Secretariat: Heart of a Champion

Back in 1973, I fell in love with Secretariat. I’m not a big horse racing fan, but I remember watching Secretariat win the Belmont on June 9,1973. I was almost 14 years old, and I remember watching Secretariat pull away and win by 31 lengths. It was a dominating performance. No one has matched such racing dominance since.

A few years ago ESPN did 50 specials on the 50 greatest athletes of all time. Secretariat was one of the 50. I watched and was again mesmerized by what one horse could do. It was during that special I learned that when Secretariat died they discovered he had a heart twice the size of other horses. He had the heart of a champion.

Last year when Disney came out with the movie Secretariat, I had to go see it. Most movies qualify for waiting for DVD or Netflix, not Secretariat. There I learned the incredible back story of Secretariat’s owners, of Mrs. Tweedy and her commitment, vision and influence on Secretariat. (For pictures of Secretariat go

When flying to India this past January, it was one of the movies to watch on the flight. I was again mesmerized. Then again this past Saturday it was on one of our Direct TV channels, and I was watching again. Knowing exactly what was going to happen, but enjoying and embracing the sight of a champion at work.

Great leaders often have a great heart. They have that look in their eye. They have that commitment to push. When at their best, they not only show their best but bring out the best in others. Secretariat did that for himself, for his owner, for her family, for his trainer, for his rider, for his sport.

In watching Secretariat again, I was reminded of that June 9th Saturday in 1973. It was a great day. It was trumped 11 years later, when I got married to Sharon on June 9, 1984. I think how much my life changed in those 11 years, and realize the great work God did for my heart, and wonder now what will be my story 11 years from now.

For the ultimate heart of a champion is the heart of the God who loves you and me. The God who comes transforms our hearts with His new birth, with His life, with His presence. How our lives are ultimately changed by our connection with Him.

What’s transforming your heart? Who is the heart of a champion that still inspires you?


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One response to “Secretariat: Heart of a Champion

  1. Pingback: Happy New Year | Richard Burkey

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