Before the Breeders Cup There Was The Marlboro Cup

Just another of those great videos from those halcyon days of the 1970's. The Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap was first run in September of 1973 at Belmont Park. The popularity of Secretariat was such that CBS television agreed to broadcast the race nationally. Originally conceived as a match race with stable mate and 1972 Kentucky Derby winner Riva Ridge, it was changed to an invitational race that would bring together the top horses 3 years of age and older. The inaugural race more than lived up to its expectations with Secretariat setting a new world record time for 1 1/8 miles on dirt while winning by three-and-a-half lengths.

The race became a very important annual event and 1978 marked the first, and as of 2006, the only time in racing history that two Triple Crown winners ever met in a race. Seattle Slew, the 1977 champion, defeated the 1978 champion Affirmed by three lengths.

The advent of the Breeders' Cup races in 1984 marked the beginning of the end for the Marlboro Cup. The Philip Morris company who manufactured the best-selling Marlboro cigarette canceled their sponsorship in 1987.

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