Carl Icahn: Apple is like Secretariat at the Belmont

Carl Icahn explains why Apple (AAPL) is still undervalued and misunderstood, comparing the stock to great thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat.

I remember Secretariat wining the Belmont by 30 lengths. 30 lengths! … This [Apple] is like Secretariat. Now, look, can something happen? Yeah. This is not a game where you can’t lose, but I’m telling you Apple can’t go down 30 points, either….

I’d always like to see bigger buybacks. – Carl Icahn, May 3, 2015

The full video is here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Apple is moving like a tremendous machine! Yes, ’tis true, Apple is the Secretariat of the tech industry, surrounded by glue factory-bound nags; shams all.MacDailyNews, January 31, 2011


  1. He’s wrong. Apple is like an Iditarod Sled Dog. Keeps going and going, day after day. No modern racehorse can cover almost 1000 miles in 12 days. Racehorses are sprinters, sled dogs just keep on gong.

    1. I still vividly remember watching Secretariat wind the Belmont. That performance still defies belief.

      I like your analogy, too. As you point out, sled dogs have incredible toughness and endurance and they compete under harsh conditions. In addition, they absolutely love to run…to compete.

      I think that both analogies apply in different ways. Yours seems more comprehensive in terms of addressing the overall Apple culture.

      1. Not to take away from Secretariat. 30 lengths is impressive, it’s just that it’s over so quickly. I’m sure the horse and jockey have a totally different time reference.

    2. The same can be said for humans.

      Take the top 10 ultra-marathon runners (people who run those 100 mile races) in the U.S. and set them against a group of “long distance” race horses. At any distance beyond about 25 – 30 miles the humans will slowly pull away from the horses. By the end of those 100 miles the horses could be as much as 30 – 50 miles behind the humans.

      I had a co-worker a few decades ago who ran a 500 mile distance for charity each year. It typically took him about a week to do it. I’m 100% sure he could run any horse into the ground.

      The vast majority of horses (even those that are better than typical at long distances) are not any good for the long, long run.

    3. I like your analogies…and I love the dog races. However…I just wanted to mention that there are horses that do journeys that are over 1,000 miles. Something like the story of Hidalgo (starring Viggo Mortenson)…but there are people that say that Frank T.Hopkins was a sham. But that’s beside the point. There is a Long Riders’ Guild, a group for people who make continuous horseback journeys of 1,000 miles or more. Interesting regardless. Apple is running on all cylinders no doubt…or I should say, all legs. 🙂

      1. No disrespect to horses. Secretariats run at Belmont lasted 2 minutes and 24 seconds. Apple is in a much linger contest with no pre-defined finish line.

  2. Icahn is still asking for Apple to do even more share repurchases and I find his greed insatiable. I could understand if Apple had most of its cash reserve in this country but I still think Apple could put it to better use than share buybacks. I’m an Apple shareholder and I’d prefer higher dividends than share buybacks, but I’m no financial wizard. I just have to trust Apple knows exactly how much it can afford to pay out by calculating sales and the general economy. Icahn is sitting on billions of dollars and yet it’s not enough for him. Wow! It’s a really ugly world when billions of dollars aren’t enough for one individual.

    1. “Icahn is sitting on billions of dollars and yet it’s not enough for him.”

      I don’t get the negative moralizing about people at any level using their talents just because they are already successful. Of course he should keep working and making more money (since that is his profession) as long as it makes him happy.

      If Icahn does anything shady, that is another matter. But he would be a wasteful idiot if he didn’t use his billions to make more billions.

  3. If IBM has Warren Buffet buying up a storm, then Carl Icahn should sell eBay, Nuance, Transocean, Hertz, Hologic, Herbalife to buy more AAPL. Also this morning he regrets that he didn’t buy more AAPL so it makes sense he should buy more AAPL.

  4. It is all too easy for Johnhy-come-latelies, like Carl, to wax poetic about Apple’s undervaluation now that Apple has already done all the hard work of creating the biggest & best company in the world. But many of us here saw Apple’s potential long before Carl did. We are what Warren Buffet would admire as patient, long-term value investors. Carl and his Wall Street ilk are fairly short term opportunists, if you ask me. If Carl was really smart, he would have gone in deep in 2003 when he could have bought Apple shares (split adjusted) for less than $1.

    To those who have believed in Apple through the years: We Are The Champions !

  5. Too bad most commenters don’t know history…

    Carl Icahn is just being the Dodge Brothers to Tim Cook’s Henry Ford.

    For those of us who own Apple stock, it’s a bit of a shame that
    Dodge v. Ford Motor Co (1919) is not more operative today.

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