NYRA/Bob Coglianese

On This Day...

April 21, 1973

The April 21 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) at Aqueduct figured to be a rousing battle between Secretariat and Sham on the way to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). But it was Angle Light who won.

"Stated briefly, the Wood was won in slow time (1:49 4/5 for 1 1/8 miles) by Angle Light, leading from wire to wire, and his Horse of the Year entrymate, Secretariat, finished a lack luster third," The Blood-Horse's William Rudy wrote. "Between them, gaining slightly at the end but with no real finishing punch, was Sham, the colt which was supposed to be Secretariat's main threat among the 3-year-olds. Sham ran alone, as (his) two stablemates were scratched at the last minute. The race was an anti-climax."

Although he trained both Angle Light and Secretariat, Lucien Laurin "looked like the world had ended. He had been so crushed at the outcome, watching Secretariat's futile stretch run, that he had not known which horse had won."

The Run for the Roses changed all that. Coupled with Angle Light again, Secretariat ran the fastest Derby ever, 1:59 2/5 for the 1 1/4 miles, to beat Sham by 2 1/2 lengths. Taking on Sham in the next two classics, he won the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the latter in track-record time, to become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years.

Click here to celebrate the life of this Thoroughbred Legend with Secretariat, the Secretariat Blanket, or the Secretariat Triple Crown Photo Pack-- available now from