|Birth: ||Aug. 29, 1939|
South Carolina, USA
|Death: ||Apr. 17, 1998|
New York, USA
"Born in Holly Hill, South Carolina, Eddie Sweat was one of nine children of an African American sharecropper. Mary Sweat was his morther. Holly Hill was where future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame trainer Lucien Laurin maintained a Thoroughbred horse farm and he offered Sweat a job after he saw the wide-eyed teen frequently peeking at the horses through a fence to the property as well as sometimes skipping school just to watch the horses. In 1957, the then eighteen-year-old Sweat accepted the offer of full-time work as groom for the Laurin stable of racehorses with a small fixed salary plus 1% of the horse's earnings."
"There, on April 24, a group primarily of relatives -- no one from Secretariat's inner circle was present -- gathered at Rock Hill A.M.E. Church in Vance, S.C., to bid farewell to Edward "Shorty" Sweat.
A son of tenant farmers who picked cotton as a boy, Sweat dedicated his life to horses. He cared for Secretariat, who 25 years ago delivered one of the greatest performances in the history of sport. Completing a sweep of the Triple Crown, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by a staggering 31 lengths.
Yet Sweat, perhaps the most essential member of the Secretariat team, died a pauper's death.
"I'm surprised Bill didn't do a story for Sports Illustrated called 'The Case of the Forgotten Groom,' " said Jim Gaffney, one of Secretariat's exercise riders.
"Bill" is William Nack, a writer for Sports Illustrated and author of "Secretariat: The Making of a Champion." He didn't write about Sweat's death, but several years ago he wrote a story for Sports Illustrated about grooms. It was titled, "Nobody Knows Their Names."
He highlighted this from Sweat:
"Only way that horses win is if you sit there and spend time with 'em. Show 'em that you're tryin' to help 'em. Love 'em. Talk to 'em. Get to know 'em. That's what you gotta do. You love 'em and they'll love you, too.
"People might call me crazy, but that's the way it is. I been on the racetrack 34 years, and I ain't never gonna give up. I think they'll take me to my grave with a pitchfork in my hand and a rub rag in my back pocket."
Coming up empty
Sweat died April 17 of leukemia in a hospital not far from Belmont Park, where Real Quiet will attempt Saturday to become the 12th Triple Crown winner -- and third since Secretariat.
Sweat had endured numerous ailments, including a heart attack, open-heart surgery, asthma, leukemia and cancer of the stomach. Health insurance through his wife, Linda, a kindergarten teacher, paid his medical bills. But Sweat, on his own, possessed little.
He lost most of his cherished Secretariat memorabilia in a 1991 fire that gutted the Sweats' home in Queens. How he died virtually penniless is not clear. Friends, relatives and the two trainers for whom Sweat worked, Lucien and Roger Laurin, offered varying ideas.
"It really doesn't matter what happened to his money," said Danny Vogt, a longtime friend. "Whatever happened, Eddie came up empty."
Rock Hill AME Church Cemetery
South Carolina, USA
Created by: S PRICE Nance
Record added: Jul 29, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 74160719
Added: Apr. 17, 2017
Added: Feb. 6, 2017
I want to honor the most important person in Secretariat's life. I know that it takes a team, and money, effort, expertise by the trainer, and commitment by many people. But in my mind, Eddie Sweat was most crucial, because of the time spent with Secretar...(Read more)|
Added: Jan. 6, 2017
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