In general, the prestigious Whitney Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga has been a race in which favorites run well, and the list of winners includes such famous horses as Equipoise, Discovery, War Admiral, Stymie, Gallorette, Tom Fool, Kelso, Carry Back, Dr. Fager, Alydar, Slew o’ Gold, Lady’s Secret, Personal Ensign, Easy Goer, Criminal Type, Invasor, Rachel Alexandra, Blame, and Havre de Grace.
But in 1973, the Whitney ended with one of the most shocking upsets in the history of horse racing. Triple Crown winner Secretariat, coming off of an incredibly easy nine-length win in the Arlington Invitational, was favored at 1-10 in his first start against older horses. But after rallying up the rail to challenge pace-setting Onion for the lead, Secretariat couldn’t sustain his momentum and flattened out in the homestretch, fading to finish second while Onion scored by a length. Prior to the race, Onion had never won a stakes race and would never win one again, but on that day in 1973, he stamped his legacy forever by conquering the immortal Secretariat.
Relive the 1973 Whitney Handicap by watching the replay of the race!