An hour or so before the race, groom Ned Suter went into Sexetary's stall to wrap her ankles. As he worked, the Emmylou Harris version of the old Chuck Berry song You Never Can Tell blared from a nearby radio. That, said Kassen, summed up the business of racing 2-year-olds. "She's trained good," he said, "but I think she'll be a little better going farther. She has speed, but she isn't quick. Her crooked knee has straightened up so you can't see it. If her knee had looked as good at the sale as it does now, she would have brought twice as much."
About 20 minutes before post time, Sexetary was taken out of her stall and led to the saddling area. As she neared the grandstand and heard the roar of the crowd, she perked up so much that she began to rear. Taking the shank from the groom, Kassen calmed her enough so that she willingly walked into the teeming crowd in the saddling area.
While Sexetary was being readied and taken to the paddock, where stone-faced Jockey Don Brumfield climbed aboard, the crowd bet her down to 1 to 2. Adams, flanked by his wife and daughter, sent a friend off with instructions to buy 50 two-dollar win tickets. If Sexy won, said Adams, he would give the tickets to friends as souvenirs.
The field arrayed against Sexetary didn't seem too imposing. A soft spot to make the first Secretariat runner look good, muttered insiders. Breaking on the rail, Sexetary took the lead midway through the first (and only) turn and continued on top into the stretch. Then Hot Commodity, ridden by Mike Bryan, challenged. Those who had bet on Secretariat's blood waited for class to show. Instead, Hot Commodity pulled away and Sexy began to fade, badly. By the time they got to the finish line, Sexetary was fourth, beaten 2� lengths by a filly called Set A Limit. Hot Commodity was second with Gypsy Legend third.
Kassen fretted that Brumfield had been forced to rush the filly out of the gate, using her too early. Asked for a comment on the race, Brumfield seemed indifferent, almost sullen. "She just got outrun today," he said. "If she had been by any stallion but Secretariat, nobody would have been disappointed. I can't see any reason to condemn her or praise her. She's just a horse, that's all."
Indeed, only the foolhardy would attempt to make a case on Secretariat's get—or on Sexetary—on the basis of a single short race. Though he is new to the business, Adams understands. For probably the first time in racing history there was a press conference for the owner of the fourth-place finisher in a third race. In the press box, Adams said gallantly, "We didn't need her to win. In his first start, her daddy was fourth, too. So she's right on schedule."