How Much Was Secretariat Worth? A Deep Dive Into The Value Of Racing’S Greatest Champion

The name Secretariat is synonymous with greatness in horse racing. Considered by many to be the greatest racehorse of all time, Secretariat captured the imagination of racing fans worldwide during his historic Triple Crown run in 1973.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Secretariat was worth an estimated $6 million at the time of his retirement in 1973. When adjusted for inflation, that equates to around $37 million in 2023 dollars.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the various factors that made Secretariat so valuable during his peak racing career and retirement. We’ll look at his race earnings, breeding rights, merchandise sales, and cultural impact to understand just how much this legendary racehorse was worth.

Secretariat’s Race Earnings

Secretariat, widely regarded as one of the greatest racehorses of all time, amassed a significant fortune during his racing career. The value of Secretariat’s race earnings not only reflects his exceptional talent but also the immense popularity and success he achieved on the track.

Earnings From Major Stakes Races

Secretariat’s race earnings were primarily derived from major stakes races, where he competed against the best horses of his time. These high-profile events offered substantial prize money and attracted significant media attention. Secretariat’s dominance in these races solidified his status as a legendary racehorse and contributed greatly to his overall worth.

One of Secretariat’s most notable victories was in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, where he secured the Triple Crown title by winning the race by an astonishing 31 lengths. This historic win earned him a substantial prize purse and helped boost his overall race earnings.

In addition to the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat also won other prestigious races such as the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. With each victory, his race earnings continued to soar, further cementing his legacy as a racing icon.

Earnings From Other Races

While Secretariat’s major stakes race earnings were undoubtedly significant, it’s important to note that his overall worth extended beyond these high-profile events. He participated in numerous other races throughout his career, both at renowned tracks and smaller venues.

Although the prize money in these races may not have been as substantial as that in major stakes races, Secretariat’s consistent performance and ability to attract crowds ensured that his earnings remained impressive. Even in races where the prize money was relatively modest, Secretariat’s presence alone often elevated the overall purse.

It is worth mentioning that Secretariat’s success on the track also had a profound impact on his value as a stud horse. After retiring from racing, Secretariat went on to have a highly successful breeding career, commanding substantial fees for his services. This further contributed to his overall worth and solidified his status as a valuable asset in the racing industry.

Breeding Rights

One of the key aspects of Secretariat’s value was his breeding rights. As a Triple Crown winner and a legendary racehorse, Secretariat commanded significant attention from breeders. Breeding rights refer to the privilege of using a stallion for mating with mares, with the aim of producing offspring that inherit the champion’s exceptional traits and potential for success on the racetrack.

Stud Fees

Secretariat’s stud fees were a major source of income for his owners after his racing career. A stud fee is the amount that breeders pay to have their mares bred with a specific stallion. The fee is determined by the stallion’s reputation, race record, and potential for producing successful offspring. Secretariat’s stud fees were among the highest in the industry, reaching up to $250,000 per mating. This was a testament to his exceptional bloodline and the anticipation of producing future champions.

It’s worth noting that Secretariat’s stud fees were not constant throughout his breeding career. They varied based on factors such as his age, demand, and the success of his progeny on the racetrack. Breeders eagerly sought the opportunity to breed their mares with Secretariat, hoping to produce offspring that would inherit his extraordinary speed and athleticism.

Offspring Earnings

Secretariat’s value as a sire was also reflected in the earnings of his offspring. His progeny went on to achieve remarkable success on the racetrack, earning millions of dollars in prize money. Some of his most notable offspring include Risen Star, Lady’s Secret, and Weekend Surprise, who continued the legacy of their famous father and brought further glory to his bloodline.

The success of Secretariat’s progeny further enhanced his reputation as a valuable sire, and breeders were willing to pay substantial sums for the chance to breed their mares with him. The offspring of Secretariat went on to win prestigious races and set records of their own, solidifying his status as one of the most influential sires in the history of horse racing.

For more information on Secretariat’s breeding rights and the value of racing’s greatest champion, you can visit

Merchandising & Promotional Value

Secretariat, the legendary racehorse, not only left an indelible mark on horse racing history but also had a significant merchandising and promotional value. The charisma and awe-inspiring performance of this magnificent athlete captured the hearts of millions of racing fans around the world. As a result, Secretariat’s image and brand became highly sought after in various industries.

Logo and Branding

The iconic image of Secretariat thundering down the track, with his powerful stride and distinctive red and white checkered colors, has become synonymous with greatness in the world of horse racing. This image has been used on a wide range of merchandise, including apparel, accessories, and memorabilia. The Secretariat logo and branding have become a symbol of excellence, strength, and determination, attracting both racing enthusiasts and casual fans alike.

Secretariat’s logo and branding have been licensed and used on products such as t-shirts, hats, keychains, and even home decor items. These items not only serve as a memento for fans but also as a way to express their admiration for this incredible champion. The popularity of Secretariat’s logo and branding has contributed significantly to his overall worth.

Toys and Collectibles

Secretariat’s legacy extends beyond the racetrack and into the realm of toys and collectibles. Miniature replicas of Secretariat, including figurines and model horses, have become highly sought after by collectors and fans alike. These toys and collectibles not only capture the essence of Secretariat’s physical appearance but also serve as a reminder of his extraordinary achievements on the track.

In addition to figurines and model horses, there are also trading cards, puzzles, and board games featuring Secretariat. These items allow fans to engage with the story of Secretariat in a more interactive way, further enhancing his merchandising value.

Books and Movies

The story of Secretariat’s life and racing career has been immortalized in books and movies, further adding to his promotional value. Books such as “Secretariat: The Making of a Champion” by William Nack and “Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle” by Raymond G. Woolfe Jr. provide a detailed account of Secretariat’s journey to greatness.

Moreover, the Disney movie “Secretariat” released in 2010 brought the story of this remarkable horse to the silver screen. The film not only highlighted Secretariat’s extraordinary racing career but also shed light on the human drama behind the scenes. The success of the movie contributed to the increased interest in Secretariat and boosted his overall value.

Cultural Significance and Intangible Value

Secretariat, the legendary racehorse, holds a special place in the hearts of horse racing fans around the world. Beyond his impressive victories on the track, Secretariat’s cultural significance and intangible value cannot be overlooked.

Inspiration for Horse Racing Fans

Secretariat’s story serves as an inspiration for horse racing fans of all ages. His dominance on the racetrack and his remarkable Triple Crown victory in 1973 are legendary. The horse’s incredible speed and strength captivated audiences and ignited a passion for the sport. Many fans still look to Secretariat as a symbol of excellence and a reminder that anything is possible with determination and talent.

Historic Triple Crown Achievement

One of Secretariat’s most significant achievements was winning the Triple Crown in 1973. This prestigious honor is awarded to a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in the same year. Secretariat’s record-breaking performances in each race solidified his place in history. His victory at the Belmont Stakes, where he won by an astonishing 31 lengths, still stands as the fastest time ever recorded for that race. This historic achievement elevated Secretariat’s value and cemented his status as one of the greatest racehorses of all time.

Named #1 Racehorse of 20th Century

Secretariat’s legacy extends beyond his career on the track. In 1999, he was named the #1 racehorse of the 20th century by The Blood-Horse, a leading publication in the horse racing industry. This prestigious recognition speaks to the enduring impact Secretariat had on the sport. His record-breaking performances, his captivating personality, and his ability to capture the public’s imagination all contributed to his status as a true icon of horse racing.

The cultural significance and intangible value of Secretariat cannot be measured solely in monetary terms. His impact on the sport, the inspiration he provides to fans, and his historic achievements make him an irreplaceable figure in horse racing history.


Secretariat earned over $1.3 million in purse money during his 21-race career—a hefty sum in the early 1970s. But his value extended far beyond the racetrack, as he ignited interest in horse racing worldwide. Through breeding rights, merchandising, and his cultural impact, Secretariat went on to be worth an estimated $37 million in today’s dollars.

His legacy lives on today through his offspring still running and winning major stakes races. For any racehorse to capture the public’s fascination so intensely is a rare achievement. But Secretariat was no ordinary racehorse. He became an international superstar who transcended horse racing, and whose name will be forever tied to greatness in the world of thoroughbreds.

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