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Our society likes to know who's the "best" at anything. The best movie. The best basketball team. Our family gets right in the act, choosing our own local "bests." The best French fries. The best route to school. Our top choices, of course, change frequently. Sometimes, however, it's good to see a "best" that seems untoppable and unstoppable. That's what we saw when we watched Secretariat, the movie about the Thoroughbred that many people feel was the best race horse of all time. Rated PG, Secretariat is not just the story of a great horse, but of his gutsy owner Penny who was thrown into the world of big-time horse racing when she inherited her family's horse ranch and had to fight to save it. Diane Lane plays Penny, and John Malkovich gives a great performance as Secretariat's quirky trainer. Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973. This is a feat that's only happened 11 times in history, and hasn't happened at all since 1978. We loved the movie, which is perfect for upper-elementary ages and up, especially those who love horses. The wonderful cinematography put us right into the middle of each race, and found ourselves cheering each time the great Secretariat crossed the finish line!
Watching Secretariat reminded us that we hadn't been to the races ourselves in a long time. We packed up a picnic lunch and headed to Santa Anita Park for a great day at the races. We had a blast wandering around the infield and watching these incredibly beautiful animals show off their athletic prowess. Our kids got to do some real number-crunching and stretch their math muscles in trying to figure out just how odds are calculated, and what it really means if a horse is a 50-to-1 long shot. We also had fun trying to figure out how people choose race horse names and voting on our favorite names for every race (Amazombie may not have won his race, but he won our "Best Name" contest in a landslide!). We cheered for our favorites, visited them in the Winner's Circle, and came away relaxed and ready to saddle up for the coming week!
Our buttery bits of wisdom about Secretariat:
Visiting Santa Anita Race Track
285 W. Huntington Dr. Arcadia, CA 91107
Age Recommendations: 9 and up
Time Requirements: Allow at least 2 to 3 hours to tour the race track and watch some races, or stay for the full afternoon if you want.
Our Tips for Extending your Adventure: