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 Post subject: Sham-How Great?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 11:17 pm 
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There probably has been other threads here about Secretariat's great rival, Sham. If so, I guess that it won't hurt to have another.

Most have heard about Sham. Probably would have won a couple of the triple crown races, if not all three if he was born in another year. Had the second fastest time ever in the Kentucky Derby and maybe the Preakness. Holds equal stakes record in Santa Anita Derby. Lost a couple of teeth when he banged his head in the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby, and still finished second to Secretariat.

One thing that I just found out. Pincay was ordered to stay up with Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes resulting in a suicidal speed dual in that race. Pincay noticed that Sham was having trouble in that race and eased up on him, possibly saving his life, but causing Sham to finish last. I am sure that if Sham ran his normal race, then he would have again finished second to Secretariat.

Anyway, what do others here think of Sham?

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 Post subject: Re: Sham-How Great?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:19 am 
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Didn't know if you saw the Haskins article. Great stuff

http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-ra ... rocks.aspx

Obviously, I'm a big fan.

jm

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 Post subject: Re: Sham-How Great?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:20 am 
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Joltman wrote:
Didn't know if you saw the Haskins article. Great stuff

http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-ra ... rocks.aspx

Obviously, I'm a big fan.

jm



Great article. Thanks for posting it.

All the stuff about the Belmont Stakes got me thinking about Secretariat and Sham. I looked on Amazon and saw a book that looked interesting, so I ordered it. The book is "Sham: Great Was Second Best" by Phil Dandrea. Looking forward to reading it.

When you think about it, Sham was really a great racehorse. He wasn't that far off of Secretariat's Derby and Preakness. In the Belmont, Secretariat was really unreal. No horse is supposed to be able to run like that for a mile and a half. Sham's jockey was ordered to stay right with Secretariat that day, which was impossible. The race almost killed Sham, but as I said above, if Sham ran normally, and sensibly (not his fault as jockey Pincay had orders to push him and stay with Secretariat), he surely would have finished second again, and may well have the second fastest time in the Belmont, as well as the Derby and the Preakness.

Bottom line: If Secretariat was the greatest horse, then maybe Sham was the second greatest.

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 Post subject: Re: Sham-How Great?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:52 pm 
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Shawklit Won wrote:
Joltman wrote:
Didn't know if you saw the Haskins article. Great stuff

http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-ra ... rocks.aspx

Obviously, I'm a big fan.

jm



Great article. Thanks for posting it.

All the stuff about the Belmont Stakes got me thinking about Secretariat and Sham. I looked on Amazon and saw a book that looked interesting, so I ordered it. The book is "Sham: Great Was Second Best" by Phil Dandrea. Looking forward to reading it.

When you think about it, Sham was really a great racehorse. He wasn't that far off of Secretariat's Derby and Preakness. In the Belmont, Secretariat was really unreal. No horse is supposed to be able to run like that for a mile and a half. Sham's jockey was ordered to stay right with Secretariat that day, which was impossible. The race almost killed Sham, but as I said above, if Sham ran normally, and sensibly (not his fault as jockey Pincay had orders to push him and stay with Secretariat), he surely would have finished second again, and may well have the second fastest time in the Belmont, as well as the Derby and the Preakness.

Bottom line: If Secretariat was the greatest horse, then maybe Sham was the second greatest.



Not sure that Sham had the second fastest Preakness, but close if he didn't. Since 2012, Secretariat has been officially considered running the fastest Preakness at 1:53:00. A horse named Tank's Prospect won the 1985 Preakness in a time of 1:53:40. Sham finished about 2 or 2.5 lengths behind Secretariat, so his time would be close to Tank's Prospect's 1:53:40. Not sure if it is better or not, but close. I guess that it doesn't really matter that much anyway. The point is that Sham ran a great race that day.

Here is another thing: A necropsy showed that Sham had a huge heart (in more ways than one). According to what I have read, the average thoroughbred heart weighs about 8.5 lbs. Sham's was more than twice that, weighing in at an amazing 18 lbs. About the only horse having a bigger heart is guess who: Secretariat, who's heart weighed in at about 22 lbs.(probably the reason that he had such amazing stamina).

Sham also had great stamina, IMO. He proved it in his Kentucky Derby and Preakness races. Those times were very fast in races that were long ones for a 3 year old. As far as the Belmont Stakes, I would not consider that a knock on Sham's stamina. I don't know of any 3 year old colt (or any horse for that matter) that could have stayed with Secretariat that day. Secretariat was just a freak of nature.

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 Post subject: Re: Sham-How Great?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:04 pm 
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Other than Secretariat, some of the horses from the past considered great were Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Sunday Silence, Easy Goer, A.P.Indy, Bernardini, Man 'O War, War Admiral, Citation, Swaps, Nashua, Native Dancer, and on and on and in no particular order. Those were all great racehorses. Of course, there are others, but I don't have the time or the memory to name them all.

Sham will never be considered in the same class as the horses mentioned because he didn't win a triple crown race, and his career was ended sooner than it should have due to an injury (leg fracture). Having said that, I have to believe that he could have beaten some or most of those horses in 2 of the triple crown races based on how he ran them in 1973.

I also think that Sham probably could have won all 3 of the TC races against some of them if he raced a normal race and paced himself better in the Belmont Stakes (as I said in above posts; his jockey had orders to stay right with Secretariat, which resulted in a suicidal speed dual and ruined Sham in that race). I believe that Sham finishes 2nd in that race if he runs his normal race, and may well have had the 2nd fastest time in the Belmont Stakes as well as the Kentucky Derby and maybe the Preakness.

A very good horse the same year was Our Native, who finished 3rd in the Derby and the Preakness, both times 8 lengths behind Sham, the 2nd place horse. Our Native was good enough to win 14 races during his career including a bunch of stakes races at 2 and 3 years of age. In a different year, maybe Our Native could have won a triple crown race (not saying most years). The owner or trainer of Our Native decided not to run him in the Belmont Stakes saying, "I have had enough of Secretariat and Sham." Probably a good decision on his part, although as it turned out, he probably would have finished 2nd due to what happened to Sham.

I left out horses like Buckpasser, Dr. Fager, John Henry, and Kelso in my list of greats because they did not run in the triple crown races, but they were obviously great horses. Forego was another one, but he did run in the 1973 Kentucky Derby against Sham and Secretariat, finishing 4th I believe.

Anyway, the bottom line here is that Sham should be considered one of the real all time greats in horse racing. He is as far as I am concerned.

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 Post subject: Re: Sham-How Great?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:11 pm 
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Another horse that was overshadowed by Secretariat was a stablemate, Riva Ridge. In 1972, Riva Ridge won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, but the Horse of the Year was a 2 year old horse named Secretariat (unusual for a 2 year old to be Horse of the Year, but Secretariat had a great 2 year old season). Despite winning those 2 triple crown races, Riva Ridge was not even champion 3 year old that year. That honor went to Key To The Mint, who came on after the triple crown races and won some stakes races.

Anyway, Riva Ridge was champion 2 year old in 1971 and champion older horse in 1973, and is in the Hall of Fame. Sham is not in the Hall of Fame. I believe that Sham would have beaten Riva Ridge in the Derby and the Preakness if they were born in the same year, and Sham was certainly a better off track horse than Riva Ridge (Riva Ridge did not do very well on sloppy tracks).

Having said that, I do think that Riva Ridge was a great racehorse and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I believe that Sham should be in there too. Another great horse that should be in the Hall of Fame, IMO, is Bold Forbes who, like Riva Ridge, won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes and a bunch of other stakes races.

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 Post subject: Re: Sham-How Great?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:02 pm 
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Sham didn't really do too much as a 2 year old, but really blossomed at 3. His trainer for his first 3 races was Woody Stephens, who is considered one of the greats. Stephens was Sham's trainer because Sham was owned by Claiborne Farm for his first 3 races, and Stephens was a trainer for Claiborne. Woody said that Sham had potential, but he did not want to push him as a 2 year old, and was looking more to Sham's racing career as a 3 year old.

After his 3rd race, Sham was sold due to the death of Claiborne's owner (Bull Hancock) and Frank "Pancho" Martin became his new trainer. Sham won his fourth race (MSW) in December of his 2 year old season at a mile on a muddy track. Sham was now off and running. That win was his first of 4 in a row. Next were 2 straight wins in allowance races at 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita. One was an allowance race in 1:42 flat when Sham won by 15 lengths. The next allowance race was a win by 6 lengths in 1:41 2/5 (pretty good times in both races).

Next was the Santa Catalina Stakes where Sham was the 1 to 10 favorite (Sham was also odds on in his 2 allowance wins). Sham won on a muddy track (Sham ran good on muddy tracks).

Sham lost his next race finishing 4th in the San Felipe Stakes. The winner was a colt named Linda's Chief. The Santa Anita Derby was next, and Sham got some revenge on Linda's Chief winning and running in 1:47 flat to equal the track record for 1 1/8 miles.

Next was the Wood Memorial where Sham finished 2nd to a horse named Angle Light. The story goes that Sham was waiting on Secretariat in their first race together, but Secretariat was having a rare off day, probably due to an abscessed tooth (Turcotte said that every time he pulled on the reins, Secretariat's head would jerk). Anyway, Sham waited too long and finally went after Angle Light, but it was too late. Sham finished 2nd by a head. The triple crown was after that.

I have to say that Sham was a great horse even before the triple crown races, and the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only confirms that.

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 Post subject: Re: Sham-How Great?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:52 pm 
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Alydar was another one similar in some ways to Sham. Also born in the wrong year, Alydar's nemesis was Affirmed as Sham's was Secretariat. Of course, both Affirmed and Alydar were great racehorses, and Alydar became a great sire after his racing days were over.

How would Sham have done against Affirmed? I am sure that most people would say that Affirmed would have won a Kentucky Derby, Preakness, or Belmont Stakes if both horses were born the same year, but I am not so sure. If you go by the times, then Sham would have won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in the hypothetical races, but of course, tracks do vary.

To put it another way, if Secretariat would have been an easy victor over Affirmed in the Derby and the Preakness, then Sham would have also beaten Affirmed, because he wasn't that far off of Secretariat in both of those races. Not talking about the Belmont here because Sham did not run his normal race that day.

Not to take anything away from Affirmed because he was a great racehorse, and Alydar was not far behind Affirmed. In fact, there are probably some who would rank Affirmed over even the great Secretariat. I guess that there is really no way to really tell what would happen in races between those horses. Like they say in football, you still have to play the game.

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 Post subject: Re: Sham-How Great?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:07 pm 
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Spectacular Bid was really a spectacular horse. Many have him 2nd all time to only Secretariat, and it is hard to argue with them, Bid should have won the triple crown in 1979, only missing in the Belmont Stakes, a race many think he should have won.

As a 4 year old, the Bid was nearly unbeatable, winning all 9 races that he raced in in 1980. He also set a world record at 1 1/4 miles and also broke numerous track records.

Well, getting back to Sham, if you go by their times in the Derby and the Preakness, Sham would have beaten the great Spectacular Bid in both races. Sham's time in the Derby is estimated at 1:59 4/5 compared to Bid's 2:02 2/5 and 1:53 2/5 in the Preakness compared to the great Bid's 1:54 2/5 in that race.

So, if you go by times and discount track variants, then you could estimate Sham beating the Bid by about 13 lengths in the Derby and 5 lengths in the Preakness.

I would never say that Sham was a greater racehorse than Spectacular Bid. It is hard to say that any horse was except for maybe Secretariat, and I believe that even the Big Red horse might have had a tough time beating a 4 year old Spectacular Bid.

And so, Spectacular Bid is certainly one of the greatest horses of all time, but I believe that Sham should be right up there also.

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