In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Secretariat's sweep of the Triple Crown, the New York Racing Association has placed a blue-and-white striped pole inside the main track that marks 31 lengths from the finish line, the margin of Secretariat's victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Using Equibase's official measurement of one length (8 feet, 2 inches), NYRA erected the marker 253 feet, 2 inches away from the finish line. The pole shows that Secretariat won the Belmont by more than three-quarters of a sixteenth of a mile.
Track announcer Tom Durkin developed the idea for the monument and said the inspiration goes all the way back to 2004 when Smarty Jones was attempting to win all three legs of the Triple Crown.
"When Smarty Jones was running in the Belmont Stakes I thought he might possibly win by as much as Secretariat," Durkin said. "I did a stand-up interview on NBC and went to the maintenance people here and got one of those surveying wheels. I marked off that distance and I put a little red tape mark on the rail.
"This year I asked if there could be a monument in recognition to the greatest effort by a Thoroughbred ever. I think it's noticeable and people will say, 'What's that?' and others will tell them, and they'll say, 'Oh, wow!'"