The 10 Greatest Race Horses of All Time

Needless to say, this list represents one man's subjective opinions as to the greatest of all time, and the horses represented here are only those who have raced on American soil. Those who argue that many non-American horses deserve inclusion will get no argument from me. I've tried to include the very best of the best without regard to gender or racing surface. Great fillies like Personal Ensign and Ruffian did not make the list simply because I don't think that on their best day they could beat any of the horses on this list on their best days (see also my article about Rachel Alexandra, about whom I would say the same.) Without further ado, the 10 Greatest Race Horses of All Time:

  1. Secretariat - 16 wins from 21 starts. The greatest of the great, his triple crown campaign, during which he set official track records at Churchill Downs and Belmont Park, and an unofficial track record at Pimlico, will never be exceeded or even matched. Pity poor Sham, an outstanding racehorse in his own right, who was a game second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before being annihilated with all the rest in Secretariat's incomparable Belmont Stakes win, during which he set a world record for 12 furlongs that still stands to this day.
  2. Man o' War - 20 wins from 21 starts. 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 hardly mars an otherwise dominating career.
  3. Seattle Slew - 14 wins from 17 starts. Undefeated as a 2-year-old, Triple Crown winner at 3. His Kentucky Derby win, which came despite being rushed to the lead by Jean Cruguet after an awkward start, may be the greatest ever. Crushed Affirmed in their two meetings a Belmont Park in the fall of 1978.
  4. Spectacular Bid - 26 wins from 30 starts. Champion two and three-year old. Only denied a Triple Crown by a poorly judged ride in the Belmont Stakes by Ron Franklin. A threat to break the track record every time he stepped on the racetrack, his astonishing 1:57.4 in the 1980 Strub still stands as the record for 10 furlongs at Santa Anita
  5. Kelso - 39 wins from 63 starts. The only gelding on the list, "Mighty" Kelso, as he was inevitably described, was named Horse of the Year an incredible five times from 1960-1964, a feat that will surely never be matched. Perhaps not as consistent as others on this list, but his durability and willingness to take on all comers more than compensates.
  6. Native Dancer - 21 wins from 22 starts. Only a narrow loss to Dark Star after a rough trip in the 1953 Kentucky Derby blemishes an otherwise perfect career
  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.
  8. Miesque - 14 wins from 18 starts. The only filly, the only foreign-bred, and the only turf horse on this list, which says something about her greatness. 15 of her 16 starts came in Group 1 or Grade 1 races, but her crowning achievement is surely her back to back victories in the Breeders Cup Mile, both in utterly dominant style.
  9. Holy Bull - 13 wins from 16 starts. Brilliant, precocious, altogether the greatest horse of the 1990s (only Cigar can rival him). He might rank higher on this list if not for an unaccountably disastrous performance as the 2-1 favorite in the 1994 Kentucky Derby.
  10. Affirmed - 22 wins from 29 starts. His Triple Crown battles with Alydar will never by forgotten. His heart and intelligence combined with speed and stamina to make him one of the all time great champions. Beat Spectacular Bid in their only meeting, but was beaten handily by Seattle Slew in their two races.

Honorable Mentions: Sunday Silence, Easy Goer, Buckpasser, Ghostzapper, Count Fleet, War Admiral, Seabiscuit, Damascus, Cigar, Personal Ensign, Ruffian, Risen Star, John Henry, Swaps.

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Comments 687 comments

MrCoote123 profile image

MrCoote123 7 years ago from United Kingdom

Nice post. Made for entertaining reading!

Rinzou 7 years ago

Ah yes, the seventies was the greatest decade in horse racing. I completely agree with your list.

Rinzou 7 years ago

Wait a minute...are you crazy?? Where is CITATION?!?

JohnnyComeLately profile image

JohnnyComeLately 7 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA Author

Yes, I think you're right. Citation does belong on the list. Won 19 of 20 starts in an amazing three-year-old year. I would point out, though, that he beat a total of 15 horses on his way to the triple crown.

blue dog profile image

blue dog 7 years ago from texas hill country

Citation, yes. At least an honorable mention for Forego, no?

teriscott profile image

teriscott 7 years ago

Hmm...what about the Quarter Horses. My dad owned Old Doc King Bar back in the 60's. I was the proud owner of one of the grandson's of Easy Jet.

antony 7 years ago

those are greats but what about shergar seabiscuit and even red rum who won 5 british grandnationals in a row and seabiscuit who beat man o wars son war admaral came back to win santa anita after a two year injury in doing so beat the defending champion sure secretariat great horse but seabiscuit i think only lost one race

Hoss 7 years ago

How could the list possibly miss Citation?? He won the Kentucky Derby, 32 of 45 races in all, including 16 stakes races in a row!!

triplecrown 7 years ago

Citation won 27 of 29, sixteen in a row at three including the Triple Crown. Citation was a 93% winner, Man O War 95%, and if he ran 29 he would have been a winner of 27 to 28 based upon perscentages. Secretariat lost 24% of his races. If you consider racing record, stud record together Man O War wins. Citation was ranked the best three year old ever by Eddie Arcaro, two time Triple Crown winner and the multiple time winner of all three triple crown races. I think all three horses were great in their own unique way, but Citation could be the best three year old ever as Arcaro said.

snibar profile image

snibar 7 years ago from Orlando, Fl

Yes, but you also have to take into account background factors. Almost every time Secretariat lossed a race he was sick or had a mouth problem. You would be surprised what an impact mouth problems have on horses. I had a mare that could not outrun a cold blood until we took a few teeth out and then she won 50,000 in one year! Secretariat raced in some of the most competitive competition of all time. He raced with greats such as Riva Ridge, Dr. Fager, etc. Secretariat won the race which was considered to have the greatest compilation of race horses of all time. Man o' War never faced any of the greatest horses of his day. He never raced against Sir Barton or Exterminator. I don't doubt Man O' War was a great race horse, but he has always placed second in my mind because he never proved himself against other greats. Many of the people who had seen both Man O' War and Secretariat race called Secretariat the greatest race horse they had ever seen.

ruffian345 profile image

ruffian345 7 years ago

ummm that great what you had as secratariet and i love what you did with the other horses that are honorable like ruffian and seabiscuit but you did leave out in secratairiet had a heart twice the normal size lol

lisakprice profile image

lisakprice 7 years ago from Ohio

Thank you so much for placing Ruffian on the Honorable Mention list. She has a special place in my heart.

Dean 7 years ago

Some great champions in that list.

All were second though to Australia's champion Phar Lap.

Steven 7 years ago

Wheres Phar Lap?

cs 7 years ago

wot about arkle

Gary 6 years ago

You simply cant put a horse like secretariat tops,he got thumped by PROVE OUT the best dirt horse of the latter part of 1973 and got weight,WFA is still a handicap.If Citation goes in what about Noor who was improving all the time.What Phar Lap did in Travel and going on an alien surface and mocking a top field cant be topped, old time ameriacn horsemen who saw his run said MAN O WAR would need to run some to beat him.BEST TO DEAL IN FACTS.

bonny2010 profile image

bonny2010 6 years ago from outback queensland

Good to see Phar Lap mentioned - Sea Biscuit was a great horse too so was Man-Of-War- like your hub will go back to reading more

RScarbro48 6 years ago

Who was citation? The horse that beat has beens & lost to Noor 4 times. Arcaro said Citation was the best he rode & seen as a 3 year old in 1966 but after he seen the freight train Secretariat he told Bill Christine in 1996 he rated Secretarit the best he ever seen. He also said Kelso could beat Citation easily. Barbaro never did race enough to see what he was made off. Give me a break. A horse wins one Derby & he is one of the best of all time. What planet do you come from.

Graham Oliver 6 years ago

Ever heard of Sea Bird, Ormonde, Eclipse, Sea The Stars, Ribot, Nearco, Brigadier Gerard, Hyperion, Isinglass, Nijinsky? no - thought not!Dr Fager best miler? Great horse but interesting between him, the Brigadier and Tudor Minstrel.

Natural Horsemanship 6 years ago

Thanks for the race horses list..

jkmooreelle 6 years ago

You have to be joking right? Citation is not even on your top ten list? Some people still consider him the greatest ever. 19 out of 20 as a three year old. Wins a mile race and three days later wins in a two mile race.Please come to your senses.

dadsteelers 6 years ago

i disagree with secreetariat. he never beat a good horse and got beat by inferior horses (onion, athirty thousand dollar sprinter, and prove out an allowrence horse while getting weight from both of them. he also never ran againest dr fager the dr raced in the late 60's

Daniela 6 years ago

LisaKPrice, I agree with you. I am very touched by sweet Ruffian`s story. Every time I think of her I cannot hold the tears. She must be always mentioned as the bravest, the greatest filly, who had the heartbreaking ending that we all hate to remember. So unfair! She was so young! She deserves glory!

Heraclid 6 years ago

dadsteelers, Secretariat ran times that any highly acclaimed horse you can pick has not matched. But if you must have side-by-side comparisons, what do Forego, Riva Ridge, Sham, Kennedy Road, Canonero II, Cougar II and Key To The Mint all have in common? Secretariat beat them all head-to-head. If you don't know those were all good horses, you don't know horse racing. And most people who know much about Secretariat know why he lost when he did lose. But this is all academic, as most racing fans know he was the best and it's really not all that debatable.

Blitzgal 6 years ago

Man o' War never raced against the best horses in his era? Are you kidding me? His final race was a match race against Sir Barton (in which Exterminator was scratched because the terms couldn't be agreed upon), and he TROUNCED him. What about John P. Grier, who he raced against multiple times, and who was outstanding in his own right? I understand Secretariat being placed at the top by sentimentalists, because for many he was within their lifetime, but he hasn't earned it. Boasting the same total races as Man o' War, without the accomplishment of only losing once and never being out of the money - side to side there's no comparison on the track or off. Man o' War first by a landslide, Secretariat or Citation second.

Shannon 6 years ago

This is Crazy!!! Phar Lap deserves to be on that list.

lorraine lloyd 6 years ago

You are kidding with this list, right? First, Man O' War was a greater horse than Secretariat. He broke 8 world and american and track records, carried 130 pounts as a 2 year old and still won his races mostly under wraps. So, if you are basing Secretariat on just 3 races, that's ashame. Also, where is Citation? What a super horse, and Count Fleet too, who won the Belmond by 25 lengths under wraps in record time for 1941.

lorraine lloyd 6 years ago

P.S. I just tried to spell Belmont right and it wouldn't let me. But, just the same, Man O' War rules!!!

Mardy 6 years ago

Check your records Man o'War did race against Sir Barton

steveldk 6 years ago

I don't think any of the above could match Dr Fager up to a mile, especially if they are carrying high weight. Also, the Doctor is highly competitive up to 1 1/4 posting 3 sub two minute times carrying more than 130 lbs. on Eastern tracks -- not on those California speedways. The Doctor's achilles heel was speedy horses entered as rabbits. He could not be rated.

Seattle Slew did win a lot of big races, but his winning times weren't all that fast compared to some of the others. Yeah, as a 4 year old he did beat 3 year old Affirmed, but then 4 year old Affirmed won decisively over 3 year old Spectacular bid.

baazzaa 6 years ago

Come on, Sea the Stas should be in the top ten,

and what about arkle or does it have to be flat,

why dont the american horses come over to Ireland or england like we do for the breeders cup,scared shitless of being bet

tonyd 6 years ago

where is Phar Lap ?? there is no doubt at all that Phar lap is the greatest horse of all time, that scum bag Americans were scared of so they poisoned the beautiful horse, bookies wouldn't even accept bets on Phar Lap because it was a sure thing. At Phar Laps peak he could not be beaten by any horse from any time or place, only a complete idiot would disagree!

tonyd 6 years ago

and the amount of weight Phar lap ran with was ridiculous , simply an amazing horse that couldn't be beaten . pfft to the american dogs that poisoned the beautiful horse,

tonyd 6 years ago

Herman thanks for the support there and that horse looked like a very good prospect..

Herman P 6 years ago

Oops! Made a typing error with the link to Sea Cottage. Lets try again.

Tim H 6 years ago

Arkle, Phar lap, Best mate, Dessert orchid, Lightning Bolt, Nijjinski???

russ 6 years ago

to triple crown...eddie arcaro said time and again Secretariat was the greatest racehorse he had ever seen. He rated Kelso ahead of Citation. I found an article where he claimed Sec the best and this a few months before he passed away in the late 1990s. He may have praised Cit once or twice, but overall, he had the highest regard for Sec. I can cite some of these references. BJ Robbins, a Citaphile, cites record and record only. He and other Citaphiles focus only on Sec's losses,as if that is all that counts. Between generations, that is about as usefull as trying to unscrew a bolt with a canopener. It is not all that usefull. Do you know of a filly that ran in Europe in the late 1800s that had 54 starts.....and never lost? 54 and 0, and ran against the best of her day, fillys, colts, horses, mares, and all distances, including the 2 mile races. Does this record make her the all-time best? It makes her the most dominating performer of a generation of all time, in fact an impossible record to repeat, but is that sufficient to say she would defeat any horse in any generation? We have to think twice about that. It is the same with Ci and all the rest, regardless of their records. Ci's 3 year old record may have been the best, even unrepeatable, but is that sufficient to say he would defeat, even in a best of series, any racehorse in any other generation? We have to think twice about that. We have to find ways of comparing individual performaces, not just overall performance. Having said this, this is what i think of Ci. As a 3 year old, we never saw his best, at the particular perforance level. He was never really pushed, and thus set few time records. He defeated the best fillies of his time, but never raced against the best horses of his time. Some mention Coaltown, yes, but Coaltown started running as a 3, he was just getting his stride in order. He flowered as a 4, his best season. Still as far as Ci goes, that horse had enormous stamina and distance running capability. We just dont really know wat kind of speed he had. As a 5, he set a few records on the fast west coast tracks, and this only when he finally got pushed, by Noor. So this tells us the horse had speed as well as stamina, but just not sure what kind of speed. Could he have survived the speed and long distance stamina of Sec and ManO? These last two horses, when performing peak, on all cylinders, could sustain high speed over long distances, distances far beyond a quarter mile, far beyond 3 furlongs, well beyond 4. We will never know with any certainty how these 3 would fare together. Ci should have been on this list. Timeform back in 1999 rated two American horses among the best European horses, horses with a handicap capacity in the 140s. Those two were Sec and Ci: Sec at 144 and Ci at 141. ManO rated at 139 I believe.

Arielle 6 years ago

Phar Lap should be on there to. All American racehorses....figures

Eric R. 6 years ago

What? Forego did not at least get honorable mention?

Forethought 6 years ago

forego doesn't belong in anything so crass as a "top ten" --- leave that crap to letterman and litter men... forego was and always will be in a class by himself... when he won that marlboro he made up 31 lengths plus the 11 from his one derby all in the last furlong to become something else altogether than 'the fastest'... if you watch those last 10 seconds, you will see something like an optical illusion -- something impossible... with forego it was not a matter of winning, it was a matter of WILLING... would be delighted to know one horse (one man?) who WANTED to win more than forego, and if you watch his races (and losses) closely, he DID win when he wanted -- or can't you tell what a horse wants? forego, the only horse ever who despite 'losing' 23 races, is nonetheless a horse who can't lose -- that my friends is the real definition of a winner, and ultimately the real definition of "best"... and that's why, if you poll enough people who have known forego, forego will always be the most FAVORED horse... one who, once he 'grew up,' did a helluva lot of winning, beating like oh 8 or so champion horses -- the otherwise 'best' of the era -- with bad legs, and tons of sacrificial burden, always from behind, shepherding and then leading because, as with his human counterparts, it's fine to be a genius of course, but don't put the cart before the horse: first you gotta have heart -- you gotta love forego, in the... end

vicky 6 years ago

Dont forget the seabiscuit..

texas horse man 6 years ago

wih all that is being said - if Secretariat was cousidered so good what about Sham?

vicky 6 years ago

"man of war" the greatest without a doubt...end of story

Lucas 6 years ago

Jay-Eye-See? Own track records in 2 different paces, only horse to ever do that... Label the list as Thoroughbred or include quarters, trotters, and pacers... They are race horses as well...

Bee 6 years ago

From the tip of his roman nose to the tip of his tail Man O' War was a horse that should never be forgotten. They've made movies about the rest now they should make a movie about the best.

mel 6 years ago

what about northern dancer? and bold ruler ?

Sam 6 years ago

I WHOLE Heartedly agree with what Gary said eight months ago.Phar Lap is the only racehorse who did what he did. Thoug yeh, I do wish I had a stable of my own. I would want just three Horses...a Stallion called Secretariat, a filly called Ruffian and.....a Gelding called Phar Lap...the BIGGEST of the Big Reds!!!!!

Joe 6 years ago

Your list is interesting but you have overlooked one of the greatest horses of all time the MIGHTY FOREGO. Given the weights he had to carry and the unsoundness of his legs. I would have love to see him race against Secretariat if he was as sound as he. Forego beat the horse that beat Secretariat Prove out while giving weight away to him. An unfortunate oversight.

aaardvark 6 years ago

First I need to correct snibar: Man O' War did race against 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton beating him by 7 lengths in 1920. I loved Secretariat, but I think it is important to understand how much we owe to Man O' War. So many great horses are direct descendants of Man O' War you just can't count them. They include War Admiral and Seabiscuit, but they also include Seattle Slew and A.P. Indy, Big Brown, Forego, Sunday Silence, Rachael Alexandra, Holy Bull, and yes even Zenyatta (and many, many more). In fact in the past 30 years over 90% of the official champion thoroughbreds in all categories (2 year old, 3 year old, Older, sprint, etc.) are directly descendant from this horse. This is why he is officially rated as the #1 Thoroughbred of all time in the offial top 100 list.

aaardvark 6 years ago

Okay a friend of mine got upset because I didn't mention some of his favorite horses: Dr. Fager, Cigar, Winning Colors, Affirmed, Ghostzapper. Yep, their descenants of Man O' War also. You should get the point.

Equestrian Tack 6 years ago

I would add Ruffian, the greatest filly to run.

Lone Star 6 years ago

Holy Bull and Miesgue top 10 all time horses? Great horses but get real. I know its one mans opinion and I respect that but those two show me you don't have a clue. Ever hear of Citation?

bud the spud 6 years ago

phar lap should be on the list. All the american trainers, owners and jockey's we're scared of him.

MeanMachine 6 years ago

How does Forego not get at least an honorable mention. 3x Horse of the year and 4x champion Handicap horse. Champion sprinter, Handicap horse and Horse of the year in the same year (1974) winning Grade 1's at distances from 7F to 2 miles.

random dude 6 years ago

makiby diva????????

Jazzyhap 6 years ago


I guess it hurts that Rachel "Coward" Alexander ducked Zenyatta, so she never got to have any kind of rivalry, but undefeated is undefeated. What more can you do when you are undefeated?

Moet 6 years ago

What about "Kincsem" , this female horse was undefeated in 54 races. Her career ended 54-0..

bigron 6 years ago

man o war is the best of all time.his only loss was something of a "fix".

citation a solid second.27 of 29 at 3.suffered a deabilitating injury and should have been put out to stud.what happened to him after this was criminal.occelots can cripple a horse and his owner pushed an unfit horse to race further.

secretariat and count fleet at number 3.similar records,(16 for 21)both won triple crowns by miles.big red was impressive as i saw him in the late 70s.

kelso at 4.5 time horse of the year.never will be duplicated.

native dancer at 5.21 of 22!gray ghost should have been undefeated.bad trip by jockey,(had him everywhere in the derby except the mensroom!)closed hard and missed by a nostril

dr.fager at is an understatement.pegasus reborn

7 seattle slew.heavily muscled but was mismanaged by owners..left a huge mark on breeding today.

affirmed in 8.beautiful horse to watch.graceful.

spectacular bid at 9.awesome record.26 of 30.

no 10 finds forego.big beast that was ferociuos to handle.very bad temperment.his caretaker at the kentucky horsefarm hated him!

my sentimental favorite is exterminator.old bones ran anywhere,everywhere.he was a machine running at all tracks and distances.ironhorse gelding that makes all of us horse lovers choke up when we hear this animals name.

john henry,the greatest closer of them all.his story is what dreams are made of.humble beginnings to the greatest money winner of his time.i saw him sevral times in his old age and he was mesmerizing.cigar was in a stall across from him and i was visiting ,cigar came to the front and john henry shot him look as if to say,"they came to see me!".cigar retreated swiftly!

this is my opinion o war ran against sir barton,soundly defeating him in his final race.secretariat never ran dr fager.didn't many compare times.times mean nothing.these horses ran fast enough to win.citation never looked to be extended as was man o war.secretariats triple crown was amazing,but not really a great level of far as competition,damascus' winning over buckpasser and dr fager may have been the greatest feat of all.ruffian was never headed in a race until her unforunate many great horses.we might disagree about them,but we must agree that horses are the finest of all animals!

Lauryn 6 years ago

Zenyatta will be added to this list im sure. Never lossed till (HER)Nov 6th breeders cup run. I was shocked she was in last place and losing by many mant lengths... then out of no where she just thrusted forward and came second by a nose next to Blame.She was even bigger than half the males and 6yrs old or something. Amazing race :)

IJ 6 years ago

Smarty Jones!

SC 6 years ago

what about Pharlap! He was the best of the best!

Dunsta 6 years ago

They do have horse racing outside of the US. Miesque and Holly Bull better than Phar Lap?? Ha ha thanks for the laugh !!

mecp79 6 years ago

invasor?? zenyatta? buuuu

gray dacious 6 years ago

To hard to say the greatest. Colin never lost so he does have a claim. Every horse or athlete that loses has an excuse, Secretariat was sick or sore tooth, Spectacular Bid stepped on a safety pin. Too many variables but I put my money on Swaps or Seattle Slew. Swaps set records at a wide range of distances. Seattle Slew may not have had the fastest times but you only have to be fast enough to win. I think Secretariat was a great runner and could beat any horse on that day in the Belmont but he was inconsistent.

KAD 6 years ago

Zenyatta needs to be on this list along with Citation!! I think it should be Secretariat or Zenyatta in 1st! And I don't think these are the top 10 racehorses of all time, these are the top 10 racehorses based on results.

But even going on just results Zenyatta and Citation need to be on this list!!

Long Live The... 6 years ago

Eclipse never lost. and British.

are you serious?? 6 years ago

i laugh at the person who suggested makybe diva... just another person who has no clue... but phar lap deserved a mention for sure on there and i think citation shouldn't have been left out either

some people see a horse win 2 or 3 races and think they are great... i agree with a lot of people on here including the author though

then again phar lap got into the bloodhorse top 100 at number 22 for only one race in america (seeing as the condition to be on the list is to have raced in america) that certainly speaks for something

Secretariat lover  6 years ago

I want to say something. All you people who think Man'O'War is so great or whatever. Especially lorraine lloyd what did Man'O'War do that was so great did he run the Belmont in 1 and a half mile in 2 minutes and twenty five seconds. NO i don't think so!!! He didn't win the triple crown so what's the big deal. Secretariat did such amazing stuff Man'O'War didn't win the triple crown so... SECRETARIAT IS THE BEST!!!!!!!!


Donald 6 years ago

It's amazing that people consider Affirmed to in the tope 10 of all times? Please! Seven losses in 29 races doesn't begin to define it. The races he lost to a cal-bred running in his back yard 7f. 1:22! Spectacular Bid could run that backwards. And then always eeking out wins when he did win. Alydar, really over-rated comparing only very good-to-great horses. Finally, Seattle Slew toyed with this horse - twice! Don't tell me the saddle slipped. Seattle Slew ran him into the ground and then his saddle slipped, ok? Horses such as Dr. Fager, Ack Ack, even as more modern horses are discussed. The duo of Sunday Silence and Easy Goer were a better tandem as subjective as that sounds. Had either one not been around triple crown for both. Not like this Affirmed who won the triple then lost to modest competition until Laffit started riding again. Another observation has Barbaro definitely going to be a horse that could handle Affirmed

Donald  6 years ago

The guy who mentioned Forego, only has to know that he was in the Kentucky Derby with none other than Secretariat! Yeah, with maturity Forego was in the great category further strengthening the idea that Secretariat was the best. Great horses two 3 things: 1) They win and beat other good-to-great horses. 2) They carry weight against lesser competition and win anyway while traveling all over the place to run. 3) They run fast! I can't over-state this enough. That's why I liked Raquel over Zenyatta. When Raquel was at her best

dannykeith46 6 years ago

OK boys and girls, why is it so hard to concede Secretariat as the greatest racing horse ever? Typically, Sec's 5 losses stand as the argumant against him so let's carefully look at those losses: (1) his first race ever he was literally "mugged" right out of the gate and almost knocked over. Being it was his first race ever, it is amazing he regrouped and managed to actually finish only a length and a half behind the winner. (2) He won the Champagne stakes but was disqualified for a "brush" at the beginning of the stretch which was ridiculous. As most people saw it, he was moving like a freight train and actually accelerated the brushed horse because he was moving so fast! (3) A bad tooth abscess should have led to his being scratched for the Wood Memorial. Bottom line is NO WAY was Penny Tweedie and Lauren were scratching him 3 weeks before the Derby...especially when he was just syndicated for $6M with many of his investors present at Aqueduct that day! (4) Whitney Stakes - the ignorant Secretariat disclaimers should stop with the "Onion" sarcasm! Sec had a fever and virus and Turcott literally BEGGED Lauren to scratch him but Lauren claimed he would replace Turcott if he didn't want to ride him. Even sick, he only came up a length short against a 4-year-old (have you ever tried exercising with a fever and virus!) (5) Probably the biggest sham of them all - Riva Ridge was supossed to run in the Woodward, NOT Secretariat who was trining SOLELY on grass for his first grass race in the upcoming Man o'War stakes. Heavy rain made Tweedie scratch Riva Ridge who was a poor muddy track runner with Secretariat thrown into the race after ZERO workouts on dirt for weeks! Bottom line is Sec's last 3 losses were due to his owner and trainer thinking he could surpass all possible barriers with this perception only existing due to Secretariat's iconic stature! When Sec was right, he was UNBEATABLE, and you can take any horse at their peak value from here to eternity and Secretariat woud leave them in the dust. Does anyone realize Sec's time's for EVERY fraction easily outdistanced Man 'War??? Simply stated, NO HORSE will EVER best the big red colt from Meadow Stable...Secretraiat's performance in the Triple Crown proved that with each of his unparalleled preformances virtually the work of God. Watch the Belmont stakes and re-think your position!!!

dannykeith46 6 years ago

One other side note to my previous post. ANYONE who can possibly say that Secretariat was overated should not even be part of this discussion...are you kidding me!!!!!! Even the renowned race horsing analyst legend Charles Hatton who saw Man o'War and all of the other great 20th century horses insisted Secretariat was the greatest horse of the century (as did Eddie Arcaro who rode Citation!). Simply stated he did things other race horses could never even imagine such as passing horses on the widest turns as if they were standing still (as an example, check out his Preakness move when he blistered past a sea of horses at an incomparable speed, incredibly claiming the lead in a virtual blink of an eye). I do fully understand that the title of the greatest race horse ever is immensely subjective due to the vast number of great horses such as Sec, Man o' War, Citation, Spectacular Bid, Kelso, Count Fleet (extremely underated and one of the best ever), Seattle Slew, Phar Lap and Ruffian (one of the fastest horses ever) with any of these legendary horses worthy of the top spot....perfectly understood. However, it is obvious that at PEAK VALUE, Secretariat's accomplishments in a short period of time were extraordinary to say the least, and THAT is the essence of a true supernatural icon which is why he is the "best ever" choice by a myriad of the most respected racing historians. Even if he isn't your choice, please spare yourself the embarassment of claiming he was OVERATED??? Easily, a shortsighted claim that holds zero weight in the racing circuit, and a statemnet that is arguably one of the most ludicrous opinions ever offered in any sport related discussion!

Briana 6 years ago

Year Starts Wins Seconds Thirds Earnings

Lifetime 89 33 15 13 $437,730

Seabiscuit was I believe the oldest horse to race and ran the most races!! He is by far one of the best horses along with man o war and war admiral. He also had the record of earnings. Most of his races were compared to the oklahoma land rush. This was an amazing little horse.

Big Rolf 6 years ago

Cigar invasor ghostzapper are greatest in my time huh? Well beat them? Nobody could rite?

Secretariat lover 6 years ago

Thank you dannykeith46 you made my point. Secretariat's GIGANTIC margin at the belmont stakes will never even be atemped let alone accomplished!!!! I would check out the movie of Secretariat it is really amazing and heart touching. Secretariat said he was gonna win ,and when he said he was gonna win ,he said and I am goin' win ,and I am goin' win by a large victory!!!! So...... ROCK ON SECRETARIAT YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!

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Pszeoke 6 years ago

Don't know why nobody include a horse who never lost a race. 54 start 54 wins, called Kincsem a hungarian horse

JPH 6 years ago

My list:




4-Man o´War



7-Seattle Slew


9-Native Dancer


mike johnson 6 years ago

Man o' war is hands down #1

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jackavc 6 years ago from Australia

So you think will dominate racing in the next few years. The southern hemisphere easily breeds the best horses

wasted print 5 years ago

A horse the owner tried to sell not once but twice, no one wanted the horse anyway. One of the greatest jockeys convinces the owner to keep the horse and he would ride him, that would be the reason the owner would keep the horse, No other jockey would it was to dangerous.

This horse set a record for carring weight and winning.

This horse also won 16 of 21 races finishing out of the money only once, and also won all of his races as a three year old.

The greatest horse of all time not on your list with a true story book history only found in fiction movies and books of today.

Count Fleet the forgotten one!

horse fan 5 years ago

If u go to the Kentucky Derby winners and times web site u will see all the greatest names in horse racing history except maybe a few notables and u would see the same if you typed in Belmont Stakes winners and times. Do to a malfuctioning tme clock the Preakness is the only race of the three that Secretariat dose not hold the track or world record. I believe that in all of sports who ever, be it beast or human or machine, the holder of the fastest time is considered the best!!! I rest my case.

wasted print 5 years ago

Fastest times huh! LOL

It should be noted that in his final four starts at two and in his first five starts at three, Count Fleet was so far superior to his opposition that Longden put the horse away at the sixteenth pole. Many of Count Fleet's interior fractions in these races suggested a track or world record was on the way, but the jockey and trainer saw no reason to work the horse any harder than necessary for victory. As a result, many railbirds were left wondering just how fast Count Fleet could run if he Longden wasn't always standing up as the horse approached the wire.

The same record 16 of 21 but Count Fleet did it at a younger age.

koala 5 years ago

uhm, i'm laughing at the comment by triplecrown.

"He never raced against Sir Barton"

my reply- That's right. He never raced against Sir Barton. He just slaughtered him in a match race. ;D

Lawrence 5 years ago

It's not just that Secretariat set a world record at he Belmont that no other horse has ever approached, but he would have beaten Man o War's record setting Belmont run by 13 lengths. Even with all of the advancements in training and nutrition, no horse has come within 1.25 seconds of breaking Secretariat's record over the distance. More than that, it took Ronnie Turcott some time to slow Secretariat down but even with slowing him down, Secretariat set another world record for the next distance up....this while being slowed so he could stop.

In all likelihood, Sham probably would have won the Triple Crown had Secretariat not been around. They wouldnt' have taken him out so quickly at the Belmont and he probably could have easily beaten the remaining horses had the race been run differently. More importantly, he broke the track records at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. It's just that Secretariat ran them faster.

On another note, Riva Ridge probably would have run the Triple Crown also had he not run in the mud at the Preakness and Secretariat beat him easily. Had he encountered good track conditions, it's likely the Tweedy stables would have won two triple crowns in a row.

mike 5 years ago

a lot of american horses who ran on nice even round tracks, would they cope with epsom, nah doubt it, should be looking at horses like nijinsky,ormonde,lamtarra,arkle who could handle tracks

Kathleen 5 years ago

You really have to include the likes of KINCSEM, SEA COTTAGE and ROSEBEN if this is going to be a legit list.

And are you serious about "Holly Bull" ? First of all, you've got his name spelled wrong. And HOLY BULL could not have even warmed up THE TETRARACH or BRIGADIER GERARD.

Lots of great suggestions in the follow-up posts! I agree - the original list is (at best) a list of great American horses, but nowhere near accurate for "best-ever".

Thomas Hall 5 years ago

Cannot help but plug Secreariat my native Caroline County, Virginia favorite. Caroline County for horse lovers, by the way, was the birthplace in the late 1700s for thoroughbred horse racing which started in Bowling Green, Va. Meadow Farms and the Chenery family also gave us Riva Ridge, a KDerby winner, and helped sponsor a oldtime horseracing tradition, Camptown Races, which is beautiful to watch as there are no gates or stands just an open meadow and a simple rail fence track. Meadow Farms has also furthered the industry with a modern Virginia racetrack which honors Secretariat, and the farm has now become the home of the Virginia State Fair. So all in all, the contributions of Meadow Farms and the inspiration of Secretariat and his standing World Record at Belmont posted in 1973 certainly puts him among the best that America has produced.

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torie 5 years ago

i agree with this list...for the most part. but i have to say, not having ruffian in the top 5 is INSANE!!!

Secretariat 5 years ago

Please go to

Click onto Secretariat the greatest thoroughbred in history by William Nack.

bigron 5 years ago o war-longest stride and was like a freight train.unbeatable champion whos onlt blemish could have been a fix

2.citation-graceful runner who was 27 of 29 at end od 3 year old season.those 2 losses were questionable.his career after that was criminal.nonetheless,no. 2

3.count fleet.underrated,beautiful horse that dominated in his triple crown run.loving owners took care not to run him again as a patched up horse after career endinh injury

4.secretariat-big red.what can be said?this is a horse from our lifetime.his triple crown run was awesome mirroring count fleet before him.heavily muscled and powerful.

5.kelso-no horse was so great for so long.may have been the greatest all distance runner ever.had the pleasure to see him run when i was a kid.great horse

6.-native dancer.his record speaks for itself.jockey errors cost him the triple crown but the gray ghost is considered by many to be the best.perfectly built and a sight to behold.

7.-dr,fast,and fast,dr fager set many distance records during his brief career.his battles with buckpasser and damascus are the stuff legends are made of.

8.-affirmed.class personified.speedy and graceful,he ran in comparison to citation.his victories over alydar and spectacular bid make him one of the kings of the sport

9.-seattle slew.the black knight of horse a bodybuilder,seattle slew blew past his competition like the wind.bought at a bargain,slews story is a real rags to riches saga.his stud career is monumental.

10.john henry.the old man.a horse who actually got better with and cantankerous,john henry was the greatest closer of all time and to this day,the all time money winner in dollar comparison.i saw this horse run and at this home in lexington.he was a star and he knew it.the great cigar came to the front of his stall when i was visiting john.john henry shot cigar an intense look as if to say,"they came to see me!"loved him and wept when i heard of his passing.

this is my top ten.i am no expert,but i do enjoy this sport of kings.the kings are the horses not the owners!

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Don 5 years ago

Great to read such passionate views about so many equine champs.

As an Aussie I was pleased to see our immortal champ Phar Lap mentioned. If you don't know his story do yourself a favour and google it.

I do agree with the view that on times alone Secretariat stands out as a freak. Certainly the fastest (middle distance) US galloper of all time ... to date.

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Bobby 5 years ago

Phar-Lap is the greatest ever.

budo 5 years ago

Dannykeith is right on with his commentary regarding Secretariat. He literally should never have lost a race. It was owner and trainer misjudgement and later on Lauren freely admitted to that. Those also suggesting that he (and other US horses) could not run on the European courses, how would you know for certain how the European horses would run on American turf? Apples and oranges.

BTW Man O'War did best Sir Barton but regard the facts of that match. He had raced hard in his career and was breaking down with extremely sore hooves and most likely never should have run (shades of Secretariat). He retired immediately afterwards. Not the best of comparisons. At his prime, the race would most likely have been much closer.

Also, Seabiscuit deserves mention. A GREAT little horse who only won 3 of his initial 35 races under bad guidance and misunderstanding. In his final 54 against tough competition and huge weights he won 30 and in the money. He set many records and was a hero to a nation in need. He also was run many times when he should not have, more so for his owner's ego.

John 5 years ago

Official Top Ten List:

1. Secretariat

2. Man O'War

3. Citation

4. Spectacular Bid

5. Dr. Fager

6. Seattle Slew

7. Native Dancer

8. Zenyatta

9. Forego

10. Kelso

dannykeith46 5 years ago

John's top 10 list is very impressive although I would make one minor change. No way Ruffian should be kept off this list since she totally demolished every horse she ran against. Somehow she has to be placed in the top 10, and I am more than convinced Ruffian would have bested Zenyatta on any given day. Her times vs. Zenyatta are far better, and she ALWAYS left the field in the dust! I am an avid supporter of Secretariat being the greatest race horse ever, and given that statement, his trainer Lucien Lauren always said Ruffian was the closest horse he ever saw to "Big Red"!

premierkj profile image

premierkj 5 years ago from Republic of Ireland

Don't look outside America whatever you do. It would be a terrible thing to broaden your mind. Most Americans probably don't even know who Arkle, Golden Miller or Red Rum are.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

No doubt 3 great horses and you can add Sea Bird II, Ribot, Phar Lap and Shergar to your list! I AM VERY familiar with European horses, but because of the signficant differences in track conditions especially including various dirt vs, turf aspects, it is very difficult to compare the two (apples and oranges). This I do know, the ONE horse I can speak to with TOTAL confidence is Secretariat because at peak value he would have bested ANY horse God ever placed on this planet, and God only knows the earth shattering records he would have set as a 4 or 5 year old. Considering "Big Red's extra 50 - 100 lbs of sheer muscle compared to the standard horse, the extra weight he would have had to carry would have been more than offset by his increased strength because we all know the difference between a 3 and 4 year old horse is synonymous to a 15 and 21 year old human being. Bottom line is no offense intended by my agreeing with many of the top 10 that John listed...such a list is ridiculously subjective and you are correct in saying some of the great Europen horses belong on the list. Regards!

Don  5 years ago

Australian's are currently witnessing their latest freak equine. Her name is "BLACK CAVIAR" she has currently won her first 11 starts (2yo/3yo/4yo)and seriously has not yet been fully tested. She is currently the World's highest rated sprinter with a 130 rating.

At a tick under 600 klgms and jet black in colouring she is one impossing animal.

Just how great she is will be found out when she tackles distances beyond 6 furlongs in the next few months but for she speed and power I doubt she has an equal anywhere in the World today. And there certainly has not been a sprinter her equal in Australia in the last 50 years.

mike 5 years ago

i know GZAPPER had a short career 9 wins of 11 but i would have him in my top ten. BLEW! away a stacked field at 2004 BCC... and won in dominating fashion in almost all his races

BigRed 5 years ago

Phar Lap winning the 1930 Melbourne Cup.Phar Lap is the best-known and most celebrated thoroughbred race horse to ever emerge from the Australian racing scene. As a colt, seemingly a pre-requirement for a legendary racer, Phar Lap was seen as so ill-built and unsuited for a racing career that owner David Davis refused to pay for his training. Luckily Davis' trainer Harry Telford was so desperate to keep the business relationship alive that he agreed to train young Phar Lap for free. In 1929 Phar Lap recorded his first victory in his very first career race under a teenage apprentice jockey; in September of the same year he scored a second place in the Chelmsford Stakes. Although his second performance put him on the map as an able race horse, Phar Lap proceeded to construct a truly stellar career. He won 37 of 51 races between 1929 and 1932; survived an assassination attempt by the competition (only to win the Melbourne Cup three days later), and once remained unbeaten for 14 consecutive races. Phar Lap died under suspicious circumstances in April 1932, although foul-play, namely poisoning, was never conclusively proven. However, the secret of Phar Lap's success was unveiled in the autopsy following his death; his heart was much larger than that of a regular horse. His freakishly over-sized heart is on display at the National Museum Of Australia

24 G1 wins and they even changed the weight systems by changing WFA races to set weights with penalties so they could get fields to race him with him conceding huge weights, they tried 2 change the rules to get him beaten.

Beat the best at agua caliente on a limited prep ,straight off aboat and with a split hock and half fit.

funny thing is you yanks have horses who win derbys and rate them as champs, they are only beating there own age group at 3.

A true champion can win at WFA and under huge handicaps against all ages and all commers.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

To: BigRed: You make a number of very valid points that apply for most horses....except Secretariat. Keep in Mind Secretariat virtually "demolished" champion 4 year and older horses in 3 of his last four races (Marlboro Cup, Man o' War Stakes and Candian International). He was one immortal "yankee" with mile or greater times that would best ANY horse at ANY age. Previous World Record owner for 1-1/8 mile (Marlboro Cup), a race which he "galluped" to a sensational 1:57-4/5 mile to unofficially tie Spectacular Bid's 1-1/4 dirt mile WORLD RECORD...and we don't need to speak about his impossible 2:24 1-1/2 dirt mile WORLD RECORD that has only been approached by a 2:25 time or 5 lengths behind Sec! Hard to imagine ANY horse besting Secretariat at a distance greater than a mile (dirt or turf) when he was 100% (we all know he was raced while he was sick on several occassions). Regarding Phar Lap...truly one of racing's best ever...the heart of a champion and one of the saddest endings to a legendary career in any sport. All 3 "Big Red's" were absolutely awesome (let's not forget Man o' War)!

BigRed 5 years ago

To: dannykeith46

i didn't mean any disrespect by saying the word yankee, it is a term of endearment from us Aussies to you Americans (if you are an American).

I agree Secretariat was a freak of an equine, i worked in the US at Saratoga for a while in 2009 and was constantly reminded of how good he was by all the yanks so one day i watched a replay of the race he won by 20+ lengths on tape and yes that beast was freakish,the stride he had and the breakneck tempo which he travelled at broke other horses hearts, had a huge hind quarter where all his power came from

Definitely a true legend and champion.

We also have another champion of old in Oz called Tulloch only unplaced once in 53starts won all our major WFA races ,raced from a 2yo to 6yo and was as tough as nails, he came back from the brink of death and sat out 1 year of racing but was still unstoppable upon his return.

His story is amazing and well worth a read if you are an equine lover who loves a good rags to riches story.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

To: Big Red: Thank you for your sincere response, and I didn't take your original note as any disrespect. It is nice to see a "non-American" compliment Secretariat since most Europeons and Aussies are so jealous of his iconic stature and continually blast him which is absolutely absurd. Thank you for the "heads up" on Tulloch...I will certainly research his story! Best Regards!

dr fager 5 years ago

HOLY BULL was equine machine. he definitely deserve to hang with the greats had it not been for his breaking down, he would have been good as spectacular bid.

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dave 5 years ago

you obviously dont know much about Man o War. You said he ironically lost to a Horse called "Upset". The word "upset" holds its meaning today because of that race. and his last race that he lost, do you know anything about that? He didn't get out of the gate until UPSET was 20 lengths ahead. He ended up losing the race by less than one length. Ever go to a track and watch all the owners pull their horses from the race to not be embarrsessed? Man O war is the best race horse of all time.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Man o' War truly a great horse and one of the greatest ever. However, ALL of his times for EVERY fraction were absolutely BLASTED by Secretariat. True, tracks are now better and Man o' War carried more weight, but with Secretariat it wouldn't have mattered. Sec beat FAR better horses (including 4+ year old champion horses as a 3 year old). Both "Big Red's" belong to the ages, but Secretariat was simply closed!

wayne 5 years ago

Forego may not have been the fastest; most graceful; best tempered horse... but he simply was this ... the strongest racehorse ever to step foot on a race track...when you watch clips of his races what is most evident is the display of sheer power and his will to win... he continued to carry heavy weight well into his long career... we will probably never see his kind again

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Derek Kemp 5 years ago

Dancing Brave Electric burst of speed is the best i have ever seen

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Shaun 5 years ago

Unfortunately your list is pointless as it should say best horses of all time in the USA...........The best horses of all time are all from Europe

Shaun 5 years ago

None of these horses won the Derby or the ARC (the top 2 races in the world of horse racing)so can never be rated in the top 10

Shaun 5 years ago

American Horses are all drug junkies, try running as nature intended.......ah but then none of these would even see the starting gate

mike 5 years ago

Hard to honestly compare horses that haven't raced each other. so here's a couple of takes.

It's my understanding from reading that Man O War beat Sir Barton after his prime.

Hard to argue against Secretariat's times and no one knows what he would have been like as a 4+ year old ( most of the horse he's compared too were older), Turcotte said he was still a baby at 3.

Two more Secretariat items....Who was better at 3 years old? And who could have beaten him in match races where he wouldn't have had to circle the field?

Ruffian's times were incrediable and a match race between her and Secretariat would have great- without the horrible ending of her final race.

Mike 5 years ago

British racing publication, Horse racing Uk, had three American horses in the top ten. Man o war, sea biscuit and Secretariat. They also included Phar lap.

Seems to be an indication of some quality in the US racing scene.

Who's left to run in the KD? Uncle Mo and Toby are out.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

mike: Absolutely correct! A match race between Secretariat and Ruffian would have been awesome if it was LESS than 1 mile. At a mile or greater (especially 1-1/8 mile or greater), Secretariat would have easily disposed of Ruffian who could not have kept up with Sec's bottomless well and both their official times at 1 mile or greater easily prove that point. Ruffian was an AMAZING speed horse between 5 - 7 furlongs, even somewhat faster than Sec, but distances surpassing 7 furlongs Sec reigns supreme!


Shaun 5 years ago

Shows you how good this list is when Miesque the only european horse in it, would not be top of a european list of horses. In fact Miesque would probably not be in the top 10 european horses of all time. Its obvious that the author of this list has never seen a horse run outside of the USA. On another note I'd like to see any of these run against the greatest steeplechasers of all time, Red Rum, Mill House and Arkle would eat them all for Dinner

Shaun 5 years ago

Nijinsky (Triple Crown Winner 1970)

Shaun 5 years ago


Could have become the only horse to win the Arc three times only for injury to intervene.

Trained by Ian Balding and ridden by Geoff Lewis, he was the first British-trained winner of the Arc in 23 years (1971), he was only beaten once in his career and that was by in the 2000 Guineas by probably the greatest mile of all time, Brigadier Gerard.

Mill Reef also won the Derby, the Eclipse Stakes, King George, and then the Coronation Cup as a four-year-old, and was on his way for another Arc when breaking a leg on the gallops.

It was intended to keep him in training as a five-year-old which would have meant three cracks at Longchamps, but it was not to be. The next two Arcs were won by San San and Rheingold, neither of whom were in Mill Reef’s league.

Shaun 5 years ago


The last winner of the Triple Crown (2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger) in 1970.

Should have won the Arc but many blamed Lester Piggott for giving him too much to do when beaten a head by the French Derby and French St Leger winner Sassafras.

When winning the King George in the same year, Nijinksky had Blakeney (Derby winner), Caliban (Coronation Cup), Hogarth (Italian Derby), Crepellan (French Oaks) and Karabas (Washington Internation) all in arrears.

Shaun 5 years ago


Winner of the 1965 Derby and Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in effortless fashion and was given the highest rating of 145 ever awarded by Timeform.

Believe it or not, he ran only eight times, three as a two-year-old with two wins and one defeat. The following year he was unbeaten in five, winning at Epsom on the bridle from Lester Piggott on Meadow Court who went on to win the Irish Derby, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

But it was Sea Bird’s record win (six lengths), in what many regard as the best Arc in living memory with top-class horses from all around the world, which left an impression that has not dulled even today.

Shaun 5 years ago

Wait till you Yanks get a load of FRANKEL

Shaun 5 years ago

The Thoroughbred as it is known today was developed in 17th and 18th-century England, when native mares were crossbred with imported Oriental stallions of Arabian, Barb, and Turkoman breeding. All modern Thoroughbreds can trace their pedigrees to three stallions originally imported into England in the 17th century and 18th century, and to a larger number of foundation mares of mostly English breeding.

ENGLAND the home of Racing

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Shaun - ALL great horses you mentioned and I, too am a big fan of Sea Bird II - one of the best ever. HOWEVER, NO HORSE could you say..."eat Secretariat for dinner"! That is an ABSOLUTELY ludicrous statement and you sure well know it! A number of Secretariat's times were record setting and WORLD CLASS, to say the least, and there isn't a single horse that ever ran that could have beaten him in his unfathomable world record 1-1/2 mile Belmont Stakes dirt run. Sec's times PROVE he is arguably the greatest ever and God only knows what he would have done as a 4 or 5 year old had Tweedy not shut him down due to the $6M syndication issue. Bottom line is Secretariat, Sea Bird II, Phar Lap, Man o' War, Spectacular Bid, Nijinsky, etc. are all SUPER horses that belong at the top of the charts!

Regards - JT

mike 5 years ago

I agree with That last sentence Danny. We are not really talking about different surfaces or the specific lengths of the races. I think that there would be much more compettiton on dirt at 1 1/4 mile than there would be at 1 1/2 mile.

Secretariat is the best horse I've seen and his Derby and Preakness times were great even with him taking the long way around the pack.

Not listing him as one of the alltime greats is silly and worth responding too

mike 5 years ago

meant to say not worth responding to.

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Miss Lil' Atlanta 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Love the hub!

Don 5 years ago

Unfortunately, opinion will differ (and rightfully so) on who was the greatest of all time. Secretariat, Nijinsky, Phar Lap, Sea Bird II, Ruffian, Bernborough, Tulloch, Red Rum, Man of War, Seattle Slew, Affirmed or Zenyatta are just a few of literally hundreds of great equines to have graced the turf in the last 70 years and have a legitimate claim to the title of "greatest".

As a follower of racing all one can truly say with assurity is the "best" they have ever seen. I've been going to the races since I was six (50 years ago) and whilst I've witnessed many great horses I've only ever seen 2 I'd call true champions, "Kingston Town" and "Black Caviar" and the latter I consider the best horse I have ever layed eyes on by some considerable margin.

Australia's best weight for age middle distance horse of recent years "So You Think" recently joined the O'Brien stable and won his first assignment at the Curragh by 10 lengths last week (very poor quality Group 3) but he is very good and will stretch Frankel when they meet BUT believe me when I say he would not hold a candle to the great Black Caviar. In distances less than a mile he would be lucky to get within 3 lengths of her.

Stay tuned as this great mare writes her story and makes her claim to the title of "greatest".

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Don - Here is the issue with Black Caviar which is synonymous with speedsters such as Ruffian and Dr. Fager, 2 of the fastest mile or less horses ever. When Secretariat was a 2 year old and demolishing every horse who competed against him, all of the "experts" said his less than a mile dominance means absolutely NOTHING until he proves his greatness at distances OVER a mile. You CANNOT label a horse "the greatest" because they dominate at 5, 6 and 7 furlongs. The true test is greater than 1 mile distances and Secretariat's 1-1/8, 1-1/4 and unfathomable 1-1/2 belmont record breaking times speak for themselves. Ruffian ran several less than 1:09 times for 6 furlongs and Dr. fager holds the WORLD RECORD for a single mile, but that isn't enough to give them the nod as the greatest ever - Sec's greater than a mile runs blow them away! Black Caviar will have to prove her greatness at LONG DISTANCES before you can even mention her in the same breath as Secretariat. If she can accomplish that, I will certainly be a believer because she is a wonderful horse!

Best Regards,


Don 5 years ago


You are absolutely correct.

All I am saying is she (Black Caviar) is the best I have ever seen. And she runs 6 in 1.07 hard held by the way.

Can she extend her dominance beyond the sprint journeys ... well we'll have to wait and see.

Secretariat was truly a great champion and I can understand why his fans push for him to be recognised as the greatest ever. The truth is we'll never really know all we can say with absolute assurity is that he was certainly the greatest of his time.

The other horse I mentioned (the second best I've ever seen) Kingston Town won from 6 furlongs to 2 miles as a three year old, won Australia's premier weight for age race (Cox Plate 10 furlongs) three times and simply dominated all major weight for age races in Australia from 3-6 years old. Having said all that I still don't think he would have held a candle to Black Caviar. She is so dominant it is scary.

I'm not going to say who was the greatest of all time (other than to say is certainly is not Black Caviar ... yet) but for me these are the criteria that need to be ticked before you can put a candidate forward with absolute confidence.

1. Distance spread ... certainly beyond a mile as you state

2. Opposition beaten (great champs compile a litany of big scalps)

3. Longevity (English Derby winners who immediately retire are no more than champion juviniles)

4. Ability to carry weight and win big handicaps not just weight for age races. I'm sure someone will respond with the exact data but as I recall Red Rum won his last Grand National carrying 30 ponds more tha he did to win his first ... these are feets that for me say great champion. Winning a 12 furlong classic in 2.24 by more 30 lengths is every bit as impressive by the way ... no argument

5. Victories on numerous circuits (not just track or surface specialists)

6. Times (although tempo/pace makers can emballish this)

For what it is worth these are the 6 criterias I consider when judging a champion's staus.

This is a great discussion which I suspect will continue.

Big Al 5 years ago

Thoroughly enjoyed the debate. Phar Lap and Ruffian have to be included somewhere in the Top 10. An honourable mention to my favourite horse of all time Kingston Town which won 3 consecutive Cox Plates (Best WFA race in Australasia) and won 21 straight races in Sydney. I got to this beautiful black gelding race and it is what started my love for these equine athletes.

ron mcginnes 5 years ago


SECRETARIAT 5 years ago

Secretariat is the greatest horse to ever live. He absolutely LOVED to race.

Don 5 years ago

Ron, Ron, Ron,

I didn't say Black Caviar was the best there ever was ... all I said was she is the best I've ever seen. My opinion nothing more! She may only be a sprinter, time will tell but for me (my personal opinion) she is the best I have ever seen which includes So You Think, Kingston Town, Vain and Might and Power. I never saw Phar Lap, Tulloch or indeed any of the international champs race but statistically I agree many (possibly 100) may well have better records than Black Caviar to date.

One final point Ron, if you believe international ratings than Black Caviar along with Frankel are the best 2 horses in the World at this point in time and Black Caviar is the highest rated Australian racehorse since the introduction of the rating system.

But until she wins over further and takes a big international scalp there will (and rightfully so) be doubters like yourself.

All I can say is she is the best I've seen.

mike 5 years ago

Another throw in for secretariat. He was only three. Ron Turcotte, his rider, said we never saw the real secretariat and that he was just a baby. For those who want to discount Belmont, his time on turf in the Man o War was only 4.5th of a second off his dirt time- a standing record.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Mike...ABSOLUTELY! Had Secretariat raced as a 4 and 5 year old, it would have been absolutely frightening the additional world records he might have set. Simply stated, Secretariat as a 3 year old did things on a race track we have never seen before from ANY horse at ANY age. I also might add the extra weight he would have carried would easily have been offset by his remarkable structure inlcuding an additionl 75 - 100 lbs of sheer muscle compared to the average horse. Truly, his $6M syndication deprived all of us of witnessing uncomprehensible feats on a race track. With that said, it's not so bad settling for his amazing Belmont 1-1/2 mile world record, Kentucky Derby record including increasing his speed EACH quarter mile fraction directly to the finish line, and unfathomable Marlboro Cup when he actually "galluped" to a 1:57-4/5 mile and a quater time to unofficially tie Spectacular Bid's still standing world record on a dirt track (nobody talks about that amazing feat)! Make no mistake about it, we will NEVER see the likes of Secretariat again!

zenyattafan 5 years ago

I do believe that Man o' War was, and forever will be /better/ than Secretariat. Man o' War was literally being held back in every race he ever ran, yet still set track records, world records, and American records. Man o' War even went so far as winning a race by an unheard of 100 LENGTHS! Secretariat was a great racehorse, I wish he would have run until after his three year old season, but I still regard Man o' War as the greatest racehorse of all time. No horse will ever match his greatness.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Man o' War is truly one of the greatest horses ever but, simply stated, ALL of his top times fall far short FOR EVERY FRACTION to Secretariat. Of course, we know track surfaces were different and Man o'War carried more weight. However, if you do your homework and see the significant time disparities, there is NO WAY the 50 years difference could possibly account for the substantial edge by Secretariat, especially considering Sec's massive structure/power which would have easily adjusted for the extra weight. Consider that Sec's 3 TC record times bested 100+ years of his peers and have endured an additional 38 years, still reigning supreme! It is a virtually incomprehensible FACT that remains the foundation for the argument of placing Seceretariat as the unparalleled horse of all-time. How can you or anyone else possibly dispute this? His records have set the benchmark for ALL horses before and after. As a final note, iconic racing analyst Charles Hatton (possibly the most respected racing analyst EVER)saw Man o' War race, and until Sec came along insisted no horse would ever be better. However, after watching Secretariat demolish the 1973 TC field in record breaking style, he fully acknowledged that Secretariat was the better horse, clearly stating: "Secretariat's only point of reference is himself"....I do believe that says it all!

Don 5 years ago

Look guys the Secretariat argument is a great one and he might well have been the greatest But here are the negatives;

- He didn't race beyond 3

- He didn't beat other great group one performers ... not in my view anyhow

- His best was on dirt

- He didn't win outside the US and by doing so squash any concerns about the softer US substance rules ... and that is not to say he was substance (latex) reliant but we'll never know

- The quality of his 2 & 3 year is questionable. I'm not a US racing expert so I'm happy to be corrected on this one.

Predicting what he would have done if he'd raced on is pure speculation, valid personal opinion but nothing more. The fact is you can only judge and asses on what a horse actually achieves during his or her racing career ... not what they might have achieved.

For me Secretariat can lay claim to "potentially" being the greatest of all time but nothing more.

There are many that statistically have a better claim than Secretariat both in the US and overseas to the title of the "greatest".

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Don...with all due respect you are kidding me with your comments??? Let's view some of your absurd statements starting with "the quality of his 2nd & 3rd year performance is questionable"??? His only loss as a 2 year old was his 1st race when he was almost thrown to the dirt by a horse that strayed out of the gate. While he finished 2nd in another race (Champagne stakes), he easily finished 1st but was disqualified for a ridiculous foul. All of his 2 year old victories were virtually dominating explaining why he was the first horse EVER to win "Horse of the Year" as a 2 year old. Now...regarding year #3, how can you possibly rate that as questionable??? He set ALL 3 TC race records (including the Preakness with an unofficial NY Racing form record time due to a track clock malfunction) and STILL HOLDS ALL 3 records (with a tie for the Preakness). He BLASTED 4 & 5 year old champion horses in the Marlboro Cup, Man o' War Stakes and Canadian International including Canada's prior Horse of the year (Kennedy Road) and the 4 year old Kentucky & Belmont Stakes 1972 Champion Riva Ridge. Let's also not forget he set WORLD RECORDS for the 1-1/2 mile (an unfathomable 2:24) and 1-1/8 mile (Marlboro Cup) and in BOTH races he "galluped" to unofficial WORLD RECORDS for the 1-5/8 mile (beating Swaps by 3/5 of a second) and 1-1/4 mile (tying Spectacular Bid's 1:57-4/5). Regarding the Turf issue he ran an incredible 2:24-4/5 seconds in his FIRST "turf race" ever, once again demolishing a 4 & 5 year old field. In all 3 TC races he embarrassed Sham who was considered one of the best horses of his time until Secretariat literally ended his career, and let's not forget that Forego was one of the horses he demolished in the Kentucky Derby! Bottom line is the times of your "so-called" overseas "studs" can't compare to Secretariat, and I don't see them rushing across the Atlantic to race in the US! At peak value, the best way to compare athletic stars (including horses), Secretariat would have left nearly any horse ever in the dust!

Don 5 years ago

DK you may be right but mate it is based on emotion not facts.

His form was best on dirt, his times were unbelievable but times are not everything (surfice, tempo, circuit).

As for putting up Sham & Forego as big scalps ... seriosly!

I'm not saying Secretariat was not the greatest ... I don't know. He was a freak and certainly some greats of the US turf state they witnessed no better.

My point is simple ... statistically the argument for Secretariat does not stack up.

dannykeith46 5 years ago reaction is NOT based on emotion but statistical FACTS! Could it be a coincidence that a SINGLE HORSE could possibly own all 3 record times from the TC races that have been run for close to 150 years...why is that such an unfathomable concept for you to see (or are you conveniently blind because Sec is an American race horse)??? What does that tell you Don??? What gets me is you Europeon enthusiasts ALWAYS use the turf vs. dirt aspect when arguing against Secretariat as well as dismissing his supernatural times. I specifically pointed out Sec's blistering 2:24-4/5 seconds 1-1/2 mile time in the Man o'War Stakes on turf...Sec's first turf race which makes you wonder how great he would have also been on turf had he continued racing (we all know it is EASIER to record faster times on turf with ALL world Records for EVERY fraction on a turf surface. You see Don, what DOES "statisically" SUPPORT THE ARGUMENT for Secretraiat as the "greatest" is he defies the oldest sports logic "records are made to be broken" because NO HORSE has ever broken his TC records. Don't you find that truly amazing considering those races span some 150 years, with the thousands of horses who ran including Man o' War, Citation, Count Fleet, Spectacular Bid, Seattle Slew (the list goes on and on). Yet NONE of these incredible iconic horses came close to Sec's times. Simply stated, this CANNOT BE A COINCIDENCE. Also, as another side note, do your homework because Forego is one of the greatest American bred horses of all-time and Sham would have easily won the TC had it not been for Secretariat (Sec is the SOLE reason Sham became a quick afterthought). Bottom line is my opinion (and I truly acknowledge it is ultra-subjective for any sports related "who is the greatest argument") is based SOLELY ON FACTS! How can you state that times are irrelevant when they just may suffice as the only method/benchmark for measuring horses who never ran against each other! I will close in stating my 4 greatest horses of all-time are Secretariat, Sea Bird II, Man o' war and Spectacular Bid and I admit on any given day, any of those 4 could have bested the other. Yet, if I had to pick one, I would go with Secretariat because he stretched the limits beyond the expected maximum speed a horse should be able to achieve over one mile distances!

1BADLS6 5 years ago


dannykeith46 5 years ago

Immortal racing analyst Charles Hatton, who just happened to see BOTH Secretariat and Man o' War race and INSISTED Secretariat was the premier horse of all-time said it the best..."Secretariat's only point of reference is himself"!!!!

mike 5 years ago

Wow, Secretariat ran 16 grade one races. Ran against and beat the 1972 belmount and Kentucky derby winner. He ran againt the top turf horses and won. Goodness, if it wasn't for Secretariat Sham would be on this list.

Man O war ran against the same horses almost every race. In fact there were only 500 race colts born in Man O war's birth year and 25,000 in Secretariat's.

Really the only people who discount times are the ones who ran more slowly.

BigRed 5 years ago

To all of the Australians claiming kingston town is the greatest wfa horse in the last 40 years in oz are correct, but lets not forget the immortal Tulloch who trainer Tommy Smith even said that the king would have not gotten close to tulloch over any distance from 5furlongs to 2miles, and he should know as he trained them both.

go and look at Tullochs 3yo record,won 14 from 16 and the 2 defeats were very unlucky, even compares to or perhaps surpasses americas secretariat, as a 3yo carried a weight carrying record setting a world record time on turf in the G1 Caulfield Cup after being checked on numerous occasions he also Won all the 3 derbys on the east coast and numerous other G1 wfa races.

unplaced once in 54 starts and came back from a year off after nearly dying, only to be saved by legendary vet Percy Sykes.

Shaun 5 years ago

So you don't think the worlds best steeple chasers, Red Rum ,Arkle and Mill House would have eaten Secretariat for dinner over fences.........So when did Secretariat ever jump a fence...never I suspect, also when did Secretariat ever run on Turf.....never.........Secretariat ran on flat dirt Tracks.......I would have loved to see him tackle some of the world toughest race courses with undulating ground like Epsom (home of the derby). Times means nothing as conditions change, so are impossible to compare, Great race horses race and win all over the world, not just in there own back yard. So until US horses go on the road, they will always have home field advantage

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way Nijinsky (Triple Crown Winner 1970) won his Triple crown over a range of distances, 1 mile, 1 mile 4 furlongs and 1.6 furlongs now that's some horse, Secretariat was a one trick (distance) pony virtually, winning only from 1.2 furlongs to 1.4 furlongs

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Shaun - with all due repsect you don't have a clue about what you are talking about! In fact, please do you homework next time you post because Secretariat's last two races WERE ON TURF with his FIRST turf appearance resulting in a 2:24-4/5 blazing time for the one and a half mile "Man ' War Stakes where he blew away a field of 4 and 5 year olds!!! Don't you also realize that it is much more difficult to run faster times on dirt than turf with EVERY world distance record (regardless of surface) recorded on turf. Yet, Secretariat's best DIRT times blow away virtually all of your great Eurpoean horse's TURF times for the same distance.

Regarding the distances Secretariat ran, did you know he actually GALLUPED to the 1-5/8 mile WORLD RECORD (13 furlongs) in the Belmont Stakes to unofficially break Swaps still standing official record....AFTER a 1/8 of a mile GALLUP!!! It is not Secretariat's fault he was never run past 1-1/2 mile official distances but it is simple common sense that his incredible 22 lb heart and massive muscular structure would have been a huge advantage to "Big Red", most likely resulting in additional world records. One final thought...I TOTALLY respect the great European horses and NEVER throw negative barbs at them, but your negative comments regarding Secretariat are obviously the resut of sheer jealousy of his supernatural ability and an embarrassment to this forum!

mike 5 years ago

When healthy and fully trained I don't see any horse within 5 lengths of Secretariat in the 1.5 mile.

Shaun 5 years ago

As I said before times mean nothing as American Tracks are flat and European Tracks have dips and rises, Truly Great Races horses win all over the world not just in there own back yard. Also they run as nature intended and not aided by artificial means

Shaun 5 years ago

European Horses have won a lot more races in the US than US horses have won in Europe

Shaun 5 years ago

The fastest times are recorded on a very firm dirt surface. Last year, the Sunshine Millions was run on Santa Anita's synthetic and Bob Black Jack broke the world record for 6 furlongs, finishing in 1:06.53. The reason the time was fast was because a synthetic surface has asphalt as its base. Because Santa Anita was having drainage problems, they plowed the top few inches of the sand mixture off of the track leaving only a couple inches of dry sand mixture over the asphalt. That made an incredibly fast surface because the horses were basically running on asphalt.

So running on pavement would be fastest, but incredibly unsafe for the horses. Between the surfaces that they actually use in racing, dirt is the fastest, followed by grass, then mud, then a soft turf course, etc.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Shaun - just checked EVERY North American fraction record. For the 10 different fractions between 1 and 2 miles, ONLY the 1-3/4 mile record was recorded on dirt (Paper Junction at Lincoln State Fair on 11/10/1985). All other 9 fraction records are still tied to turf tracks. However, it appears that the fraction records less than 1 mile slightly favor dirt surfaces with a 5 to 3 advantage for the 8 fractions between 4 and 7-1/2 furlongs. In total, 12 records were recorded on turf with 6 on dirt, a significant "2 to 1" supremecy.

Shaun 5 years ago

Regardless races are run differently in Europe, times are secondary, as I have said its very rare than you get a flat race track like the US, horses are held up more in races, so this will affect the times.....Workforce won the Derby last year in a record time but he is not considered to be one of the best ever, had some of the past Derby winners such as Mill Reef or Shergar run against him they would have almost certainly have beat him easily, because they run the race to win, not to get sectional and overall race times. Also the Derby course is undulating with a sharp rise at the start and a corner that most horses cannot cope with because it falls away from the horses right side, then it slops down hill, with an uphill finish, so you cannot compare a time on this course to a time on a flat US track.

TD 5 years ago

What about phar lap?

Shaun 5 years ago

Breeders cup winner More Than Real (USA) ran at Royal Ascot today and finished 12 or 13........... Yet another US horse finishes down the field when not able to run with home filed advantage

Shaun 5 years ago

In the Breeders' Cup Turf, Ehglish filly Pebbles went up against the males in a field of 13 starters. Among the starters was Lashkari, winner of the year's prior and inaugural running of the BC Turf. This was her first attempt at the distance of 1½ miles. Ridden by Pat Eddery, she was his only mount of the day, they went off as the betting favorite. She was in 13th place (last) after the first 1/2 mile but worked her way up methodically to surge to the front in the final stretch.

Pebbles held off Strawberry Road ridden by Steve Cauthen to win by a measured neck. Her winning time of 2:27 established a new Aqueduct course record, lowering the previous mark by 1 1/5 seconds.

On the strength of that single victory in the US, she was awarded the 1985 Eclipse Award for outstanding turf female

Shaun 5 years ago

PEBBLES 1995 Breeders Cup Turf Winner

After winning classic and top races in England this super filly ran and won the 1995 Breeders cup turf in the US in a course record against horses who used drugs...............She ran clean, one of the greatest performances of modern times

ED 5 years ago

So Secretariat, who ran and won on every surface, couldn't handle Euro tracks? Uh huh

A US horse won the 1st Dubai World Cup (Cigar and then Curlin won another from the US)against the world's best. So obviously American horse show well. People come from all over the world to buy american at claiborne.

In fact, studs cross the Atlantic all the time so the gene pool is not large.

As Mike said earlier, but with this added, no horse could beat Secretariat on any surface, health and accidents aside.

Shaun 5 years ago

As Mike said earlier, but with this added, no horse could beat Secretariat on any surface, health and accidents aside.

Obviously a stupid statement as Secretariat did lose races and there is no way you can say he would have handled the Derby course as very few horses can regardless of ability, and I repeat how many US horses have won in Europe (I can think of none) but I can think of many European horses that have won in the US..............again US horses run on Flat even tracks often drug cannot get away from that fact.......Secretariat whilst no doubt a decent horse was a for Dubai the track there has recently been built and is very much in the mould of US flat tracks ......The best of European horses are not running there as the season has not started in Europe..........When a US horse can come to Europe i.e. France or England and can win the great classic races or any races for that matter then you may have a case, but until then all I see is European horses going to the US especially the breeders cup and winning races........What are the US scared of, no drugs allowed.....natural courses...or maybe they just know that what happened to MORE THAN REAL at Royal ascot last week would happen to all of them........... and by the way as for breeding just remember all modern thoroughbreds show there breeding goes back to English mares and Arab stallions

Shaun 5 years ago

Watching an american race horse is like watching Pamela Anderson, it looks good, but you know its not natural

Shaun 5 years ago

If the reef had met Secretariat, he would have damaged him so much that Secretariat, would have been a quivering wreck on the race course thereafter.............The reef is the master

Shaun 5 years ago

Red Rum would have laughed at Secretariat and said lets see you jump Beeches.......... If Secretariat had tried he would have broken his neck.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Shaun - what in "god's" name are you talking about...have you lost your mind??? Why are you comparing Secretariat to steeplechase horses??? Sec was a flat runner and the uncontested greatest ever with his grade 1 wins, track and world records the ultimate justification for that statement. Please don't compare apples & oranges because if red rum or arkle ran in a 1-1/2 mile flat race against Secretariat they would have required binoculars to see his big red ass! Please keep the comparisons in perspective. If it makes you feel better and helps you sleep at night, I'll confine my statement to: "Secretariat is the greatest flat race horse of all time". can now rest in peace. In closing, I conclude your bitterness towards America is obvious and absolutely pathetic which makes me have to state: your assumed European status would be non-existent had it not been for America saving your sorry butt in 2 World Wars!!!!

Shaun 5 years ago

Would that be the 2 wars America came in half way through, once half the work was already done. I supose their excuse was they could not find a place outside of the US (seeing as America is the whole world an all), hell the minuite they had to fight a full war they got their asses kicked in Vietnam, bit like there horses, by the way the title of the piece is "The 10 Greatest Race Horses of All Time" so that would include jump horses as they are also race horses and Red Rum was just as good over fences as Secretariat was supposed to be on the flat. As for my European status that was always safe as my country without US help had already kicked the Germans ass. Being American you probably have never even seen another country, so would not realise that to be the best in the world you have to take part in the world not just America. America is the only country that thinks if a domestic competition is won then you are champion of the world, how crazy is that.........Baseball world can it be a world series when only US is involved...........Still America has had its rise and now its about to have the fall just like every other dynasty........your horses will never have respect in the world, until they race in the world and not just the US. Secretariat was a homer (fact), good horse no doubt, the best ever no chance

Shaun 5 years ago

Red Rum not only won over Fences but also won on the flat, when did Secretariat ever win over jumps (never) one trick pony, who only won on a flat track and at home..........pussy

Shaun 5 years ago

it's not the size of the heart in the battle, but the battle in the heart, horses like Red Rum have been treated like sh@t and have still come through.......Secretariat was born in the purple and had it easy..........pussy

Shaun 5 years ago

Red Rum was 10 times the horse Secretariat was, he had character and a heart that made secretariats look like the size of a pea

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Hey Shaun - if you really think Red Rum would have beaten Secretariat on flat ground then this conversation is worthless because you are obviously clueless. True, horses have good and bad days, but if they raced 10 times, SEC would have BLASTED him at least 8 of the 10. Consider that if Secretariat was a European bred horse, EVERY Euro race horse enthusiast (including yourself)would place him at a pinnacle level outdistancing even the queen of England. Oh, by the way, I don't see Eurpoean horses racing across the Atlantic to run in America's Triple Crown either????

One final thought, and let's put the daggers down for a second and honestly ask this one question? Do you really think ANY horse in racing history could have bested Secretarit in ANY of those TC races? If you are completely objective, like EVERY OTHER premier racing analyst your answer would be NO! Doesn't it say it all that Secretariat's 3 TC record times (including an unofficial tie for the Preakness best time) have outlasted 145 years....just think about that unfathomable can you possibly dispute it! I do have a great respect for Euro horses such as Sea Bird II and Ribot just to mentioned 2 of the finest horses ever. But you need to take a step back and consider the absolute insanity of your negative Secretariat statements. EVERY elite horse racing WORLD analyst places Sec, at a mininum, in the top 3 of all-time with many listing him as #1....doesn't that tell you something???

Shaun 5 years ago

first its amazing that you think Red Rum would have won 2 out of 10 races on the flat against Secretariat, because I can't see him winning one, the point is that Red Rum could win on the Flat and over Jumps whereas Secretariat would have broken his neck if he had tried to jump fences. Secondly back to these times for Secretariat.........I have said before horse racing in Europe is run to win the race not to set times, the courses are not flat like the US, so times are are hardly even mentioned, they are considered secondary, unlike the US where they are stat and time mad. once again courses are Flat and Even in the US and horses times therefore are only comparable with other US races and not races in Europe. finally horses often run on Drugs in the US whereas they are banned in the rest of the world. So if a horse cannot set record times in the US with these advantages (Flat and even tracks and drugs) then where can they? fine compare US horses to US horses but you can not compare clean european horses running on uneven natural tracks, to US horses running on even flat tracks on drugs.

Shaun 5 years ago

With regard to the US Triple crown, European horses have there own Classic races to aim for in England and France so cannot take on all races. In England the triple crown consists of 2,000 Guineas (1 mile) The Derby (original) is considered the most historical and classic race in the world over 1 1/2 mile and the St Ledger (1 3/4 mile). a horse that can win over this range of distances truly is a great. Dirt racing is not heard of, Turf is the order of the day, and to finish off there is the Prix de l'arc de Triomphe in Paris, where the best horses of all ages run for the champion of Europe 1 1/2 mile. even considering this agenda European horses still come over to the US from time to time to run in races and after a hard season many come over to the Breeders cup and win races, even though they are often at a disadvantge.................when do US horses ever come to europe......NEVER, so european horses prove they can win in the US, but US horse have never proved they can win in Europe

Shaun 5 years ago

oh sorry US horse MORE THAN REAL (a breeders cup winner) did come over to England the other day and finished 12 of 13 runners, get the picture

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Shaun - I respect your zeal but unfortunately it blinds you to the truth. Your disdain for everything associated with America is obvious and that's OK. I nor anybody can change your gut feelings. However, having a discussion with your regarding Secretariat is IMPOSSIBLE because you CANNOT speak OBJECTIVELY. This is my last post relating to any of your worthless comments because ANY racing enthusiast with an ounce of common sense knows Secretariat's virtual pinnacle standing in horse racing. One final note...I was chatting with an individual the other day from ENGLAND who is an avid race horse fan, and he mentioned he had always considered Secretariat good but somewhat overrated. Then , after finally seeing his 3 TC wins on film only a year earlier, he had to admit Secretariat was the most remarkable race horse he had ever seen. His awe included: (1) Sec's increasing speed each quarter of a mile in the Kentucky Derby right to the finish line...who does that??? (2) Sec's wide clubhouse turn at the Preakness going from last to first in the blink of an eye on one of the widest turns on any racetrack! (3) Regarding his Belmont, he stated NO HORSE in the history of race horsing could have beaten Secretariat that day. His final point was the things Secretariat did in those 3 races extended BEYOND the limits of what a horse should be capable of doing...the true mark of greatness!!! He saw it, EVERY superior racing analyst saw it...why can't you!!! Have a nice life because I have responded for the last time to your uninsigntful and bitter posts that emanate nothing but pety jealousy! In fact, I am probably a bigger fool than you for having wasted my time debating your clueless statements!!!

Shaun 5 years ago

Flat tracks and drugs, there's nothing else to say

Frankh 5 years ago

Except the 11 triple crown winners all are American, no triple crown winner is European with the added avantage of flat track and drugs, they should have smoked all US competition. Battleship, American, won the Grand National in Europe. Omaha carried 129 lbs and won 1 1/2 mile Wild Stakes, Queens plate carrying 130 lbs won by a neck, lost by a nose in the Ascot on a 2 1/2 mile course and lost to a 3 year old giving 18 lbs, all in England. As for Secretariat, great horse, but I am a Man O War guy and I think he, Man O War ran as fast as needed to win not necessarily for track records. But, no disrespect to Sec fans, as it would have been an interesting race.

Shaun 5 years ago

We have had several Triple Crown winners in I said before our horses have there own triple crown and no US winners, No drugs and uneven tracks.........we have had plenty breeders cup winners....including Pebbles who running clean beat all the others who were on drugs........what a filly........unfortunately Harbinger who was the best horse in the World last year, had a career ending injury, otherwise you would have seen some horse........He beat the fastest ever Derby winner Workforce by 20 lengths and gave him 14 lbs

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way don't forget the Triple Crown originates from England, all Derby's including the Kentucky Derby are copied from the Original Derby (Epsom, England) and all modern thourghbreds have there breeding back to English Mares

Franchise01 5 years ago

Folks, let's get one thing straight - anyone who thinks that Secretariat was just a 'good' race horse as well as thinking Red Rum was a more formidable horse borders on insanity. Both of those comments immediately dismiss someone as a knowledgable individual. These are undoubtedly biased statements due to a fan's sincere passion for the horse(s) he worships. However, Shaun, I regretfully need to inform you that you are way off base here and should objectively re-think your statements. My only advice to Dannykeith46 is you have no chance of arguing with anti-Secretariat horse fans because their jealousy of 'Big Red' clouds their judgement. Your statements are well taken but unnecessary since all of the points you make are already known by ALL true un-biased racing experts. Shaun is grasping at straws so you are better off just sitting back and laughing at his ludicrous statements.

Best wishes to all,


Franchise01 5 years ago

Frank, regrading your Man o' War vs. Secretariat comments, I can only say it would have taken a 'coin toss' to determine the winner, as well as being a race for the ages! Both 'Big Red's" just may be the finest 2 horses to ever grace a race track, with the utmost respect to ALL of the other great European, American, Australian, etc. horses.


Frankh 5 years ago

I completely agree, no matter who would win, they still would be 1 and 2 greatest ever.

Shaun 5 years ago

Red Rum could have won the Grand National carrying Secretariat on his for Secretariat's enlarged heart........what do you expect from all that drug taking

Shaun 5 years ago

Secretariat lost 25% of his races...............some unbeatable horse that is.....on drugs as well, I can see him now tailed off in the Derby, because the track was not flat and drugs were not allowed

Shaun 5 years ago

Even Ben Johnson looked like the greatest until we found he was on drugs.........any athlete human or animal that performs on drugs is not only a cheat but can never be considered one of the best

Frankh 5 years ago

Red Rum hmmm, 100 starts, 26 wins, 15 second, 23 thirds out of the money 36 times...Seems like related discussion would be about Ribot or Seabird II as the European standard.

Frankh 5 years ago

Actually, 110 starts.

chris 5 years ago

Frankel will be regarded as the greatest racehorse of all time in 20 years time.Mark my words.

Frankh 5 years ago

Could be, he has Native Dancer, Tom Fool, Equipoise, Buckpasser, etc; in his blood lines and of course leads to Man O War. Europe does have some GREAT horses, it is quite possible the next great horse could be on that side of the "pond".

Shaun 5 years ago

ah so he won more races than Secretariat including the hardest race in the world 3 times.........Red Rum was a natural horse who won despite neglect in his early life and bad feet....Secretariat was born in the purple had every advantage and ran on drugs to boost his performance around easy flat tracks.........any decent person can see which was the better horse

Shaun 5 years ago

Sea The Stars was a great horse and he was only running 2 seasons ago (best of his generation in the world). Frankel is a beast although at the moment looks as if 1 mile is his trip........and Harbinger was different class shame about the injury......they were building up so you think and Workforces meeting, but Harbinger beat Workforce by 20 lenghts giving him 14 lbs

Shaun 5 years ago

Canford Cliffs and Frankel now there is a showdown probably the best 2 milers in the world

Shaun 5 years ago

unfortunately with the absence of See The Stars and Harbinger there are seemingly no great middle distance horses around

dc 5 years ago

hmmm nice to see lots of diff opinions here, but a little leopard would've outraced all of the great horses.

Frankh 5 years ago

Contrast with Exterminator, 99 races won 50.....Exterminator, like Red Rum, were geldings, and so their value after racing is null, so they run them as long as they can. Red Rum was a great steeplechaser, no one can argue the point. Oh well, the argument could go on forever I guess. I would bet on the leopard on short distances, but unfortunately they don't tend to run in a straight line with other animals and not very far plus finding a jockey might be tough.

dc 5 years ago

Being an aussie i have my soft spot for Pharlap but it's still going nowhere, they didn't ever race under the same conditions so who knows? (what if track is not perfect and climate is not the same, should such advantage be taken into account?) BTW horse is not real fast animal in comparison, a fast leopard can run almost twice as a fast horse for nearly a mile so would win by about 100 lengths(?).

Shaun 5 years ago

finally someone who gets it (dc) Horses around the globe race in different conditions over different the US they race on flat track (mainly dirt) and are allowed to use Europe they race on undulating Turf tracks and are not allowed to use drugs, so it's impossible to compare unless they meet on the same conditions, and even then if its in the US the european horse has a disadvantage and vice versa........The point is I do recognise that there have been great horses all over the world.....however Americans seem to think that they only exist in America

Shaun 5 years ago

Do we consider Ben Johnson one of the best athletes ever? NO because he took drugs to aid his performance, so why should we consider Horses that Run on drugs better than those that do not?

Shaun 5 years ago

Real Champions don't need to take drugs

Franchise01 5 years ago

I cannot believe the anti-Secretariat comments? What is going on here. Drugs???? Whatever tolerance level America's Racing Association has established for various substances is no fault of any great horse. I know for a fact that these substances are not of the steroid or perfromance enhancing nature which is why the Racing Association maintains its various benchmark tolerances. Are you seriously telling me horses such as Ruffian, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed shouldn't be considered world class thoroughbreds because they have been known to take NON-steroid related substances?

Let me tell you something about America's current sports related situation. ANY, and I mean ANY performance enhancing drug is being scrutinized at the lowest possible level. For you to make those futile allegations against Secertariat or any other horse for that matter is amazing? Your unsportsmanlike comments are completely false, and I can assure you the substances used by horse such as Secretariat, Spectacular Bid, Ruffian were NOT performance enhancement drugs. If they were, it would be a TOP STORY on every sports page in America. Maybe it is time to consider who is the individual consuming the drugs because your statements are unethical, alarming and the sheer result of an avid race fan that cannot face the reality nearly all of his peers adhere to.


Franchise01 5 years ago

I would just like to add any of the comments I made have nothing to do with America vs. European race horsing. Personally, I don't think we should compare the two because of the distinct track differences many of my fellow board members have accurately pointed out. I am a big fan of Nijinsky, Sea Bird II and Shergar and consider them a few of the greatest race horses ever. Regegarding Red Rum, I don't believe you can compare him to flat track race horses because the great ones would have surely bested him. That takes nothing away from his superior steeplechase skills which would have enabled him to, likewise, best some of the great flat racers at his game. However, I am also a huge American race horse follower and consider Secretariat, Man o' War, Citation and Spectacular Bid the four greatest American race horses ever. Regarding the greatest in the world, I would probably throw the seven names of the previous mentioned horses in a hat and pick one.

Let's end this winded subject by saying European horse followers should stick to what they know best - that is Eurpoean Thoroughbreds while Americans stick to rating their favorite North American horses. As a final note and this is directly related to Shaun, I have to disagree with your statement that racing times aren't significant. Unfortunately, while a horses running time over "x" distance is obviously driven by many factors (track & climate conditions, weight handicaps, etc.), it still remains the only realistic barometer for measuring a horses stature. The record, while important, is NOT a leading factor because of the comparitive competition and the state of the horse's well being (for example, Spectacular Bid is not typically rated alongside Secretariat because he didn't win the TC but as the story goes, he did suffer a mild leg cut prior to the Belmont Stakes). I will admit one thing - it sure is alot of fun arguing the various possibilities for the supreme horse!


Frankh 5 years ago

Well, unfortunately, I have read an article concerning medication of US horses. They say Medication makes MEDIOCRE horses better.The article states and provides statistics that because of US medication rules and because we race more often buyers around the world hesitate to buy American thoroughbreds. This is a US article and quotes American Thoroughbred owners saying that their business is in decline. HOWEVER, this does not mean Secretariat was not a great horse and would not ever be considered mediocre.Of course there are great horses around the world, Phar Lap was one for sure, Seabird II and more. Heck, they all came from the same place, 3 Arab Stallions and English mares.....We will never know who is the best until you line them up. Conditions??? Omaha won in England, Battleship left here to run in the Grand National and won. Omaha, though winning the triple crown here was not considered GREAT, he had the worst record of any TC Winner. Phar Lap went to Caliente and won there. I just love horses and horse racing from any country, but not to admit Secretariat was a great horse is a mistake.

Shaun 5 years ago

I'm not saying that Secretariat was not a great horse, he obviously was in US terms, my comments are in direct response to the seemingly unacceptance that Great horses outside of the US do not deserve a place in the top ten of all time... when US horses quiet clearly run with the aid of substances that are not natural (Drugs). AS for not aiding there performance that's just rubbish, why do you think the rest of the world ban drugs?. Anyhow until the US ban drugs all together there will always be a ? over there of my personal greatest performances was when Pebbles who came from England and did not take drugs ran against a field of horses in the breeders cup turf and beat them.....she must have been some filly to defeat horses who had the advantage not only of drugs but of home field advantage. Omaha very good horse that he was did not win a group one in England only a group 2 and we are talking 75 years ago. Battleship did win the National that's fair enough although he was moved to England by his owner 2 or 3 years before his win and was trained by an english trainer, again it was 75 years ago. Looking at things this side of the war English horses have won the Arlington Million and numerous races at the Breeders cup and in Canada at Woodbine.........its unlikley that they would compete in the US triple crown because as I have said before they only get the one chance to run in the most historical and original Triple crown which is the aim of all English trainers in England, they then go to the Arc in France and some if still not over the top then come to the US for the Breeders cup.

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way Long term steriod abuse will enlarge the Heart its a medical fact.......... hmmmmm allegedly Secretariat had an unusually large heart

Franchise01 5 years ago

Nice try Shaun and your steroid comments theoretically make sense but not in Secretariat's case. Extensive genetic research has revealed Secretariat was blessed with the 'X Factor' gene from his bloodlines similar to the immortal champion Man o' War. After Secretariat passed away, scientists were so captivated by his large heart they spent a great deal of time to uncover undeniable proof documenting why Secretariat's heart was so immense. Secretariat did not use steroids and it is not such a horrible thing to admit that he was simply blessed with anatomical tools far beyond most thoroughbreds, substantiating his incredible accomplishments. Look it up Shaun and I think you might actually find the whole 'X Factor' chromosome research quite interesting. I know I did.


chris 5 years ago

Although there is no argument that Secretariat was a great horse,he was also beaten 4 times by very average oppenents and that is why horses like Phar lap and sea bird in my opinion were better.

Shaun 5 years ago

Well the fact is that as long as the US allow horses to run drugs assisted, their performances will always be suspect, something that is not a problem elsewhere in the racing world, no smoke without fire so to speak. The US need to ban drugs now, so that future US race horses can let their performances stand on merit with the rest of the racing world.

Shaun 5 years ago

Did look up the X factor Chromosome and there does seem to be something in it, also interesting to see that both Secretariat and Man 'o' war owe this x factor gene to the legendary English race horse Eclipse (see it all comes back to England home of the throughbred). However there must have been many horses who had this x factor chromo, and if Secretariat heart really was 3x that of normal, its a pretty poor fact that he lost 5 times to ordinary opposition with this great advantage.........

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way Eclipse raced 18 times and won all races (never extended) so I guess he could claim to be the best of all time...... coined the phrase "Eclipse first the rest nowhere"...... at the very least he should be in the top 10

Franchise01 5 years ago

To: Chris & Shaun: Secretariat actually lost only 4 times because one of his 'official' defeats was a victory in the Champagne Stakes where he was disqualified for brushing a horse he literally blew away. His other 4 defeats included his first race when out of the gate the closest horse aggresively bumped into him and almost threw him to the ground, with the short 6 furlong distance providing little time to fully recover. Two other defeats he should have easily been scratched because of illness (Wood Memorial & Whitney Stakes). Unfortunately, his owner would never even think of scratching him on race day due to the 50,000+ people that came out to see him run (once again, the almighty dollar dictates all and Mrs. Tweedy and Lucien Lauren should both be ashamed of themselves for their selfish actions!). Most agree that his only uncompromised defeat was the Woodward Stakes when Prove Out bested him with an extraordinary 2:25-4/5 time in a 1-1/2 mile mud soaked race! That continues to be one of the fastest times ever for a 1-1/2 dirt mile under ANY conditions, let alone a rain drenched track. Secretariat actually ran a 2:26-3/5 second race that day which is also a fantastic time in the mud, and a run that would have bested virtually any horse on the planet. Unfortunately on that day, Prove Out decided to run the race of his life and that is what can happen in any race. Anti-Secretariat fans call these excuses but they are irrefutable facts. In my mind and most experts opinions, he was truly one of the greatest thoroughbred race horses ever (if not THE greatest because of the way in which he dominated most of his opponents). No one will ever be able to take that distinction away from him with false accusations. Just my opinion folks. Happy horse rooting!

Best Wishes,


Shaun 5 years ago

most race horses have hard luck stories except for Eclipse of course ...... and I dare say Eclipse did not feel to good some days, but still won and went undefeated

Franchise01 5 years ago

Eclipse was a fantastic horse but not at the level of Secretariat. In fact, nearly all of the Eurpoean experts I typically encounter don't even mention his name in the top 10 unlike immortals such as Sea Bird II, Ribot, Shergar, Phar Lap, Red Rum, Arkle, etc. Also, let's clarify something. Secretariat's issues in some of his defeats are not hard luck stories. They are facts that really don't matter much to most race horsing experts (including myself) who consider Big Red one of the top horses of all-time because of HOW he won his top races. Great athletes lose sometimes and that is generally accepted. What you don't seem to grasp is that the magnitude of a horses victories is what separates them from others. Secretariat set WORLD RECORDS, beat 4 and 5 year olds, dominated on his first and only two turf races and easily disposed of most thoroughbreds in most of his grade I races. Like I previously posted, I clearly agree with you that it is a near impossible task to rate American vs. European horses because of the track surface inconsistencies. However, if we HAD to match up the two continents, Secretariat would easily sit in the top five of any chart. I know it, every racing guru knows it and YOU KNOW IT, regardless of your comments and pride. I totally respect your devotion to a truly remarkable class of European bred horses you have named, but for anyone to state that Secretariat isn't one of the foremost horses in racing history is absurd.



Shaun 5 years ago

Secretariat's breeding goes back to Eclipse.... without Eclipse there would be no Secretariat. As for not mentioning Eclipse, that's because no one alive ever saw him run (we always favour athletes in living memory over those way back)........ but the facts are he won 18 out of 18 and was never extended in a time when records were not kept (who knows he may even have run some of those faster than Secretariat's records). I know that in the US times and stats are important but times are very much secondary in Europe, because races are run differently, horses are often held up, so times will not be as fast as the US, where they run from the stalls (Gate in your terms). To give you an example Workforce won the derby in the fastest time ever last season, but he is not the best derby horse ever by a long way, horses like Shergar, Lamtara, Mill Reef etc would have definitely beat him, even though their winning Derby times were slower. The Reason is, because they raced the opposition not the clock, if the opposition had gone faster, then they would have gone even faster. Also as I have said we are talking a drugs free zone here, and not a flat track in sight, corners with cambers and uphill finishes do not make for world record times....... even Secretariat would have struggles to post a great time at Epsom never mind a world record.

Shaun 5 years ago

You know they don't say "Horses for Courses" for nothing

Shaun 5 years ago

Just looking at the so called world records, all seem to be set on US Tracks (thus supporting my opinion that US tracks are easier than those around the rest of the world, but also I noticed on the list I saw Secretariat is not listed as a world record holder?

horoughbred Racing World Records

Distance Horse Age Weight Track Date Time

4F Ameri Brilliance 4 121 Timonium 08/23/2003 :43.76

4 ½ F Valiant Pete 4 121 Los Alimitos 08/11/1990 :49.20

5F (T) Procreate 7 116 Gulfstream 04/09/2005 :53.79

5 ½ F (T) Pembroke 5 120 Hollywood Park 07/05/1995 1:00.46

6F G Malleah 4 120 Turf Paradise 04/08/1995 1:06.6

6 ½ F Sabertooth 7 118 Emerald Downs 05/22/2005 1:13.00

7F Soaring Free 5 126 Woodbine 07/24/2004 1:19.38

7 ½ F Awesome Daze 5 119 Hollywood Park 11/23/1997 1:26.26

1 Mile Mr. Light 6 118 Gulfstream Park 01/03/2005 1:31.41

1 1/16 Miles Told 4 123 Penn National 09/14/1980 1:38.00

1 1/8 Miles Kostroma 5 117 Santa Anita Park 10/20/1991 1:43.92

1 3/16 Miles Toonerville 4 120 Hialeah Park 02/07/1976 1:51 2/5

1 ¼ Miles Double Discount 4 116 Santa Anita Park 10/09/1977 1:57 2/5

1 3/8 Miles With Approval 4 118 Belmont Park 06/17/1990 2:10.20

1 ½ Miles Hawkster 3 121 Santa Anita Park 10/14/1989 2:22 4/5

1 5/8 Miles Tom Swift 5 110 Saratoga 08/23/1978 2:37.00

1 ¾ Miles Paper Junction 4 123 Lincoln State Fair 11/10/1985 2:50 2/5

2 Miles Petrone 5 124 Hollywood Park 07/23/1969 3:18.00

Franchise01 5 years ago

Secretariat held 2 World Records for a long time, the 1-1/8 and 1-1/2 mile runs on dirt tracks. His 1-1/8 record was broken by a 1/5 of a second, and his 1-1/2 mile 2:24 is considered unapproachable considering only a single other horse has managed to post a 2:25 time on a dirt track, the closest time and 5 lengths off of Secretariat's incredible Belmont Stakes run. Almost all of the 1+ mile world records on your list were accomplished on turf with several of them on the 'jetstream' Santa Anita race track that could make turtles race fast! God only knows what times Secretariat might have recorded if he was fortunate enough to race on that track. Low cut turf tracks assist horses in generating more speed (thus reducing official racing times). This is an undeniable fact. Secretariat only ran 2 races on turf (his final 2) with one of those races posting a still standing stakes record of 2:24-4/5 time in the Man o' War stakes. I believe it was mentioned in an earlier post that Secretariat also galluped to an astonishing 1:57-4/5 1-1/4 mile time after his record setting 1-1/8 mile Marlboro Cup run, unofficially tying Spectacular Bid's world record on a dirt track. This is an accurate statement. So, where does this leave us? Secretariat is most likely the greatest American horse ever, and because of the monumental differences in racing surfaces between continents, we will have to leave it at that.

My final point is the incredible times Secretariat posted on many of his races clearly indicates his equine dominance. True, you are absolutely correct in stating European courses can be much more challenging due to their inconsistent parameters which is why it is extremely difficult to compare American vs. European horses. There is nothing you, I or anybody can do to change that.

With that said, I am curious who your top 10 European 'flat' race horses are from best to least (please leave out the premier steeplechase ones since that suffices as a different catergory)?


Franchise01 5 years ago

For the record here are my top 10 American Horses, keeping in mind the magnitude of its subjectivity:

1) Secretariat

2) Spectacular Bid

3) Man o' War

4) Citation

5) Count Fleet

6) Seattle Slew

7) Ruffian

8) Kelso

9) Native Dancer

10) Affirmed

I would love to move Ruffian higher, but within her short racing career, she was unable to establish fast enough times for 1-1/8 mile or greater distances to arguably best the other great horses. In fact, it might even be an injustice to place her ahead of Kelso, Native Dancer and Affirmed. I felt she merited such standing because of her blistering 6/7 furlong times that are among the best fractions ever recorded on any track.

Many people will also crucify me for placing Spectacular Bid ahead of Man o' War but I strongly feel Bid was the faster horse.


Shaun 5 years ago

Ron I find it difficult to actually rank horses 1 to 10 from Europe mainly because of distances, strength of opposition and going etc (As I have already said Times are mean very little in Europe because of the way races are run and the vast differences in Course layout) however I will certainly list the best horses I personally have seen in no particular order

Pebbles (nothing I can say except what a filly, still one of the best Breeders cup victories to run clean against a field on drugs and to travel aways from home and win)

Sea The Star's (unbeaten in his Classic Year, Guineas,2 x derbies and Arc)

Oh So Sharp (a Tremendous Filly who won the TC)



Dancing Brave


El Gan Senor

Arazi (only as 2 year old)

Selkirk (early part of career was hampered by what they discovered was a trapped testicle, once operated, he flew and became champion miler of europe)

Harbinger (The world was his for the taking until injury, but I will never forget him defeating Workforce the fastest derby winner of all time and Arc winner by 20 lengths and carrying 14 lbs more last year, those who saw that knew beyond doubt that they were watching a performance of a life time by the best horse in the world at the time)

others that deserve a mention, are Goldicova (3 x Breeders cup winner) , and Lochsong

Notice no Miesque which is mentioned in the original article list as the only european top 10.

Obviously horses like Eclispe, Mill Reef, Njinsky, Sea Bird, Ormonde and other great European horses are not their because they were before my time.

By the way my own personal US Favourite is definatley Sea Buscuit, he may not have had a physical heart the size of Secretariat, but he was all heart from Head to Toe, and I love that, a horse that punches above his weight, and wins despite things and not because of them, will always mean more to me that a physical specimen born in the purple and given every advantage to shine.

By the way its very interesting to see that the world records are held by avearage almost unheard of horses,certainly no the greats, does this support my case that times mean nothing about the greatness of a horse? I think it does

Shaun 5 years ago

P.S there do not appear to be any great middle distance or sprint horses in Europe at the moment, however there is a showdown on the horizon between probably the best 2 mile horses in the world Canford Cliffs and Frankel (the beast). Canford is the older horse and Frankel is the unbeaten 3 year old. Should Frankel beat Canford cliffs then he would definitely be in my best horses seen.

Franchise01 5 years ago

An impressive list Shaun, and I also look forward to the match between Frankel and Canford Cliffs (I believe Frankel will win). Speaking of 2 mile races, one of the most disappointing moments for me was when Mrs. Tweedie sent Secretariat to the Canadian International race in Woodbine for his last hurrah instead of the 2 mile Jockey Gold Cup. Both Lucien Lauren and Ron Turcotte were French/Canadians, and I believe she did it out of respect for them, opting to send Riva Ridge to the Jockey Gold Cup. It would have been awesome to see Secretariat run in a 2 mile race, especially considering his massive heart was like a bottomless pit which would have been a tremendous advantage to him in an extended race.

Regarding the somewhat average horses holding world records, that supports my case for Scretariat even more! Secretariat may only hold one world record for a 1-1/2 dirt track time, but if you look it up, he holds NUMEROUS track & stakes records that have withstood the test of time. His top times are also spectacular for many different distances (including a number of gallups after the finish line), and are not far off from other distance world records. This cannot be a coincidence. What I am trying to say is on 'flat' dirt surfaces, he is most likely the greatest horse ever because of his unprecedented consistency at distances of a mile or greater. Remember Shaun, on flat dirt surfaces TIMES ARE SIGNIFICANT and mean so much more than the European surfaces as you have so eloquently stated. You are 100% correct when you say times aren't as relevant in European races because of the vast surface fluctuations, but in America the fraction times are typically used as the main barometer for rating horses.

One additional note - I think Frankel is an awesome horse and may eventually need to be placed alongside horses like Secretariat, Sea Bird II, Shergar, Man o' War, Nijinsky and Spectacular Bid. FYI, those just happen to be my grandeur list of all-time world greats and you can flip a coin to place them in any order!

Have an nice weekend,


Ron 5 years ago

I think as you put it a Grandeur list is the best any of us can come up with....... most of us can list a group of horses that we think have been great, its the order that we often disagree about...... perhaps its best to just accept they were all great in there own way, and not try to compare them.

Shaun 5 years ago

Another interesting list

The Punter: Top ten horses of all time

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Sea the Stars wins the Irish Champion Stakes

James Lawton: Horses like Sea the Stars will always shine brightly

Stars won at a canter

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Horse Racing Ratings

Is Adrian Massey's racing ratingsworth reading? Read our review.

There is always a fierce debate when it comes to listing the best Flat race horses of all time.

No more debate, Sea the Stars is best of them allSUPER STARS: Sea the Stars, pictured below right with trainer John Oxx, wins the Derby (left), the Irish Champion Stakes (above) and the Arc (below left)

Everyone has their own particular favourites, and in many ways, the debate is unfair as it involves different eras in which champions beat the best around at that time.

But here is my view of the top 10.


Il Campionissimo. Champion of champions is how the Italians would describe it.

After Sunday’s epic show and becoming the first horse to win six Group 1s in a season, including the unique treble of Arc, Derby and 2,000 Guineas, he has to be number one simply because he has achieved more than any other horse.

And if he can go to America and win the Breeders Cup Classic in Santa Anita next month, then there can be no arguments at all.


Until now, stood ahead of everything else in European racing history.

Winner of the 1965 Derby and Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in effortless fashion and was given the highest rating of 145 ever awarded by Timeform.

Believe it or not, he ran only eight times, three as a two-year-old with two wins and one defeat. The following year he was unbeaten in five, winning at Epsom on the bridle from Lester Piggott on Meadow Court who went on to win the Irish Derby, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

But it was Sea Bird’s record win (six lengths), in what many regard as the best Arc in living memory with top-class horses from all around the world, which left an impression that has not dulled even today.


Won all 16 races during a three-year campaign, most of them in his home country Italy.

But he was also good enough to win two successive Arcs, one of only six horses ever to do that (1955-56).

He also won the King George at Ascot in his only run in England and earned a rating of 142.


Could have become the only horse to win the Arc three times only for injury to intervene.

Trained by Ian Balding and ridden by Geoff Lewis, he was the first British-trained winner of the Arc in 23 years (1971), he was only beaten once in his career and that was by in the 2000 Guineas by probably the greatest mile of all time, Brigadier Gerard.

Mill Reef also won the Derby, the Eclipse Stakes, King George, and then the Coronation Cup as a four-year-old, and was on his way for another Arc when breaking a leg on the gallops.

It was intended to keep him in training as a five-year-old which would have meant three cracks at Longchamps, but it was not to be. The next two Arcs were won by San San and Rheingold, neither of whom were in Mill Reef’s league.


Probably America’s best ever and a film will be released about him next year.

A US Triple Crown winner in 1973 (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes), he ran 21 times, winning 16 wins with three seconds and a third.

Other wins included the Arlington Invitational, Marlboro Cup (setting a world record time), Man O’ War Stakes (course record) and Canadian International.

In 2007 he became the first animal to be inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.


Arguably the unluckiest Derby loser in history and certainly one of the great Arc winners on a bright autumn Sunday in 1986.

Pat Eddery came flying up the outside to nail the French champion Bering, cutting him down in dramatic style and, in the process, putting his Derby conqueror Shahrastani, one of 11 Group 1 winners in the race, firmly in his place.

Guy Harwood’s brilliant colt was beaten half a length in the Derby at Epsom, having only three behind him at Tattenham Corner. He ate up the ground in the last two furlongs but the winning post came too soon.

Dancing Brave took his revenge on Shahrastani in the King George, having also picked up the Eclipse Stakes and 2000 Guineas that year. But it was his performance in the Arc that really cemented his reputation.


A top class miler who also won the King George over a mile and a half and Eclipse Stakes (1m 2f) at Sandown.

Only horse to beat Mill Reef in the 2000 Guineas – and suffered his only defeat in 18 races when beaten by Derby winner Roberto in the Benson & Hedges Cup over a mile and a quarter at York.


The last winner of the Triple Crown (2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger) in 1970.

Should have won the Arc but many blamed Lester Piggott for giving him too much to do when beaten a head by the French Derby and French St Leger winner Sassafras.

When winning the King George in the same year, Nijinksky had Blakeney (Derby winner), Caliban (Coronation Cup), Hogarth (Italian Derby), Crepellan (French Oaks) and Karabas (Washington Internation) all in arrears.


Unbeaten as a two-year-old, he won the 1999 Irish Derby, French Derby and Arc.

He was voted three-year-old European and world champion that year, and the European champion older horse the following year.

Among his wins in 2000 were Group 1 successes in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Tattersalls Gold Cup, and the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.


Remembered as the last back-to-back Arc winner (1977-1978).

Ridden by Lester Piggott and a confirmed front runner, Alleged was only beaten once – by the Queen’s Dunfermline in the 1977 St Leger.

He won nine races and was voted top three-year-old colt in England and France in 1977.

Franchise01 5 years ago

I hate to be the one to say this because I am NOT biased against European race horses (I believe my previous posts clearly state this fact), but that list is SO EUROPEAN BIASED it borders on ridiculous. One interesting point I would like to make is how great Secretariat really was to be placed 5th on an obvious 'European greatest horse' list. C'mon people, you have to at least include Man o' War and Spectacular Bid on any such 'top ten' list. They would have ran away from half those horses. Why not shoot for total embarrassment by removing Secretariat and adding Winston Churchill #5 in his place? (lol)

Let's please move on to a more serious discussion before I search for a more realistic chat board!


Frankh 5 years ago

Sea the Stars, should be great, Americans should be proud of him also, with all of the Native Dancer blood and of course a line by to Man O War in his bloodline.

ANY top ten list should include European horses as well as American. They all have the SAME ties. Man O' War-----Rock Sand. Not to include Man O War and Secretariat in the top ten cannot not be an acceptable list.

Shaun 5 years ago

Don't forget Man O'War and Secretariat's ties go back to Eclipse who was English

Frankh 5 years ago

Not forgetting at all, as I stated, Man O War, grandson of Rock Sand, British Triple Crown winner, 1903. All intertwined, all I ask is that our European race fans would include Man O War and Secretariat in the all time best/greatest list.

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh .... I think the problem lies in that this is always tit for tat, we see American list's that exclude European Greats and so European List Exclude American Great's. Also add in the differences with regards to drugs, and Course types from US to Europe and we have a lot of room for discrepency in arguements. I do agree that there should be a wider understanding of racing the whole world over, but I think this will only come when the world of racing has one set of rules etc.

By the way did you see that Cape Blanco (European Horse) won the Man O' War stakes at Belmont last weekend......Cape Blanco was one of the horses that Harbinger destroyed by 20 lengths last season at royal ascot (along with Workforce), before injury ended his career (another bit of evidence to show what a great horse Harbinger was.

But as a side note the race has invoked a lot of arguement in the racing media in England because of the amount of times the Jockey (Jamie Spencer) hit the horse. yet another difference between Europe and the US. In Europe the whip is only aloud to be used on the horse a few times in a race , whereas in the US there is no restriction.

Shaun 5 years ago

just in case you misunderstood I meant the number of times that the jockey hit Cape Blanco in the Belmont Stakes last weekend, which was perfectly fine as the race was in the US, but had it been in England would have drawn the Jockey a lengthy Ban.

Franchise01 5 years ago

Shaun, very interesting point regarding the whip and FURTHER testament to Secretariat's true greatness. Did you know that Ron Turcott almost never used the whip on Secretariat, virtually hand riding him from start to finish in every race (except for a few of his defeats). In fact, we can only imagine how fast Secretariat would have run the Belmont Stakes if Turcott was forced to use the whip the last 1/4 - 1/8 mile?

Frankh makes a super point regarding Secretariat's and Man o' War's status on any top ten list. Shaun's point regarding America top 10 lists is also well taken since we inexplicably tend to exclude great European horses like Sea Bird II, Ribot, Shergar, Sea the Stars, etc. on many of our lists (similar to the one currently posted). I restate my previous point that due to significant track surface flucuations between America and Europe, it may be an impossible task to effectively merge the two continent's horses into a single rating system. We may have to settle with placing the finest European and American horses in a single bucket as a 'GROUP' of the greatest ever. However, I do know this for sure. If my life was on the line and I was asked to choose ONE horse to win a race to save it, it would unquestionably be Secretariat whether the race was run on a flat surface or through Mount Everest!!!

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh........ well I think that you will find that the very great horses even in Europe, have no need for the whip (Cape Blanco is not a great horse, decent but not great),in fact there are horses that respond in a negative way to it...... the point was more about racing differences in general.

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way did you know?

a) Frankel (The Beast) is named after American trainer Bobby Frankel

b) The Great Mill Reef was owned by American Paul Mellon

Frankh 5 years ago

I am not a believer in the whip myself. Ron Turcotte was in a little trouble once for using it on Secretariat, and Man O War was, I believe, had the whip used only once (one strike) in a race with John P Grier. There are varying differences between US and European racing, to be sure, however the point is American great horses have European bloodlines (and why not, as Europe, mainly England, was the start of it all) and European horses have USA breeding in them as well. So who is to say that either couldn't compete and been great on either side of the pond. I did know about Frankel but not Mill Reef. Interesting. Me, I am a Man O War guy, who gave 100% effort all the time, no disrespect intended to Sec fans and the great horses of Europe.

Part of the problem too I guess is that we do not get to see races from Europe or Australia very often.

shaun 5 years ago

Frankh........... I think you have hit the nail on the head in Europe we mainly see european horses so appreciate our horses, and in the US you only see US races so only appreciate US horses. since the breeders cup was started in the 1980's, US and some european horses have met, but only on us terms............. sometimes the best of europeans horses do not travel to the breeders cup for a number of reasons (for example Sea the stars)....... most European horses that travel have nothing to lose, i.e. they are second stringers, but I do accept that the US have had great horses...........I suppose that horses transend nationality after all they do not know they are running for there country.

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way the trouble with rating horses is that currently Black Caviar (Australia) is the top ranked horse in the world, however Black caviar is a sprinter so over 1.2 or 1.4 would probably get beat........... so how do you rate horses

Shaun 5 years ago

FrankH........... Thank you for the continued conversation, I can see you are an avid race follower, and I admire your support of man' O war and Secretariat, I mean no disrespect to those horses, I am sure they were great horses, regardless of the differences in racing in the US and Europe......... I just have a soft spot for the under dog..... may be because I identify with them. By the way I am from Telford in the county of Shropshire England, where are you from?

Shaun 5 years ago

Harbinger rated world's best - 6lb ahead of Blame

HARBINGER'S record-breaking win in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes has earned him one of the highest ratings in recent years in the World Thoroughbred Rankings.

The panel of international handicappers allotted Harbingera rating of 135 in their 2010 list, which was just 6lb shy of the top-rated horse since the rankings began in 1977, Dancing Brave, and 1lb behind the mark given to Sea The Stars for his unbeaten three-year-old campaign in 2009.

Harbinger, who was undefeated in four runs last year, which culminated in his 11-length success in a record-breaking time at Ascot in July before injury brought about a premature end to his career, was rated 6lb ahead of the next highest horse, Blame, whose win in the Breeders' Cup Classic inflicted a first defeat on supermare Zenyatta.

Harry Herbert, managing director of Harbinger's owners, Highclere Thoroghbred Racing, said: "In winning the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot so impressively and then producing one of the greatest performances of all time to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes by 20 lengths in record time, Harbinger has confirmed himself as one of the all-time greats.

"All of us here at Highclere feel very proud and privileged to have raced a world champion for our owners."

Blame's rating of 129 was 1lb clear of Arc and Derby hero Workforce, who, in what might be considered surprising, was given the same rating as shock 2,000 Guineas winner Makfi.

Also on 129 is three-time American Grade 1 winner Quality Road. The Japanese-trained Arc second Nakayama Festa shares a rating of 127 with Canford Cliffs, while the Aidan O'Brien-trained Cape Blanco and Rip Van Winkle are both rated 126.

Zenyatta and Goldikova were both given ratings of 125, along with Twice Over and So You Think.


Rating Name Age/Sex Trained Mile Middle-

distance Long

135 Harbinger 4C GB 135

129D Blame (USA) 4C USA 129

128D Quality Road (USA) 4C USA 128

127 Nakayama Festa (JPN) 4C JPN 127

126 Rip Van Winkle (IRE) 4C IRE 126

125 So You Think (NZ) 4C AUS 126

125 Goldikova (IRE) 5M FR 125

125 Twice Over 5H GB 125

125D Zenyatta (USA) 6M USA 125 125

124 Byword 4C FR 124 124

124 Fame And Glory 4C IRE 124

124 Paco Boy (IRE) 5H GB 124


Rating Name Trained Mile Middle-

distance Long

128 Makfi FR 128

128 Workforce GB 128

127 Canford Cliffs (IRE) GB 127

126 Cape Blanco (IRE) IRE 126

124 Dick Turpin (IRE) GB 124

124D Eskendereya (USA) USA 124

124D Lookin At Lucky (USA) USA 124

124 Lope De Vega (IRE) FR 124

123D Fly Down (USA) USA 123

122 Behkabad (FR) FR 122

122 Poet's Voice GB 122

Frankh 5 years ago

Shaun, I am from Seattle, Washington, US. Impressive listing.

Shaun 5 years ago

Home of the Seahawks and the Mariners

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh.....If you are interested, the following link will keep you up to date with racing in the UK and Ireland on a daily basis.... News items, Results, Trainer and Horse stats, etc

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh...... sorry forgot the link

Mauro 5 years ago

Don´t forget the great Invasor was a freak!!

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

There are too many variables -- ages, distances, sprinters, turfers, etc. -- to consider in each era of horseracing, just like in baseball or any other sport, to pick a greatest ever list. And American "pickers" invariably pick American horses. Even the Blood-Horse publications staff didn't put Phar Lap in the top ten in their top 100 racehorses of all time. Why not? He was extraordinary!

Man o' War's people avoided Exterminator, winner of half of his 100 posts.

Secretariat absolutely blew the socks off all onlookers in his Belmont Stakes. No horse has approached his world record in that race. (And Sham went second to Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby in under two minutes, as well!) The only jockey to win two Triple Crown championships, Eddie Arcaro, said Secretariat was the best ever.

What about Citation? His win record suffered only because he ran with injury his latter races.

Count Fleet was superb. Spectacular Bid had bad luck. Zenyatta won 19 straight races coming from behind against every field she faced--her own running style. Whirlaway was a stinker, but Mr. Long Tail was great!

Forego, Seattle Slew, Dr. Fager, and many others!

They were all great with different circumstances. I think lists have to be qualified.

(New to the Hub and going to enjoy it immensely, I'm sure!)

Frankh 5 years ago

Hey thanks Shaun, that is a great site. I appreciate you passing that along.

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh....... No problem ........looks as if Frankel and Canford Cliffs will meet in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood next Wednesday (27th July)......Frankels Jockey Tom Queally is under the spot light at the moment for the way he rode Frankel last time

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh...... also try the following site

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh..... I have just read an article on the above site about the fact that the Breeders Cup are moving towards medication/drug free racing in the near future.

Frankh 5 years ago

Thanks again Shaun, and I have read several articles that American racing may be stopping ALL medication in the future. American breeders, in their own words, are losing business due to the medications on some horses make them better than they are and therefore when sold for breeding they do not produce as anticipated noteably in Australia and Europe. Exception would be the Super horses, (namely Secretariat who would have dominated with or without as well as Man O War, etc;) It is the medicore horses that seem to run well but when bred do not pass on any physical or winning traits.

Everyone agrees that the modern thoroughbred line began in England with three founding Arabian sires, Godolphin, Byerly Turk and Darley's. Thus ALL thoroughbreds in the world go back to them so any Thoroughbred in ANY country could be a champion ANYWHERE. AND any horse of the great ones mentioned on any given day can win. Thats why we have the race. Phar Lap fans, we aren't saying he wasn't great, just that he was one of many.

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh...... I have just witnessed a very somber King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (group 1... 1 1\2 mile) where improving 3 year old Nathaniel beat last years Derby and Arc winner Workforce (was giving the winner 12 lbs ) by 2 3/4 lengths at Ascot... the main story though was that Rewilding who beat the Aussie top horse "So You Think" a few weeks ago ..... had to be put down when breaking his near fore leg when about to challenge 3 furlongs out......... even though I backed the winner there was no pleasure in it, and was a timley reminder that Horses are not machines.......incidently Debussy who won the Arlington Million was used as a pace maker in the race for Rewilding. A very sad day indeed.

Frankh 5 years ago

Sorry to hear that! I love horse racing and when things like that happen it dampens the whole thing. No one can take pleasure in the win when one breaks down. Ruffian and Barbaro were hard to watch.

Jason 5 years ago

To all that say that Phar Lap was the greatest horse of all time, he may have been a great horse but the horses on this list are American horses. Therefore they can be compared to eachother due to the fact that they ran races at the same venues. In my opinion, the only way to judge which horse is the best is to look at which horse posted the best times over a wide variety of distances. Secretariat definitely makes a good case for himself under this scrutiny. Any horse that is consistent enought to win the triple crown, with all of the world class talent that fills those races is definitely worthy of being named a top horse.

Frankh 5 years ago

Everyone has their favorites and justifiably so. There were other horses that were fast but are today not considered GREAT. Chinook Pass was one of these, Laffit Pincay Jr. said he was the fastest horse he ever rode and probably the fastest Thoroughbred ever. Big statement, but no one has hardly heard of Chinook Pass. Others?

Shaun 5 years ago

Jason......... Miesque which is on the list is not an American horse it's European, but interestingly not considered one of the greatest European horses of all time. Phar Lap is a very interesting story, including how he met his end when stabled on American soil. Although nothing has been proved the signs are that he was poisoned, possibly by Gangsters who were concerned about losing a lot of money in betting.

Franchise01 5 years ago

Shaun - I totally agree with you that foul play was involved with Phar Lap's tragic death, but like you said we will never be able to prove anything. One of racing's top tragic stories for sure.


Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh........... Frankel put up a fantastic display today at Goodwood to beat Canford Cliffs by 5 lenghts, Frankel led all the way and went away from the field in the final 3 furlongs ...... he is now 8 out of 8, but its the manner of his wins that are impressive......... he is definately a freak

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Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

I think this hub has the most comments I've ever seen....but just want to say, wow, great hub. I'll be busy looking up these horses now and some videos -- and looking at the hub you've written on the Horse Racing Videos: The Great Races. Thanks!

Frankh 5 years ago

Shaun, I was hoping to get to see the race somewhere but did not. I would have rooted for Frankel for sure and I am glad he won. Sounds like he is the real deal!

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh......... if you go to the first web site link i gave you and look on the list down the left hand side there is a search, select it and you can search for horses/jockey's or trainers. do a search for Frankel and you will see Frankel 2008. select Frankel 2008 and you will see his races, some including the last race have Video on the right hand side.

Frankh 5 years ago

Shaun, thanks again. I saw it and you are correct Frankel put on an awesome display especially as he kept drawing away at the end. He is a beast.

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankh ........ not bad was it, especially as the horses behind are multiple group 1 winners....... Canford Cliffs beat Goldicova in his last race. Frankel is gaining more experience with every race and they are still learning what is the best way to race him, as he has won from the front and coming from behind. The plan is that he has one more race this year and is to stay in training for next season, which is great news indeed.

Frankh 5 years ago

I am a Frankel believer and that I think he will be one of the SUPER horses. That said, I am a Frankel fan now and will be keeping up with him.

As to a comment above on Man O War dodging Exterminator (who was a great horse), this is not the case. Kilmer (Exterminators Owner) had been wanting a match race between the two but Riddle (MOW"S owner) said that opportunities existed that they could meet in any race. It is true that Man O War was scratched in a race that Exterminator was entered (who didn't win that one anyway) but to appearances maybe it seemed like a dodge. I do not believe MOW had to "dodge" any horse. MOW and Exterminator raced around the same time and the same area of the country, unlike War Admiral and Seabiscuit, and therefore could have been entered at anytime for the same races. MOW, had he raced on after his 21 races would have likely been asked to carry as much as 150 lbs. No Thoroughbred today would even approach those weights. Like any champion though, someone has to find a way to bring them down, find fault to discredit. Secretariat fans (of which I am one) understand this as well.

As to our friends in Europe and Australia, we here in the US are not exposed enough to racing there and the history. Several horses Phar Lap, Ribot, Sea Bird II etc; are excellent champions in their own right. As for Phar Lap I would hope he was not killed on purpose and that it was just an accident, but we will never know.

Unless there is a match race with all participants trained for the particular style of racing we will never know who would have been 1st, but then again this is what make sites like this fun----the debate.

To all who have stuck by your favorites, GREAT, and this thread here has been and is fun and kind of kicks up the interest in the Sport of Kings. Thanks all!

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@ Frankh...Disagree with you, partner, on Man o' War's owners dodging Exterminator. Riddles didn't want to face him...Riddles didn't want to face Seabiscuit with Man o' War's son War Admiral. Riddles needed everything their way to agree to participate. The fact that Man o' War could have been entered in several races with Exterminator, and was in fact once scratched from facing him, rather proves the point. But great discussion...good for horseracing, yes!

Frankh 5 years ago

Disagree if you must, however, Exterminator was one of the two horses invited to run besides Man O War and Sir Barton and was turned down. Canada does not allow match races, therefore another has to be entered. Riddle was an eccentric, for sure, and one reason at least why he did not want to race the Biscuit is because of the aristrocratic Northeast thinking anything west was inferior thus a waste of time. Study the books, all trainers back then and history, does not equate Exterminator with Man O War, then or now. Fact is Exterminator could have entered any race Man O War entered in the NE race tracks except the Preakness and Belmont, other than that if Man O War scratched every time Exterminator entered I would be agreeing with you, didn't happen.

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@Frankh...That was Riddle's given reason (and historic thinking) for not facing Seabiscuit. Think he might have become a bit leary of facing him after his rep grew? Charles Howard had to agree to all Riddle's requirements to get the match race. Old Bones was the best of his time...Man o' War and Sir Barton together! One hundred posts!

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@Frankh...And Riddle sure did change his mind about "eastern history" and southern hokies when he got War Admiral, didn't he? He kept Man o' War purposely out of "unworthy" Kentucky, but he couldn't get War Admiral there fast enough for a Triple Crown run! So why was he so skiddish about facing Seabiscuit from California? Fun stuff!! Nice chatting with you!

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@Frankh...And, I have "studied the books" and had a passion for horseracing all my life, plus 60 years worth. But not anyone knows everything, right! Ha!

Frankh 5 years ago

Oh, and Exterminator officially did not start 100, 99 is the official stance. Something about he was in some kind of walk over and did not officially run, something like that, the books say it is a common misconception. However, 99 posts, and don't get me wrong he was a great horse as well, but as a gelding, they run em to they can't run them anymore because after retirement there is no breeding value. Look at Funny Cide, now he is a track pony.

Been looking at this stuff for 46 years or so, and it all has been what we know, American racing. Now Shaun, darn him, has got me looking into European racing and you are also correct no one knows everything! But for me, Godolphin Arabian, Man O War, Secretariat and Frankel are my fav's.

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

Well, I guess we're going to keep splitting hairs over the 100 or 99 posts, and I knew you'd go there. Blood-Horse says 100 - 4, 15, 21, 17, 16, 17, 3, 7 in his eight seasons. I know geldings are run to death because they can't breed, but Frankh, he won half of those - 50 (or with your figure, more than half). And with 17 seconds and 17 thirds, that's 84 placings!!! The only comparison with Funny Cide is the gelding. FC proved a flash in the pan. Exterminator was a gamer.

Frankel is looking good, beating Goldikova. I thought he would run in our Triple Crown.

I have nothing bad to say about Man o' War - just think his management was a bit off, not going to Kentucky because they thought three-year-olds shouldn't be made to run 1-1/4 miles so early in the spring. After the Triple Crown was recognized as a super feat, War Admiral had at it.

I loved Whirlaway, too - probably because he demonstrated that quirky, stubborn nature all the time! Ha!

Secretariat and Citation are my tops.

Anyway, it's great talking with someone who shares the passion! Thanks, Frankh!

Shaun 5 years ago

Barbsbitsnpieces ... some things you should know about Frankel

1. He has not run against Goldikova yet.

2. Frankel is at the moment a miler (ha snot run over further.

3. Frankel would not have taken part in the US version of the Triple Crown, because of the distances, but more importantly being European (English) he would be aimed at the Triple crown in England first if any.

4. It is intended that Frankel has one more run this year (English season) and will be kept in training for next year.

I am a Frankel fan and think that 1 mile is his best distance however he is such a class horse that he could win anywhere from 7F to 1 mile 2 f ......... possibly he could get 1 mile 4 f but its not likely he will ever attempt it

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

Thanks for setting me straight on Frankel, Shaun - Frankh got tired of me, right! Ha! Who beat Goldikova, then, Canford Cliffs? I know he's a miler, but from the sounds of his progress at two, I believed they might have beefed him up to longer distances to threaten the American triplers. And he was named after trainer Bobby Frankel, so he carries a big reputation along with him on the track. I appreciate your sharing your experise with me!

Heyday2Mayday 5 years ago

I'm an old timer whose been patronizing racetracks since 1961 and I can fully appreciate your list. Somewhere I would have included Forego and Big Brown but the only real issue is your placing of Dr Fager. At equal weights he's a match race winner against any opponent, at Any Distance up to 1-1/4 mile. He was a true anomaly. In 50 years I've never seen anything like him.

Shaun 5 years ago

Barbsbitsnpieces ......... your right Frankel was named after Bobby Frankel, and it was Canford Cliffs who beat Goldikova, and of course in his last race Frankel destroyed Canford Cliffs. I doubt Frankel will run over 1 mile 4F even if he does stay in training next year, 1 mile 2F is a possibility, the same owner has Workforce (4 year old) in training at the moment and he won the Derby and Arc last year which are the top 1 mile 4F races, so I suppose he does not need to push Frankel up in distance when there are plenty of Group 1 races around 1 mile.

It's very unlikely that you will see Frankel at the Breeders cup this year, as the trainer has said that he will have 1 more race, and that will be at Ascot (Champion miler of Europe race), but if as it has been stated he stays in training for next year, then I would not be suprised to seem him in the US then. He would have more experience as a 4 year and should handle the trip over the pond better.

Shaun 5 years ago

Barbsbitsnpieces ...... The thing about the Triple Crown in England is that there is no 1 mile 2F race. the TC starts with the 2,000 Guineas which Frankel won easily and then next is the Derby which is 1 mile 4F and finally the ST Ledger which is 1 mile 6F race.

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

I should have looked it up before I said anything about Frankel and Goldikova - just off the top of my head - and Canford Cliffs was my next thought. (Can't rely entirely on the ol' memory now!)

It would be great to have Frankel cross the pond and join our Breeders' Cup - but we'll hopefully wait until next season. I see your point about the English Triple Crown - some thoughtful differences.

Why do you think Euros don't get terribly excited about coming to the U.S. for the Breeders' Cup? Is it the dirt surfaces? They came to Santa Anita's synthetic track (before it was resurfaced to dirt once again this year). The synthetics more closely resemble the European turf, I'm told.

Goldikova was mind-boggling in the Mile the last three years! I thought it was quite fitting that Peslier more or less said after Goldikova's 2010 win, okay, now let's see Zenyatta do it! Zen was great for our racing, and I'm one who believes Smith rightly took the (Blame) for her loss. She always ran from well behind, but that was too far against the season's best boys!

Thanks for the conversation, Shaun! Very enjoyable!

Shaun 5 years ago

Barbsbitsnpieces ........ The Breeders cup is an interesting one. There are a number of factors I believe that European Trainers consider when deciding to sent a horse to the Breeders Cup

1. Where in the US it is being held (Type of track etc)

2. Wether Drugs are allowed or not (not used in Europe)

3. How hard a season the horse has already had (the Breeders cup is at the end of the European season)

4. The type of horse, i.e. does he travel well

It more likely that horses aged 4 or over go to the Breeders cup as the 2 year olds are being prepared for there Classic 3 year old season (i.e. TC) and the 3 year olds have just had there TC year. Horses can improve from 3 to 4 years its just a shame that a lot of horses are retired to stud at 3.

Shaun 5 years ago

Barbsbitsnpieces ..... oh I also forgot European horses never race on dirt only Turf

Shaun 5 years ago

Breaking News .......... Canford Cliffs has been retired to stud

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

Thanks for this informative reply, Shaun. I was aware that Euros don't drug their horses and run them only on turf, which is similar to our new synthetics - I wondered if that was the reason they did so well in Santa Anita a couple years when it was a synthetic track. The "ages" and traveling factors are interesting in consideration of whether a horse will come to our Breeders' Cup.

We're having more conversations about eliminating drugs here, too, but I don't know if that will come about. I hope we get there!

Startling news about Canford Cliffs...I'll explore that. That's a shame for Euro racing.

Shaun 5 years ago

Barbsbitsnpieces ........... I think there was a time when sending horses from Europe to the breeders cup was gathering pace. There is nothing like winners to keep your enthusiasm going, however then some horses failed to show there true form like Dancing Brave, Lochsong etc, and I think european trainers had a rethink on what they were demanding of horses that had already had a tough season. Its a shame horses like "Sea The Stars" are retired after there 3 year old career, because I'm sure he would have gone to the Breeders at 4 years of age.

Paulo 5 years ago


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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@Shaun...Those are understandable concerns, given the way the season is set.

I'm not much of a fan of the three-year-old retirement theory either, but then the fact of breeding value comes under scrutiny. Get them to the shed before something happens, I guess, can motivate lots of owners. 5 years ago

Don't you mean "The 10 Greatest AMERICAN Horses of all time"? LOL. One of the days you people will realise that America isn't the world. Everyone knows the greatest horse was Phar Lap. If you only want to talk about American horses... then make it a list of American horses. :)) Kinda reminds me of your 'World Series' where only one country (ok two counting Canada) play in it. LOL... what a nerve. 5 years ago

Quick PS. And it seems you Americans poisoned Phar Lap... which isn't very nice.

Shaun 5 years ago Miesque was a European horse, and to be fair it does say that have raced on US soil, which Phar Lap never did. Good horse though Phar Lap was he almost certainly was not the best ever.

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Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA the 1930s when Par Lap died in California, there was not much technique to diagnose intestinal difficulties in horses, which is a frequent ailment. Public record modern testing of Phar Lap's retrieved hairs indicates a great deal of arsenic present in his system, most likely absorbed through the fertilizer used on the grass he ate. He was abysmally ill for 24 hours before dying in Woodcock's arms.

Poisoning Par Lap intentionally would have been dispicable, but extremely difficult to achieve, as his Australian groom promoted to America-bound trainer, Tommy Woodcock, never left his side in America. It is well documented that Woodcock loved Phar Lap like a son. It was in Australia, Phar Lap's racing home, that he was shot at the day of the 1930 Melbourne Cup. Woodcock shielded Phar Lap with his own body. Phar Lap won the Cup.

Phar Lap was a great racehorse, winning an amazing 37 of 51 starts, many over 1-1/2 to 2 miles distance, a much different record than American horses.

There are several foreign-bred horses on Blood-Horse's Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century list.

Jay Ar 5 years ago

This list meeds a lot or work.

BriKW 5 years ago

There is so many false claims in this thread, that it would make even the least devoted equine fan blush. The x-factor is a well known scientific fact first studied by Australian scientist in the 1950's. Marianna Haun, a self-taught geneticist, made her contribution to this research by tracing the x-factor gene back to english sire Eclipse. Internationally renowned equine cardiologist Dr. Frederic Fregin expanded on and gave credible evidence to this trait by testing over 400 Equine hearts with an ECG and found the x-factor to be 100% correct. It's a complete rarity to be that correct in any scientific research. For more on the x-factor and the advantages of having it in thoroughbreds see this website A truly fascinating read. This is what gave Secretariat his incredible stamina over longer distances. His speed he inherited from his sire Bold Ruler. His large heart came from his dame SomethingRoyal. Sire's Can Not pass the large heart gene onto their sons but do pass it on to their daughters, however dames can pass it on to their sons and daughters. you can trace SomethingRoyal pedigree back to Pocahontas which was linebreed 7x7 to Everlasting, daughter of Eclipse. Eclipse passed his large heart on to all of his daughters. I would recommend reading Marianna Haun's book "The X-Factor" for a more thorough understanding, again another great read.

Now that we attributed Secretariat's large heart to genetics, let's take a look at claims made by some here that his large heart was the side effects of performance enhancing drugs such as steroids. It's fair to claim steroids will increase muscle mass in a horse's heart, however to quickly put this claim to rest in the case of Secretariat. He died at the age of 19, that's 16 years after he was retired to stud. No living thing can maintain muscle gained by steroid abuse that long after stopping use. As any athlete will tell you, when you stop taking steroids, your muscles will atrophy when regular strict exercise is not maintained. Even with a strict exercise regimen some atrophy does occur. Knowing that, and also knowing Secretariat probably was not worked nearly as often or as rigorous once retired, what possible reason could anyone have for doping him if he wasn't competing? If he was doped at all which I doubt.

In my opinion, and the opinions of people far more qualified in the matter than myself. I truly believe Secretariat is one of if not the best Thoroughbred in his Discipline of horse racing. To argue to the contrary is certainly your right, but one that puts you squarely in the minority. This is not to say there wasn't now or ever other magnificent thoroughbreds, because I believe there was/is. To name a few and in no specific order, Seattle Slew, Ruffian, Affirmed, Alydar was a magnificent creature even though Affirmed disappointed his bid for the T.C. Man O War will always be top of the list if not for his on track performance alone, but also his reputation as a sire. Let's not forget War Admiral, and Citation.. The list could go on and on. Zenyatta is a recent favorite of mine along with Rachel Alexandra. A real pity the two never met for a match race. What a race that would have been. Looking forward to seeing how each foal develops. Hope they produce some real runners.

It wasn't my intent to ruffle feathers, but to set a few facts straight. I love thoroughbreds and will continue to watch them as long as I'm aware they exist. We all have our favorites no matter who, or where they come from. The joy of watching them should always be our number one passion. After all when it comes to your personal favorite, does what I think really matter? Have a great day.

Franchise01 5 years ago

To BriKW: Truely one of the most level-headed assessments this board will ever have the distinct honor of reading. Your Secretariat theory is 100% accurate! Athletes that unethically resort to performance enhancing drugs CANNOT eliminate them from their regiment because muscle atrophy will eventually destroy their skill sets. NO ONE can argue that Secretariat would have absolutely ZERO need to take drugs AFTER his retirement so let's eliminate the enlarged heart theory being linked to drugs!

Secondly, I also believe Secretariat to be the greatest equine champion ever because he did things on a racetrack NO OTHER horse could compete with, stretching the physical limits of a horse beyond expectations. Furthermore, the irrefutable FACT that Sec owns all 3 TC race records (including the Preakness due to a clock malfunction) is virtually supernatural since this covers over 400 races and some 3,000 horses! However, I do caution you that a number of great overseas equine thoroughbreds should also be on the top 10 list, arguably including superb champions such as Sea Bird II, Sea the Stars, Phar Lap, Ribot, and Nijinsky. After Sec, American horses such as Man o' War, Citation, Dr, Fager, Ruffian, Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid are my top choices. To mingle both lists is virtually impossible since overseas racing does not utilize dirt surfaces nor place much focus on times. I think your closing statement is the most sensible logic: "the joy of watchng them should always be our number one passion"!

Best Regards,


BriKW 5 years ago

Thank you for your response, let me first say, I wish I could take the credit for the information given on the topic of "The X-Factor", but I can not. I merely quoted information from reliable resources. You are right to point out other great European Thoroughbreds. The list I had given are just that. My list. They're simply names of great horses in which I'm most familiar.

In the case of Phar Lap, he was another great Thoroughbred blessed with the gift of stamina and speed. Upon his death, his Heart was found to be 14 lbs, the same weight as his great grand sire many times over, Eclipse. As stated above, Eclipse passed his enormous heart onto all of his daughters. With a careful study of Phar Laps pedigree, we find that he inherited his heart from Pocahontas through his dame Entreaty. His sire Night Raid also has the trait to show up in his bloodlines, but as is the case with x chromosome inherited traits when it comes to males, it's only possible for Phar Lap to receive it from his dame.

The athleticism portrayed by both Secretariat, and Phar Lap are feats that will continue to inspire owners, trainers, and jockeys for generations to come. I wont enter the argument as to who was the better horse between Secretariat, and Phar Lap, Undeniably the truth is they were both great in their respective careers. We can only consider ourselves blessed we are able to step back a moment in ti

BriKW 5 years ago

Time and relive the lives of such wondrous animals.

JMF 5 years ago

After a quick check I notice that all the horses you have mentioned have a British mare by the name of Pocohantas in their lineage. Some of the greats have a big share of St. Simon (1881), also a descendent of Pocohantas, running through their veins. Seattle Slew even looks quite alot like him and had his distinctive knews. S.S. was 10 hands shorter though. I wonder if this is a super strain?

CrAzY4HoRsErAcInG!! 5 years ago

I agree with your list, all of them are probably some of the greatest of all time. But my top 10 list would probably be Man o' War, Secretariat, Citation, Kelso, Count Fleet, Dr. Fager, Native Dancer, Forego, Seattle Slew, and Spectacular Bid (By putting Man o' War first i AM NOT saying he was a greater racehorse than Secretariat! I believe Secretariat was greater in more ways than one!) Honorable mention including Tom Fool, Affirmed, War Admiral, Buckpasser, Colin, Damascus, Round Table, Cigar, Bold Ruler, Swaps, Equipoise, Phar Lap, John Henry, Nashua, and Seabiscuit. If i were to consist a top 10 list only devoted to fillies it would be:

1. Ruffian

2. Busher

3. Gallorette

4. Personal Ensign

5. Dahlia

6. Susan's Girl

7. Twilight Tear

8. Cicada

9. Top Flight

10. Shuvee

(This list only consisting of horses from the 20th century. I think Zenyatta may be greater than Ruffian. Its hard to put one infront of the other. Also Rachel Alexandra was a magnificent filly, and i can't forget Azeri!) Honorable mention including Regret, Go for Wand, Lady's Secret, Two Lea, Gallant Bloom, Ta Wee, Affectionately, Miesque, Gamely, Davona Dale, Genuine Risk, Artful, Bayakoa, and Beldame. Since racing has changed so much over the years its hard to compare racehorses from different generations, one example being Man o' War and Secretariat, making it hard to compose a list of the greatest of them all. Everyone has their own opinions when it comes to lists like this. It all comes down to simple statistics and opinion.

1BADLS6 5 years ago

SECRETARAIT WAS THE KING, RUFFIAN WAE THE QUEEN.....,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,JHS64

Franchise01 5 years ago

Interesting list of top 10 fillies. I strongly believe Ruffian was, indeed, the greatest filly ever, and disagree that Zenyatta was possibly better. Ruffian's times were far superior to Zenyatta, and you can bet the house that Zenyatta would not have been able to come from behind against her blinding speed for distances up to 1-1/8 miles. At distances greater than that, it would have been a crapshoot. Anyway, two absolutely spectacular horses!


CrAzY4HoRsErAcInG!! 5 years ago

That's true. I'm reading Ruffian: Burning from the Start right now and it's such an amazing book. I only started it a week ago and i have only 50 pages left! It truly describes how phenomenal Ruffian was. Ruffian broke or equaled records everytime she ran (all execpt once i believe which was because the jockey wouldnt let her go!)

while Zenyatta didnt even come close to that.

I also realized that i forgot to include All Along in my top fillies list!!! If i were to go back and include her i would rank All Along as number 10 and then knock down Shuvee to the honorable mention. I do believe what you have said about Zenyatta and Ruffian. Zenyatta probably wouldnt be able to be Ruffian in a race.

CrAzY4HoRsErAcInG!! 5 years ago

Zenyatta probably wouldn't be able to BEAT Ruffian in a race, sorry for the error.

Franchise01 5 years ago

Don't throw in the towel so fast on Zenyatta against Ruffian. I don't believe Zenyatta could have beaten Ruffian at anything LESS than 1-1/8 MILES. Anything AT or OVER that distance I am not too sure because Ruffian was NEVER challenged at say 1-1/8 miles or greater. Since Ruffian was a sheer sprinter right out of the gate, her initial blazing speed just might have cost her in a longer race against Zenyatta. As an example, her 1-1/2 mile Country Club Oaks time was 2:27-4/5, a more than adequate time but certainly ripe for the taking especially considering she only won by 2-1/2 to 3 lengths against a much less formidble horse than Zenyatta. Unfortunately, this is all speculation because we will never know for sure.

As a side note, that is why Secretariat is such an amazing horse. Everyone talks about his 2:24 Belmont Stakes WORLD RECORD time but forget he posted a 2:24-4/5 in the 1-1/2 mile Man o' War Stakes, and when he LOST to Prove Out, his time ON THE MUD SOAKED SLOW TRACK was 2:26-3/5 (incredibly, Prove Out ran the 2nd best time EVER on dirt at 2:25-4/5 and would have beaten ANY horse that day!!!).

Best Wishes,


Ned Poins 5 years ago

Some of our English posters have mentioned the greatness of Red Rum. What about the mighty Australian chaser, Crisp?? Everyone knows what happened in the 1973 Grand National and every one knows which was the better horse if you take time, weight and distance won, into account. When these two great horses met at level weights after the G.N. Crisp defeated Red Rum by a very convincing margin convincingly. Crisp was unbeatable carrying huge weights over the jumps in Australia. A great, great horse!

Arek 5 years ago

The Hungarian mare Kincsem is missing from the list. 54 start 54 victories in Austria-Hungary, Germany, France and England.

Some people mentioned Eclipse. Yes, a great horse, but don't forget, that from the 18 victories 8 was walk over.

elton sanders 5 years ago

you should do a little more research. no horse ever faced stiffer comptetion than affirmed. in any other year alydar would have been a triple crown winner. neither slew or big red faced an opponent as formidable as alydar!! no horse period. i believe it is common knowledge in one race agaist slew affirmed lost cuz a saddle slip! in my opinion any horse in the top list would have won the triple crown. thats the pinnacle. as no horse faced a tougher competitor in all three triple crown races how can you place non triple crown winners ahead of affirmed. i would suggest if affirmed slew and big red competed in the same year the 1970 decade would not have produced a triple crown. slew was faster overall big red was amazing and affirmed had more heart so i will call bs on your top 10

Franchise01 5 years ago

Slew and Affiremed were awesome horses and will always be considered legends. However, BOTH of them would have failed in ALL 3 TC races against Secretariat. SEC's times clearly prove he was "unbeatable" in those 3 races and if you think otherwise you are only fooling yourself my friend. Consider that for over 140 years, the 3 TC races encompass over 420 races and approx. 3,200+ horses and SEC miraculously holds ALL 3 records (including a 2-way tie for the Preakness at 1:53-2/5). It stands to reason that a SINGLE horse that has somehow managed to claim the fastest times in a series of the 3 most sigificant races in American history over a short 5 week span in 3 different states is the irrefutabe pinnacle American thoroughbred!

Best Wishes,


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@BriKW...Nice work on the Secretariat theories.

@Franchise01...Absolutely! Secretariat was amazing!

And for those who claim he got beat by lesser foes after the Triple Crown, yes, he did -- because he probably lost a bit of breath after that Triple Crown, particularly after the Belmont.

Man o' War tops him in overall performance when racing and breeding influence are calculated together. But we'll never see another runner like Secretariat who willed himself to victory on the track.

Franchise01 5 years ago

@Barbsbitsnpieces - interesting theory regarding Sec's slightly expending himself from his Belmont run. I used to consider that theory myself, but when you look at the facts it is not the case. AFTER the Belmont, Sec ran a 1:47 at the Arlington 1-1/8 mile invitational which was only 1/5 of a second off the track record. When he LOST to Onion in early August he had a virus and low grade fever and should have been scratched. In fact, Turcott "begged" Lauren to scratch him but Lauren threatened to simply use another jockey so Turcott helplessly rode SEC that day, knowing he wouldn't fire up (which is why he choose the rail instead of his typical wide route). Then, in the 1-1/8 mile Marlboro Cup he set a world record with his 1:45-2/5 time and unofficially "tied" the 1-1/4 dirt mile 1:57-4/5 record (Spectacular Bid)after a 1/8 mile "GALLUP" (timed by the Daily Racing Form Clockers) !!! When he lost to Prove Out in the 1-1/2 mile Woodward (who was no ordinary 4 year old horse...check out his incredible Jockey Gold Club win by 30+ lengths), SEC ran a FANTASTIC 2:26-3/5 time in the rain soaked MUD after training for 2 weeks SOLELY on turf for the Man o' War Stakes because Riva Ridge was scheduled for the Woodward. He had no business running in the Woodward, but Lauren and Tweedy were complete fools and scracthed Riva Ridge because of the rain thinking SEC could overcome anything. Prove Out ran a sensational 2:25-4/5 time in the MUD and beat SEC. Sec's 2:26-3/5 mud time would have bested almost any other horse EVER on sloppy track conditions, except for Prove Out who ran one of the greatest races ever. In the Man o' War, SEC sped through a 1-1/2 mile course in 2:24-4/5 track record time and easily one his last race (Canadian International) by 7 lengths against 4 and 5 year olds.

Except for the Whitney (for which he definitely ran ill) I think his times easily prove he was at peak form even after his Belmont. Now, to your point, he might have incubated his virus because of the heavy workload of the TC races. That is definitely a possibility, but whatever the reason for being ill in August, he easily proved he was back to his 100% pinnacle form in September.

A pleasure speaking with you on this topic, and regarding Man o' War vs. Secretariat, I'll close in saying they were truely the 2 greatest American race horses of all-time, and you can flip a coin to choose bewteen the two!

Best Regards,


phar lap is better 5 years ago

is this serious?? at least 3 quarters of this list is wrong, what about the greatest horse ever in phar lap??? or what about makybe diva?? she won 3 melbourne cups in a row, it's more than just american horses, you know.

budo 5 years ago

Man O' War defeated Sir Barton when he was over the hill and well known to have hoof issues at the time. It is recalled by many oldtimers that Sir Barton was having difficulty walking mush less racing.

Secretariat lost 4 times in reality. One was a disqualification to second for bumping in the stretch after being bumped by the same horse around the final turn. He lost his first race when he virtually was bumped to his knees from the gate and ended in a power run to finish fourth, only 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner. He lost to Prove Out on that horse's best day and when he had a low grade fever and shouldn't have run. He lost by one length to Onion when training for turf and replacing Riva Ridge at the very last moment because of wet circumstances and was unprepared and finished second nonetheless.

In reality, outside of his initial race, which he barely lost after being almost knocked down, if his trainer and owner had been more cognicent of conditions and circumstances and along with his large margin of victory being taken away by "foul", he would not have another blemish on his record.

Franchise01 5 years ago

Well said and here is something else most people don't realize about Secretariat. As you stated, he was "thrown into" the Woodward Stakes WITHOUT any dirt training for 2 weeks since he was preparing to run the Man o' War stakes on turf for his FIRST TURF RUN (all of his post-Marlboro Stakes training was on turf). Then ONLY ONE WEEK LATER (8 days to be exact), he runs ANOTHER 1-1/2 mile race on a turf surface he NEVER raced on before and posts an AMAZING 2:24-4/5 time which broke the track record! Who does that? Find me a horse that raced two 1-1/2 mile races 8 days apart on DIFFERENT surfaces, posting a 2:26-3/5 dirt time IN THE MUD (a SUPER CLOCKING for ANY horse and better than Seattle Slew's and Affirmed's Belmont Stakes TC runs), and a 2:24-4/5 turf time!

Truely, that is one of racing's greatest accompishments...NO HORSE runs two 1-1/2 mile races in back to back weeks, let alone doing it and posting incredible times like that!

Best Wishes,


Wow 5 years ago

Amazed how long these comments have gone.

Firstly, list with only American horses? Please, come on... a german horse winning the arc last week in such dominant fashion shows how international the industry is

Secondly, as an Australian, I'm embarrassed Black Caviar is mentioned in the same breath as the others here. Timeform ratings mean very little and apart from hay list, she has beaten nothing. Of course she's dominant, she's racing B graders at home and the trainer is too scared to race her overseas. She can't even be called the best sprinter in the world until she races outside of Australia, let alone be mentioned alongside Kingston Town...

Take Notice 5 years ago

Black Caviar just won again, people have to take notice soon. You can only beat what you run against. Times are important and 14 wins from 14 starts is impressive. To be honest, I have never seen the jockey do anything whilst riding, he just holds on. As an Australian, Phar Lap and Makybe Diva are amazing horses. But I have looked into what Secreteriat has done, wow.

Mike 5 years ago

15 in a row for Black Caviar as of today. I understand the Aussie guys going on about Phar Lap. Great horse. Don't think I've seen an Aussie mention Manikato. This horse was so good he carried more weight than anything before him in most races and still won 11 Group 1s. 47 starts - 29 wins - 9 2nds - 4 3rds.

Mike 5 years ago

Secretariat. He took on all comers regardless of age as a 3 year old on different surfaces. And look at his times..really. Sick or not prepared he still finished in the money against open fields after the triple crown..

CrAzY4HoRsErAcInG!! 5 years ago


All you said is very true. Zenyatta could've given Ruffian a hard fought battle in a longer or shorter race. Also, I myself do remember Secretariat nearly equaling his world record in the Man o' War. I'm an expert on Secretariat and know nearly everything about him. I'm currently rereading William Nack's book on Secretariat. I really wish they had compititions for people under the age of 18, like myself, on the history of horse racing. I truly believe I might have a chance in a compitition like that. I amaze my teachers on my knowledge on the history of the sport :) I wish you could get a job for being a child historian on horse racing, like maybe in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame!

Franchise01 5 years ago

Any race bewteen Zenyatta and Ruffian over 1 mile would have been a coin toss. If they raced 10 times, they most likely would have claimed 5 victories each! Ruffian would have most likely bested Zenyatta AND Secretariat 7/8 times out of 10 at 7 furlongs or less (sheer sprinter speed). Distances of 1-1/8 miles or greater, with both Ruffian and Secretariat at 100%, SEC would have been the dominate horse. Best Regards to you my friend!

chuck 5 years ago

Remove miler Miesque, put Forego in 8 instead. Milers have no place in any list.

Liam 5 years ago

why call it the greatest race horses of all time when your only talking about american horses

if you were actually doing the greatest only the top 2 on your list would make it so change your title

colbert simon 5 years ago

What the Australian champ Phar Lap did during its career is almost impossible,well almost....Phar Lap did it. He had an ordinary trainer who entered him in every race for the money. He broke records of having to carry the heaviest weight whenever he raced. He won 4 big races under 9 days including the Melbourne Cup. He went to Mexico to face the best Horses in the World at that time and won the Aqua Caliente in a new track record time. He won 37 times out of 51 races. He went overseas without its trainer. He won 14 in a row. What you so called experts seems to forget that it was always a big risk when there was no careful preparation. Whenever Phar Lap raced, there would be always huge crowds. His trip to Mexico is a incredible story for many reasons. Everything was different, the challengers were Champions on their turf. To win he had to adjust in a very short preparation.He lost weight during his trip on the ship. He survives mobsters bullets who were out to kill him days before the 1930 Melbourne Cup but was poison days after his win in the Aqua race. He has done everything a champ does with enormous risk. Many champs are cared for by their owners, trainers to keep that perfect record but i am not arguing. With Phar Lap it was a killer program. Just let him run, heavy weight or not. Home or international. He has the prove. He is a freak. He is a horse for the Gods.

colbert simon 5 years ago

The other horse i consider a freak besides Phar Lap is the champion filly Ruffian. I held her in high regard than Man O War or Secretariat. She is by far the most awesome lightning creature to ever raced.

colbert simon 5 years ago

The other horse i consider a freak besides Phar Lap is the champion filly Ruffian. I held her in high regard than Man O War or Secretariat. She is by far the most awesome lightning creature to ever raced.

colbert simon 5 years ago

For those who argue about 100 lengths margin, and time track records. It don't mean shit to be honest. What happens in very large fields, or unexpected change in the weather. Are they dominate in any distance. Have they been really tested under pressure. Jockeys too could faced under pressure. Will they able to settle down if the crowds are over 100000+. Can they handle different paces. How many Champions in that field ? Weight can stopped a train. Have they raced with a huge weight on their back against quality horses with almost no weights on their back. Did they run more than 40 times and still dominate. Did they ran week in, week out. Have they raced overseas. Have they won overseas against local champions. Are their bloodlines blue or ordinary. Are the races they won considered world class. Have they raced in different turfs. Raced in other way around. How many, and what was the race and who against. Triple crowns against who? Who cares? If your champ can claim this then your Horse is for the Gods.

dannykeith46 5 years ago

To: colbert simon: You make some valid points but don't EVER compare Ruffian to Secretariat. Ruffian was a sprinter that NEVER posted world class times over a mile and NEVER beat a colt so she simply cannot match up to SEC. Secretariat did things NO OTHER HORSE EVER accomplished and THAT MY FRIEND is the true mark of greatness. Like you said, winning a TC means nothing if your competition is mediocre at best, but not only did SEC whip Sham who was a VERY formidable horse (as well as Forego in the Kentucky Derby), he set ALL 3 TC time records which covers over 140 years, 420+ races & 3,500+ horses....that my friend is the mark of supernatural ability. Secondly, SEC ran the Kentucky Derby running each quarter mile faster than the previous, ending the last 1/4 mile fraction in 23 seconds!!! Again, you have to be a freak to accomplish something like that & I have NEVER heard or read of a horse speeding up from start to finish over a 1-1/4 mile race. Third, he holds the WORLD RECORD for a 1-1/2 dirt mile (2:24), owns the Aqueduct track record for a mile at 1:33-2/5, owns the Belmont track turf record at 2:24-4/5, and his 1-1/8 mile WORLD RECORD was only bested sometime ago by a 1/5 of a second! Incredibly, SEC also "galluped" to WORLD RECORDS, holding two unofficial WORLD RECORDS for 1-1/4 and 1-5/8 dirt mile distances...who in "God's name "gallups" an 1/8 of a mile after the finish line to World Records??? I am still not speak about careless trainers....well Lucien Lauren was ONE OF THEM! He raced SEC TWICE when he was sick (BOTH Ruffian & Man O' War were scratched in big stake races when they were slightly under the weather...Man o' War for the Kentucky Derby!). Not done yet...SEC raced two...YES TWO...1-1/2 miles races on different surfaces in an 8 day stretch (dirt & turf) which is something NO HORSE has ever done, period!!! He posted a remarkable 2:26-3/5 time IN THE MUD when he LOST the Woodward Stakes and came back NEXT WEEK on TURF for the FIRST TIME EVER & set a track record in the Man o' War stakes at 2:24-4/5...are you kidding me!!! Ruffian ran a 2:27-3/5 time on a fast track to win her filly TC and everyone was drooling over her time while SEC was "blasted" for losing at 2:26-3/5 IN THE RAIN SOAKED MUD to Prove Out??? Still not his last 3 wins, he DEMOLISHED 4 & 5 year old champion race horses (e.g., Kennedy Road, Couger II, Key The Mint and Riva Ridge) as a 3 year old & if you think a slight handicap in weight would have made a difference to a horse that was 1,160 - 1,200 lbs of sheer muscle you are badly mistaken. Had Secretariat been allowed to race as a 4-year old, he would have broke virtually EVERY time distance record in the books because it is fact that the anotomical difference between 3 & 4 year old horses is synonymous to 15 and 21 year-old males.

Bottom line is Secretariat did things NO OTHER HORSE was capable of NOT RELATIVE to his competetion but his sheer racing ability, which is why many experts rate him as the greatest horse ever!

P.S. - I also love Phar Lap & certainly consider him one of the greatest race horses ever!

Best Regards,


colbert simon 5 years ago

Thanks for the great info on Secretariat DannyKeith46. Secretariat truly deserved his tag as one of the greatest gallopers to ever raced. A freak. A horse for the Gods.

Shaun 5 years ago

Just remember without the unbeaten (never extended) Eclispe not of the above horse would have existed.

Shaun 5 years ago

The unbeaten Frankel (The Beast) will not be at the Breeders Cup this year, but should be there next year, but remember if Goldicova wins 4 on the trot at the BC, Frankel destroyed Canford Cliffs who in turn beat Goldicova. For Me Frankel is head and shoulders the best horse in training today.

Shaun 5 years ago

Its a shame Harbinger was injured last year, because he would easily have won the ARC last years and this......... and what a horse you would have seen at the Breeders cup, a good 14 lbs better than any other 1 1/2 horse around at the time

colbert simon 5 years ago

As a racing fan, it always saddens me that a champion in its prime have been retired early to stud.I mean the horse just blew away a classy field with a huge weight on its back and BANG! Its been retired and headed to the breeding barn and already the list waiting to be service has passed my fortnights salary. The value is too great to risk they say. Sometimes life is always about money in the end. Some cases i would agree that its the right time to retire and head to the breeding barn. But most of the times we lost our champions to the money making machine human being. Bah Hamburg, Bah Horsemen.

Shaun 5 years ago

Yes the thing is that Red Rum always saved his best for the biggest and hardest race (the National) after he beat Crisp in the national he race against him in the following season at Doncaster which was just an opener for the season, Crisp won by 10 lenghts, however it was well known that Red Rum was always aimed at the national so such a race was more about fitness than anything else. Red Rum by the way went on to win the national that year carrying 12 stone (top weight) the same weight Crisp had carried when 2nd to Red Rum................ Crisp did run in the Cheltenham gold cup, the classiest Jump race there is, but was soundly beaten into 5th by other English horses, Crisp was a good horse, just not good enough to beat the best England had to offer in the big races.

Shaun 5 years ago

Professor Matthew Binns, an equine genetics expert from the RVC, said: “Eclipse was probably the greatest racehorses in history. The reason he was retired was simply because no other race horse would race him............... he won all his races without being extended and in the end was having walk overs because no other horse would race him....... now that tells you everything, how many race horses in history have been retired because no competition could be found. If Eclipse had been around in the last 20 years or so, world superstar would be her title............ and to top it all off all the best thoughbred horses in history can trace their breeding back to Eclispe........... now that is some horse

Shaun 5 years ago

Having just watched the Breeders cup mile, its a shame that Frankel did not travel this year, because he would have destroyed that field.

1badls6 5 years ago


MasterMick 5 years ago

YOU CANNOT COMPARE HORSES FROM DIFFERENT ERA'S! as the horses of later years would have had modern technology to enhance their performance because of this I would have to say that in its time PHAR LAP and MAN O WAR where some of the most freakish horses to come out of racing!

Also the winnings purse should have NOTHING to do with it as the race purses change with inflation over the years for example. a 1930's horse winning a similar historical G1 race was only say $25,000 a 19960's champion horse winning would be like $150,000 a 1990's champion horse would be like $1,000,000 get where i am going with this???

I would have to say you cannot compare your favorites from CAREER RECORDS as some horses may have raced on smaller fields like 9 starters it is easier for a horse to win than compared to like 20 starters different time era for this reason and there are so many other key factors that go into what would class the horse really great like number of horses started in the field and Group 1 wins or lower class wins etc. unless they actually raced vs each other and who ever won that race would have bragging rights.

So every person for this reason will argue and have a bias opinion on who is the greatest as most people on this thread would have to put there continents champion horse as 1st no doubt!.

bluzman 5 years ago

Read ThisF O R E G O

Mike 5 years ago

Would that be the same Forego Secretariat smoked in the derby by about 14 lengths?

dannykeith46 5 years ago

Here is the 1973 Kentucky Derby chronological order of events: 1.) Secretariat crosses finish line in record time (acclerating EVERY quarter of a mile from start to finish!). 2.) Secretariat gallups to winner's circle. 3.) Roses are placed over Secretariat's neck. 4.) Turcott showers 5.) Forego crosses the finish line......hypothetical as it may be, comparing Forego to Secretariat is ludicrous. Forgeo simply couldn't match Secretariat's world class speed!

Rob 5 years ago

I'm English and I'm a bookie, I have seen thousands of horses race and although I don't proclaim to be an expert in any stretch of the imagination all the horses mentioned are truly great so I will not draw myself into saying what is the greatest racer of all time cause that is all too subjective... My personal belief is Secretariat... What a horse! I have watched his races over and over again on YouTube and I still don't believe my eyes..

One thing I will say though is and I don't think anyone can disagree, Sec surely has to be the greatest prize resulting from a lost coin toss ever in the sport of horseracing

Shaun 5 years ago

As good as Secretariat was, he did lose races (regardless of reason). So he was not unbeatable, he only raced on home soil, sure he had some remarkable winning performances, and his is a fantastic story. There have been some amazing horses in the history of horse racing, Secretariat is one of those, but there are horses who have never been beaten, and there are also horses that have won Group 1's by a amazing distance, there are horses that have won all over the world, on all types of tracks, Secretariat is one of the best, people point to times, but some of the most average of horses have held course records, times owe a lot to conditions, they way the race is run and the style of track (your never going to get a faster time on an uphill finish on an European track compared to a flat American track). we will never know who is the best, in fact if you could put 10 of the best ever in a race together, the result would probably change every time you ran the race.

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Secretariat was undoubtedly a champion racehorse. He would make the top 3 of any list. He was unbelievably good, just as Phar Lap was. I think they sit 1 - 2, in no particular order and Sea BirdII would round out the top 3 in my opinion. They had different strengths and weaknesses and many of their weaknesses were through no fault of their own. Secretariat had sustained speed whereas Phar Lap had stamina and longevity. Sea BirdII won a stellar edition of the Arc by 6l and then had a great stud career. Sea BirdII loses out on the fact his career was all too brief at just 8 starts (7 wins) and never raced beyond his 3yo year. Secretariat, also, never raced beyond his 3yo year. Could they have gone on and raced successfully in Group 1 company as older horses ? Most probably yes but we'll never know. So on that score you have to rate Phar Lap extremely highly. He raced 51 times for 37 wins. If you take into consideration he was a middle distance/staying type his record speaks for itself. He raced 5 times as a 2yo for 4 unplaced runs at obviously unsuitable distances from 1000m (5 furlongs) to 1400m (7 furlongs) and 1 win at 1200m (6 furlongs). He was also unplaced in his first 4 starts of his 3yo year at unsuitable distances. It is now that his distances were increased and he became simply a devastating horse to his opposition in winning 36 of his remaining 42 career starts and being unplaced just once, when he was asked "to carry the grandstand" (10 stone 10lbs) in the '31 Melbourne Cup, a race where his trainer wanted to scratch him but his owner demanded the 6/4 fav run. His jockey eased him down as he didn't want to kill the horse. Phar Lap won the 2 biggest Derby's in Australia, the VRC Derby and AJC Derby, as well as Australasia's greatest race the Melbourne Cup at odds of 8/11 and he won the weight for age championship of Australasia the WS Cox Plate twice, the 2nd of which starting at the prohibitive odds of 1/14. It should be noted that at the world famous Flemington Spring Carnival of 1930 he raced in AND won races on all 4 days (Sat, Tues, Thurs, Sat) of the carnival at distances of 2000m (10 furlongs), 3200m (2 miles), 1600m (1 mile) & 2400m (mile and 1/2). 4 starts for 4 wins incl Melbourne Cup in the space of a week !! This feat will never be attempted again let alone replicated. He was invited to race in the worlds richest race of the time, The Agua Caliente Hcp (2000m), in Tijuana, Mexico. His trainer and jockey refused to go however his owner decided to accept so his strapper and handler Tommy Woodcock became his trainer. He travelled by ship and was to race against a top class field for the first time on dirt. He had sustained a cracked hoof in a track gallop but raced. To avoid the dirt kick back he raced wide early before circling the field mid race and hitting the front in the straight to win by 2l carrying 58.5kgs (9 stone 3lbs). Phar Lap had been a hero to a nation, survived being shot at the day prior to his Melbourne Cup victory as bookies stood to lose hundreds of thousands of pounds (millions by today's standards), had won everything in Australia and now had won the richest race in the world. There was no stopping this wonder horse. As connections negotiated his US schedule, he was stabled at Menlo Park near San Francisco where he was poisoned and he died in suspicious circumstances in Tommy Woodcock's arms, the man who had cared for him his whole life. Sports Illustrated summed up the depth of feeling " They sent over the best horse their continent had ever known and we shipped them back a monument ". A few hairs from Phar Lap's mane were tested a few years ago and it was found he had been poisoned with arsenic, more than likely by mob run illegal bookmakers who stood to lose plenty.

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Wow writes "Secondly, as an Australian, I'm embarrassed Black Caviar is mentioned in the same breath as the others here. Timeform ratings mean very little and apart from hay list, she has beaten nothing. Of course she's dominant, she's racing B graders at home and the trainer is too scared to race her overseas. She can't even be called the best sprinter in the world until she races outside of Australia, let alone be mentioned alongside Kingston Town..." You have got to be joking surely ? Black Caviar is a freak. Hay List would be the 2nd best sprinter in the world. Crystal Lily won the world's richest 2yo race the Golden Slipper. Star Witness, who is a B grader in Australia ran a close 2nd in the Group 1 Kings Stand Stks at Royal Ascot THIS year. Ortensia is a Group 1 winner (should be multiple - had a race taken off her on protest). She has not beaten these horses multiple times, she has THRASHED them !! Black Caviar will hopefully clash with Frankel over 6 or 7 furlongs next year (she's definately going to run at Royal Ascot in 2012) and she'll give him a beating as well. Big statement ? Maybe but just watch her races. Just youtube "Black Caviar Newmarket" (actually watch any of or all of her races - she's in 1 race the others are in another). The Newmarket is generally regarded as Australia's toughest sprint worth $1,000,000. She's a 4yo mare carrying 58kgs and giving Crystal Lily (2nd) a whopping 8kg's in that race and she wins

by 3l stopping the clock at 1.07.36 for the 1200m after being eased down the last 100m !!!! Are you kidding me ?? She's unbeaten 15 from 15 with a combined aggregate winning margin of some 50+ lengths. Spinters just don't win with the ease and with the margins that she does. You say she can't be called the best sprinter in the world until she races outside of Australia (Kingston Town NEVER did either and he was still a champion) has some merit however that statement is fundamentally flawed for this reason. The worlds best sprinters are in fact Australian ! Australian sprinters travel half way around the world to the Royal Ascot meeting and win every other year. Ever heard of Takeover Target, Choisir (won twice in 4 days), Starspangledbanner, Scenic Blast (Black Caviar spanked him to the tune of about 10 lengths 2 starts back), Miss Andretti ? They have all won in the last 10 years over there and Takeover Target and Miss Andretti are probably the only 2 who at the time were considered Australia's best sprinter. Add to this the fact champion Hong Kong sprinter Sacred Kingdom, champion Singoporean sprinter Rocket Man and throw in the champion Hong Kong sprinter of a few years ago in Silent Witness were all Australian bred, adds further weight to my point. If Black Caviar maintains her current form there is not a horse on this planet than can get near her from 1000m - 1400m and who knows maybe even 1600m.

Rob 5 years ago

With regards to black caviar v frankel... It will be an interesting match up, the bookies currently have them (ante post) at 10/11 each to beat each other and I do believe this to be a correct assessment upto 1m, however in my understanding black caviar is yet to touch beyond that distance whereas frankel has raced 1m2f in pretty much the same way he raced 1m flat... I for one wouldn't back against either in the sprint but I would have to give frankel the edge past 1m..

With regards to Shaun yes it is true American courses are by nature easier tracks to run on and therefore quicker times can be obtained but putting everything into perspective the fact that secretariat managed an average speed of 37.5mph for the entire race at Belmont is something you would expect off a sprinter and this is what blows me away, secretariat took another 2 furlongs to actually stop (he obviously didn't want to stop) and it is on that basis why I consider him great plus the fact the jockey never had to whip him...

Don't get me wrong I am not stating that secretariat is the greatest I am saying out of all the races I have seen and there have been thousands that one performance stands out as the best...

With regards to Red Rum he was a truly great runner of 4m4f and 30 fences hence the 3 wins and 2 seconds but we are talking about just the grand national which Is a one off race... Many runners of the national have average to poor form figures but form doesn't really count for much in that race which is why you quite often get huge price winners... I do believe Red Rum was a poor choice for comparison within this discussion yes he is an aintree legend but only an aintree legend he was average at best elsewhere. Perhaps a better comparison would be steeplechasers like arkle, best mate or desert orchid, I was too young for arkle but the latter two in my mind are two of the most gracefull and sublime jumpers to grace steeplechasing...

I for one love horseracing and I say let's not compare the greats, they are all special in their own rights let them all have their glory and pray that the future greats (frankel and black caviar) don't have an off day when they race each other cause that'll be one hell of a race..

Franchise01 5 years ago

To: Shaun & Rob: Regarding Secretariat you make some vaild points but keep in mind the following:

1) Secretariat "crushed" 4,5, and 6 year old champion horses in his final 3 wins as a 3 year old including Riva Ridge, Couger II, Kennedy Road (twice) and the premier North American champion turf horse Tentam.

2) Shaun - your point that "rogue" horses have recorded record times is well taken. However, NO HORSE has recorded MULTIPLE record times like Secretariat. His abundance of G1 Track & World Records easily support the opinion of his world class standing. In fact, two times SEC "galluped" 1/8 of a mile after the finish line to unofficial world records in the Marlboro Cup (1:57-4/5 time for 1-1/4 dirt mile) and the Belmont Stakes (2:37-3/5 time for 1-5/8 dirt mile). Can you think of another horse that has "galluped" to world records???

3) What Secretariat accomplished in the 1-1/4 mile Kentucky Derby proves beyond a shadow of a doubt his supernatural ability. Each of his five quater fractions were FASTER than the previous ones meaning he increased his speed from the starting gate to the wire, ending the race with an unfathomable 23 second 1/4 mile fraction after running 1-1/4 miles!!! NO HORSE has ever been recorded as accomplishing such a feat. Keep in mind that mammals are NOT supposed to be able to accelerate over a 1 mile+ distance from start to finish. It simply defies logic; extending well beyond the standards of physics and the accepted capabilities of a thoroughbred race horse.

4) Shaun - true Secretariat was beaten several times but 2 of his defeats were die to irrefutable illness (EVERYONE knows this is FACT), one official loss was a victory but he was disqualified for a ridciulous "brush" with another horse, and was almost thrown to the ground out of the gate in his first maiden race by a horse named "Quebec". His only "true" loss was when Prove Out beat him in the 1-1/2 mile Woodward Stakes, but keep in mind Prove Out ran the 2nd fastest 1-1/2 dirt mile EVER with an amazing 2:25-4/5 time IN THE RAIN SOAKED MUD. Secretariat had been training on grass for 2 weeks because he was scheduled for his first turf race ever and was thrown into the Woodward as an "11th hour" addition. Still, I don't believe ANY horse could have matched Prove Out's world class performance that day...he soundly bested SEC who also recorded a super impressive 2:26-3/5 time that would have been more than enough to beat virtually any other horse on the planet (except for Prove Out on that given day!).

So I close in saying that while the title of the greatest race horse is immensely subjective, Secretariat's myriad of jaw dropping/supernatural accomplishmnents most likely provide the strongest case for placing him at the top of the list. Of course, we will never know for sure, and the seemingly infinite argument of who really is #1 will never be truely resolved.

Best Wishes,


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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

By the way Black Caviar is 16 from 16 now not 15 from 15 as I previously stated.

Shaun 5 years ago

Silkdepartment is wrong about Frankel having raced over a mile (1M 2F) he has not yet done this, although there are plans to do so next year. Frankel is an unbeaten horse who is still improving, and baring injury will get even better. The manner in which he brushed aside Canford Cliffs, who had subsequently beat Goldicova (3 times breeders cup winner) confirmed him as the best miler in the world at the moment. With regard to Frankel V Black Caviar it will never happen unless Black Caviar races beyond 7f. Australia has had some of the best sprinters in the last few years, but this has come at a time when there has been a downturn in european sprinters, so this is not a good measure. British sprinters such as Lochsong, Dajur and shiek albedou would be a better measure, but there has been nothing like these in Europe for a few years. Finally Frankel is a beast who is still learning his trade, and if as his trainer states there is much more to come, then god help the opposition. He will not be racing at 6 and 7 furlongs (not that he would not win those races) as the mile and beyond are classier races that command more respect (don't forget the stud value these days). Black caviar looks to be an amazing sprinter but unless he has the ability to transfer that to a mile + he will remain just that (but that's not a bad thing).

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankel, the three year old superstar trained by Sir Henry Cecil has officially been given the highest rating in the world, and duly been tagged one of the all time greats- but just how great is the Freaky Frankel?

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankel has a potent weapon, sheer speed facilitated through that long galloping long stride and if allowed to bowl out in front, surely no horse can live with him? But the key question is can Frankel keep up that pace for another 2 more furlongs? If Frankel is to beat all the best mile and a quarter horses around next year, he may have to learn to settle a little better and save some for the end of the race, or will he need to? Apart from the St James Palace Stakes 2011 at Royal Ascot, Frankel has barely come off the bridle and it will be a brave punter who takes him on.

Shaun 5 years ago


(covering the period 1st April to 16th October 2011)


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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Shaun get your facts straight please. I have NEVER said anything about Frankel racing over any distance let alone more than a mile and Black Caviar is in fact a SHE, not a he as you stated above. In April Black Caviar WAS rated the Worlds Best Horse, a feat NEVER achieved before by a sprinter. That confirms her greatness right there. Her rating dropped slightly in the next ratings period (she's still rated 2nd) as Australia's best sprint races are now in our Summer/Autumn (Feb - April) with the best staying races in our Spring. This is the reason Black Caviar could not improve on her rating as she has just come off her Spring campaign, where she has remained unbeaten. She's now 16 wins from 16 starts. Do yourself a favour and make sure you get to the races in June to see her as she's heading over to England to thrash everything put in front of her. It would be great to see the world's 2 best horses clash and the distance should be 7 furlongs, a distance Black Caviar has never raced over as yet (she's only ever raced from 5 - 6 furlongs). The way she settles with her high cruising speed and then just turns on the afterburners without being asked to run away from multiple Group 1 winners and million dollar earners is amazing to watch. I have no doubt she will get 7 and probably 8 furlongs and who knows, she may even be more dominant at those distances. She's a freak. Australia's sprinters have only been going to England in the last 10 years so it's no coincidence you say European sprinters have not been any good in this time. The likes of Loch Song and Dayjur were obviously great horses but you really need to read about the likes of Manikato - 21 time retrospective Group 1 winner who did 2 suspensory's and had a bleeding attack and suffered a heart attack and still won Group 1 's after this. He won Group 1 races from 6 to 8 furlongs (1200m - 1600m) and even ran 2nd to the champion Derby and Cox Plate winning Dulcify in the Group 1 Austalian Cup at 10 furlongs (2000m)and the other is the immortal Vain - 14 starts 12 wins 2 2nds. 10 of his 12 wins were at Group 1 level at distances ranging from 6 - 8 furlongs. In the space of a week at the VRC Spring Carnival at Flemington when taking on the older horses as a 3yo he won the Craven A Stks (6 furlongs/1200m now called Salinger Stks) by 12 lengths, the Linlithgow Stks (6 furlongs/1200m now called Patinack Farm Classic) by 6 lengths and then in his final race he won the George Adams Hcp (8 furlongs/1600m now called the Emirates Stakes) carrying 10lbs over WFA !! Manikato and Vain are the yardsticks to which all Australasian sprinters are measured against. There are many, incl myself, who say Black Caviar has not reached their level yet and she's unbeaten in 16 starts but in my opinion she's well and truly on her way to matching and even exceeding them.

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

For the record I believe there is not a horse on this planet that can beat Black Caviar at 5, 6 and 7 furlongs, unless she has an off day, which can happen, however at 8 I certainly agree Frankel would be the one to beat. I concede he does look a super horse and being by Galileo he should get 10 & 12 furlongs " on his ear " which may be the way they go with him. I hope not as that would ensure we never see Frankel and Black Caviar clash. Lets all hope he's thrown more to his damside. Here's an opportunity for English racing authorities to put on a 7 furlong race at Royal Ascot for say a million pounds. You would guarantee 100,000 fans through the gates and a world wide audience of millions

Shaun 5 years ago

SilkDepartment, I appologise for the Frankel Distance mistake, it would appear checking back that it was Rob who said that (such a lot of large posts mistakes can sometimes be made) as for Black Caviar's sex well its all the same to me he , she its about the racing that we are really taking, but fair enough. Frankel will not race at 7f ......... it would be a backwards step for him to go down from a mile, but also races below 1 mile (min classic distance) are not held in such high regard here, the best trainers are looking for 1 mile + horses as this is were the classic distances, stud value and fame is. As I said Black Caviar looks an amazing sprinter, and unless something develops next year, I'm sure she will win at Ascot as there have been no great european sprinter in the last few years (nothing to do will Austrailian sprints) its just the way it is. a lot of the lesser trainers in the UK aim at sprinting because they know the top trainers are aiming at the classic races which are 1 mile + ....... Black Caviar if she stays at sprint distances will still be an amazing thing, but she will have to step up to the classier distances if she is to challenge the likes of Frankel.

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Black Caviar is bred to be a sprinter/miler so there's no chance she'll be racing at distances more than a mile. She's won AU$4,000,000+ to date and is so dominant it just doesn't make sense. Even though she's a mare, in Australia the most valuable stallion prospects are the sprinter/milers. Danehill would be the most influential sire Australia has seen is the last 30 years and his son Redoutes Choice is gaining ground. Danehill has also been a champion sire in Europe, who sired the likes of Rock of Gibraltar, Desert King and Dylan Thomas amongst many. Maybe Australia has it right with speed sires ?? Galileo's progeny here in Australia are very much considered stayers, with the majority of them being very slow stayers. I would suggest Frankel gets his speed from the damside (Danehill) of his pedigree as opposed to the sire side (Galileo). Anyway we are getting off the track here but I'll say this.....I'd bet anything Frankel does not win his first 16 starts as Black Caviar has done to date. He'll be up against older and more seasoned campaigners next year and he'll know he's been in a race then, as good as her appears to be......

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankel has already raced against the older generation , he destroyed can ford cliffs, who in turn beat goldicova who won the breeders cup mile 3 times, so he has already beaten the best older generation miler. Anything can happen to a horse, but on what has been seen so far, frankel has nothing to worry about in the older gen horses, if he is to have a challenger then it will have to come from the new 3 year old generation. Frankel has won all his races so far, and if he run 16 times then I would expect him to still be unbeaten, but it's unlikely he will run 16 times, because of stud values we are blessed to still have the chance to see him for another season, especially as it looks like the best is yet to come.

Shaun 5 years ago

I ve just checked and frankel will be retired after his 4 year old racing season so no chance of 16 races. Sir Henry Cecil says that the plan is to end his racing career at the breeders cup, after a campaign of 1 mile and 1 mile 2 furlong races. Cecil says he will get the 1 mile 2 f easily, and that he is still a big baby, who will improve greatly next season ."........... Good god if this is true he will have an all time world record rating.

Rob 5 years ago

I'd just like to go back to secretariat's win at the Belmont in 1973. Sec averaged 37.5mph for the ENTIRE race, in other words he sprinted 1.5 miles... Now just to give everyone an interesting stat..... Oasis Dream ran the Nunthorpe stakes a 5f group race in England in 56.2 secs (the fastest it's been run since 1980), now if you divide that 56.2 secs by five to equate the furlong time it works out at 11.24 secs per furlong and then multiply that by 12 (the distance of the Belmont) it works out that Oasis dream at that speed consistently would have that 1.5 miles in 2.24.8 seconds which was still slower than Secretariat's Belmont time... Now Secretariat may have his knockers and some will say flat dirt track and all that, you've still got to have admiration for a horse that travelled 3 times further faster than a top sprint horse

Shaun 5 years ago

And that just shows why times can be misleading with regard to a horses greatness........................workforce race the fastest ever derby time but no one considers him to be a great derby winner, times are subject to so many variables, conditions, type of track etc, and even in the us drugs, so the playing field is rarely level. As good as oasis dream was he was not the best horse to win the nunthorpe science 1980, and yet his time would indicate that.

Shaun 5 years ago

Example: horse 1 runs 1 mile at track A in 1 min, moments later horse 2 run the same distance at track A in 1 min 2 seconds, horse 1 is the better horse right."................ Wrong, horse 2 was eased right down with a furlong to go .............. The time meant nothing.

Shaun 5 years ago

Remember horses tend to run from the starting gate to the finish line in the us, whereas in say Europe, this is not the case, they are often held up early, this is one reason why times are held in less regard in europe than the US, and also why most records are set on American flat tracks.

Rob 5 years ago

Yes horses are eased right at the finish line, trainers instruct their jockeys to hold their horses up at beginning of races cause they are the type of horses who do their best work in the last two furlongs, horses running handy tend to have to hang on to their leads and invariably slow down towards the end. Horses are eased as to not affect their handicap rating too much, our philosophy seems to be why win by 20 lengths when 2 will do i see it everyday. But eased or not eased having a faster average speed over 12 furlongs than a sprinter over 5 has still got to have that special mention in horseracing... Remember I am not talking about secretariat specifically I am talking about that particular performance at the Belmont in 1973, which just happened to be performed by secretariat... And yes I agree a horse which performs a record time for a race isn't necessary the best ( could be a freak performance) for instance my 2 favourite steeplechasers of all time are Best Mate and Desert Orchid and the question is could you in all honesty say was either of them better than Arkle at Cheltenham, probably not afterall Arkle won it 3 times carrying 12st but in my mind Best Mate and Dessie the way they jumped was just a dream to watch. And I probably wouldn't be alone in that sentiment, in Dessies last race when he fell at the 13th all cameras stayed on him the race was forgotten, people watching the race at home had to wait for the official result because the end of the race wasn't shown. And when both Dessie and Best Mate both died they hit the front pages of every national newspaper that is how popular they both were. Also remember Dessie is the only non human to ever be nominated for the Sports Personality of the Year award.

The point I am making these horses all do something that makes them great even things that make us believe they are the best ever and Secretariat did that at Belmont 1973, that something extraordinary by sprinting the entire 1.5 miles no horse European or otherwise has Ever done that and that is what people should remember.... Best ever well who knows, in my mind that is the best performance in a race I've ever seen but he didn't do that in every race so we can't say he'd beat any horse he raced against so in effect you can not say he is the greatest horse ever cause that is such a subjective tag, the best performance by a horse ever maybe but certainly not the tag of the best horse ever.... Let's just leave it as one of the many greatest horses ever...

Shaun 5 years ago

Rob that's all we can do is say this horse or that horse was the best of his generation, over certain distances, and occasionally see them as probably one of the best ever"............. Within that we will all have are favorites ".".................... For example one of my favorites was pebbles who was a fantastic horse, she won an amazing breeders cup , one of the first if not the first to win a breeders cup from the UK ..".""................ She ran clean against a field of horse who were on drugs, she may not be the best ever but she is up there for me.

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Frankel destroyed Canford Cliffs after Canford Cliffs ran from inside rail to outside rail in the last furlong. The margin was a little unfair. It should be noted Canford Cliffs has a win strike rate of just over 60% which is hardly champion material and he beat Goldicova when her best racing is clearly behind her. 1 win from her past 5 starts backs that up. Where does that put Frankel ? He's clearly a very very good horse and maybe even a champion however what he does next season, in my opinion, will define his greatness

Franchise01 5 years ago

Shaun/Rob: Going back to Secretariat's Belmont, the MAIN point about SEC is that his Belmont Stakes is just ONE of his "godly" type performances. Shaun makes a strong point that some ordinary horses have posted great times at various distances and that is very accurate. HOWEVER, NO mediocre horse has posted more than ONE world class time and only a handful of "great" horses several world class performances. This is WHY I feel SEC just may be the finest of them all because he managed SIX...yes I repeat SIX amazing record setting times including: (1) Belmont Stakes (we surely know about this one); (2) Kentucky Derby 1:59-2/5 record for 1-1/4 mile time including running each 1/4 mile FASTER than the preceeding one...NO HORSE HAS EVER BEEN RECORDED AS ACCOMPLISHING THAT FEAT AT 9 furlongs or better; (3) Marlboro Cup 1-1/8 mile WORLD RECORD in which SEC's post-finish line 1/8 mile "gallup" tied the 1-1/4 mile world record of 1:57-4/5 (who "gallups" to world records???); (4) a stunning 1:53-2/5 Preakness Stakes performance which ties him with 2 horses for the fastest time; (5) a remarkable 1:33-2/5 1 mile sprint in his Gotham Stakes win that still reigns as a track record; (6) His FIRST turf race resulted in a still standind 2:24-4/5 track record for the 1-1/2 mile Man o' War stakes!!!!

Shaun, it is incomprehensible to think that 6 or half of Secretariat's 12 races as a 3-year old resulted in either "still standing" world or track records with 2 "unofficial" world records recorded after 1/8 of a mile post-finish line gallups!!!! This is why your point that "rogue horses accomplished great track times" does not apply in the SEC discussion because NO HORSE can boast Secretariat's "laundry list" of world class times/performances over a career...let alone a single year! Furthermore, as a 3 year-old, SEC absolutely blasted 4, 5 and 6 year old CHAMPION horses in his last 3 wins by 4 to 10 lengths including Canadian horse of the year Kennedy Road (twice), Key to the Mint, Riva Ridge, the premier North American turf horse Tim Tam (that is until SEC ran on turf), and Couger II.

It all adds up to the FACT that NO HORSE comes even close to boasting all of the aforementioned supernatural feats. Altough the title of "the greatest horse ever" is extremely subjective, the previously listed facts justify why many enthusiasts proclaim Secretariat the finest race horse of all-time.

Best Regards,


Rob 5 years ago

Ron you won't get any diagreement from me, but there are others who as you call it performed "supernatural" races, like Dessie who's Cheltenham gold cup was 3.2 miles in the mud in which he Sprinted up the hill and over the finish line, I mean what horse has ever done that... Or Best Mate who in his last Gold Cup was blocked off by 3 other horses (deliberately) and yet he manoeuvred between them and jumped the last 2 fences so brilliantly that he ended up winning by 6 lengths, and for the record Best Mate never fell in a race and the only time he finished outside of the money was that sad day he had a heart attack at Exeter and had to be put to sleep... Like I said all great horses do something that make them great and I agree Sec is one of them, and is also one of my faves... But the greatest horse ever is something that should not be in my mind attributed to any horse cause you simply cannot compare Sec with the great British jump horses as it's totally different kinds of racing

Shaun 5 years ago

Frankel destroyed can ford cliffs, physically and mentally, can ford cliffs could not go with frankly, that's why he drifted, he was out of his comfort zone, it's no coincidence he was retired afterwards, when only a few weeks earlier he had beaten goldicova. Frankel is a beast, don't forget he is still learning can ford cliffs was the older horse and the finished article, franked was not.

Shaun 5 years ago

Dont forget he is rated 135 which is 7 points better than anything else around in the world at the moment and he is still learning, his best is yet to come, baring injury, they are currently talking about him, ending up as the highest ever rated horse, we will see if that happend next year or not

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

I wouldn't base my opinion of any horse on those ratings. As far as I'm concerned they rate English horses a good deal higher than they should. Timeform is even worse. Australasia has had no more than 10 horses go to the Japan Cup for 2 wins (Better Loosen Up & Horlicks) and a 2nd. English/European stayers have been coming to Australia for the past 15 - 20 years to try and win the Melbourne Cup....Thats around 100 horses for 4 wins. French trained horses have won the past 2 runnings and the 2 winners before that were Irish. The likes of Double Trigger, Yeats, Vinnie Roe (ran twice although he did run 2nd once), Drum Taps were considered great stayers in Europe but couldn't win here. Australian horses go to England and win every other year. Since 2003 (the first year we starting going over) we have had Choisir win twice in 4 days, Miss Andretti, Takeover Target, Scenic Blast, Starspangledbanner (multiple winner), Haradasun, So You Think (multiple winner) all win at Group 1 level and some of them win multiple times and thats from a pool of around 15 horses who have been to England in that time. So my point is how can Frankel be rated clearly above Black Caviar. Black Caviar has achieved a 135 rating and remains unbeaten in 16 career starts and wins effortlessly EVERY time she races. That proves how subjective ratings really are. I have no doubts about Frankel being a high class horse but I know where my money would be if he clashed with Black Caviar at 6 or 7 furlongs. At 5 & 6 its a no contest, at 7 I'd be on Black Caviar and at 8 Frankel would have to be favoured on exposed form. He looks very good over a mile. In saying that Black Caviar has not raced beyond 6 to date, although her trainer has indicated she will contest 2 Group 1's over 7 next prep before heading to England so we'll know more then. Who knows she may be more dominant at 7 and then 8 furlongs

Shaun 5 years ago

The fact is Europeans don' send the really top horses to Australia because, well history dictates that the truly great historical races are in Europe, and this is where they are aimed, and apart from the Melbourne cup which is an handicap I believe, there. Is not really any well known Australian races outside of australia. The Europeans only started going to the US in the 80's for the breeders cup, I dont understand why the Australian horses don't go to the US. Outside of sprinters which I have agreed australia does have very good ones at the moment, there other horses have been poor to average. Black caviar will not meet Frankel because she will not race at the traditional classic distances, and Frankel left the sprint distances behind as a juvenile. I think by now black cavier has reach her best as she is older than Frankel who still has improvement in him".."... With regard to the ratings well Aussie Horses have struggled since they came in to make an impact in the great races. Austrailia does breed good horses but the racing scence outside of the Melbourne cup has no profile.

Shaun 5 years ago

Also don't forget jeune who won the Melbourne cup in the 90's and al talaq in the 80's were British race horses, in fact jeune has not top class in Britain but still won the Melbourne cup......... In fact it surprising just how many British horses end up racing in other countries, some who have been a failure in Britain go to the US and win top races.

Shaun 5 years ago

One other thing with the Melbourne cup being a handicap the best horse may not win"............Yates in fack carried top weight on 3 successive occasions, and it's not uncommon for the forign horses to carry the large weights in the Melbourne cup, whereas the group races at royal ascot the horses are given the same weights................

SilkDepartment profile image

SilkDepartment 5 years ago

" Outside of sprinters which I have agreed australia does have very good ones at the moment, there other horses have been poor to average " The ONLY 2 horses who were not sprinters that have gone over to England in the past 20 years were Haradasun, who WON the Group 1 Queen Anne Stks in 2008 and Starcraft, who WON the Prix Du Moulin de Longchamp and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stks in 2005. He was also awarded the title of World Champion Older Turf Miler in 2005. That's a 100% WINNING strike rate ! Sort of makes a mockery of your statement doesn't it Shaun ? As for both At Talaq AND Jeune they were both Australian trained and raced in Australia far more than they ever raced in England and they never went back to England. In fact they both became reasonable Australian based sires. Look at So You Think, who is now trained the "european style". He's a shadow of his former self. He was a more developed horse as a 3yo. Even Aiden O'Brien has admitted he has got it wrong with So You Think's training on several occasions and he's still a multiple Group 1 winner over there. Double Trigger, Yeats, Vinnie Roe WERE rated the best stayers in Europe when they raced here and they have NO wins between them.

SilkDepartment profile image

SilkDepartment 5 years ago

The reasons are simple as to why Australian horses don't go to the Breeders Cup. 1. It coincides with the world famous Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and 2. The main races are run on dirt. The reasons why we don't send our stayers to England is also simple. In Australia they run for millions and in England they run for a few shillings and a pat on the back. The sprinters go and the general rule is they win when they do go......

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

It is simply foolish to think Black Caviar is past her best. She's only lightly raced as she missed most of her 3yo year due to injury resulting from her immaturity. She's at the peak of her powers now, a fact not lost on her trainer Peter Moody (leading trainer in Aust). This is the reason she has not already travelled but will be doing so next year. As for other races not having a profile outside of Australia it should be noted Taufans Melody, who knocked over half the field but somehow still retained the race and Give The Slip won The Caulfield Cup in 1998 and 2008 respectively. International horses run every year in that race, the Geelong Cup and Cox Plate (most years). Horses from America, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan also regularly race in many of our other big races. The number 1 reason there are not even more who do so has alot to do with the travel as the prizemoney is good. Australian racing is a world leader in all things horse racing, a fact English authorities know only too well. As an owner I can certain vouch for that.

Shaun 5 years ago

You can't have it both ways you claim so you think who now races out of another country and have excuses for her not winning everything on the fact she is not racing out of Australia (perhaps you might just realise that the horse is not quite as good as you think), but also claim jeune and al talaq who were originally from England, when they win in Australia" seem to want it both ways. Even your sprinter were poor at ascot recent.. Big prize money or not the Melbourne cup is still a handicap, and horses from abroad still generally have more weight to carry than Australian horses, and in recent times you can see that the forign horses are starting to dominate. The Melbourne cup comes at the end of avert hard European season so horses are not always at there best, if the Melbourne cup was in June , I,ve not doubt that horses like Yeats even with the top weight he was always asked to carry would have won . S for middle distance horses Australia just has never boast the strength in depth that Europe has had over the years. Any horse race can attract money (it can come as well as go) but class and history can never be bought, Australia will never have the derby, guineas, or ledger.......... And I don't mean those por name sakes you may have over there. There is only one guineas , derby and arc etc. most of your horses have breeding to English horse"........... Even black cavier is bred by nyjinsky who was english. As for being an owner well that explains a lot as they are usually the worst judge of horses. English horses who have hard European campaigns still go to race in the US even though it right at the end of the season............ We have sent horses all over the world, we never make an excuse for not taking up the challange"...................and English horses have still won the Melbourne cup on 4 many Derbies or guineas have Australian horses won...............there is nowhere that English horses have not won............ And to cap it all the though red is bred from an Arab stallion and an English mare............that is something you can never change................Eclipse was the mother of all great race horses.

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way you send over sprinter to ascot, and yet say your stayers don't come because of the prize money, and that kind of defeats your argument don't it. Or is it more likely you see what the weak races are and then send a horse to them, LOL ...... You could not even win the sprint this year

Shaun 5 years ago

haradasun was trained by o'brien when winning at ascot ...... Irish trained ........again you want it both ways ...........

Shaun 5 years ago

Starcraft was trained by Luca Cumani ................. British trainer when winning at ascot............... My you do seem to like your cake and eat it.

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way juene raced more of his life in the UK than Australia............. He only raced at 5 & 6 in Aus ( 6 year old career was a shambles, whereas he was born in the UK and raced at 2,3 & 4 there."................ So your wrong about about that

Shaun 5 years ago

Haradasun ran twice in the UK won one and was soundly beaten in the other, starcraft ran 3 times won one and was soundly beaten in the other 2. Now by my reckoning that is not 100 percent strike rate, that's 40 percent.............. Whos making a mockery of who LOL

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

" Even your sprinter were poor at ascot recent " I assume you mean Star Witness with this statement. Star Witness missed the start in the Group 1 Kings Stand Stks at Royal Ascot and flew home to run 2nd beaten a lip !!!!!! In Australia Star Witness is a ' B grader '. Just youtube Black Caviar Newmarket Hcp (Star Witness' previous start before Royal Ascot) and you will see Black Caviar thrashing Star Witness by about 10 lengths and she was jogging. She was also giving him 5kg's (approx 11 lbs) so Star Witness in England is more than competitive in Group 1 class but in Australia he is a B grader (he was beaten at Listed level the start prior to his Newmarket thrashing).

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Exerpt from one of the morning papers ' ENGLAND'S six-time champion jockey Kieren Fallon could not even wait to dismount from Melbourne Cup topweight Yeats after trackwork today before declaring him the winner of Australia's greatest race.'

"How does the Melbourne Cup winner look, boys," Fallon said as he jogged back to his stable.

4 time Ascot Gold Cup winner Yeats carried 59 kg's (so you would think he probably earned this weight) into 7th placing. The previous year Makybe Diva carried 58kg's when WINNING The Melbourne Cup and she was a mare !! Good or great horses win with big weights.

" and English horses have still won the Melbourne cup on 4 many Derbies or guineas have Australian horses won " Who are the 4 ? If you are counting Vintage Crop and Media Puzzle as English you are kidding yourself. Ask the Irish where they are from. At Talaq raced in England as a 3yo in 1984 before being transferred to champion trainer Colin Hayes where he raced in 1985, 86 & 87 winning the '86 Melbourne Cup. Purchased in America, owned by a sheik from Dubai, raced in England and France in '84 and Australia in '85, '86 & '87 and stood at stud in Australia and you want to claim him as English ? Hmmmm

Jeune was owned by a sheik and raced in England as a 3 & 4yo before being transferred to Colin's son David Hayes where he raced in Australia as a 5 & 6yo before a stud career in Australia. OK I'll let England claim him. There is 1 other but I'll let you come up with his name. Who's having it both ways ? We simply don't send horses to England to contest the Guineas, Derby so you can't win them if you don't choose to be in them !

SilkDepartment profile image

SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Of the International horses who have won the Melbourne Cup NONE, I repeat NONE of them carried top weight whereas off the top of my head I can recall a dozen Australian horses who have done so and I'm sure there would be close to double that, if not more. To use that as an excuse as to why English horses don't win is ludicrous....

" Even black cavier is bred by nyjinsky who was english. " Black Caviar is by Bel Esprit (Aust) who's by Royal Academy (USA) who's by Nijinsky II (Can) who was bred in Canada and was by Kentucky Derby winner Northern Dancer but hey just use that flimsy at best argument that all horses trace back to Eclipse so therefore they must all be considered English.

" starcraft ran 3 times won one and was soundly beaten in the other 2. Now by my reckoning that is not 100 percent strike rate, that's 40 percent.............. Whos making a mockery of who LOL " Well actually Starcraft won TWICE in Europe - the Prix Du Moulin de Longchamp and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stks. That is a FACT. 22 career starts 5 of them in Europe and US under Luca Cumani but hey that's surely enough to make him English right ?

" By the way you send over sprinter to ascot, and yet say your stayers don't come because of the prize money, and that kind of defeats your argument don't it. " Defeats my argument ?? The big money races in Australia ARE all staying/middle distance/mile races except 1, which is the 1200m (6 furlong) $3 million Golden Slipper which is restricted to 2yo's. Melbourne Cup (2 mile) $6 million, Caulfield Cup (mile 1/2) $3 million, Cox Plate (mile 1/4) $3.5 million, BMW/Tancred Stks (mile 1/2) $2 million, The Doncaster (mile) $2 million, Australian Derby (mile 1/2) $2.5 million and I could go on and on. There are a few sprint races worth $1 million. Now anybody would say that kind of defeats your argument. You are backing your points up with opinions and I'm doing so with FACTS. They are entirely different things my friend. Now as this hub is about the 10 Greatest Racehorses of All Time I would suggest we stick to that from now on in. Opinions are all we have here and we all know you are an expert in that field.

Shaun 5 years ago

My goodness not another winging aussie"".......................pick the points he wants and ignores the rest.............even makybe diva was British bred"................your so desperate on jeune you are turning to the owner nationality now, so using your logic if jeune was born and bred in GB , and spent the first 4 years of life there and is still not british, then no horse under 5 that is born and bred in the UK is British either LOL. Mined you, australia has Been so desperate in the past that they have claimed nationality of anything that passes though the country.

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way the language that we have been conversing in is called English, but then I bet you think that is Australian too, even though there is no such language. Another Aussie with a big chip on his shoulder about the English............move on after all without us you would not exist.

Shaun 5 years ago

By the way if you can calm down a bit and actually read my posts you will see that my facts about Haradasun and Starcraft a 100 percent right as they say for the UK, ............ Did you know France is a different country............. Oh of course only when it suits you, silly me I forgot........... LOL

Shaun 5 years ago

I really hope Frankel does not have a run in Australia next year as he is only 4 years old and you will be claiming him as one of your own ........... Hahahahaha

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

" winging aussie " we assume you mean whinging Aussie. For somebody who wants to remind us we all speak the English language you are not doing a very good job of it. Maybe they need to teach it at school in England ! " Another Aussie with a big chip on his shoulder about the English " I thought this hub was about horseracing and not about Australian's and their feelings for if it were about our feelings it would go something like this.....If it wasn't for US and Australian soldiers you may be speaking German. Australians are eternally grateful to England who chose to send their petty thieves to paradise (Australia). Wasn't it meant to be punishment ? lol lol That has to go down as possibly one of the biggest blunders in the history of the world. England - has history (albeit littered with f up after f up), natural beauty umm....fields for farming, white cliffs of Dover ??, it pours rain and is freezing cold for almost the entire year, it's a tiny country surrounded by countries who hate them (Irish, Scots and French lol lol), has high unemployment, majority live in houses the size of an Australian toilet, produces coal, oil, natural gas but not much else. Australia - great weather, great beaches with sand and surf (some 25,000kms of coastline), natural beauty like deserts, rainforests, the outback, snow capped mountains (many with ski resorts), thousands of islands (many with luxurious resorts), 2,600km long Great Barrier Reef, great rivers, lakes etc etc. Diverse range of flora and fauna, many of which are unique to Australia. Leading producer of gold, silver, diamonds, copper, zinc, nickel, lead, uranium, coal, oil, natural gas, bauxite, alumina and the big daddy of them all iron ore. Did I mention Black Caviar ? Yep we sure have alot to whinge about don't we ? Damn those Aussie's have big chips on their shoulders. Thank you England. No, we really mean it !

DC - Aus 5 years ago

Shaun & Silky ... you two should think seriously about forming a comedy act. You could call it loud and LOUDER.

Hey, just a point on Southern and Northern horses (juveniles)they are bred to different times. Major reason why we don't contest each others classics.

Keep the insults coming guys.

Shaun 5 years ago

So if Australia is so great then what do Aussies winge all the time (ever heard of typos.... Obviously not).......... Noticed you did not mention the fact that Australia's greatest horse Makybe diva was British bred, bet thats a Thorn in the Aussie breeders side........ Your country is in the middle of nowhere, you have to cover up for fear of getting cancer, if you go into the water you don't know if a great white will get you or the deadly jelly fish........ On land the spiders are waiting...........and if you survive all this you will probably get lost in the 80 percent of Australia that is uninhabitable ............. So all in all some for your horse racing no wonder there is good prize money, there's bugger all else to spent your money on, most if it's Arab anyway like the sponsorship of the Melbourne cup.............

Mike 5 years ago

Secretariat was running on "home soil" (and turf)? He won his last race in Canada.

Put simply- 40 years later those times are still elite.

The only question really is how he could have handled the extra weight.

Shaun 5 years ago

Interestingly Red Cadeaux the British runner who came 2nd in this years Melbourne cup (lost by the narrowest margin ever in the race could only win 4th grade staying races back home in GB........ Was soundly beaten in grade1 and 2's............ So maybe we may see lesser British stayers going to the Melbourne cup in future. The top staying races in the UK are all run over further distances than the Melbourne cup which is just under 2 miles....... The gold cup for instance is run over 2 and a half miles........... And is a true stayers test............ The French have had success the last 2 years, because as they have said races in Australia and France are run the same way. I think in future you will see a different type of Horse coming over from the UK, one that is probably a 1 mile 6 furlong horse, as approved to an out and out stayer.

Franchise01 5 years ago

Mike - With a a 75+ girth, standing 16 hands & 2" tall and built with 1,160+ lbs of sheer muscle, you can surely bet that Secretariat would have "easily" handled the extra weight as a 4 year old. It would have been potentially frightening to witness the record setting performances Secretariat would have provided the thoroughbred racing community had he been allowed to continue his career!

Best Regards,


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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Once again you are mixing your opinions up with the facts. There is no such ' known term ' as whinging Aussie but check out US based Urban Dictionary - The terms Whinging Pom or Whinging Poms and even Whinging Pommy Bastard can be found there (I particularly like the whinge...“This place gets far too much sunlight. My healthy white skin can only handle the sun once filtered through multiple layers of cloud, fog and rain” lol lol Only funny cuz it's true). So I believe you are sadly confused. With regards to Red Cadeaux being a lesser British stayer well interestingly, as you put it, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux (Melb Cup Quinella) just franked the Melbourne Cup form by running 1st and 3rd in the Group 1 2400m Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in Hong Kong last Sunday on Hong Kong's biggest and richest raceday of the lol Looks like both must be pretty good. The Ascot Gold Cup, in my and many others opinions, looks like a slow stayers test. Lots of winners and placegetters of that race have not been sighted in the Melbourne Cup like Double Trigger, Yeats, Purple Moon, Drum Taps for example. You also mention Australia's greatest horse (in your opinion) Makybe Diva is British Bred. Whilst its subjective you will find around 95% of anybody who knows anything about racing would not share your opinion, incl myself. Ever heard of Phar Lap ? Tulloch ? Carbine ? Kingston Town ? Rising Fast ? She'd be top 10 but certainly not "Australia's greatest". It is true Makybe Diva is British bred after her dam Tugela was purchased by Australian tuna fisherman and horse owner/breeder Tony Santic whilst in foal with the foaling producing Makybe Diva however I doubt it is a thorn in the side of ANY Australian breeder as she's a mare !!! You know 1 foal a year as opposed to 200 for a sire !!! It maybe a thorn in the side of anybody who was at that Tatts foal sale in 1999 though. She was passed in so Santic decided to keep her and sent her back to his home in Australia. Its history now that she won more than AUD$14,000,000. Whoever bid or thought of bidding on her at that Tatts sale I'm sure lives with alot of regrets.

Ron - I agree Secretariat would have handled carrying weight however we will never know if his feats achieved as a 3yo would have been replicated as an older horse. I've seen many many top class 3yo's not come up as 4 and 5yo's. Not saying Secretariat couldn't have been as dominant but that it's purely guesswork to assume he would have been, as great as he was.

DC 5 years ago


I've been off and on this site now for about 6 months ... I love the banter, keep it coming. You guys love your horses. But above all else I commend Ron's total devotion to Secretariat. In fact Ron's passion was such that I decided to re educate myself on the USA's "big red" (one of Oz's many nicknames for Phar Lap). What I learned was that on facts and figures as a punter you'd want to back Secretariat in any race (up to a mile and 2) against any horse, of any age and anywhere. His stats are simply irresistible.

As for the ongoing UK - Oz debate, I think there is no doubting (whatsoever) that British or for that matter Euorpean stayers are far superior to what we currently have in Australia and frankly our great stayers of the past were in the main NZ bread. Since NZ breaders have moved away from stayer breads (Sir Tristram - yes a UK horse)our stayers have been real "B" graders. Seriously the Cup fields Makybe Diva beat were just awful, apart from Vinie Roe she didn't beat anything ... just look at the other place getters in those three cups and track their future performances ... timing is as they say "everything"!

However, when it comes to speed (on reasonably flat tracks - only Brits race up and down hills) our sprinters are superior and by some margin. I'm not sure I'd agree with Silky and say Star Witness is a "B" grader but I can say this with certainty ... Black Caviar beats him by in excess of 10 lengths in a flat out race up to 6 furlongs and my view that gap widens as we extend to 7 & 8 furlongs. Can she beat Frankel? ... lets hope we find out! If they meet in Oz (any distance) my money is firmly on the the big mare but in the UK - you gotta favour the local.

After 6 decades of watching these remarkable beasts, I (like Ron) remain committed to one ... his name was Kingston Town and he won at the top level from 6 - 16 furlongs. He may not be the greatest of all time (even in Oz) but so far he is the greatest I've ever witnessed.

Rob 5 years ago

Yep history is littered with equine disappointments, Arazi and Johannesburg just to name a couple, the fact is all our opinions are purely conjecture. Secretariat as I have stated put in the best individual performance in a SINGLE race in my view which let's face it is the main reason we have all talked about him in this forum but the main thing is every equine "God" has a reason to why someone else thinks "no" wait a min he/she can't be the best, in Secretariats case he got beat, in Black Caviars case he hasn't run past 6f and whilst I don't know the history of all the other great horses mentioned here I bet you can make a case against all of them aswell... But insulting each other won't change anyone else's opinion... So let's clarify a few of the non related subjects up first, Shaun it's not a great time to be English at the moment, times are very challenging, weather is horrible, and we don't ever seem to be able to find a politician who can make things any better for us... Silk as much as I'd like to agree with some of your comments my sister had a choice of Aus and NZ (she's spent a year in both) and she chose NZ. On a personal level if I'd prefer Aus if I didn't have to worry about the wealth of deadly creatures that inhabit it.

Ok back to the discussion that we should be talking about and that is the 10 greatest horses ever, It should be the 10 best horse performances ever, let's face it NO horse should and never could be proclaimed the best ever FACT. They've all competed in different times and places and over different distances so I am going to set a new challenge to all still visiting this forum... What in your minds are the 10 best individual performances by a horse? I look forward to looking them up on YouTube!!!

Steve 5 years ago

Lol, sorry but any list of the greatest racehorses ever that does not have Seabiscuit as #1 is laughable at best.

Rob 5 years ago

The story of the biscuit is a true rags to riches story and a very heartwarming one but as has been said before many times the term "greatest racehorse ever" is too subjective and we shouldn't compare horses in this way, however singular performance wise I agree biscuits match race with war admiral should be way up there but I don't think that could ever compare with secretariats Belmont performance...

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Rob - 10 Best individual performances ? Gee that is gonna be a tough one. Secretariat would most probably have more than one entry. I'm sure there are many outstanding performances by horses who could not even be mentioned in the same breathe as a Secretariat/Phar Lap etc. Have to get back to you on that. With regards to living in Australia you or anybody really has nothing to worry about in relation to sharing this country with deadly creatures. Whilst there are many, I can say I've travelled multiple times in every state and territory and only once have I come close to being bitten. I nearly stepped on a snake who was sunning himself on a small mound of grass clippings (some said it was a taipan but I'm not so sure) whilst I was playing golf on the Sunshine Coast in southern Queensland. The time I clocked for the 30m I sprinted to get away could be the single greatest performance by a human In all seriousness you just never come across deadly snakes, spiders, crocodiles etc unless you go looking for them.

DC - I was fortunate enough to see Kingston Town once live as a 10yo kid and he sure was a special horse. I have 'The King and The Man' video which has gotten a good run over the years.

Franchise01 5 years ago

I would say SEC has two unquestionable top 10's:

1) Belmont Stakes performance is not even arguable

2) His Kentucky Derby when he ran EACH quarter FASTER than the PRIOR quarter fractions. NO OTHER HORSE has ever been recorded as speeding up an entire race from the gate to the wire over a 1-1/4 mile distance. Simply stated, it defies the limits of what mammals are supposed to be able to accomplish and to complete the FINAL quarter in 23 seconds (some clockers/analysts even argue it was 22-4/5 seconds) is near impossible!

While SEC has other incredible runs (Marlboro Cup, Gotham and Man o' War to name a few), it would be over aggresive of me to expect those to be "top 10" quality since there have been SO MANY other great performances across the globe. But the first two I mentioned have to be included because of their supernatural stature.

Best Wishes,


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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

DC I feel you are being a little harsh with respect to the Cup fields Makybe Diva beat being 'awful'. I concede 2003 was not a stellar year, in fact in the main they were an ordinary lot, however 2004 included the likes of Vinnie Roe (4 time Irish St Leger winner and rated worlds best stayer in 2003-04-05), Mamool (winner of Grp 3 Queens Vase over 2 miles and twice Grp 1 winner in Germany), Elvstroem (winner of Victoria Derby, CF Orr Stks, Underwood Stks, Caulfield Cup, Dubai Duty Free etc), Mummify (winner of SA Derby, Caulfield Cup, Caulfield Stks, Singapore International Cup, Underwood Stks etc), Media Puzzle (Geelong & Melbourne Cup winner), Razkalla (winner at mile 1/2 in Dubai and England), Delzao (Grp 2 winner & 4 time Grp 1 placegetter as well as 4 time Grp 2-3 placegetter), Roman Arch (winner of Toorak Hcp & Australian Cup at Grp 1, Sandown Classic and dual Grp 1 placings in Futurity Stks & Doomben Cup) and in 2005 she had the likes of Vinnie Roe, Distinction, Eye Popper (Group 1 2nd's in Caulfield Cup and Tenno Sho & 3 time Grp 3 placed in Argentina & Japan, Railings (dual Grp 1 winner incl Caulfield Cup), Xcellent (4 time Grp 1 winner & NZ Horse of the year), Demerger (Grp 1 winner over 2 miles and Grp 3 winner over mile 1/2 at Flemington), Dizelle (Grp 1 winner), Vouvray (Grp 1 winner) to deal with....

Janet Steeves 5 years ago


sarah 5 years ago

I love horses xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Nicole horseylover 5 years ago

Hello where is phar lap????!!!!!!!

Franchise01 5 years ago

Where is Phar Lap? Not in the top 10 and rightfully so. American horses superior to Phar lap include Secretariat, Man o' War, Citation, Count Fleet, Kelso, Dr, Fager, Ruffian, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed and Seattle Slew. Superior European horses include Sea Bird II, Nijinsky, Ribot, Shergar and Sea the Stars, just to name a few. Simply stated, I believe all of the above horses were simply faster than Phar lap but as you know it is very tough comparing horses from different eras as well as from different continents.



SilkDepartment profile image

SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Phar Lap would have beaten ALL of the aforementioned horses most of the time. At his one and only International race start (how many above even raced outside their own country/state ?) he demolished a crack field in the Agua Caliente Hcp, which was the world's richest race at the time. He travelled by ship for 10 weeks, had a very limited preparation to race on dirt for the first time and with a cracked hoof, he raced wide the whole way to avoid the 'kick back' and won carrying the topweight. Oh and to appease you Americans he broke the track record !! Many of the experts at the time declared him unbeatable but he was cut down in his prime, tragically poisoned by mobsters, who's bookies stood to lose heavily on him, only a few weeks after his Agua Caliente Hcp win. He won everything in Australia before that and there were many times when bookmakers simply refused to take bets on him. He won on all 4 days of the world famous Flemington Spring Carnival - 4 starts in a week for 4 wins at distances ranging from 1 mile to 2 miles incl Australia's most famous race the Melbourne Cup. That feat will never be attempted again let alone replicated. He won Australia's 2 biggest Derbys and also won Australasia's WFA Championship race the WS Cox Plate twice. To discount his deeds is simply foolish.....

man o war 5 years ago

man o war first then secretariat then citation that the first three

Franchise01 5 years ago

Phar Lap was great but to say that ANY horse would have beaten Secretariat most of the time borders on insanity. Simply stated, Secretariat was a much faster horse than Phar Lap as well as being consistently faster at many distnaces than virtually every horse ever....CASE CLOSED!

SilkDepartment profile image

SilkDepartment 5 years ago

You don't get it do you ? Stop being so US centric. The REST of the world does NOT race to post fast times. Its that simple. In Australia if a horse is 10 lengths in front it is almost always eased down and not knocked about the last half furlong. Check out Black Caviar (currently rated World's 2nd Best Horse and Highest Rated Mare EVER)on youtube and this will prove how we are not out to run time. Times ARE NOT and NEVER WILL BE the be all and end all. No doubt Secretariat was a champion racehorse. However, he never raced beyond 3yo and he raced at set weights or, I assume, he was in receipt of weight the few times he raced against older horses. Phar Lap was forced to burden massive weights in many races and he was still winning and in the end he was weighted out of Hcps altogether even though his last race win was in the World's richest race, the Agua Caliente Hcp, where he won with top weight and broke the track record. He was forced to race exclusively at WFA for the latter half of his career. For example Phar Lap was made to carry 62.5kg's (9 stone 12 lbs), which is 4.5kg's MORE than WFA, as a spring 4yo when he won the Melbourne Cup over 2 miles. After his 3yo year he raced at WFA 24 times for 22 wins and two 2nds, with his two 2nds being over 1 mile, a distance short of his best. US Racetracks in the main are almost all the same and therefore times horses run can be used as a valuable guide. There are NO 2 Racetracks the same in the rest of the world. Some are uphill, downhill, up and down, have short straights, long straights, are big and spacious, some tight turning etc etc To compare times is futile. That is why the rest of the world doesn't bother with mentioning the times a horse posts when talking about the merits of it's champions. I certainly don't discount the deeds of Secretariat, he was an out and out champion with a race record that speaks for itself, however for you to say Phar Lap would not be in the top 10 racehorses of all time and for you to say there were 10 US horses better is obviously biased and is bordering on insanity.

tony 5 years ago

What about zenyata

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SilkDepartment 5 years ago

Zenyatta was a wonderful racemare however she can never be compared with the greats in history. You have to consistently beat all comers to be considered "great" in my opinion. As good as her record is many of her big wins were against her own sex.

Mike 5 years ago

US centric? Bloodlines are international. Secretariat ran 40 years ago and the times are still world class and Secretariat WAS galloping in the preakness and derby at the end. He let it loose in the Belmont and who bests that time or is even close? In fact, his 1:59 in the mile and a quarter at Belmont was even faster than his derby record time by 4/5 second- wow, just wow. He ran on turf, dirt and mud. Maybe there are horses as good. but hard to say that another was flat out better than big Red

mark 4 years ago

haha what a joke, may need to look out of america champ, New Zealand horses have recorded amazing horses in history including the horse Phar Lap, who won everything it went near. There was also a horse recently in Australia who won three melbourne cups in a row, lucky if an american horse could even win one melbourne cup, what a laugh of a list, and also the horses you listed carried only half the weight Phar Lap carried, do some research

darcie 4 years ago

I'm so glad I stumbled across this debate, very entertaining and insightful, the passion that the sport of kings produces is second to non...Keep it up, I'm enjoying the history lesson..

SilkDepartment profile image

SilkDepartment 4 years ago

Yes Mike US centric. To name 10 US horses "to name a few" better than Phar's clear for everyone to see how US centric some are. Secretariat was a super horse and undoubtedly one of the greatest horses to ever grace the turf (dirt whatever). Once again you back up your argument with times, which outside of the US, has no bearing on the greatness of a horse. Times, in the main, are irrelevant. OK I'll put it to you another way. Had those 3 days of the US Triple Crown races been wet and Secretariat had still won by a big margin in all 3 would you rate him a lesser animal due to the slower times he would have ran ?

Huss79 4 years ago

umm Carbine??? I dont think i saw his name once!! haha. Get a Grip..

Franchise01 4 years ago

To: SilkDepartment - Your point about SEC winning all 3 races in a lesser time is duely noted and to your point, SEC still would have been a National hero. HOWEVER, since we are on the subject of the US TC races, this is where your theory doesn't hold water. Citation, Seattle Slew and Affirmed were all SUPER horses yet their Triple Crown feats aren't even mentioned in the same breath with Secretariat. FACT IS Secretariat DID INDEED set all 3 TC records covering over 140 years, 420+ races and nearly 4,000 horses!!!! That my friend is an incomprehensible feat which is why other American TC winners cannot hold a candle to Secretariat. If SEC owned one of the records, it would obviously be impressive but not jaw dropping. But to capture all 3 records of North America's most prestigious races incluing the manner in which he set 2 of the 3 (Derby and Belmont) leaves ZERO doubt of his supernatural and unparalleled ability. I mean to run five successive quarter fractions faster than the previous ones in a 1-1/4 mile race is unfathomable including an amazing 23 second 5th and final quarter (some analysts argue it was 22-4/5)....who does that? Answer: NOBODY!

12 Clip 4 years ago

Cigar, in my opinion was more of a legendary racehorse than Holy Bull. Remember it was Cigar that ran the Bull into the ground in the Donn Handicap subsequently ending his career. It was unfortunate because Holy Bull may have been the only horse who would've had a legitimate shot at challenging Cigar during his 16-race winning streak. Cigar won the Breeders Cup Classic, The World Cup, every imaginable GI you could think of. He never backed down from a race. I remember him basically being a three-legged animal in his quest to repeat as BC Classic Champion, and giving it everything he had to lose by a 1/2 length to Alphabet Soup and Louis Quatorze. A true warrior, Cigar could run a 1:35 mile in his sleep. A beautiful mover, all class, all heart. A true Champion! But energy works in a strange way sometimes. It was Holy Bull who sired a Kentucky Derby winner, while Cigar was firing blanks in the shed. Cigar is now a fixture at the Kentucky Horse Park in Florence, KY. He has is own barn and you can go see him if he's feeling up to it. He looks like he could still run, a truly amazing animal.

Erica 4 years ago

Secretariats trainer said he thought ruffian was the better horse :) but how can some of these horses be compared? They were so amazing

Franchise01 4 years ago

SEC's trainer Lucien Lauren specificilly said Ruffian "might" even be better than Secretariat...his exact words. He later retracted that statement, claiming he was caught up in the hype of the Ruffian frenzy. All of Ruffian's records were posted between 6 - 8 furlongs. No way you can compare a short distance sprinter to a horse like Secretariat who set still standing world/track records for distances between 9 & 12 furlongs. Ruffian's few post-mile races produced nice times, but nothing close to what Secretariat accomplished. Furthermore, Ruffian never raced against a colt (I discount the race against Foolish Pleasure for obvious reasons), immediately dismissing any theory that she was better than SEC. I am a HUGE Ruffian fan, but you simply cannot compare her accomplishments to Secretariat.

Best Wishes,


1BADLS6 4 years ago


joe 4 years ago

how old was manofwar and seabiscuit in the match race?


top ten from anywhere in the world go like this.....











AFIRMED (hungry quality is weak!!

same thing with overdose,,,

big talk !! looks good

over thier!! but snashed

at ascot!! hence the

reason why so far down

the list) :)

Franchise01 4 years ago

So tired of hearing about the weight that Phar Lap carried when comparing him to Secretariat. In fact, at 2 and 3 years old, Secretariat averaged MORE weight than Phar Lap with Phar Lap sometimes carrying between 104 and 110 lbs.....look it up!!! At 4/5 Phar Lap did carry more weight like MOST other 4/5 year olds do. Once again, the anatomical difference bewteen a 3 and 4 year old thoroughbred is similar to a 15 and 21 year old human...FACT! Had Secretariat raced at 4, do you really think another 10 lbs would have stopped him considering his unparalleled build, strength and weight??? If you do, you are only fooling yourself beacuse he would have continued smashing records if you placed a refrigerator on his back...LOL!!!

Best Wishes,


John 4 years ago

Holy Bull and Miesque in front of Affirmed? Are you kidding?! Get serious! Those horses couldn't beat Affirmed on Jockey Club Gold Cup race when his saddle slipped! You were doing a great job on the list until you came up with those two in front of Affirmed! At least you had him ranked in the top ten. Just because he wasn't as flashy as the rest, he never really got the true accolades he deserved. He was truly one of the greatest, bar none.

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SilkDepartment 4 years ago

Is Secretariat's feat of winning all 3 Triple Crown races in record time more extraordinary than Phar Lap's feat of winning on ALL 4 days of the Flemington Spring Carnival - 4 starts in a week for 4 WINS at distances ranging from 1 - 2 miles incl winning Melbourne Cup on day 2 (Australia's biggest and most famous race) with 1 Stone 1 over WFA ???? Secretariat's feat has never been equalled and neither has Phar Lap's. In fact, Phar Lap's feat has never even been attempted again in the 80 years that have passed since. That may not even be Phar Lap's greatest feat. It could be argued his greatest feat was travelling by ship for 6 - 8 weeks to WIN the world's richest race on a very limited preparation, with a cracked hoof, on dirt for the 1st time and in track record time ! He was ridiculously good...To name 'at least 10 US horses better' than Phar Lap is unquestionably biased. They were both equine superstars and undoubtedly 2 of the greatest horses to ever set foot onto a racetrack.

dicking 4 years ago

i think phar lab should be on there he would of betten oall of those horse butts

Franchise01 4 years ago

I find it VERY interesting that when a "NON-US" horse sets a track record time, all of a sudden "time" now matters!!! WEll my good friend, if you want to start talking about times, Secretariat would have absolutely crushed Phar Lap virtually every time they stepped onto a race track. Phar Lap's times cannot compare to Secretariat at ANY age, but when I or other American enthusiasts use that angle the simple answer is times don't matter outside of the U.S. Amazingly, you now quote a record setting time so let's get down to the crux of this argument. The fastest times WIN closed! To say times don't matter is an obvious ploy by many European/non-North American enthusiasts to discount Secretariat's supreme status for NO HORSE could have matched SEC at his best!

Paula 4 years ago

I have had a great time reading this blog. It has been quite a treat. But this list is about horses who have raced in America on a flat surface. If you want to talk about Euro and British horses, you have a whole other scenario with different criteria. So let's just keep it to American horses for the sake of a discussion that makes sense. I believe that if you look at a totality of factors such as times/fractions/records set, surface run on, quality of competition, racing distances, number of Grade 1 races run, weights carried, success as a sire etc. two horses stand out among the rest and they are Secretariat and Man O' War. Based on his overwhelming dominance in the area of times/fractions/records Secretariat is No.1. But if you factor in success as a sire, along with the other criteria, then Man O' War wins. His legacy is tremendous in that respect. I can live with either one as No.1. But I will say this, my heart also belongs to Phar Lap, who did race in the U.S. and who also had a huge heart. He was jaw dropping. The Brits and Euros have incredible horses of their own and their own top 10 list. I absolutely believe that some of their top 10, if they had been trained to race on dirt and flat surfaces, would have beaten some of our best and perhaps visa versa. But we will never know. It's all speculative. If they come to the Breeders Cup and take us on, like Goldikova did so well, then we will have the answer. I have a healthy respect for all their great horses and I suspect they do for ours as well. Shaun, as for World War II, Britain held the line aganst the Germans and survived the Blitz brilliantly, no doubt about it. We owe Churchill and the British people for that. But when you go to graveyards all over Europe you will find thousands upon thousands of our dead soldiers, who fought to defend Britain and Europe, buried there.

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SilkDepartment 4 years ago

As you continue to talk about times, which have absolutely no bearing on a horse's greatness outside of North America, I felt it pertinent to mention Phar Lap's track record when winning his one and only start on dirt in what was the world's richest race. So in short, off a very limited preparation after travelling by ship from Australia to Nth America Phar Lap had 1 start on dirt (in the world's richest race !!)for 1 win and 1 track record. But just gloss over that as there are "at least 10 US horse better". The ONLY reason the track record was mentioned is due to you placing far greater importance on a horse's times than it's career win/loss record. If you had read my previous comments you would have known that !! Not rating Phar Lap highly only diminishes what credibility you may or may not have had. Australia's best horses are as good as anybody's best. In fact you could argue our sprinters are clearly superior to the rest of the world. Australia's sprinters go to England every year and win with many of them not even considered as our best. All the highest rated sprinters in Asia are purchased from Australia as well. What do you say about another all time great Australian horse Black Caviar, who's still racing now ? She won her 18th race yesterday from 18 career starts in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes over 7 furlongs (1400m). It's the first time she's raced beyond 6 furlongs (1200m) and she won by 3.5l 'untouched'. She is unbeatable and would absolutely demolish any US horse up to a mile. She doesn't need to run scintillating times (she sometimes does though)as she wins effortlessly almost every time she goes around. A true champion.

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SilkDepartment 4 years ago

" let's get down to the crux of this argument. The fastest times WIN closed! To say times don't matter is an obvious ploy by many European/non-North American enthusiasts to discount Secretariat's supreme status for NO HORSE could have matched SEC at his best!".... Well if that's the case many horses have run faster times than Secretariat over the varying distances. For example since 1981 8 winners of the Japan Cup have run sub 2:24, Secretariat's Belmont Stks winning time, for the mile and a half (2400m) with 2:21.1 being the record time for that race. Even Australian horse Better Loosen Up, a AU$1,500 purchase, ran 2:23.2 when he won the Japan Cup 20 years ago. In the 10 furlong (2000m) Kentucky Derby Secretariat posted a time of 1.59.4. The 2000m Australian Cup, where the first 600m is run uphill, was won by Makybe Diva in a time of 1.58.73 for example. 12 Preakness Stks winning horses have either bettered or equalled Secretariat's time of 1:54.4 for the 9.5 furlongs (1900m) of the Preakness Stks. Does this detract from Secretariat being great ? Not one bit !!!! And that is my whole point with regards to times. Different surfaces, different track configurations, different track conditions in any given year, weather conditions etc etc etc render times basically useless when comparing horses. However the truly great horses have career win/place records that speak for themselves.....

Franchise01 4 years ago

First of all, SEC's awesome times were recorded on dirt tracks which makes a HUGE difference in time. 7 of the 8 world record times between 1 and 2 miles are on turf tracks...look it up. Please don't compare dirt with turf because it is a whole different ballgame. Also, consider that NO HORSE has EVER gotten within 1-4/5 or 9 lengths of SEC's 2:24 1-1/2 dirt mile. Do you really think any European, Japan or Australian horse could make up that 9 lengths on way!

By the way, your Black Caviar is truly a spectacular horse and reminds me of Ruffian in many ways. Her sprinter speed is awesome and I TOTALLY agree that she would most likely best any horse up to a mile with the exception of Frankel. Who do you think would win that race? It would be the most sensational and heralded match race since Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral!

Best Regards,


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SilkDepartment 4 years ago

Secretariat's awesome times, like in the Preakness, were equalled 4 - 5 years later and bettered 7 years later so there's nothing awesome about that. I take your point on the Belmont Stakes with relation to Secretariat's winning time still being a record but once again I reinforce my point that times are not the measure of a horse's greatness, which is proven by the fact that many horses have posted the same or better times than Secretariat. That is in no way a knock on Secretariat. Remember, a horse only does what his jockey asks him to do. Black Caviar is the perfect example of that ! However, that was an awesome effort to win as he did in the Belmont Stks. The most impressive thing for me was his winning margin and the manner in which he completely crushed them in a Group 1 race, not the time he posted. Back to Black Caviar. In my opinion there is no horse on the planet than can get near her up to 1400m (7 furlongs). At 1600m (8 furlongs) Frankel does look very good so you would have to give him the edge there. But, in saying that, who knows Black Caviar just might be even more dominant at 1600m than she is at 1000m - 1400m. She's never been tried at 1600m. The perfect distance for a match race would be 1400m, a distance both horses have raced and won over. It would truly be a sight to behold however I doubt we'll ever see it happen with Frankel's connections stating they intend to race him over a mile 1/4 (2000m) in his next prep. Black Caviar will not go further than 1600m and I even doubt if she will be tried at that distance. Her trainer Peter Moody will be weary of training the speed out of her after admitting thats what he did a couple of seasons ago with his star filly/mare Typhoon Tracy, who was dominant at 1200m - 1600m however he tried to get her to 2000m to win Australasia's greatest WFA race the WS Cox Plate. She failed in an 1800m lead up race and after her last career win the Group 1 CF Orr Stks over 1400m (the same race Black Caviar won last Saturday)she was retired. Connections have stated they may drop her back to 1000m this week to run in the Group 1 Lightning Stks where she'll go up against the worlds 2nd best sprinter Hay List (who she's clearly beaten every time they have clashed) and then back her up again over 1400m the next week in the Group 1 Futurity Stks. That would give her 20 straight wins. They are taking her to Royal Ascot for the Group 1 1200m Diamond (Golden) Jubilee Stks in June and they have indicated they may stopover in Dubai on the way to contest the Group 1 1200m Golden Shaheen on their synthetic track however if she races 3 weeks in a row here I doubt she'll race in Dubai as well. She is a freak mare so anything is possible with her.....

franchise01 4 years ago

I really do hope they race soon. I still think Black Caviar can win at 8 furlongs, but we will have to wait and see.

Going back to SEC, what you have to understand is that it wasn't just a SINGLE RACE for him in 1973. You make valid points regarding "rogue" horses over the years besting some of SEC's times but they are by different horses ONCE in their careers. Do you realize that SEC set TWO WORLD RECORDS (one still existing & the other 1-1/8 mile record only broken many years later by a 1/5 of a second!). That is just for starters. SEC "Galluped" 1/8 of a mile after the finish line to two ADDITIONAL STILL STANDING world records that year. The 1-5/8 mile record at 2:37-2/5 and the 1-1/4 mile record at 1:57-4/5 which Spectacular Bid tied on a DOWNHILL track approx. 7 years later. This after a 1/8 of a mile gallup!!! He still holds 4 track records including 1 mile in 1:33-3/5; a tie for the Preakness 1-1/16 mile (with 3 other horses - remember SEC "coasted" after his incredible clubhouse turn move to take the lead); the 1-1/4 mile Kentucky Derby when he posted successive FASTER quarters for 1-1/4 miles defying the limits of what a racehorse can achieve, and the 1-1/2 TURF mile at Belmont Park in 2:24-4/5! Think about that...2 OFFICIAL World Records (one still standing), 2 "UNOFFICIAL" World Records after a 1/8 mile gallup (BOTH still standing), and 4 track records...ARE YOU KIDDING me! No horse has or ever will accomplished such a myriad of records and supernatural accomplishments in a single year! If SEC raced at 4, he would have broken EVERY distance speed record possible!

Best Regards,


Matt 4 years ago

Are u serious! Australia has the best horse of now and of all time, black caviar and phar lap

Baldartist 4 years ago

European and international horses aside, they run different races. None of the horses argued as the best here could have beaten Secretariat at Belmont. To be the best you have to beat the best. Sham would beat most of these horses and Secretariat beat him 3 times.

FreddyCaple profile image

FreddyCaple 4 years ago from Louisville, Ky

I loved Seattle Slew. I was just a kid when he won the Ky Derby, and still remember that day!!!

Silk Department 4 years ago

With respect to Secretariat a 1700m (1 mile 1/16th) record is likely to stand for a long time as who/where races over such an odd distance ???? The record time for the example I used earlier of the Japan Cup over a mile 1/2 is 2:21.1 or almost a full 4 secs quicker ! Both times achieved on turf.....

Unbias 4 years ago

What an unwinable argument. But one thing for certain is that GREAT horses are those that us tragics argue for decades after they have gone.

Race times count, as does overall performance,surfaces, lets not rule out variable distances, weight carried, what about the horses conquered, then there's longevity, different tracks, different countries and perhaps even their breeding careers (for those that could) ... but no single CHAMP has ALL categories covered.

But as tragics we all have our own favourite, the one that we will never let go.

The Gteatest of them all!

No one is categorically right or wrong.

Hornstorm 4 years ago

Where is Seabiscuit and War Admiral?

Hornstorm 4 years ago

Where were Seabiscuit and War Admiral? I knew they had a great match in the interwar year.

Man_N_Sec 4 years ago

I've watched a lot of video on both horses as both were before my time as a viewer. From what I have watched and read I think that Man O' War and Secretariat should be tied for first. I know Secretariat holds records and that Belmont performance is incomprehensible. I believe God was running that day inside of Secretariat and I am not a very religious person. Man O' War was also great going 20/21 and carrying a very heavy jockey. The difference in the eras that both ran could hardly be more different. Man O' War had a better overall record but their competition was different.

Needless to say both horses were the absolute best of all time. Both brought racing to new levels with the amount of fan attention. I don't believe any horse EVER could have beat Secretariat at the Belmont that day but at the same time I can't rule Man 'O War out. For what it's worth (and that is not a lot) my opinion is that they should be tied or ranked best horse before & after 1950. Both were amazing and I love watching every minute of their races.

Bre 4 years ago

native dancer lost another time, to secretariat...

John Smith 4 years ago

'Greatest' dosen't neccessarily mean 'fastest' or record breaking'. These are simply American ideas of what constitutes a great horse, based on what I've read above, along with that frankly ridiculous top ten list.

Don't bother contemplating horses which captured the public's hearts and imagination;became national icons thorugh sheer determination of character and force of will. horses which overcame adversity through unparalled resolve and determination. You ask anyone of a certain age in the UK who dosen't remember Red Rum's unequalled and iconic third Grand National victory. A great tale befitting of a people's champion horse. I don't know any American horse remembered and revered so much by its people, even years after its death. If public affection was the determinant of 'greatness' none of these horses would top our Red Rum...

colbert simon 4 years ago

Black Caviar wins 19th in a row. Last 600 was 31.80. What a ripper just backing up from last week. Freak. The Greatest Sprinter of all time. Period.

Paula 4 years ago

Black Caviar is very impressive. I am a big fan of her remarkable streak. But the top sprinter of all time was without any discussion, Dr. Fager. He ran lights out on dirt and turf. He ran with extremely high weights, higher than Black Caviar. I would say she is the greatest FEMALE sprinter. As for her 19th race, she pulled it off, but she had to push her limits to do it, probably because of her back to back schedule. I do not believe she would beat Frankel at over 7 furlongs or more. Under 7 furlongs, possibly. She is a sprinter and her last race proved that. She is the Australian equivalent of Zenyatta in only one sense; her 19 wins. Zenyatta would have inhaled her over the longer distances. Zenyatta's competition in the Breeders Cup Classics was tougher as well. John Smith, if you want to talk about a beloved American horse, you have to look no further than Zenyatta. She is an icon, covered in Sports Illustrated, People Magazine, Oprah, the New York Times, and the T.V. show 60 Minutes. That's only for starters. She has been photographed more than any other horse in history. Her pregnancy has been followed by thousands. Trust me, we have Red Rum's equal in the states.

Moqqers 4 years ago

Black Caviar broke the magic 10s for a furlong yesterday.. Has that ever been done before?

Moqqers 4 years ago

"As for her 19th race, she pulled it off, but she had to push her limits to do it, probably because of her back to back schedule."

Thats kind of a funny statement really. Because she went from 1400 back to 1000 against the 2nd best sprinter in the world.

Ran a fraction off a 25 year old course (dodgey)record and won by almost 2 lengths pulling away is somehow a bad thing and shes reached her peak...?

Paula 4 years ago

Sorry, but this race took a bit out of Black Caviar and her trainer knows it. Read his comments. He isn't going for next week's race because of it. Back to back races knock the crap out of any horse in this day and age. They aren't the horses of 60 years ago. You won't see her again until Dubai or Ascot. No, winning the race wasn't a bad thing, that's a little ridiculous, but she has her limits. It isn't about peaks, it's about needing a rest. As for going under 10s, it was quite a feat. People who have clocked Frankel say he has gone under 10s. Each of Secretariat's successive fractions in the Belmont were faster than the preceding ones. That to me is the gold standard. Zenyatta raced negative splits in the 2008 Lady's Secret and the last 1/16th of a mile in :06. The race was 1 1/16. Pretty impressive especially considering she was not a sprinter.

Franchise01 4 years ago

Paula: I believe you meant to say Secretariat's quarter mile fractions were faster than the preceding ones in the Kentucky Derby, NOT the Belmont. SEC accomplished that feat in the 1-1/4 mile Kentucky Derby, finishing the last quarter mile in an astounding 23 seconds flat. This is the ONLY race I have ever seen 9 furlongs or longer where a horse accelerated from the gate to the wire, and it just might qualify as a more impressive feat than SEC's Belmont Stakes run!

Diesel 4 years ago

Paula the race did not take enough out of Black Caviar, she is to race next Saturday for win 20.

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SilkDepartment 4 years ago

Paula, Firstly Frankel has never gone under 10 sec's for a furlong split. Secondly, Black Caviar OWNS Zenyatta. Black Caviar beats all comers and is not mainly restricted to fillies and mares races. Only once (her 2nd career start)has she raced in a fillies only race. She has thrashed 19 individual Group 1 winners who have won a collective 30 Group 1 races. She has beaten the worlds 2nd best sprinter Hay List 5 out of 5 times. Just to put a little perspective into what Black Caviar just did last weekend, where she backed up in 7 days from 1400m (7f) back to 1000m (5f). Since 2008 1.1 million horses have started in a race in Aust. Out of those 1.1 million starters a mere 120 starters have been asked to back up from 1400m (7f) to 1000m (5f) in the space of 7 days and only 1 of them won !! That was a lowly race in the Sth Australian outback. Well Black Caviar just did it as well however thats where the similarity ends. Black Caviar did after winning a 1400m Group 1 race 7 days prior to winning a 1000m Group 1 race !! She did it at one of the worlds premier racetracks (Flemington) in a race thats a leg of the Global Sprint Challenge and she beat the worlds 2nd best sprinter, who had been set for that race specifically, stopping the clock at 55.53 (55.44 according to Racing Victoria approved Daily Sectionals, which is the FASTEST EVER 1000m run in 150 years of racing at Flemington - for you time centric Americans) !!! Who does that ? And now theres talk she is to race in a 1400m (7f) Group 1 this week (7 days later). Her 1st career start/win is the only time she has not raced in a Black Type race and her record to date is 9 Group 1's, 7 Group 2's and 2 Listed WINS. She's had 19 starts for 19 wins with 18 of those wins coming against the males. Now thats a FREAK.....

Paula 4 years ago

Franchise01, yes, I meant the Derby! Thank you for correcting that. Those succeeding splits were phenomenal. As for Black Caviar going for the Futurity on Saturday, they haven't decided as of yet. It's a possibility but Moody won't decide for 24 hours. I hope he puts the horse first and doesn't do that, but we will see. I think she needs a rest. SilkDepartment, re: Frankel I believe I read that someone clocked him at 9.56. I read this awhile back. As for Black Caviar, I know she has beaten many Grade I winners. So did Zenyatta. Yup, I know Black Caviar is the second horse to win the 1400m and then 1000m a week later. I know she's a freak. I get all that. But Zenyatta beat multiple Grade 1 winners both here and from overseas in the Breeders Cup, where she was the only female among males. She beat Grade 1 winning females. She won 14 Grade 1 stakes. Go look her up on Wikipedia for her stats. She took on the best males that came in the 2009 Breeders Cup and won at 1 1/4. Look, Zenyatta's races were longer by alot. Could she have traveled the depths and breath of this very large country or to Dubai to take on the males and win? Absolutely and I can promise you, she would have won the majority of he time. But it would have resulted in a Rachel Alexandra situation where she would have had a shorter career. Again, she was racing longer distances and not sprints. Besides which, she is a huge horse. Bigger than Black Caviar. Her stride was measured to be longer than Secretariat's. Black Caviar is a great sprinter. She is not a classic distance runner. In this country, sprinters don't make the top 10 unless they also get the longer distances like Dr. Fager did. Having said that, I hold Black Caviar in very high regard, but she is not Zenyatta and she is certainly not Dr. Fager. Think about it this way: who is the greater male horse, one who wins at the longer dstances 19 in a row or one who wins 19 sprints. It holds true for females too. Zenyatta was clearly a horse that would beat most male horses on any given day. The same is true for Black Caviar. But if you race her against Frankel at 7 furlongs or greater, she might well lose. All horses have their limits, including Black Caviar. Having said all that, ITA that she is one of the greatest sprinters of all time and the greatest female sprinter.

SilkDepartment profile image

SilkDepartment 4 years ago

I hear what you are saying about Zenyatta however she won how many of her record 19 in a row in races restricted to fillies and mares ? From memory I think Zenyatta won 10 - 11 Group 1's in races restricted to fillies and mares ?? (correct me if I'm wrong)Thats the difference. Both are great in their own right however the measure of Black Caviar's greatness is that she has raced once against her own sex. So that's 18 out of 19 times against allcomers and her perfect record is STILL intact. There is not a horse on the planet who can get near her from 1000m (5f) - 1400m (7f) and that includes Frankel. At a mile Frankel would be favoured but only because he's done it. Black Caviar has NEVER raced over a mile. Watch her closely over the next 6 months and you will realise you are watching greatness before your very eyes. Distances have nothing to do with a horse's greatness either. I ask you this, who is a greater athlete - Usain Bolt or Haile Gabrselassie ? Carl Lewis or Samual Wanjiru ? Once you've answered ask yourself why ?

Franchise01 4 years ago

To: Silkdepartment: I firmly agree with you that Black Caviar just might be the greatest sprinter ever between distances of 5 and 7 furlongs beacuse times don't lie! Unfortunately, in America, the sprinting aspect of a horses greatness is totally underated. I can clearly remember Secretariat as a 2 year old crushing his opponents, and all you heard was let's see him do at at 3 years old at distances greater than a mile. Then, only after SEC absolutely crushed most of his opponents in record setting fashion (including 4,5 & 6 year olds!) did he elevate his status to world-class. Even Ruffian had to prove herself at 1 mile+ distances in the philly triple crown before she was considered a premier horse. To Paula's point, many enthusiasts neglect the true greatness of a sprinting champion. Indeed, Dr. Fager is the classic example of a horse that also had to prove his dominance at 1 mile+ distances. Bottom line is I would still love to see Black Caviar race Frankel at a 1 mile distance. It just might be the race of the century!

Paula 4 years ago

Well, Moody did the right thing and Black Caviar isn't racing until April. Good for him. It will give her some rest. Silkdepartment, you don't want to ask me about track and field. I have no clue whatsoever about those men LOL. I see you and Franchise01 believe distance doesn't matter. I couldn't disagree more. It matters alot i.e The Belmont vs a 6 furlong race. All things are not created equal and that includes races. However, I do agree that sprinters are not given the respect in the U.S. that they are given overseas. But I can assure you that Black Caviar is on everyone's radar over here in the U.S. We all recognize her brilliance and greatness, and we are rooting for her to get number 20. Franchise01, I kind of disagree with you about Dr. Fager. I think the fact that he was a brilliant sprinter makes him one of the most versatile horses in the history of racing. It made him even greater than if he were just able to get the longer distances. I saw an online article a while back where the sportswriter placed Dr. Fager as the No. 1 horse, over Secretariat and Man O' War basically because he was so gifted at varying distances. Silkdepartment, I would love to see Balck Caviar take on Frankel at 7 furlongs or greater. Maybe with a rest she could beat him. There is no indication that she can't go further at this point. I know he has done it and she hasn't, but I think it would be a race for the ages like War Admiral and Seabiscuit. I have no clue which one would win and mean that. Frankel might have an edge based on experience but she is so gritty that I would never bet against her.

Franchise01 4 years ago

Paula: Dr. Fager may have been "versatile" at various distances BUT Secretariat was WORLD CLASS at EVERY distance! Whoever rated Dr. Fager over Secretariat needs their head examined. Do you know that Secretariat once ran a 3 furlong workout in 32 seconds...FACT!!! If Secretariat had ever been pushed from the gate to the wire in a 6 to 8 furlong race, he would have also set records at those distances. I will say that a one mile race between SEC and Dr. Fager would have been a coin toss, but with both horses at 100%,SEC would have owned the doctor from 1-1/8 mile+ distances and blasted him at 1-1/2 miles.

Cheyne 4 years ago

you gotta be joking? no Pharlap, no idea...

Paula 4 years ago

Franchise01, you're singing to the choir friend! I totally agree with you about Secretariat, the greatest horse to ever race. Just throwing the Dr. Fager tidbit out there for a different point of view. However, I do think Dr. Fager would have beat Secretariat at a mile. It does not change my viewpoint that Secretariat was the greatest horse to ever live and breath. Man O' War is right up there with him and my heart has always been torn because I love the first "Big Red" very much. But the facts speak for themselves, Secretariat was in a zip code by himself. As for PharLap, he was a horse that had the potential to be right up there with Secretariat if he had lived. He was that jaw dropping. I hate the fact that he died in the U.S. and his death was under a cloud. I do not think he was poisoned. I think he died from natural causes. But it will always be a controversial and very tragic death. 4 years ago

parlap would have gone all the way had it not been for him being poisoned\

how could some one do such a thing in horse racing he was a damn good horse and every one knew it

vkolbe 4 years ago

Where is Citation. Triple crown winner and firts horse to earn million $s

leol 4 years ago

i think that we can put seabiscuit in top ten because made a critical change in the races world bringin all kind of people to them. it is my humble opinion. better is more than faster

Paula Higgins 4 years ago

Some people do not give Citation the credit he deserves because they don't think his competition was tough enough. He is always #3 or #4 on my list. ITA leol that better is more than just faster. Seabiscuit's story is so amazing that he deserves to be in the top 15 at least. Beating War Admiral in a match race was otherworldly. I think he suffers from an East Coast bias. The same issues Zenyatta has had to deal with imo.

kevin 4 years ago

and to make all horses great they have to past on that wich they have ,,is the great heart, that gives them something extra .and that happend to secretariat,, pasted on this to his son kingston rule who won the 1990 melboure cup in australia ..

Franchise01 4 years ago

To: - how can anyone hurt ANY innocent animal.....period!

Mark Soucy 4 years ago

We all know this is an unwinnable argument. The only thing I have to go on is imagining a giant 1 1/4 mile stakes race in the horse heavens involving them all. I'm at the betting window and it's one minute to post. I'm down to my last fifty bucks, they're closing the window, and finally I say, "50 on Secretariat to win." I can't imagine saying anything else.

rambo 7 4 years ago

Secretariat was the best. It don't matter who you race against. They all raced against one similar opponent. The stop-watch. If you don't think Secretariat was the best, maybe you should check it.

colbert simon 4 years ago

Secretariat is a fine champion but in my opinion he was not even the U.S best. I rank Citation as the U.S best. Why? There is no if. With Sec it all ends with IF... If Sec this....If Sec that... If...IF. I hate the word IF when its based on any polls for greatest list. This is not personal, its just wishful thinking is wishful thinking. Winning today don't always mean winning tomorrow. Winning here doesn't mean winning anywhere. Truth is there is IF and there is been there, done that. Sec may have World record times but Champions are not based on time alone but many reasons. Courage, the unexpected, the manner in the wins, the field it ran against, the hype behind the race, etc...(yes i know Sec did it in some of these) Based on Zenyatta 2 runs at the Breeders cup classic which is a win and a heartbeat 2nd, i rated it better than Secs triple crown. Reasons because of its lead up and the drama behind the story. It dazzles mighty. I know there was no Breeders cup classic back then but no doubt that Breeders cup classic is currently the U.S best race. It also attracts the Worlds best. But no doubt about Sec, He is a freak. He is one of U.S best. Love to hear your opinions

Franchise01 4 years ago

To: Colbert Simon: I will tell you WHY Secretariat was unquestionably better than Citation....because Citation's OWN JOCKEY Eddie Arcaro said SEC was better! In fact, Arcaro said Kelso was the best horse he ever RODE, not Citation. Arcaro repeatedly made it very clear that Secretariat was the greatest horse he ever saw because SEC could do things on a racetrack NO OTHER HORSE WAS CAPABLE OF...PERIOD! But I guess you know more than Citation's own jockey? Also, you are completely embarassing yourself by stating Zenyatta's Breeder's Cup runs are rated higher than Secretariat's Triple Crown. Listen loud and clear...NO U.S. race or races will EVER be more iconic and hallowed than Secretariat's 3 Triple Crown races!

bill b 4 years ago

forego rates at least an honorable mention

carried huge weights in handicaps

pat 4 years ago

Seabiscuit has to be in the top ten.

keith 4 years ago

hey -bring one to aussie that can win 3 of our melb cups & the cox plate then you have some thing to talk about


Ttoth 4 years ago

Kincsem not mentioned?

54 out of 54.

Let the numbers speak for themselves.

How can you possibly beat that?

ttoth 4 years ago

It took me a while to think of it, but then I'm not very swift.

55 out of 55 would do it!

louromano profile image

louromano 4 years ago

Secretariat. He took on all comers regardless of age as a 3 year old on different surfaces. And look at his times..really. Sick or not prepared he still finished in the money against open fields after the triple crown.


carlo 4 years ago

This ranking is ridiculous! Even a child knows that the best horse (gallop) of all time is Ribot. The best trotter of all time is VARENNE.

People write crap and do not know anything about horse racing, see American movies and say that Sibiscuit is one of the top 10 hahaha. You Americans are the representation of ignorance. Live in Your Truman Show, live in total ignorance brainwashed by television and the big corporations of bankers who have the convenience to make you fight wars against enemies that do not exist, making you feel unique and omnipotent. Wake up! You Americans are no best in anything, not even in horse racing.

colin r 4 years ago

silks, for your enlightenment,phar lap,tulloch, were both new zealand born and bred as were many of our great "aussie horses".even makeby diva had irish parents.thank god the mighty Kingston Town had an aussie dad mind you we won't talk about his german mother.

chuck 4 years ago

NOT HAVING FOREGO on the list makes it invalid.

Big Joe 4 years ago

Why no real mention of Forego.? When even the vet said his x-raysrays should be in the hall of fame. True, he did lose to Secretariat by 11 but he did hit tge rail and almost fell down. Also Forego had very bad legs as well as being unraced as a two yrs old so he hadnt the racing experience Secretariat had. Also Forego was humongous, a massive animal who had a bigger girth than Secretariat. I would have like to seen what Forego would have accomplished with the soundness Secretariat had. And this giant had to win under massive weights. I doubt that even Secretariat would have done anything so near great with Forego's bad legs. I even doubt that they would have allowed to race today under these conditions., yet he defeated many great horses. What heart! What power! What stamina and strength, and what a shame to overlook his magnificience. You have Forgoed "FOREGO".

MikeSek 4 years ago

SECRETARIAT deserves #1. MAN O' WAR is more appropriately pegged at #10 than he is at #2. As great as they were, MIESQUE and HOLY BULL don't deserve Top 10 spots. I think they're more in the 25-40 range.

I think SPECTACULAR BID is better than SEATTLE SLEW and AFFIRMED because he was a perfect 24 for 24 in the 7 to 10 furlong distance range, and sometimes set track or world records, and carried 130+ pounds to victory 5 times. While AFFIRMED defeated SPECTACULAR BID in their only meeting, that was at 12 furlongs, which may have been just slightly beyond The Bid's best distance, and one meeting between two horses doesn't "settle" anything. A well rested and fresh SEATTLE SLEW beat a tired and worn out AFFIRMED, twice, so those races might not be "definitive" either. Remember SEATTLE SLEW's 16 length loss to J.O. TOBIN? In any event, SPECTACULAR BID, SEATTLE SLEW and AFFIRMED deserve super high rankings, like Top 10 or 12.

As for the "honorable mentions" section which, I presume, accounts for #11 to #24, FOREGO, CITATION and ROUND TABLE are missing! They shouldn't be missing. They're Top 10 types (or really close), not discards.

A few of the others mentioned really don't belong in the Top 24: including SEABISCUIT, GHOSTZAPPER, PERSONAL ENSIGN and, especially, RISEN STAR. They're just ranked a tad too high, that's all. I respect them all, and think they have their rightful place in the Top 50.

I can't get over three things...You didn't really leave out FOREGO, CITATION and ROUND TABLE, did you?

MikeSek 4 years ago

Not that he's a Top 10 of All Time type runner, but an examinations of the statistical information on him, comparing him to other "greats" shows that COUGAR II deserves to be noticed for his accomplishments. He is more than worthy of inclusion in the Top 100 horses of all time. I would rank him at #24 myself, and here's why.

Record in Grade 1 (or equivalent races):

COUGAR II - 27 starts 10 wins 15 placings (37% wins, 93% in the money...only 7% out of the money)

***In 27 Grade 1 starts COUGAR II was only out of the money twice, both on horribly soft & yielding turf courses. If not for those conditions he would likely be at 100% in the money. Races were not graded in the USA until 1973, so I will call his starts in the 1971 and 1972 versions of those races "Grade 1 equivalents."****

Stakes wins and placings (and percentage of stakes placings from lifetime starts):

COUGAR II - (50 starts) 18 stakes wins, 22 stakes placings (40 total) 80%

ROUND TABLE - (66 starts) 31 stakes wins, 13 placings (44 total) 67%

FOREGO - (57 starts) 23 stakes wins, 14 stakes placings (37 total) 65%

JOHN HENRY (83 starts) 29 stakes wins, 18 stakes placings (47 total) 56%

SHUVEE (44 starts) 14 stakes wins, 10 stakes placings (24 total) 55%

GALLORETTE - (72 starts) 13 stakes wins, 26 stakes placings (39 total) 54%

FORT MARCY - (75 starts) 17 stakes wins, 22 stakes placings (39 total) 52%

DAHLIA - (48 starts) 14 stakes wins, 10 stakes placings (24 total) 50%

SEABISCUIT (89 starts) 25 stakes wins, 13 stakes placings. 43%

COUGAR II, in-the-money percentages (all races), as compared to other racing greats:

COUGAR II 50 starts, 20 wins (40%), 24 placings (88%), unplaced (12%)

DESERT VIXEN 28 starts, 13 wins (46%), 9 placings (78%), unplaced (22%)

SHUVEE 44 starts, 16 wins (36%), 16 placings (72%), unplaced (28%)

CARRY BACK 62 starts, 21 wins (34%), 22 placings (69%), unplaced (31%)

RIVA RIDGE 30 starts, 17 wins (56%), 4 placings (70%), unplaced (30%)

GALLORETTE 72 starts, 21 wins (29%), 33 placings (75%), unplaced (25%)

FORT MARCY 75 starts, 21 wins (28%), 32 placings (71%), unplaced (29%)

SEABISCUIT 89 starts, 33 wins (37%), 28 placings (68%), unplaced (32%)

ASSAULT 42 starts, 18 wins (43%), 13 placings (74%), unplaced (26%)

DAHLIA 48 starts, 15 wins (31%), 10 placings (52%), unplaced (48%)

SUSAN'S GIRL 63 starts, 29 wins (46%), 25 placings (86%), unplaced (14%)

JOHN HENRY 83 starts, 39 wins (47%), 24 placings (76%), unplaced (24%)


Irrelevant 4 years ago

Whilst I don't know a lot about american race horses, Red Rum, Arkle and Desert Orchid should all be in a top ten list. You can't compare sprinting to steeplechasing granted but the Grand National is widely regarded as the most grueling and arduous race in the world and Red Rums feats their definitely rank up there. Arkle was so good a whole new handicapping system was brought in when he was racing. Personally I find steeplechasing more exciting than sprinting and i think its a greater test of a horse as well so would rank Arkle Red Rum and Desert Orchid above most other horses, thats my opinion though.

SilkDepartment profile image

SilkDepartment 4 years ago

Red Rum was a champion steeplechaser however they cannot be compared to flat horses. Steeplechasers, in the main are failed flat horses. If Red Rum was so great then Aust chaser Crisp must have been some horse as well as Red Rum beat Crisp in the last few bounds of the Grand National except Crisp carried the massive burden of top weight of 12 stone (a weight that is now banned in the GN). Crisp carried an amazing 23lbs MORE than Red Rum in that National to be beaten in the shadows of the post. Almost all of the big money races in the world are flat races. The big money is paid for yearlings who are going to race on the flat. Some of those slower flat horses do end up racing over the sticks.

RayD576 4 years ago

Steeplechasers certainly don't belong on a list of the all time best horses. After all, they are discards from flat racing, horses who couldn't even make it on the flat, so they are then relegated to running in steeplechase events. If they can't make it on the flat, what makes anyone think they are "great"? They might be good at what they do - steeplechasing - but they're not "great" racehorses, not by any stretch of the imagination.

The statistical information on Cougar II is spot on. That horse was great.

chuck 4 years ago

Secretariat might have smoke Forego at 3 years old but doubtful Secretariat would smoke Forego when they are older.

colinr52 4 years ago

all these comments and opinions on the merits of respective champions of different era's are pointless. you can not use times as a yardstick,different tracks and different preparation methods.Medical and science technology advancements in our own lives are astounding so it would be stupid to think that the modern equine breed has not taken part in this revolution.

Nov2Nyce 4 years ago

Anyone heard anything about this horse: Rock of Gibraltar???

igor 4 years ago

black caviar 20 starts 20 wins no horse has got within 2 lengths of it and when it goes to england and dominates their horses for the tiny prize money they offer for there races the world will take notice

DC - Aus 4 years ago

Previous comments about the difficulty of comparing champs of different eras, particularly the champs of 50 plus years back are spot on. Not just horse racing the same applies to all sports.

All the great horses listed in this post are champions in their own right, even the champion jumpers and I think you'll find that in the UK they do breed horses for the sticks (sic) they are not just races put on for slow stayers as is the case in Australia.

To nominate the "Greatest of All Time" if not impossible is certainly brave. If you say Black Caviar I say I agree provided you add the word "Sprinter". Even then it is not 100% clear cut as she has only once beaten open age G1 company under handicap conditions. For those who say Secretariat, I think you have a strong argument but again I could only categorically agree if you added "3 Year Old". But again there is no doubt that others would put forward the likes of Man of War and Australia's wonder 3YO of the 1950's Tulloch.

So lets expand the discussion and nominate our top horse under the following categories;


3YO Male

3YO Female



MIDDLE DISTANCE (9 furlongs -12 Furlongs)


Jumper (the big ones = Steeples)

My view which is strictly Australian is as follows"


3Y0 Filly = SURROUND




Middle Distance = PHAR LAP


Jumper = CRISP

On the World stage I'm not sure where they'd all rank but I think a couple would be right up there. Can any of these horses lay claim to the greatest of all time, maybe Phar Lap. He'll certainly be in the field when they run that race (10 Furlongs, Equal Weights, Flat Grass Circuit, No Pace Makers)

Oh does anyone care to nominate their stable jockey?

Mike 4 years ago

To respond to ColinR..Secretariat's times are almost forty years old now.

To Chuck so you think Secretariat would have slowed down as an older horse? because Forego's times reflect about the same distance back as his run in the derby against Sec and sham.

Ron Turcot's comment about never seeing Secretariat's best as horse comes to mind when the three year old stopped running

colinr52 4 years ago

to mike,secratariat was truly a freak of nature i venture to say with modern methods he would in all likelihood shave his longstanding times by a considerable margin if he were around these days.there was a horse raced in the early part of the last century in england called THE TETRACH,He lost a conservative 50 yards at the start of the National stakes a group one two year race over 6 furlongs and still won.another freak!!!what time do you think he ran?

paul hart 4 years ago

You know the whole thing is a sham when the guy calls his list the ten best horses of all time then says he's only going to include horses who ran in U.S.A!!! Then why not call your list the ten best American horses of all time!!???..Reminds me of some dopey ex USA officer who wrote a book about the greatest military commanders of all time and had about a dozen yanks in the top twenty including George Washington at number one ahead of Naploeon,Caesar and Alexander!!!

toddymink 4 years ago

impossible to have holy bull on this list..not only got crushed in the derby but ducked the belmont as obviously could not handle the distance...count fleet was amazing and for my money the best horse i ever seen in the last 30 years is clearly The Great John Henry...He always raced against the best on dirt and turf...and the fields were alot bigger and deeper than the ones even faced by Secretariat...honorable mention to Royal Heorine a versatile monster filly on dirt and turf!!!

Nov2nyce 4 years ago

Guys, I just saw the ESPN Classic documentary on Secretariat, this horse was definitely a Freak of Nature. Doctors confirmed what racing fans knew all along after his autopsy, the Horse had a Big Hear...2.5 times larger than a normal horse...His anatomy was "perfection" as the doctor put it. I only state this because this documentary is what got me interested in all this horse racing. I saw "Seabiscuit", "Secretariat" (this horse won by 31 lengths OMG!!!). But I'm just interested in learning more, the history, the legends, the lineage, etc. Any websites or books or movies, or documentaries you guys would recommend? anything?

Franchise01 4 years ago

If you are seeking detailed information on Secretariat, Bill Nack's book "Secretariat" easily provides the finest nuances/facts related to this remarkable horse. After reading this wonderful book, you will truly achieve a sense of admiration and marvel at what this horse accomplished over a short 2 year racing span.

Best Regards,


Diesel 4 years ago

Secretariat was simply BEST OF ALL TIME! That is what just about every horse owner, trainer and fan has said since 1973. I have to laugh at those that said Secretariat lost too many races, but fail to realize (or admit) he was injured in those loses (tooth abscess, ligament/muscle strains, etc). Man O' War was a great horse but in his day there was no starting gate, which anyone that knows about horses understands it makes a huge difference. Secretariat's long standing track records speaks volume. Just like the greatest boxing champs throughout history (Louis, Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Dempsey, etc) they all had losses but were unbeatable when at the time of their game.

AUSequine. 4 years ago

Black Caviar. greatest ever sprinter already.

Phar lap - makybe diva. greatest stayers

Middle distance horses are a dime a dozen...

dont get fooled that a horse is the best because they make a movie about it

secretariat will always be the best at the belmont..

Sea biscuit will always be the greatest underdog




Man o war



so yo think

colinr52 4 years ago

to au sequine,lohnro was eaten up and spat out by Northerly when the acid test was applied as was Sunline,in fact Sunline also made him look 2nd rate,Lohnro was a fine racehorse who beat moderate racehorses he should not be mentioned in the same breath as the many great horses mentioned in this hub.

Black Caviar is a mare who like a lot of mares of this era bears a striking ressemblance to her male counterparts in size and strength.We are living in a dangerous age not dissimilar to the 1970's when steroids use was rampant.Why is the silence so deafening about this subject,epo is rife in human sport why not horses?

Lloyd 4 years ago

What about Sea Cottage 20 wins from 24 and racing with a .22 bullet in his hind quarter.

JackieS 4 years ago

Where are you people coming up with all of these off the wall horses? I understand talking about Secretariat, Citation, Man O' War, Spectacular Bid, or even Ack Ack, John Henry and Cougar II, but these other horses don't deserve a mention while discussing "the best of all time."

Shaun 4 years ago

Frankel was simply awesome today on his first race of the season"....................unbelievable for a horse that has missed 10 weeks work following an injury scare.................he is bigger and better than ever and is now not only rated the best horse in the world , but another 3 rating point would see him rated the greatest of all time"....................this horse is different class to anything around today

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