Secretariat — Straight from the jockey's mouth
In less than a week, Secretariat was going to be released on DVD. I was really excited! This was my first time interviewing a celebrity. I couldn’t wait to log on to the virtual roundtable to interview Otto Thorwarth, the actor who played Secretariat’s jockey in the Disney movie, and Ronnie Turcotte, Secretariat’s actual jockey.
This assignment was on a topic I know about: horses. I ride horses every week and have been riding for five months. During my lessons, I’ve learned to saddle up my horse; walk, trot, and lope; I brush and wash my horse to help her cool off after a ride in the hot sun.
I was amazed by the story of Secretariat! In Secretariat’s first season, 1972, he claimed eight consecutive victories. In 1973, Secretariat won the Triple Crown. The Triple Crown consists of three races for three-year-old Thoroughbreds. The three races are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. Winning all three races is considered the greatest accomplishment for a thoroughbred horse. Secretariat still holds the record for winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths! Secretariat was also the first of only two two-year-olds to win “Horse of the Year.”
During the interview, Mr. Turcotte, Secretariat’s real-life jockey, stated that the portrayal of him by Mr. Thorwarth was “very good. Otto played me very well. It was very close to real life.” He also said that Diane Lane “did a really good job playing Penny,” Secretariat’s owner. Mr. Thorwarth, a real-life jockey, had virtually no time to prepare for the role of Ronnie Turcotte. “I found out on a Monday that I got the role, and then we started filming on Thursday. Luckily I’ve been doing this for 15 years, so it wasn’t too difficult to prepare for this role.”
About Secretariat, Mr. Turcotte said, “He was the greatest horse I rode and the fastest horse I ever saw run. He was just beyond great.” According to Mr. Thorwarth, Secretariat will be remembered “as THE greatest horse of all time. I don’t think we’ll ever see another one like him.”
To learn more about the story of Secretariat, check out Disney’s new release of Secretariat on DVD or Blu Ray.
Photo: Otto Thorwarth from the movie Secretariat. (Photo: John Bramsley, Disney Enterprises, Inc., All Rights Reserved)