Featured Video: Audi Ad Showcases Secretariat’s Horsepower


It’s been more than 40 years since Secretariat’s legendary Triple Crown win, but the breathtaking sight of his Belmont win by 31 lengths remains an iconic image among racing fans and the the general public alike.

Although Secretariat died in 1989, he remains a symbol of unparalleled athleticism. German luxury car maker Audi will use Secretariat in a television commercial for their 2018 S5 Sportback, which will debut tonight, June 1, during the NBA Finals.

The commercial uses a combination of historic and re-created footage and was filmed at Santa Anita Park. The spot was created with the blessing of Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery.

“It is wonderful to me that the story of Secretariat’s Triple Crown still is part of the national conversation,” said Chenery. “The commercial really is a win for horse racing and demonstrates the thrill, excitement, and marketing power of our sport.”


The ad references Secretariat’s remarkable heart, which was said to be at least twice the size of a normal Thoroughbred’s heart.

Dr. Thomas Swerczek, a professor of veterinary science at the University of Kentucky, led the necropsy on Secretariat after the horse’s death due to founder.

“I’ve seen and done thousands of autopsies on horses, and nothing I’d ever seen compared to it,” Swerczek said of Secretariat’s heart in a 1990 Sports Illustrated article. “The heart of a the average horse weighs about nine pounds. This was almost twice the average size, and a third larger than any equine heart I’d ever seen. And it wasn’t pathologically enlarged. All the chambers and valves were normal…I think it told us why he was able to do what he did.”

Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com

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Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, Ky.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.



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