THE MOST FAMOUS RACEHORSES OF ALL TIME

HORSE RACING IS ONE OF THE MOST CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT AND OLDEST SPORTS THE WORLD STILL ENJOYS TODAY. UNIQUE FOR ITS ABILITY TO UNITE FANS AND SPECTATORS, ITS EFFECT ON A CULTURE AND COUNTRY IS APPRECIATED. SO HERE WE HONOUR THESE NOBLE BEASTS THAT ARE THE GREATEST OF THEIR SPECIES AND THE MOST LEGENDARY OF THEIR SPORT – PROVING THAT MIGHTY FEATS OF ATHLETICISM ARE NOT LIMITED TO HUMANITY.
BLACK CAVIAR – FLAT RACEHORSE

A modern legend, Black Caviar is a retired Australian racehorse that was undefeated in over 25 races and named World Champion Sprinter in 2010, 2011 and 2013, the first racehorse trained outside of Europe to be given this award. Foaled in august 2006 she retired in April 2013, her winning record is one unbeaten in over 100 years.

RED RUM- STEEPLECHASER

Famous and credited for the revival of the Aintree Race, one of the most iconic races in the world, Red Rum went on to win the Grand National three times, the only horse ever to do so. Becoming a symbol of courage for his winning career on a racetrack described by many as “the ultimate test of a horse’s courage”, his win in 1973 by 30 lengths is considered one of the greatest Grand Nationals in history.

HYPERION- FLAT RACEHORSE

An often-overlooked name, Hyperion was the most successful British bred sire of the 20th century being 6 times Champion of Great Britain between 1940 and 1954, winning the Wartime Triple Crown. The horse was trained in the famous racing town of Newmarket and he is one of the smallest horses ever to win a British Classic.

BARBARO- FLAT RACEHORSE

While undefeated at the time and already sporting an array of top honours for the Florida Derby, Holy Bull Stakes and Tropical Park Derby, in 2006 Barbaro rode in the Kentucky Derby and by a staggering 6-1/2 length victory it was the largest win in almost 50 years. Two weeks after this however, he fractured his back leg ending his racing career, eventually leading to his death in 2007 and the establishment of an equine health fund in his honours.

WAR ADMIRAL-FLAT RACEHORSE

Son of the Legendary Man O’ War, War admiral was born in Lexington Kentucky in 1934. After a rocky career start of not responding well to the starting gate, the mighty horse quickly overcame his fears and went on to earn his nickname as well as the Triple Crown and Horse of the Year honours in 1937.

AFFIRMED- FLAT RACEHORSE

Known as one of the most lucrative racehorses of all time, Affirmed was the first horse in America to earn over two million dollars during his career. Earning the Triple Crown in 1978 as well as defeating the famous Seattle Slew at the Marlboro Cup Invitation Handicap. Well known for his rivalry with the racehorse Alydar, Affirmed was disqualified from their match up after a replacement jockey rode Affirmed and tried to cut off Alydar.

MAN O’ WAR

A horse of legend. Man O’ War is credited for resurrecting horse racing in America during the 1920’s. Born in 1917, the mighty horse’s first race was two year later; in which he won three stakes races in only 17 days. Becoming so successful that owners were even afraid to put their horse against him in the races, Man O’ War only lost once during his entire career and only because the horse had its back turned because of a start up error and even then, Man O’ War still placed second. Producing over 64 stakes winners and over 200 champions, his legendary bloodline including both War Admiral and Seabiscuit. Dying in 1947 his is now buried at Kentucky Horse Park where his statue adorns his grave.

PHAR LAP-FLAT RACEHORSE

Named from the Thai word for ‘lighting’ Phar Lap was a New Zealand bred racehorse that rose to become a national icon of Australian racing, during his four-year career. A true giant Phar Lap measured a massive 17.1 hands high with his heart weighing in at 13.7 pounds, made even more impressive as the average at that time was approximately just 9 pounds. With a total of 37 wins across 51 races, setting eight track records before a slightly mysterious death in 1932, that many attribute to U.S. gangsters and their illegal bookkeeping.

SECRETARIAT- FLAT RACEHORSE

Deemed almost ‘too pretty to raceSecretariat was born in 1970 and by 1972 had already proved his critics false, with 8 consecutive victories, one of the only 2 year old horses ever to be awarded Horse of the Year, he won the Triple Crown the following year as well as the Belmont Stakes in which he set a new record, still standing today along with his record at the Kentucky Derby.

His death in 1989 was mourned by millions and was given the rare honour of being buried whole. The horses heart weighed in a 22 pounds and is one of three non-humans to be ranked on ESPN’s ‘100 Greatest Athletes of the Twentieth Century’ list, as well as earning his place on a postage stamp in the US.

SEABISCUIT

The Grandson of Man O’ War did not at first show any promise as a racehorse, but under the tutelage of trainer Tom Smith and jockey Red Pollard in 1936, Seabiscuit went on to win 11 of 15 races in 1937, even though Pollard had actually lost an eye that year to training the famous horse. Becoming a national symbol though its popularity and raising the moral of America during the age of depression, his career culminated in a race against his family member War Admiral, another mighty animal in the bloodline of Man O’ War. Seabiscuit won the race dubbed ‘the match of the century’, by an astonishing 4 lengths, breaking the tack record time and inspiring many books and films, most notably the academy award nominated ‘Seabiscuit’.

About the Author

Luke Fussell

Editor-In-Chief, seeker of the peace, part time chandelier cleaner, a legend in his own time, oppressor of champions, soldier of fortune, world traveller, bonvivant, all round good guy, international lover, casual hero, philosopher, wars fought, bears wrestled, equations solved, virgins enlightened, revolutions quelled, tigers castrated, orgies organised, bars quaffed dry, governments run, test rockets flown, life president of the Liquidarian Society of Great Britain and Ireland (apply to website for membership).

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