Before Secretariat…Cicada

Before Secretariat, there was Cicada.

A decade before Secretariat became the first colt in 25 years to win the Triple Crown, Christopher Chenery, father of Helen, campaigned a filly who was setting her own records.

At two, Cicada started 16 times, winning 11 races and never finishing worse than third; among her victories that year were the Frizette, Matron, and Spinaway, and she was named champion two-year-old filly.

As a three-year-old, Cicada picked up where she left off, going 6-4-2 in her first 12 starts, all but two of them stakes races. These days, running a filly against colts—or a mare against horses—has become such a rarity that it in itself is newsworthy, but a look back at Cicada reveals that her connections felt little of the angst that today’s owners and trainers do in starting her against the colts. Though she never did beat them, she gave at least one of them a hell of a scare.

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