There have been many famous racehorses that fans have become familiar with throughout the decades. These horses have shown incredible talent on the tracks and captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Many of the greatest racehorses of all time have become celebrities in their own way.
Fans of the Kentucky Derby, the Grand National, Ascot, the Cheltenham Festival and other horse racing events have seen many amazing horses throughout time. However, only a few have made it into the Hall of Fame. Today, we're going to break down the most famous racehorses of all time. Below are our picks in no particular order.
Let's start our list off with one of the greatest racehorses ever to hit the tracks. Man O War has been named the best racehorse of the 20th century. Although this horse had a short career (from 1919 to 1921), he made a huge impression that still lasts with racing fans to this day.
Throughout his career, Man O War competed in 21 races and only lost 1 of them. His only defeat was at Saratoga Race Course, which is nicknamed "Graveyard of Champions" because several of the greatest racehorses have been defeated on this track.
Despite his winning record, Man O War was not an easy horse to keep disciplined. He had a reputation for his wild temper and for routinely dumping his riders so he could run free.
Everyone loves a good underdog story, which is why Seabiscuit is a favourite for many racing fans. This popular horse's story even got turned into a movie that was nominated for an Academy Award.
Seabiscuit's career lasted for 5 years, between 1935 to 1940. However, he didn't make a name for himself until 1937, when there was a change in trainers. That year, he surprised racing fans when he beat champion horse War Admiral.
During Seabiscuit's era, he was the most profitable racehorse. He earned $437,730 USD in his career.
The title of the most iconic Triple Crown Winner belongs to Secretariat. To this day, he still holds the record for fastest times in the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Preakness Stakes. Throughout his career, he won 16 out of 21 races.
Despite how talented this racehorse was, his career was short. In his career as a 3-year-old, he was syndicated for $6.08 million (which would be approximately $40.1 million today!). However, this could only be accepted on the condition that he retired at the end of the season.
During the great depression, Australians were introduced to Phar Lap. Many horseracing enthusiasts would agree that he was the best Australian racehorse to ever compete on the tracks. He only competed for 4 seasons but made a huge impression.
Phar Lap didn't make the best impression at the beginning of his career. He finished last in his first race. Even his next few races weren't anything to add to the books. However, when a young 17-year-old apprentice raced him in the Maiden Juvenile Handicap, Phar Lap got his first win.
He went on to have an impressive career after that. Phar Lap won 37 of the 51 races he competed in throughout his career.
Sports Illustrated has named Zenyatta "the greatest filly of all time". A unique fact about this horse is that she didn't start racing until after the age of 3. In her early years, she had ringworm and could not race until she overcame it.
Starting out late didn't stop Zenyatta from making a huge impact on the track. In her career, she raced in 20 events. She won 19 out of 20 races. Her only loss was her very last race.
When she's not on the track, Zenyatta has a much more calm demeanour than the other horses on our list today. She's known for her friendly and relaxed behaviour. Her trainers would brag that they didn't have to do a lot to prepare her for the races.
American Pharoh is a well-known name in horse racing for several reasons. In 2015, he became the first Triple Crown winner in 40 years. With this win, he also achieved the second-fastest time, landing right behind Secretariat's top score.
Another big win for American Pharoh was when he won the Breeder's Cup Classic. With this race, he broke the winning track record by 6 and 1/2 lengths. This win also helped him achieve the Grand Slam, which at this point hadn't been done since 1941. Famous racehorses can only get a Grand Slam if they win 4 major races in one season.
Frankel is the only horse on our list today that is undefeated. He competed in 14 events throughout his career, coming out on top of each one. This horse competed in several of the top racing events in the UK but never competed in any of the Triple Crown events.
Today, Frankel is retired. He is currently standing stud at Banstead Manor Stud (Suffolk). During his career, he received a ranking of 143 from Timeform. This was the 4th highest mark this organization had ever given a racehorse.
Another amazing filly horse to make our list today is Winx. This horse had an impressive 5-year career span from 2014 to 2019. She won many titles (and races) along the way.
One of the most impressive highlights of Winx's horse racing career is that she won 33 races in a row from 2015 to the end of her career. With all of her victories, Winx ended up earning $26 million AUD throughout her career.
It's been mentioned that reason she was such a successful horse was how she was managed. Her trainer Chris Walker was known to keep her active but never overworked her. This way she was always prepared for a victory.
Seattle Slew still holds a big influence over horse racing. This horse competed in 17 events and won 14 of them. One of his most notable achievements is being the first horse to become a Triple Crown Winner without any previous defeats.
The people that worked with Seattle Slew would often describe his notable characteristics that were part of the reason he was such a successful horse. He was described as intelligent and determined. However, he also had a dominant side that let people know he was in control.
During his career, this horse became popular with fans across the US. Racetracks would fill up with people waiting to see the Seattle Slew race.
Red Rum is known as the greatest racehorse in Ireland. Throughout his career, he won the Grand National 3 times and holds the record for the most wins. This is a major achievement because this event is described as the "ultimate test of a horse's courage". It's one of the most difficult horse races in the world. Like Seabiscuit, it is somewhat of an underdog story, as Red Rum was bought as a crippled horse at the age of 7 only to become one of the most decorated winners of all time.
Another reason why Red Rum is one of the most famous racehorses is because of his amazing jumping skills. Throughout his career, he competed in 100 races and had a stable landing with every jump.
We only had time to mention 10 of the most famous racehorses on our page today. However, there are more names that have made horse racing history throughout the decades. Before we wrap, here are a few more famous racehorses every fan should know about.
Citation makes US horse racing history because he was the first horse to make over $1 million USD in its career. He was also the 8th Triple Crown Winner, in the midst of a winning streak with 16 consecutive wins. Throughout the duration of his career, Citation won 32 out of 45 events that he competed in.
Desert Orchid was popular among UK fans in the 1980s. Some of his most notable wins were Irish Grand National (1990), King George VI Chases (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990), and Cheltenham Gold Cup (1989). This horse was best known for his steeplechasing races and his unique front run.
Shergar was a popular thoroughbred racehorse who was destined for legendary status. Unfortunately, that status became infamy. After having a very successful season in 1981 and winning 6 out of 8 races, the horse retired to stand stud. Shortly after this, he was kidnapped in 1983. No ransom was ever paid. The horse, or its remains, have never been recovered. It is alleged the IRA were behind the kidnapping.
Our list of the most famous racehorses of all time wouldn't be complete without mentioning War Admiral. This champion thoroughbred racehorse was also known as Seabiscuit's rival, losing to him after securing his Triple Crown win. In his racing career, War Admiral ended up winning 21 out of 26 events.
If this list has increased your appetite for some gambling, check out the latest and best horse racing betting sites for the latest odds.
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