//Lucien Laurin the Secretariat trainer
Lucien Laurin with Penny Chenery

Lucien Laurin the Secretariat trainer

Lucien Laurin is a horse trainer of Canadian origin whose career begins as a rider in 1929. During that time Laurin competed in the Blue Bonnets Raceway in Montreal, Quebec, his homeland.

In 1942 he began working as a coach in New England. In New England he would work as a horse trainer for 45 years. This work would take him to the top of the success of horse racing.

While working for two different stables, he enjoyed a long and successful partnership with owner Reginald N. Webster.

For Webster, Laurin trained several winners, including Quill. Quill was the 2 yr old American Champion of 58.

He also trained the horse Amberoid. This horse won the 1966 Wood Memorial Stakes. Amberoid gave Laurin the Belmont Stakes.

John Malkovich discuss his role as Lucien Laurin in "Secretariat"

Arrival at Chenery’s Meadow Stable

What Laurin never imagined is that Lucien’s arrival in Penny’s life would be transformative.

This encounter occurs when Roger Laurin, Lucien’s son, worked as a coach at Meadow Stable.

Roger subsequently accepts a job offer for Ogden Phipps and suggests to Penny Chenery Tweedy that his father could help her temporarily.

Lucien Laurin and his strange retirement

Upon leaving his retirement in 1971, Lucien Laurin went to work at Meadow Stable for what was supposed to be a temporary period.

At that time, the stable had financial difficulties, but things soon changed.

With his foal, Riva Ridge, earning more than 500 thousand dollars. Riva Ridge also won the title of two-year-old American pony champion in 1971. Meadow Stable with the help of Lucien Laurin would soon become the number one stable in races.

Together they won numerous major Stakes races and five of the Six races of the Triple Crown of the United States in 1972 and 1973.

Lucien Laurin and Ron Turcotte

Under the tutelage of Lucien Laurin, Canadian jockey Ron Turcotte rode on the back of Riva Ridge.

Together they won the 1972 Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.

Due to a strong storm that clouded the track at Pimlico Racecourse, Riva Ridge did not get the last victory. Otherwise, Ridge and Turcotte could have won the Triple Crown.

By 1972, Lucien Laurin is named winner of the Eclipse Award from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as the most prominent horse trainer in North America.

Lucien Laurin and Ron Turcotte
Lucien Laurin and Ron Turcotte

However, despite these successes the best was yet to come. Laurin is better known as the coach of the Great Red Secretariat.

Secretariat was elected as the 1972 Two-Year American Champion, and the Horse of the Year of 1972 and 1973.

Being also 1973 the year in which the first Triple Crown was awarded.

Secretariat was also ranked # 2 in Blood-Horse magazine, on the list of the top 100 best racehorses in the United States of the 20th century.

Second retirement of Lucien Laurin and his masterful return

Lucien Laurin retires from racing for the second time in 1976, but returned in 1983 as coach and partial owner of Evergreen Stable.

In total, he trained a total of 36 Stakes winners and was admitted to the National Museum of Careers and Hall of Fame in 1977.

He was consecrated in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame the following year.

Lucien Laurin’s death

Laurin lived at his home in Key Largo, Florida, when he died in 2000 at a Miami hospital.

His admission to the health center was due to a hip injury after a fall at home.

The hospital reported that Laurin died on Monday morning, June 26, 2000, after complications after surgery to repair a hip fracture.

Testimonies about the life of Lucien Laurin

Although his work with the great Secretariat would be his greatest legacy, it was not the only thing. Laurin completed his professional career as a horse trainer. At every step he took he left a smell on the racetrack tracks. Laurin was considered a genius when talking about training horses.

His friends talked about his way of being:


“He had a terrible temper, that’s true. But he was a perfectionist, and if people were not as precise as him or worked so hard, he trampled and screamed. But it was so adorable. And I wanted a happy barn, with happy people. ” said Penny Chenery, owner of Secretariat.

Lucien Laurin and Penny Chenery had an affair
Lucien Laurin and Penny Chenery had an affair


“If he had a foul, it was his bad mood, but he simply hated losing.” Ron Turcotte, rider who led Secretariat

When Laurin finally retires from training in 1987, he had 36 Stakes winners and three champions: Riva Ridge, Secretariat, and the two-year-old champion, Quill.

“He trusted me a lot. And in turn put a lot of confidence in the horses. How many trainers do you know who really listen to their athletes? I can count them with one hand. He was one of them ”Ron Turcotte.

Franco-Canadian victories and origins

Like Ron Turcotte, Lucien Laurin was born and raised in Quebec, Canada. Both took pride in their country of origin and their Franco-Canadian education.

He began training on the New England tracks in 1942 and then trained for Reginald Webster and AB “Bull” Hancock Jr.

“What people forget, something I never read in the newspapers, is how good Lucien was with the 2-year-old children. That is the sign of a great coach, someone who can put a big butt on a horse. ” Ron Turcotte

Lucien Laurin saddling
Lucien Laurin saddling

Lucien Laurin in the movie Secretariat

On October 8, 2010 the movie Secretariat opens in the United States. The film was made by the famous Disney film company.

A film in which the life of the Great Red, the Penny Chenery and roughly that of Lucien Laurin and the rider Ron Turcotte are collected. Lucien Laurin is played by John Malkovich

It shows a Lucien who was not happy with his life as a retired man. I was bored of playing golf as if it were the most important …

In the film they also take advantage of highlighting their temper and a touch of arrogance. Some characteristics that finally vanish when I had confidence with people.

The film shows the tense relationship that the Canadian coach has with the owner of Secretariat at the beginning.

But little by little their relationship is strengthened after the growth and evolution of the horse.

How do they show the historical Laurin in Secretariat?

The film also shows the stubborn and perfectionist man he was. The one who wanted to get the best out of the horse and the rider. Laurin is the coach who does not give up in the face of difficulties or poor results. He was a persevering man who kept going and defending his cause.

Laurin develops great empathy for the owner of Secretariat, Penny Chenery, and they form a virtually invincible team.

The truth is that Lucien Laurin left a great legacy for American hypism.

One that has to do with passion, perseverance, continuous training and the close relationship that a coach should have with the team that surrounds him.

Likewise, it shows the value that Secretariat had for him. Laurin protected the horse’s health and avoided the horse’s overload.

In a moment of the film you can see how the rider, the coach and the owner of the horse were so united that they looked like a family.

Family that went through strong tests but thanks to their tenacity they managed to overcome and become one of the most amazing stories in the history of American equestrian races.

Lucien Laurin with Secretariat
Lucien Laurin with Secretariat

Box office results

The film had a great acceptance in the public, although there were also criticisms. But the truth is that the message arrived and people went to the cinema to see it.

The result of this excellent work of Disney managed to raise around 59 million dollars in the United States. While, if international collections are added up, the figure amounts to 60 million.

For a general average of approximately 120 million dollars. Not bad for an equestrian movie! !! Congratulations!!

The film leaves us a great message about teamwork. It also tells us about hard work and how with effort all difficulties can be overcome. A great movie that we recommend for the whole family.




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