Secretariat Review

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  • Secretariat film still

This tale of wealth, horse-breeding and good old Christian faith is just about as hammy as a study of commodified horse sex can be.

‘Schmaltz’, as every good Jewish girl can tell you, literally means ‘chicken fat’. Now, who knows exactly what the Yiddish would be for ‘boiled up ham and horse bones’, but 'Secretariat' seems a very likely candidate. This tale of wealth, horse-breeding and good old Christian faith is just about as hammy as a study of commodified horse sex can be.

Faced with bankruptcy, a senile father (who seems no more mentally impaired than any other character in this American pastoral), a dead mother and a farm full of horses, Penny Chenery (played by Diane Lane and her amazing immovable face) decides to buck up, grab her new foal by the fetlocks and make dreams come true.

What results is the most amazing 31-length win in American horse racing history. Which, thrilling as it sounds, is far more gratifyingly realised in the original Belmont Stakes footage freely available on YouTube.

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