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Running From Within

Running From Within

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Published by paulmcfee
Running From Within; A Moment, a Man and a Miracle, is the story of a man who found his passion in the year 1973 while working as an exercise rider for the famed racehorse Secretariat. Jim Gaffney's life was forever defined by the year he worked with the horse. Until the day he died, Jimmy Gaffney lived with the passion inspired by greatness.
Running From Within; A Moment, a Man and a Miracle, is the story of a man who found his passion in the year 1973 while working as an exercise rider for the famed racehorse Secretariat. Jim Gaffney's life was forever defined by the year he worked with the horse. Until the day he died, Jimmy Gaffney lived with the passion inspired by greatness.

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Published by: paulmcfee on Oct 22, 2010
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Running From Within
 A Moment, a Man, And a Miracle
By Paul McFee
On March 30th1968 a bright redcolt was born toparents literally chosen by the tossof a coin. The colt was born to
 Somethingroyal 
,and stallion,
 Bold  Ruler.
 
 Bold Ruler 
wasconsidered one of the mostsignificantstallions of histime. He wasknown to have both the speed to be a frontrunner,and the stamina to run 1 1/4 mile tracks.The colt, a red chestnut horse with three white socks and a star with a narrow  blaze was named
 Secretariat 
, a name that would not only set the standard forhorse racing, but a name that touched the world and demonstrated almostsupernatural possibilities.
 Secretariat 
showed exceptional greatness within thefirst two years of life, winning the 1972 American Horse of the Year honors, arecord for a two year-old that was only repeated once since, in 1977.July 4th, 1936, another great champion firstfell in love with horses after he sat atop a horsein Powell, Ohio. The man's name was JamesGaffney. That summer day would begin a life-long love affair with horses and horse racing. A smile from a young child's face would hintof a future life defining passion and remain inthe minds of everyone that ever met JimGaffney.
 
  April 1972, Jimmy Gaffney's life intersected by chance with the often-doubtedracehorse
 Secretariat.
Jim had worked with racehorses for most of his life, but when he first met
 Secretariat 
, Jim saw something different. Jim was quoted assaying:"
 I had been on race horses almost all of my adult life and when I stepped up on Secretariat the first time in April, 1972. I had this bigred machine under me and from that very first day I knew he had had a power of strength that I have never felt from a two year-old horse before. The very first time Lucien Laurin told me to work him aquarter mile the April morning at Belmont Park, I told him that hewould be RUNNING REALLY FAST and he said so let him. I went aquarter in 21 seconds and I believe that Lucien realized at that timewe had a racehorse on our hands." 
Jim was one of two men entrusted with exercising the champion
 Secretariat 
 every morning and did his job with the same passion that defined his life. A cointoss decided the birth of 
 Secretariat 
and fate introduced the champion to a man who would contribute equal greatness to
 Secretariat 
and to those who loved him.1973
 Secretariat 
wins the famed
 Kentucky Derby
by 2 1/2 lengths, setting a track record of 1 minute 59 seconds, a record that stood for the next 28 years. Each 1/4mile segment of the race was successively faster than the last, demonstrating that
 Secretariat 
was accelerating even through the last 1/4 mile. The win was epic.1973
 Secretariat 
runs the
 Preakness Stakes
and again,comes from behind and is neverchallenged, winning by 2 1/2lengths. The champion racer wasnow on the cover of 
Time
magazine and center stagein the public consciousness that was being challenged at the time, by events such as U.S. troops being withdrawn from Vietnam,oil prices increasing by 200%,100,000 unemployed workers laidoff from U.S. car makers, Roe v. Wade trial and an ever deepeningrecession...but for that frozen moment in time, America had something to behopeful for. The hope was that this young horse, a horse that was counted out inthe past, could win the coveted
Triple Crown
in the upcoming race at theB
elmont Stakes
.
 
1973
 Belmont Stakes
,
 Secretariat 
runs in front of 67, 605 eager spectators andopens not from behind the pack, but setting a fast pace, challenged only by ahorse named
 Sham
.
 Secretariat 
and
 Sham
run 10 lengths ahead of any otherhorse. After 6 furlongs,
 Sham
begins to tire and fades into the pack, finishinglast.
 Secretariat 
however, runs even faster, finishing 31 lengths ahead of theother horses and not only wins the race, but sets the record for the fastest time of any horse in a 1 1/2 mile track, 2 minutes and 24 seconds. The record timecontinues to stand today.Many knowledgeable horseracing fans cursed Ron Turcotte,
 Secretariat’s
rider,for running the horse at such a reckless speed. They felt sure that the horse would run out of steam, lose or even die in the process. Turcotte would later say that the pace was beyond his control and
 Secretariat 
just wanted to run. Many more felt that Turcotte would be harmed traveling at such high-speed. Thepicture below shows a curious Turcotte as he tried to look behind him. He latersaid, “Looking back momentarily I became even more scared and turned back around.” Spectators said they would not have been surprised if 
 Secretariat 
took to flight like
 Pegasus
. Most wept openly at the vision of the rare moment of perfection in an otherwise imperfect world and time.Many winning ticketholders never turn intheir tickets, choosinginstead to hold on tothem as souvenirsand a memory of thatmagical day at
 Belmont  Racetrack,
 when
 Secretariat,
won thecoveted Triple Crown,reassuring us thateven in challengingtimes events canoccur thatdemonstrategreatness.On October 4th, 1989,
 Secretariat 
lost his earthly race that all living things run, but he left us with a legacy that inspires still today. His name will be foreverlinked to a championship year when he drew our attention away from Worldevents, even for a few minutes.
 Secretariat's
championship year inspired us,gave us reason to look at our own lives with promise and hope, and made ussmile and even cry, but most of all to run from within.

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