World Grand Champion in 1982
|Pride's Secret Threat #773242
Threat, by Pride of Midnight and out
of Triple Threat Rose, was foaled March 26, 1977, at
C. A. Bobo & Sons Stables, Shelbyville. When he went under saddle
there, he caught the eye of Billy Gray who helped negotiate the
purchase of the young stallion by Billy Hale of Gallatin, Tennessee.
As the property of Hale, Pride's Secret Threat started his string of
victories when Billy Gray rode him to his first blue at the National
Trainers Show in 1979. The pair went into The Celebration that year
undefeated. Despite the reserve tie in the preliminary, they came back
strongly to win the 1979 Two Year-Old World Grand Championship.
Then, after taking
the Three-Year-Old Stallion Championship at the 1980 Trainers Show,
Secret Threat was sold to Sand Creek Ranch for a reported $125,000,
the highest price ever paid for a three-year-old. Under the joint
ownership of Billy Gray and the California group, Billy continued to
hold the trainer's reins as Secret Threat entered the 1980 Celebration
with an undefeated season. They won both the preliminary and the
Three-Year-Old Championship Stake.
Billy Gray and Secret Threat swept trough the 1981 season, again
undefeated, with wins at Bowling Green, Kentucky; Gallatin, Joelton,
Bethesda and Belfast, Tennessee, to go into the Celebration as a
favorite four-year-old. A disappointing preliminary round for the team
apparently set the stage for one of the greatest performances of their
collective careers in sweeping a unanimous decision to win the Junior
World Grand Championship.
year, Billy Gray and Pride's Secret Threat, displaying the Floral
Horseshoe and ribbons of the World Grand Championship, made their
victory pass around the famed show ring, after winning the 1982
Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration at Shelbyville,
Never before in the previous 43-year history of the Tennessee
Walking Horse National Celebration had any horse won them all -
World Grand Championships as a two-, three-, four and
five-year-old. But Billy Gray and Pride's Secret Threat recorded
that unique accomplishment on Saturday night, September 4, 1982,
with a sweep of first place votes on the cards of Celebration
judges. Retirement plans for the horse were voiced in the early
Spring of 1982 when Billy Gray boldly announced his intentions to
campaign for the World Grand Championship.
"What else is
there?" Billy asked, adding that Secret Threat would be retired to
stud after winning the Big Stake. "It would be a great asset to the
Walking Horse industry when he goes to stud," Billy said then, "The
industry needs a great stud horse and new blood."
"We feel that Secret Threat is already well on his way to proving
himself as a sire," Billy said after training and riding the big bay
stallion to the exclusive circle of World Grand Champions.
Billy Gray is no stranger in that circle, however. He was
trainer and rider of Delight Bumin
Around, 1973 World Grand Champion.
"He's by far the greatest horse I've ever had anything to do with,"
Billy said. "He's everything you want in a stake horse; he's
everything you want in a sire."
prophecy of Billy's statement, Pride's Secret Threat already had
an outstanding crop of weanlings on the ground, and his court
was booked with mares wearing world champion titles.
died suddenly of Colitis X, later in the year, having sired 167
colts. Sadly, the world was cheated out of rest of
the outstanding progeny he would, no doubt, have produced.
|Interview with Billy
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Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 2:52 PM
Subject: Prides Secret Threat
In 1979 I was in middle Tennessee with a friend and her father, Bill
and Kecia Wampler. She had just purchased a mare named Red
Streaker when they went on to win the 12 to 14 world grand
championship the following year. But I was in the presence of
greatness during that time. Billy Gray was training Streaker
and was also campaigning Threat as 2 year old. I remember
going over to the stable (Wamplers Mobile Home was on the property)
and they would have Secret Threat in the cross ties, getting him
ready to work him and I would walk up to him and rub his neck and
talk to him... he was the sweetest stud I had ever groomed, he had
wonderful manners, and was very patient. He suddenly became a
favorite of mine and I would go visit him every day while we were
there on through the Celebration.
The day of the 2 year old championship I even helped them braid him
up for the show... I was even more proud when I was there, sitting
in the foul weather watching greatness "Strut His Stuff" and win the
2 year old championship. And back at the show barn was given a
red carnation off of his wreath and toasted his victory with a glass
of champagne. That had been many years ago and I have often
thought of this wonderful stallion that won my heart. I will
always remember him
What a wonderful story. Pride's Secret Threat was such an
awesome horse. I didn't have the pleasure of being as close to
him as you were, but I remember sitting on the rail at the
Celebration and seeing him win his class - either the 3 year old
or 4 year old -- I cannot remember -- but he was awesome. He
was in a class by himself - there wasn't a horse in the class
that could come close to giving him a run for his money -- he
was miles above the rest.
It's such a tragedy that he died at such a young age. He would,
no doubt, have made a tremendous contribution to the breed as a
If it is O.K. with you, I would love to put your email on
his page on my website. I am sure other people would enjoy
reading about your wonderful experience.
Thank you for sharing it with me.
Mary Ellen Areaux
i am chelsea,
billy gray's granddaughter. and i could not be more impressed by
this article. all my life i have heard how terrific Secret was and i
can tell you from a personal view that he truly meant the world to
my pop. Ironically enough, my grandfather has put just as much time
and effort into another great horse, Naples Ritz, and as fate seems
to have it Billy, pop, will have the opportunity to carry a set of
roses out 27 years later to the date that he achieved the impossible
on Secret. So thanks to everyone and their thoughts you all have
truly made my grandpas life.
How lucky are you!!!!!! To have Billy Gray as your
grandfather!!!!! It doesn't get any better than that!!!
Yes, Pride's Secret Threat was truly magnificent. I saw him
show a number of times, including winning the WGC..... From my
perspective, there was not another horse in the ring!!!! Secret
was so good, you could not take your eyes off him. There was
Secret.......and then there were all the other horses. It
absolutely broke my heart that Secret died at such an early age
- he had so much to give to the Walking Horse breed.
Thank you for
writing and I wish Billy and Naples the very best at the
Celebration this year....I'll be there cheering them on.
If you have a story or photos of Pride's Secret Threat
that you would like added to this page, please forward them to