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Secretariat's Jockey: Ron Turcotte (2013)

Not Rated | | Documentary | May 2013 (USA)
Secretariat's legendary jockey Ron Turcotte is one of the few champions to have won the prestigious American Triple Crown. This is the remarkable story of Turcotte's rise to fame in 1973.

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SECRETARIAT'S JOCKEY, RON TURCOTTE tells the sweeping story of jockey Ron Turcotte who reached the pinnacle of the Equine World in 1973, winning the coveted and extremely rare Triple Crown (The Kentucky Derby, the Maryland Preakness, and The Belmont in New York) of thoroughbred horse racing on the world famous champion horse Secretariat. The film follows Turcotte as he travels to the three Triple Crown racetracks that made him famous, and meets with his horse racing friends and colleagues, Hall of fame jockeys, and Mrs. Penny Chenery, the strong-willed owner of Secretariat. Confined to a wheelchair after a racing accident since 1978, Turcotte's strength of spirit, superstar status and dedication to the sport comes through convincingly in this warm, direct and illuminating documentary. Written by National Film Board of Canada

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May 2013 (USA)  »

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Ron Turcotte, jockey légendaire  »

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When jockey Ron Turcotte won the Triple Crown in 1973, it had not been won in 25 years. The year before, at the Triple Crown in 1972, Turcotte won 2 Triple Crown races out of 3 on horse Riva Ridge. See more »

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Ron Turcotte is an inspiration for all mankind
6 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

I enjoy a good documentary but this was not good, it was great! I have been a horse racing fan for close to fifty (50) years, both thoroughbred racing and standardbred racing. I am also familiar over the past five (5) decades with so many great horses such as Sea Biscuit, Secretariat, Forego, Foolish Pleasure, Ruffian, Seattle Slew, American Pharoah, Rambling Willie, Handle With Care, Niatross, Cam Fella, and the richest harness racing horse Foiled Again.

There are also many great thoroughbred jockeys, and standardbred drivers who won thousands of races. What separates Canadian Ron Turcotte was how prematurely and abruptly his career was cut short by a tragic accident that this documentary depicts with great care and no exploitation. The result of jockey Ron Turcotte's riding accident in 1978 at Belmont racetrack just nine (9) days shy of his 37th birthday caused him to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

As of the day I am writing this review Ron Turcotte is living with great pride at the ripe old age of 76, in his hometown of New Brunswick, Canada. The documentary not only highlights Ron Turcotte's rise to fame and his most famous thoroughbred race horse, the hall of fame horse Secretariat. Turcotte rode Secretariat to the Triple Crown victories which had not been previously accomplished in the past 25 years. This documentary shows how after Ron's tragic accident he pitied himself for awhile and then he tells his own story how he decided that living was more important to him than dying and he had a family to support.

So in the spring of 2012, Ron Turcotte and his good friend leave his home in New Brunswick in his customized van that allows Ron the every day freedom of driving across Canada and the United States to watch the 2012 triple crown races unfold, and along the way to meet with some old friends such as the other two (2) subsequent triple crown winners, that being Frenchman Jean Cruguet, and American Steve Cauthen. These three men share a special bond not only by winning their respective triple crown races, but because these three men are retired and have great respect for each others capabilities.

There are a couple of touching scenes where the owner of Secretariat, Penny Chenery, reminisces about those triple crown races, as well as Ron's superior riding skills on display the previous year with her other great horse Riva Ridge. Ms. Chenery had a special love for her jockey, trainer and her hot walker, and 1973 is a year she will never forget. It is quite obvious that Ron had not seen Ms. Chenery in person for many years prior to their meeting for this documentary but it was as if they had never been apart.

How Ron Turcotte has accepted his fate and moved forward with his life continuing to take care of his loving wife and children is an inspiration for all mankind. I give this documentary a 9/10 rating and the only negative comment I can make is I wish the film would have been extended for at least another 2 hours. Ron Turcotte's life must be filled with so many great memories prior to his tragic accident on July 13th, 1978, at Belmont Race Track that left him paralyzed from the waist down, but I also wanted to hear more about how he grew to become the classy 76 year old man with such great inner and outer strength.

Mr. Turcotte if you ever choose to travel back to Toronto Canada my family and I would love to have you and your wife over for a dinner and hear many, many more of your interesting life stories. This is a great documentary that is both inspirational and emotional.


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