Saturday afternoon, 10 horses will head to the track for the 152nd Belmont Stakes. These competitors and their jockeys face different odds to secure the victory during the first leg of the Triple Crown, but they also have something significant in common. All 10 horses are descendants of Secretariat, the competitor that had a historic performance in 1973.
The Secretariat Foundation broke the news on Saturday with a photo of the championship horse. The winner of the 1973 Triple Crown, Secretariat sired hundreds of horses, so having his descendants take place in a race is not uncommon. Although it's far rarer to have an entire field related, this unique situation will take place on Saturday at 5:42 p.m. ET when the horses attempt to secure the first win of the Triple Crown.
Secretariat is one of the most famous horses in Triple Crown history. He won the Belmont, the final race in the series, in just 2:24 minutes. He also crossed the finish line with 31 lengths separating him from the second-place horse.
Following his death, the veterinarian who did Secretariat's necropsy discovered that he was extraordinary compared to other horses. The 1973 champion had a heart far larger than that of an average horse. The organ wasn't swollen or enlarged due to a genetic disease; it was just larger. The veterinarian said it was twice the size of an average horse's.
This large heart, which many dubbed "superheart," is considered one of the reasons for Secretariat's success. The massive heart helped pump more oxygen and blood as he raced around the track. Other horses, such as Justify, have had similar large hearts, but they still paled in comparison to Secretariat.
Heading toward Saturday's highly-anticipated race, there are questions about if any horse will come close to Secretariat's performance. Tiz the Law is currently viewed as the favorite to secure the win with 6-5 odds, but this does not guarantee a win by 31 lengths. Tiz the Law will also face considerable competition from relatives in Dr. Post, Tap It To Win and Pneumatic.
Coverage for the 152nd Belmont Stakes begins at 2:45 p.m. ET on Saturday. Several races lead up to the main draw, which starts at approximately 5:42 p.m. ET. NBC will broadcast the action for viewers at home as they celebrate the return of horse racing.