Throughout the prolific history of horse racing in the United States, it is hard to deny that there have been some greats. With the ever-growing popularity and legal betting aspect of the sport, more and more individuals are becoming interested in the horse racing and its history.
Spectators not only want to learn how to up their odds when betting on horses, but they are even becoming interested in the roots and heritage of the sport as well. Sure, there have been some great horses come and go over the years, but who was truly the best of the best?
Secretariat is without a doubt an American Thoroughbred that is highly known for his speed. In fact, his record is still just 0.2 seconds off the current record, as he was able to go from 1 3/16 to 1 5/8 miles. The current world record is 1 1/8 miles. He probably, however, became most well known for the fact he never lost a race that wasn’t the result of some kind of illness and he was the very first horse to capture the Triple Crown in 25 years, which happened in 1973. He did lose a couple of races due to the fact that he wasn’t properly prepared, got called for interference, and got disqualified for unfair circumstances. However, fans don’t really think this was the horse’s fault, so they don’t count them against him.
Despite this, all of his sixteen wins came to be astonishing margins. When he was healthy and prepared it is hard to dispute that he couldn’t beat anyone.
Man O’ War
The 1920s were a great time for sport. Baseball had Babe Ruth, boxing had Jack Dempsey, and the NFL had the Galloping Ghost. However, there was no athlete that was revered as much as Man O’ War.
The horse won all eleven of his starts, which earned him an impressive $249,645 in earning. By the time his career came to an end, he had captured three world records, two American records, and seven different track records that were quite impressive. However, he is probably most well known for his controversial loss.
His only loss came when a re-start occurred and he had to start out of position. When the race resumed he was several positions behind, but only lost the race by a mere head. People still debate and argue over this race till this very day.
Just about every racing fan has seen the revered Seabiscuit. While he might have been a smaller horse, he without a doubt had an inauspicious racing career.
Seabiscuit became a true icon and hero for the American people during the Great Depression, which is probably what he is still most well known for. Everyone loves a good underdog story and there is no other horse in history that fits that profile better than Seabiscuit. Even with his small stature he was able to carry heavier loads and still managed to achieve several record-setting times. Now, just imagine if he was carrying lighter loads.
Many race fans will argue to this day that Ruffian could possibly be the best racehorse in history. Although she was an impressive horse, her story is a most tragic one. The Thoroughbred filly was born on April 17, 1972, on a farm in Paris, Kentucky. She was a huge horse for her breed, which earned her the nickname “Sofie the Sofa”. Most riders said that she was the most comfortable horse they ever sat on. In 1974 she won the Maiden Race by 15 lengths and tied the track record. She won every single race that she was involved in, except for the one that took her life.
It was no mistake that Citation was breed specifically for racing, as this horse had won 27 or 29 years races at just three years old. Citation even took the Jersey Stakes by an impressive eleven lengths. In fact, it was Citation that had won the Triple Crown in 1948, 25 years before Secretariat took the crown. In addition to this, Citation was the first horse to win $1,000,000. By the time it was all said and down Citation had a record of 32 and 45.
It has always been said that Zenyatta was so great that she never even had to run a race to her full potential to win. Despite her being a female, she beat all the boys and was one of the first females to do so. She even brought home the Breeders’ Cup Classic just one-year before she won the Ladies’ Classic.
Seattle Slew is the tenth horse in history to win the Triple Crown, which took place in 1977. However, probably what was more impressive was the fact that he was the very first undefeated Triple Crown winner. At an early age, the Seattle Slew suffered a serious illness but did not let that stop him. He battled back better than ever to bring his fans the thrills and joys they so much desired.
Barbaro was another truly great horse with a tragic end. Although he was not as tragic as Ruffian, it does come close. He brought home the 2006 Kentucky Derby Championship but destroyed his leg just a mere two weeks later at the 2006 Preakness Stakes. Unfortunately, this major injury would lead to the ending of his career and untimely death.
American Pharoah is without a doubt best known for becoming the first horse ever to win the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing. In fact, the year of 2015 he was given the Eclipse Aware for Horse of the Year and he was just three years old at the time. He also became the first American Triple Crown winner since the late Affirmed accomplished the task back in 1978.
Omaha is probably one of the most underrated horses of all time. Unfortunately, he only has a racing career of two years, but he was a marvelous two years. He ran a total of twenty-two races and captured nine wins, including the Triple Crown in 1935. Although he was an American Thoroughbred, he did go over to England and had some success at four years of age. Unfortunately, he just fell slightly short of the Ascot Gold Cup.