Sham, the horse that challenged the legendary racehorse, Secretariat. Discover the rivalry between the two related horses, Secretariat and Sham.
Official, true website for the books titled:
Sham, In the Shadow of a Superhorse, (2007)
by author Mary Walsh.
(250-page paperback about Sham and Secretariat rivalry)
Sham's Dream, (2011) written and illustrated by Mary Walsh.
(24-page hardcover Children's book about Sham and Secretariat rivalry in the Kentucky Derby)
Now available in electronic form at Amazon.
BOTH BOOKS ARE On Sale at Amazon and eBay to honor Sham's gallant effort in the 1973 Kentucky Derby and celebrate this horse's greatest unofficial feat that still stands today:
"Running the second fastest Kentucky Derby in history."
You've seen the movie Secretariat
, now learn more about the brilliant horse that truly helped Secretariat become famous. Upon first researching my book in 2001, I learned how difficult it was to find information about the horse, Sham. I was amazed when first searching his name on the internet, as my searches were coming up with nothing but "horse pillow shams." It was quite a struggle to find anything on this great racehorse's life. Also, very little was readily available for his exercise riders, grooms, and owners. Considering the great reputations his owners, Sigmund and Viola Sommer, trainer, Frank Martin, and jockey, Laffit Pincay
, Jr. had earned, their lives remained somewhat of a mystery.
While researching, I discovered that Laffit
was recovering from a life-threatening injury and avoiding publicity. And after many attempts to contact Frank Martin, he also seemed to be avoiding publicity as my phone messages and letters went unanswered. It was very refreshing to talk to Sham's surviving owner, Viola Sommer, one of Sham's photographers, Bill Mochon
, several of Sham's grooms and stable connections, as well as Secretariat's owner, Penny Chenery.
It was almost impossible to uncover Sham's story and amass that information on the pages of my book - truly a difficult task for all but one - Secretariat. That champion has been and remains an icon in the horse racing world with numerous books, magazine articles, videos, stories and memoirs of every sort recounting his life and that of the equally famous "Secretariat team."
I really enjoyed bringing Sham into the light and proving to the world that in all historical actuality, the year 1973 held more than one special champion. Sham truly was a champion in his own right. After his death, his heart was weighed and discovered to be only slightly smaller than Secretariat's oversized heart. In fact, Sham's heart was reported to be the second largest equine heart on record with Secretariat's being the first.
Since writing and publishing Sham, In the Shadow of a Superhorse
in 2007, interest in Sham slowly came alive. Today, it's a rare occurrence to hear Secretariat's name without mention of Sham. I'm thrilled to have had the great privilege of freeing Sham from Secretariat's Shadow. It took some time since publication, and the creation of this website in 2008, but now Sham's fame has blossomed. I found it very disappointing that the Disney movie, Secretariat,
failed to portray Sham as the champion he truly was. Undoubtedly, it would have been exciting to depict Sham as the competent rival he truly was and prove how hard Secretariat worked to beat him. Particularly in the Kentucky Derby. That race was all Sham's, and reality proved that Secretariat had to break the Kentucky Derby record in order to beat Sham. Then he had to break the Preakness record in order to beat him again.
To this day, I'm still amazed to learn there are so many people who recognize the name Secretariat, and not the name Sham. That's why I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and desire to learn more about one of the greatest underdogs of all time - Sham.
- Mary -