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Sectretariat movie premieres in October

How accurately art imitates life again will be subject to public scrutiny when the movie "Secretariat" premieres on Oct. 8 and witnesses to the chestnut colt's Hall of Fame career can make their own comparisons.

The movie will deal with Secretariat's 1973 Triple Crown dominance and events leading up to it, based on the 1975 book, "Secretariat, the Making of a Champion," by Bill Nack, who covered thoroughbred racing for Newsday at the time. In the movie, Nack will be portrayed by Kevin Connolly, the star of HBO's Entourage who hails from Massapequa Park and is a committed Islanders fan.

Other members of what Nack called a "great cast:" John Malkovich will play Secretariat trainer Lucien Lauren. Otto Thorwarth, a real jockey based in the Midwest who last year rode a mount of Dale Romans, who saddled First Dude in yesterday's Belmont Stakes, will play Secretariat jockey Ron Turcotte.

Fred Thompson, the former Law & Order actor, Tennessee senator and (briefly) presidential candidate, will handle the role of Bull Hancock, who ran Claiborne Farms, where Secretariat stood in stud. Diane Lane, veteran actor widely known for her role in the 2003 film "Under the Tuscan Sun," will be Secretariat owner Penny Tweedy Chenery in the film.

To capture the breadth of Secretariat, the 31-length winner of the 1973 Belmont and possibly the greatest thoroughbred of all time, the film will use five horses.

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