembly when the latter was near the top of his game. With an actual advantage, say slop or Saratoga, how could bid have held the flying chestnut son of Secretariat?

Likewise, I pondered and discussed with a likewise facetious comrade, what might have happened if General Assembly had come across Triple Crown races similar to those of 1970, when Dust Commander splashed home in the Kentucky Derby and High Echelon won an even wetter Belmont that was slower than death.

At the very least, it would have pushed Spectacular Bid to reach down for ability and amaze us with even more speed.