Virginia’s Secretariat Connection

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Secretariat’s magnificent Triple Crown victory, which was the first after a dry spell of 25 years.  The public had begun to wonder if it was still possible. And then Secretariat more than delivered, breaking a track record in each race and winning the Belmont with an astonishing 31 lengths. He was a phenomenon, a wonder horse, and he belongs to Virginia in a unique way.

Not only was Secretariat born in Caroline County, Virginia,  the story of how his ancestor came to be in America has Virginia Roots.

In 1935, Kentucky was already eclipsing the commonwealth as the cradle of great racehorses. Marion DuPont, on her way to becoming the first lady of American Racing and owner of Montpelier the former home of 4th President James Madison, and her older brother William decided it would be a good idea to have a first rate Thoroughbred stallion stand at stud in Virginia. Marion travelled to England on a mission and picked out a well respected sire and successful racehorse, Blenheim II. But The Aga Khan would not sell except for steep price of $225,000, just shy of $5 million dollars in today’s currency. The DuPont siblings felt this was too great a price for them alone and they formed a syndicate including  Warren Wright (Calumet Farm), Arthur B. Hancock (Claiborne Farm), J.H. Whitney (Greentree Stud), John D. Hertz (Stoner Creek Stud), and Robert A. Fairbairn (Fairholme Farm) and themselves. He was imported after the 1936 breeding season and stood at Claibourne Farm, in Kentucky. So much for the Virginia Sire.

Blenheim validated Marion’s judgement. His first crop of foals in the US included Whirlaway, the 1941 Triple Crown winner. He was named leading sire in the US in 1941. His other great progeny are too numerous to elaborate here but among them was great-great grandson, Bold Ruler, and sire of Secretariat.

For more information about Marion DuPont visit

For more information about Blenheim II visit



The Montpelier Hunt Races are tied to Virginia’s Rich History