Top 10 Racehorses of All time
The Top 10 Greatest Racehorses of All Time
The Sport of Kings has produced many a Thoroughbred worthy of the being voted the best ever to blaze around a racetrack. However, only few have exemplified the greatness that has stood the test of time.
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Winning the Triple Crown and the America’s most beloved race-The Kentucky Derby—are only two ways that a horse has scribed his or her name in the annuals of Horse Racing History.
But what about those that overcome the odds, facing adversity and winning the hearts of the American working class when the country needed it the most?
Those four-legged beasts have also earned their spot on our list.
We have included the very best of the best without regard to gender or racing surface, and without further adieu, here is our list of the 10 Greatest Race Horses of All Time.
No. 10: Affirmed - 22 wins from 29 starts. The great-great-grandson of Triple Crown winner War Admiral was the eleventh and most recent Triple Crown winner in 1978. He was named Horse of the Year and American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse in 1978. His courage combined with speed and stamina makes him one of the all time great champions.
No. 9: Seattle Slew - 14 wins from 17 starts. Winner of the 1977 Triple Crown, he remains he only horse to do so while undefeated. Remembered for his "war dance" (tiptoeing on the track before his races), and his battles with Affirmed, Seattle Slew was honored in 1977, being named US Champion three-year-old as well as winning the Eclipse Award for American Horse of the Year.
No. 8: Zenyatta – 19 wins from 20 starts. The only filly to make our list, Zenyatta is the American record-holder for consecutive victories without defeat in unrestricted races. During her career, she won over $7 million, making her the all-time North American female money-earner. A massive filly, she was a picture of perfection over varying racing surfaces and circuits, winning on dirt and all-weather tracks. Named American Horse of the year in 2010, she broke three records and tied several others. She will also be remembered as a graceful star, seeming to take pleasure in her walks from the paddock to the track, high-stepping and nodding to her fans along the way.
No. 7: Dr. Fager - 18 wins from 22 starts. There's fast, faster, and Dr. Fager. Twice named champion sprinter, and once Horse of the Year, he was among the best from 7 furlongs to 1 1/4 miles. "The Doctor" was the only horse who ever held four titles in one year. That year was 1968, and he was voted the Horse of the Year, champion handicap horse, champion sprinter, and co-champion grass horse.
No. 6: Citation - 32 wins from 45 starts. He was the first horse in history to win one million dollars at six years old and was the eighth American Triple Crown winner. As a three-year old in 1948, Citation had posted a 15-race winning streak and after sustaining an injury that kept him out of the 1949 racing season, came back to race in 1950, to win his 16th race in a row. A streak that would stand until Cigar equaled the feat in 1994-96 and then Zenyatta surpassing the mark by winning her 19th in a row in 2010.
No. 5: Kelso - 39 wins from 63 starts. "Mighty" Kelso, as he was aptly called, is the only gelding on our list. Named Horse of the Year an astonishing five times from 1960-1964, a feat that has never be matched, he is perhaps the most durable and fearless of all the horses on our list, taking on any contender that came his way. Kelso competed for eight seasons, from 1959 to 1966, and as his career raced on, so did his popularity.
No. 4: Spectacular Bid - 26 wins from 30 starts. The “Bid" as he was called, set numerous time records during his career and won 12 consecutive races. But he would be denied the Triple Crown in 1979, coming up short at the Belmont Stakes by what most say was a poor ride by jockey Ron Franklin. A threat to break the track record every time he rounded the racetrack, he never lost between 7 furlongs and 1¼ miles. His astounding 1:57.4 in the 1980 Strub still stands as the record for 10 furlongs at Santa Anita.
No. 3: Seabiscuit -33 wins from 89 starts. After failing to win in his first 10 races, this bay colt was sold for the mere price of $8,000, but later became an unlikely champion and a symbol of hope to many Americans during the Great Depression. The most memorable race that Seabiscuit ran was on November 1, 1938. Known as the "Match of the Century,” the then-five year old ran against 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral on the 1 and 3/16 miles at Pimlico Race Course. With over 40,000 at the track and some 40 million listening on the radio, Seabiscuit pulled away in the closing stretch, finally winning by four clear lengths. As a result, Seabiscuit was named "Horse of the Year" for 1938.
No. 2: Man o' War - 20 wins from 21 starts. During his career just after World War I, Man o' War was the first great race horse to really capture the public's imagination and raise horse racing in the public consciousness. His lone loss, ironically to a horse named Upset, came during his 2-year-old season in the 1919, but cannot spoil an otherwise dominating career from this strapping stallion.
No. 1: Secretariat - 16 wins from 21 starts. Sired by Bold Ruler, Secretariat became the first Triple Crown champion in twenty-five years in 1973, while setting new race records in two of the three events – a win by 12 furlongs in the Belmont Stakes and an unofficial track record at Pimlico--that still stand today. In 2005, Secretariat was the only non-human to make ESPN’s list of "Greatest Sports Performances" (by individual athletes), with his run at Belmont ranking second. Perhaps no other horse has brought as much excitement and attraction to the sport as this star power stallion.Honorable Mentions: War Admiral, Cigar, John Henry, Native Dancer, and Bold Ruler.