Special Derby Post!!

Dad & Shelley Groom & Orzel

Secretariat painting by Shelley

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.

As we celebrate Derby Day this weekend, and look back on Secretariat’s accomplishments fifty years ago, we should also remember Orzel, the Arabian racing legend. His triumphant story is recounted in a book by Tobi Lopez Taylor published by The History Press: https://www.amazon.com/Orzel-Scottsdales-Legendary-Arabian-Stallion/dp/1626199620

Don’t forget Saturday May 6, 2023 at 6:57est on NBC

1. Hit Show (30-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Manny Franco

2. Verifying (15-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

3. Two Phil’s (12-1)
Trainer: Larry Rivelli
Jockey: Jareth Loveberry

4. Confidence Game (20-1)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: James Graham

5. Tapit Trice (5-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Luis Saez

6. Kingsbarns (12-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

7. Reincarnate (50-1)
Trainer: Tim Yakteen
Jockey: John Velazquez

8. Mage (15-1)
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado
Jockey: Javier Castellano

SCR. Skinner (20-1)
Trainer: John Shirreffs
Jockey: Juan Hernandez

10. Disarm (30-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Joel Rosario

11. Jace’s Road (15-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux

12. Sun Thunder (30-1)
Trainer: Ken McPeek
Jockey: Brian Hernandez

13. Angel of Empire (8-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Flavien Prat

14. Forte (3-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

15. Raise Cain (15-1)
Trainer: Ben Colebrook
Jockey: Gerardo Corrales

16. Derma Sotogake (10-1)
Trainer: Hidetaka Otonashi
Jockey: Christopher Lemaire

17. Rocket Can (15-1)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Junior Alvarado

18. Cyclone Mischief (30-1)
Trainer: Dale Romans

19. Mandarin Hero (20-1)
Trainer: Terunobu Fujita

20. King Russell (50-1)
Trainer: Ron Moquett