Since the movie, “Secretariat” is released this week, I think it would be interesting to take a look at another famous racehorse that shattered records. That horse was the Australian racehorse, Phar Lap.
Phar Lap was the winner of Australia’s Melbourne Cup in 1930, that country’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby. Phar Lap was more on the same level as the famous Seabiscuit in that they both raced during the 1930’s depression and won the hearts of the nation they ran in. Phar Lap was a national hero and died only 2 years later in Menlo Park, California under very suspicious circumstances. It was long thought that organized crime played a major part in his death.
After his death, Phar Lap’s remains were dispersed across the globe with the mounted hide going to the National Museum of Victoria, the skeleton to the National Museum of New Zealand and the heart to the Australian Institute of Anatomy. Displayed for many years next to the smaller heart of another horse, the Phar Lap specimen was a visual confirmation of the Australian saying ‘a heart as big as Phar Lap’s’
Below are photos of his mounted hide and heart.
If you are lucky enough to see the movie about Phar Lap (yes it is a good one and I have seen it at least 3 times) you are in for a treat. If you can’t find it on sale anywhere then I recommend that you rent it.
Phar Lap, unlike some of the other famous racehorses that movies were made about, had a cruel trainer. The horse was reputed to be the type of horse that would have been a great racehorse no matter who trained or owned him. It was more of a tribute to just the horse than the people around him.