At the moment we might be totally focused on the current top picks for the Belmont Stakes, but we should always remember the historical moments at tracks like these. Sure, knowing and acknowledging the current odds and pick is great, but history has a say too.
In politics, in sport, in life, we should often refer to the past, to get an idea of what to do and what not to do in the future.
This stands when you are looking at who to bet on at Belmont. There is every chance we will see another Turcotte. There will never be another like him, not completely, but it is worth keeping an eye out for inspirational jockeys with potential to be the next Turcotte.
But, who was Ron Turcotte?
Well, we are here today to answer this question for you, and tell you a little more about one of the greatest jockeys in the horse racing game!
Who Is Ron Turcotte?
Ron Turcotte is a retired Canadian jockey, riding thoroughbred race horses, however, in spite of the many races he won, he is best known for being the rider of Secretariat, who won the Triple Crown back in ‘73.
He began his career in 1960, he was a hot walker back then, but it didn’t take long for him to be wearing the silks.
Turcotte had an incredible 3,032 wins over the course of his career, his first notable win being in 1962, and his last notable win being in 1978.
Turcotte won the Kentucky Derby in 1972 and 1973, the Preakness Stakes in 1965 and 1973, the Belmont Stakes in 1972, and 1973. As you can see here, he won the Triple Crown in 1973, and this is what we are most interested in.
The 1 ½ Mile At Belmont Stakes
There is no doubt that this event was one of the most incredible performances we have ever seen. Secretariat’s absolutely jaw dropping 31-length tour de force in this mile and a half Belmont Stakes race was insane.
It was also part of some careful planning by both Turcotte and the trainer Laurin. Determination had them keeping their eye solidly on the grand prize of the epic Triple Crown, which led to very carefully measured victories in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
It was noted that Turcotte only used his whip very sparingly in the Derby just to prompt Secretariat to change leads, and when he did, Turcotte just put the whip away and galloped into victory.
When it came to the Belmont Stakes, everyone watched high on anxiety. Secretariat had a duel with Sham, which sizzled hot, while everyone else was riddled with anxiety, Turcotte was a cool cucumber. He knew what Secretariat was, he knew the horse.
Sham withered and Secretariat and Turcotte raced against the clock, and no one else.
Secretariat was speeding ahead like a race car without limits, Turcotte looked around for any who dared challenge them, but the competition was fading into the distance behind them, so he just made sure he did not get in Secretariat’s way.
Turcotte sat still, letting the horse move like he wasn’t even there, like he was just galloping away in a field, nothing on him.
To this day, no one has beat the record of 2:24 minutes that Turcotte and Secretariat brought that day. With a margin of 31 lengths, their record is even more unbeatable, and it made Belmont one of the most dominant places for an athletic performance.
A Sight To Be Remembered
The sight on that day is burned into the minds of anyone lucky enough to witness it. However, while this was a golden moment in history, Turcotte’s career went beyond this.
Some would even say that his best work was alongside Riva Ridge, teaching that rather moody and highly-strung colt how to carry his speed for distance. It resulted in 2 major race wins for them in ‘72.
Ron Turcotte won more than $28 million in purse earnings over his career. However, his career took a turn in ‘78 when an accident on a horse left him disabled. However, it didn’t stop him.
He was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame the next year, and he uses a lot of his time to show up for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys fund.
A Man Who Had The Will To Win
Not only did Turcotte win so many races, but he also won many awards.
He won the leading jockey at Woodbine Racetrack twice, the Canadian Racings’ man of the year, the Big Sport of Turfdom Award, the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award and Avelino Gomez Memorial Award as well.
He has been honored 7 times as well, and has ridden 15 significant horses.
He is a legend of racing and an idol to many.
For More Great Chicago Sports Content
Follow us on Twitter at @chicitysports23 for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Chicago sports news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE