Sham Great Was Second Best: A Brave Bay's Rivalry with the Legendary Secretariat

Sham Great Was Second Best: A Brave Bay's Rivalry with the Legendary Secretariat

by Phil Dandrea


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In early 1973, a sleek, sturdy bay named Sham was winning races by impressive margins as great as fifteen lengths. After defeating the mighty Secretariat in the Wood Memorial, many turf writers were touting Sham as the Kentucky Derby favorite. The stage was set for Sham-mania to sweep the country at a time when the nation needed a hero. But it was Secretariat who won over the nation. The chestnut colt known affectionately as Big Red, running under the white and blue silks of Meadow Stable, was the embodiment of the American flag. Despite impressive victories and record-breaking performances, Sham's popularity paled in comparison. If Secretariat were America's horse, Sham might well have been everyman's horse, a working-class hero who couldn't get the recognition he deserved. This is the other side of the story of Secretariat's famous Triple Crown season and of his remarkable challenger who found that great was only second best.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780984217335
Publisher: Acanthus Publishing
Publication date: 10/15/2010
Pages: 415
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Phil Dandrea can recall seeing his first Kentucky Derby on TV as a boy, when he watched Riva Ridge take the Run for the Roses in 1972. He has since traveled across the country to see the sport at all levels and from various vantage points, from the box seats at Triple Crown events to the mucked stables behind the scenes. He is a member of both the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the ownership group IEAH Stables, whose colt Big Brown won the Florida Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Haskell Invitational Handicap.

Table of Contents

Copyrights iv

Acknowledgements vii

Prologue 4

1 Nearly Decked at the Derby 10

2 Best of the Lot 21

3 First Time on the Oval 30

4 Early Days on the Farm 37

5 Trainer Tries Again 61

6 A Change of Order 69

7 Last Chance for the Two-Year-Old 79

8 Sham's New Stable 85

9 Go West, Young Horse 96

10 A Derby Winner in this Field? 104

11 Best Ever Three-Year-Old 116

12 Pincay Chooses 122

13 Rival in the East, Challenge in the West 131

14 The Field Takes Shape 144

15 High Pressure Before the Storm 151

16 Rivals Finally Meet 162

17 Other Contenders 174

18 Prep for the Roses 185

19 It's Official 190

20 The Day Arrives 201

21 The Derby Dust Settles 214

22 Round Two in Baltimore 220

23 Facing the Phantom of Pimlico 229

24 Daisies on Old Hilltop 238

25 Broken Record and Broken Clock? 251

26 The Test of Champions 261

27 Sham Refuses to Yield the Crown 271

28 Battling a Tremendous Machine 283

29 All Over but the Shouting 297

30 Sham's Biggest Challenge 304

31 Adding to the Princequillo Legacy 314

Bibliography 325

Endnotes 361

About the Author 415

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