For the 2023 we have a special guest post about some of the GREATEST horses of all time!! By our friend Tobi Lopez Taylor. Thanks for Reading … and writing!
Remembering Two Racing Champions:
Secretariat and Orzel
Guest Post by Tobi Lopez Taylor
This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of Secretariat’s triumph in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, which he would soon follow up with victories in the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, making him the first Triple Crown winner since Citation in 1948.
As we remember this Thoroughbred champion, nicknamed “Big Red of Meadow Stable,” it’s also appropriate to celebrate another chestnut racing phenomenon—an Arabian stallion named Orzel, who was a favorite of Walter Farley.
Orzel and Secretariat shared a number of characteristics. Like Secretariat, Orzel (who name means “eagle” in Polish) was tall, flashy, and charismatic. Both were well-bred sons of two bay parents, both had stakes-winning older sisters (Syrian Sea and Orla), and both were famous for their come-from-behind running style. Each colt won on dirt tracks and the turf, beat older horses, defeated his archrival (Secretariat’s was Sham, and Orzel’s was Kontiki), and was associated in the public eye with a lovely blond woman—Penny Chenery Tweedy was the owner of Secretariat, and Shelley Groom Trevor showed Orzel to many victories after he had retired from the track.
While Secretariat’s Triple Crown consisted of wins in three icon races, Orzel won his own kind of Triple Crown in three different disciplines: first, as a stakes winner on the racetrack; and then as a halter champion, with wins at Scottsdale, Santa Barbara, and the Arabian National Show; and last, as a performance horse, winning in English Pleasure at venues like the Cow Palace in San Francisco, and then becoming the first horse to win the Arabian U.S. National Champion Ladies’ Sidesaddle title.
Walter Farley first saw Orzel when Shelley Groom Trevor rode him in racing tack at the 1972 Arabian National Show in Oklahoma City. He was so taken with the big chestnut that he later wrote to Orzel’s owner, Ed Tweed, that “if you take Orzel, paint him black, add a little high and speed, you’ll have my Black Stallion.” High praise indeed!
Later, after Orzel’s retirement, his measurements were taken by a company called Computer Horse Breeders, and his conformation score was said to be second only to that of Secretariat in terms of form to function.
The Black Stallion Challenge Cup; A Salute to Literacy.
Come join us as all five Marion County School Board Members, the Superintendent of Schools, The Mayor of Ocala, and the Sheriff of Marion County compete for the Cup. Coached by world class professionals. Free Admission!
It is a night of community fun designed to showcase literacy. It is part of the Black Stallion Reading Project, a five-year partnership program between the Ocala Horse Alliance and the Marion County Public School System, now in all 31 elementary schools in Marion County. The program uses the power and magic of the horse to promote reading and inspires children to set goals and develop pathways to achieve. All schools have an equestrian farm partner.
Can Rich Strike do it again? Or is it We the People – political favorite! Or Mo Donagal?
You gotta watch to see the action – c’mon you can spare the two minutes!
Post time Saturday June 11 – 6:45 NBC – TV coverage starts at #