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NPR's Julie Rovner Reviews Secretariat

The movie Secretariat retells the story of the horse who was the first U.S. Triple Crown winner in 25 years. NPR's heath policy correspondent -- and horse lover -- Julie Rovner tells us what the movie gets wrong, and what it gets right about the most well-known horse ever to run a track.


If you're asked a name of a famous racehorse, even if you're uninitiated into the world of thoroughbred racing, almost anybody will say Secretariat. In 1973, Secretariat became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, setting records that still stand at both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. The story of Secretariat has now galloped onto the movie screen, starring Diane Lane as Penny Chenery Tweedy. She inherits guardianship of the horse. And here Ogden Phipps, played by James Cromwell, offers her $7 million in cash for Secretariat, which she refuses, because she knows he'll be worth triple that if he does what she believes he can.

Mr. JAMES CROMWELL (Actor): (as Ogden Phipps) You do know what you're saying. You're guaranteeing that this horse is going to win the Triple Crown - the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont - three races, three states, in just five weeks. It hasn't been done in 25 years.

Ms. DIANE LANE (Actor): (as Penny Chenery Tweedy) That is exactly what I'm saying.

CONAN: Our own Julie Rovner is here to review the movie for us. Luckily, her day job as NPR's health policy correspondent does not prevent her from stepping in from time to time as TALK OF THE NATION'S equestrian correspondent. Congratulations on your new job, Julie. It pays nothing.

JULIE ROVNER: Thank you...

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