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Eddie Sweat

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Eddie Sweat

Edward/Eddie Sweat
Occupation Groom
Born (1939-08-29)August 29, 1939
Holly Hill, South Carolina,
United States
Died April 17, 1998(1998-04-17) (aged 58)
Career wins N/A
Major racing wins
Kentucky Derby (1972, 1973)
Preakness Stakes (1973)
Belmont Stakes (1966, 1973)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (1984)
Honours
Life-sized statue at Kentucky Horse Park
Significant horses
Quill, Amberoid, Riva Ridge, Angle Light
Secretariat, Chief's Crown

Edward "Eddie" Sweat (August 29, 1939 – April 17, 1998) was an American groom in Thoroughbred horse racing who was the subject of the 2006 book by Lawrence Scanlan titled The Horse God Built: Secretariat, His Groom, Their Legacy.

Career

Born in Holly Hill, South Carolina, Eddie Sweat was one of nine children of a sharecropper. Holly Hill was where future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame trainer Lucien Laurin maintained a Thoroughbred horse farm and he offered Sweat a job after he saw the wide-eyed teen frequently peeking at the horses through a fence to the property and sometimes skipping school just to watch the horses. In 1957, at age eighteen, Sweat accepted the offer of full-time work as groom for the Laurin stable of racehorses with a small fixed salary plus 1% of the horse's earnings.

One of the first highly successful horses placed in Sweat's care was the 1958 American Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Quill. In 1966, Sweat was part of the Laurin stables' first American Classic win when Amberoid captured the Belmont Stakes. Six years later, Sweat gained national media attention for his abilities in handling Thoroughbreds when sportswriter William Nack spent many hours with him during 1972 and 1973 outside the Laurin stable stalls of Kentucky Derby winner Riva Ridge and Secretariat. In a Sports Illustrated feature article, Nack said he took notes compulsively, endlessly, feeling for the texture of the life around the horse.[1] Secretariat was voted the 1972 American Horse of the Year, an extraordinary feat for a two-year-old, and leading up to and through the horse's winning of the 1973 Triple Crown, all of the key people involved with Secretariat received massive national and international attention. Interviewed and photographed countless times, Sweat appeared on television and was on the covers of both Ebony and Jet magazines. Eddie was also the 1st groom to ever have groomed Kentucky Derby winners two years in a row, Riva Ridge in 1972 and Secretariat in 1973.

Following Lucien Laurin's retirement, Sweat worked for his son, Roger Laurin, and in 1984 once again received considerable national media attention with Chief's Crown. The colt won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, was voted the Eclipse Award as American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt, and was the betting favorite for all three of the 1985 Triple Crown races.

Death

Sweat made his home in St. Albans, Queens, New York, a short drive from the Belmont Park racetrack. After 41 years in the business, he died of leukemia in 1998.[2]

Legacy

Widely recognized for his talent, dedication, and important contributions to Secretariat's racing career, Sweat was the subject of a 2006 book by Lawrence Scanlan, titled The Horse God Built: Secretariat, His Groom, Their Legacy.[3] There is a life-size statue at the Kentucky Horse Park of Eddie Sweat leading Secretariat and jockey Ron Turcotte to the winner's circle after winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby.[4][5]

Popular culture

In the 2010 film Secretariat, Eddie Sweat was portrayed by actor Nelsan Ellis.[6]

References

  1. ^ Nack, William. June 4, 1990. "Pure Heart". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Langston, Patrick. November 5, 2006. "The horse Eddie built". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  4. ^ "Sculpture in the Park:Secretariat". The International Museum of the Horse. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  5. ^ "The Creation of the Secretariat Bronze". Bogucki Studios. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  6. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1028576/

Further reading

  • Scanlan, Lawrence. The Horse God Built: Secretariat, His Groom, Their Legacy (2006) HarperCollins ISBN 978-0-00-200793-1
  • Nack, William. Secretariat: The Making of a Champion (2002) Da Capo Press ISBN 978-0-306-81133-3

External links

  • article titled "Eddie Sweat's a Baby Sitter for Some Elite Race Horses"Los Angeles TimesNovember 5, 1984
  • article on Eddie SweatBoston GlobeMay 1, 1993
  • open article on Eddie SweatSt. Petersburg TimesMay 3, 1985
  • October 28, 1973 Video of Secretariat and Eddie Sweat on YouTube
  • Webshots photo collection of Eddie Sweat
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