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Secretariat Wins Virtual Kentucky Derby During $2M COVID-19 Relief Fundraiser

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2020

FILE - In this June 9, 1973, file photo, jockey Ron Turcotte hangs on as Secretariat romps along the final stretch just before the finish line and a victory in the 105th running of the Belmont Stakes, winning the Triple Crown at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. When Justify runs in the Belmont on Saturday, June 9, 2018, it will be 45 years to the day Secretariat ended a 25-year Triple Crown drought by sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.(AP Photo/File)
Anonymous/Associated Press

Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown, a virtual race featuring the 13 winners of the American horse racing Triple Crown, on Saturday in lieu of the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Seattle Slew bolted out to the early lead and maintained that position for a vast majority of the race. A parade of champions made their charge during the stretch run, however, as four different contenders emerged inside the final quarter-mile.

Secretariat, the most dominant horse in history, couldn't be stopped, though. He overcame a pack that also featured Seattle Slew, Citation, Affirmed and American Pharoah.

  • Win: Secretariat
  • Place: Citation
  • Show: Seattle Slew
Kentucky Derby @KentuckyDerby

Watch it again! The 13 Triple Crown winners face off in a virtual race under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. Donate to COVID-19 relief at https://t.co/6W7xpgby5a. | #KyDerbyAtHome https://t.co/QCDkrrPB5p

This year's Run for the Roses has been postponed until Sept. 5 because of the coronavirus pandemic. NBC showcased an eerily quiet Churchill Downs in Louisville, which typically welcomes over 150,000 fans to its grounds each year on the first Saturday in May, during its coverage of the virtual race.

Churchill Downs announced Wednesday the event was part of an effort to raise $2 million for COVID-19 emergency relief and provided a statement from track president Kevin Flanery:

"For many fans around the country, the first Saturday in May has become a part of their family's yearly traditions. While we eagerly look forward to the 146th Kentucky Derby this year on the first Saturday in September, we will celebrate the annual excitement of our traditional date with our fans and community by offering ways for us to join together for a great cause. Our fans will be captivated by the realistic view of the virtual race and we can debate, as we do each year, our favorite to win."

The remainder of the 2020 Triple Crown slate remains uncertain as officials for the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, respectively scheduled for May 16 and June 6 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced widespread sports cancellations, have yet to announce new dates.

Virtual sports have taken center stage in recent months in order to fill the television void. The Triple Crown Showdown was one of the more unique events created alongside esports competitions ranging from the NBA and MLB to NASCAR and soccer.

Here's a look at the complete field that took part in Saturday's race with their post positions and the year they captured the Triple Crown:

  • 1. Affirmed (1978)
  • 2. Assault (1946)
  • 3. Secretariat (1973)
  • 4. Sir Barton (1919)
  • 5. Seattle Slew (1977)
  • 6. American Pharoah (2015)
  • 7. Gallant Fox (1930)
  • 8. Citation (1948)
  • 9. War Admiral (1937)
  • 10. Whirlaway (1941)
  • 11. Count Fleet (1943)
  • 12. Justify (2018)
  • 13. Omaha (1935)

In the end, it was Secretariat who unsurprisingly earned the bragging rights after the 1ΒΌ-mile battle under the computer-generated famed twin spires at virtual Churchill Downs.