In the fall of 1989, Secretariat was afflicted with laminitis--a painful and often incurable hoof condition. When his condition failed to improve after a month of treatment, he was euthanized on October 4 at the age of 19. Popular both as a Triple Crown champion and in retirement, Secretariat was mourned by millions and buried at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, given the rare honor of being buried whole; usually only the head, heart, and hooves of a winning race horse are buried, and the rest of the body is cremated.
A necropsy revealed his heart was significantly larger than that of an ordinary horse. An extremely large heart is a trait that occasionally occurs in Thoroughbreds, linked to a genetic condition passed down via the dam line, known as the "x-factor". The x-factor can be traced to the historic racehorse Eclipse, which was necropsied after his death in 1789. Because Eclipse's heart appeared to be much larger than other horses, it was weighed, and found to be 14 pounds (6.4 kg), almost twice the normal weight. Eclipse is believed to have passed the trait on via his daughters, and pedigree research verified that Secretariat traces in his dam line to a daughter of Eclipse. In the 20th century, the heart of Phar Lap was weighed and also documented to be 6.35 kilograms (14.0 lb), or essentially the same size as that of Eclipse.
At the time of Secretariat's death, the veterinarian who performed the necropsy, Dr. Thomas Swerczek, head pathologist at the University of Kentucky, did not weigh Secretariat's heart, but stated, "We just stood there in stunned silence. We couldn’t believe it. The heart was perfect. There were no problems with it. It was just this huge engine." Later, Swerczek also performed a necropsy on Sham, who died in 1993. Swerczek did weigh Sham's heart, and it was 18 pounds (8.2 kg). Based on Sham's measurement, and having necropsied both horses, he estimated Secretariat's heart probably weighed 22 pounds (10.0 kg), or about two-and-three-quarters times as large as that of the average horse. Adding to his greatness, in at least 14 of his 21 races Secretariat had to come from the back of the pack running on the outside; i.e., a longer distance than for any of the other horses.
Other articles related to "death":
... Vatican altered some of the details of the discovery of the death to avoid possible unseemliness in that he was discovered by Sister Vincenza, a nun ... Yet this, along with inconsistent statements made following the Pope's death, led to a number of conspiracy theories concerning it ...
... On April 25, a response to Komarov's death by his fellow cosmonauts was published in Pravda "For the forerunners it is always more difficult ... identified by the cosmonaut corps and that Komarov's death should teach the establishment to be more rigorous in its testing and evaluation of "all the mechanisms of ... His flight and his death will teach us courage." In May 1967, Gagarin and Leonov criticised Mishin's "poor knowledge of the Soyuz spacecraft and the details of ...
... The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350 ... were several competing theories as to the etiology of the Black Death, recent analysis of DNA from victims in northern and southern Europe indicates ... The Black Death is thought to have started in China or central Asia, before spreading west ...
Famous quotes containing the word death:
“So he with difficulty and labour hard
Moved on, with difficulty and labour he;
But he once passed, soon after when man fell,
Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain
Following his track, such was the will of Heaven,
Paved after him a broad and beaten way
Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf
Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length
From hell continued reaching th utmost orb
Of this frail world;”
—John Milton (16081674)
“And death i think is no parenthesis”
—E.E. (Edward Estlin)
“I want Death to find me planting my cabbages, neither worrying about it nor the unfinished gardening.”
—Michel de Montaigne (15331592)