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10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

Horse racing is an incredible equine sport that has captivated the masses for hundreds of years; it is actually the second largest spectator sport in Great Britain. Saddle up; today, we are breaking down the top 10 greatest racehorses of all time. 

10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

10. Kincsem (1874 - 1887)

Foaled in 1874 in Hungary, Kincsem was a chestnut mare that enjoyed a successful racing career and is still noted as one of Eastern Europe’s most famous and successful racehorses to this day.

Kincsem produced an undefeated career between 1876 and 1879, winning races in the UK, France, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany.

She still currently holds the record of the longest undefeated record of any racehorse all these years later, and became a very influential broodmare after her career. 

10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

9. Black Caviar (2006 - )

Black Caviar - a dark bay mare foaled in 2006 in Australia - produced an undefeated career spanning from 2009 to 2013.  

For three consecutive years (2011-2013), she was crowned Australian Champion Sprinter and Racehorse of the Year. She was also named European Champion Sprinter in 2012.

10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

8. Hurricane Fly (2004 - )

Foaled in 2004 in Ireland, Hurricane Fly is a small bay gelding that is regarded as one of the best hurdle racehorses, despite originally being trained for flat racing.

A dual winner of the Champion Hurdle, Hurricane Fly previously held the world record for most Grade 1 (or Group 1) races won by any racehorse.

He went on to set world records in hurdle racing, winning 22 out of 32 starts. He holds the record for most consecutive victories in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown (5).

10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

7. Zenyatta (2004 - )

Zenyatta - a dark bay mare foaled in 2004 in the United States - is widely regarded as one of the most successful mares in American horseracing. 

Zenyatta won 19 of her 20 starts - including the Breeder’s Cup Classic and Breeders' Cup Distaff.

In 2010, she was awarded American Horse of the Year. She was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2016.


10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

6. Makybe Diva (1999 - )

Foaled in 1999 in England, Makybe Diva is a bay mare that was shipped to Australia as a yearling. 

Makybe Diva currently holds the crown for most wins in the Melbourne Cups with three victories.

In 2005, she became the seventh horse in history to complete the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup double.

She was named Champion Australian Stayer three times between 2004 and 2006, and she was crowned Australia Racehorse of the Year in 2005 and 2006. She still stands strong as one of the most legendary “Australian” racehorses.

10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

5. Kelso (1957 - 1983)

Foaled in 1957 in the United States, Kelso is noted for being named American Champion Three-Year-Old in 1960 - despite not running in the American Triple Crown races.

He was also named American Racehorse of the Year for a record five years between the years 1960-1964.

10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

4. Winx (2011 - )

Foaled in 2011 in Australia, Winx is a bay mare that is noted for her cadence; she had the ability to take 14 strides in 5 seconds - giving her a huge leg-up on her competitors, who typically took about 12 strides in 5 seconds.

Winx enjoyed a successful two-year-old season in 2013/2014, and in her three-year-old season, she had her first major success when she won the Group 2 Furious Stakes over 1200 metres.

During her career, she earned four consecutive wins at the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley - an impressive record.

In 2017, Winx became the third horse to be inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

She remains one of the most famous and successful female racehorses of all time.

10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

3. Seattle Slew (1974 - 2002)

Seattle Slew was a dark bay colt foaled in 1974 in the United States. He was noted for his powerful shoulders and strong hind legs.

In 1976, Seattle Slew ran a successful two-year-old season and was crowned Champion Two-Year-Old of 1976.

In 1977, he won the Kentucky Derby by 1.75 lengths. He then went on to win the 1977 Preakness Stakes by 1.5 lengths, and finally won the Belmont Stakes by a comfortable four lengths, allowing him to be crowned as the tenth American Triple Crown winner. 

10 Greatest Racehorses Of All Time

2. Man o’ War (1917 - 1947)

Foaled in 1917 in the United States, Man o’ War comes in at a very close second on our list of iconic racehorses. 

Man o’ War was a large chestnut colt with long, solid legs that granted him with an incredibly long stride - measured in at 28 feet.

This stride is believed to be the longest ever recorded for a racehorse.

In 1919, Man o’ War made his debut as a two-year-old and won his very first race by an impressive six lengths.

By the end of his two year old season, he had nine wins out of ten starts, and was named American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt of 1919.

Unfortunately, Man o’ War was not given the opportunity to run in the 1920 Kentucky Derby, but he made his three-year-old debut at the 1920 Preakness States.

After a gripping race, he won by 1.5 lengths. He then went on to win the Belmont Stakes by a whopping 20 lengths.

Man o’ War went on to have a wildly successful racing career, and in October 1920, he won the “Race of the Century” by seven lengths - also making history as the first racehorse to win a race that was filmed from start to finish.

Now - over 100 years past Man o’ War’s prime - he is still widely regarded as one of the best racehorses of all time. 

10 greatest racehorses of all time

1. Secretariat (1970 - 1989)

It’s no surprise which racing legend is galloping in at number one. Secretariat - a massive bright chestnut colt - was foaled in 1970 in the United States. 

Nicknamed “Big Red”, Secretariat is recognized to be one of those incredibly special racehorses that were truly in a league on their own. 

His superb performance is often attributed to his “nearly perfect” conformation - his chest was so large that he actually required the use of a specially-made girth.

His massive hindquarters provided the immense amount of power that fueled his impressive and efficient stride.

While Big Red got off to a bit of a rough start, he started to shine during his two-year old season in 1972.

In 1973, he delivered an astounding performance at the Kentucky Derby, becoming the first horse to finish the Derby in under two minutes.

He was crowned American Horse of the year in both 1972 and 1973.

At the 1973 Preakness Stakes, Secretariat broke last but was able to take over the lead with his large, calculated, and powerful stride. He won by 2.5 lengths, completely unchallenged.

By the time he arrived to race at the 1973 Belmont Stakes, he had become a national icon, captivating the attention and hearts of millions of Americans.

He won the Belmont Stakes by a jaw-dropping 31 lengths - a record that to this day has still not been touched.

Big Red became the ninth American Triple Crown winner and remains a titan of the racing industry to this day.

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