Sunday, June 7, 2015

Secretariat’s Triple Crown Prize

The Triple Crown Trophy is a modern three sided metal affair giving the particulars of the three races won to achieve the award: The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, the Belmont Stakes.

On a lazy Sunday drive south of Tucson in the early 1990s, we ran into a one building shopping mall in a barn shaped building off of highway AZ82. 

Google Maps

The nearby intersection in the middle of nowhere and surprisingly Arizona Wine Country in Elgin Arizona, is a pit stop, a gas station, and a strip mall with a cafĂ© to get a burger and fries for lunch and the then barn shaped tourist trap on the side of the road. 

Google Maps

In there in a plexi-glass box mounted on the wall was the Triple Crown Trophy of Secretariat. A rather curious setting for that very famous but elusive prize. Found a story below to back up my tale of surprise in the very big sky county of Arizona.

The building I understand has been converted into an INN and I don’t know where the trophy is housed these days, but for a few minutes I was inches away from it and admiring it. Such is life sometimes, full of little surprises.

Google Maps

One day, Margaret told me of a unique shopping mall she once saw in Connecticut. It was a large barn converted into a group of shops. She wanted to build one like it in Sonoita. So we did. She described it, and I sketched it out for the architect.

Karl Eggers of Five Star Construction in Nogales was selected to build it. It was a shopping mall, first El Prado, then La Pradera, until Margaret died in November 1993. I managed the building, and many locals, including Wilma with her Lazy G Western Wear” store were tenants. 

Then Mike Wystrach bought it for an inn. So, that’s the true story of Secretariat, Margaret Carmichael and Sonoita, as Dr. Oates and a good many others requested.

There was never any intention of the barn being a retirement home for Secretariat, not ever.

I close on a tender note. Shortly after the word was released that Secretariat had been, put down, three lovely young ladies came into La Pradera , walked to the glass case on the south wall that held Secretariat's Triple Crown trophy, laid three red roses on top of the case, stood in silence a few moments, then turned and walked out.


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