Best Race Horses of All Time

Horsegirl
Who are the best race horses of all time? It's hard to choose.

The Top Ten

1 Secretariat Secretariat Secretariat was an American Thoroughbred racehorse who, in 1973, became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years.

The fastest horse on dirt from 1 3/16 to 1 5/8 miles in history.
Secretariat holds the STILL STANDING fastest recorded times in the world on dirt all the way from 1 3/16 to 1 5/8 miles in HISTORY and is just 0.2 seconds off the current 1 1/8 mile world record. He NEVER lost a race that was not caused by ill health (x2), unprepared replacement for other horse in long distance race (x1), severe interference (x1) or unfair disqualification (x1). Excluding these factors, he won his remaining 16 races all by handsome margins of multiple lengths, never a photo finish. Under healthy and fair conditions he would beat ANY horse put against him, not by a nose but by a margin of lengths.

Times mean the most in horse racing, but its hard to tell which horse is "the best" because you can never put the top five in a race together and see who has the most speed and the most spirit to continue. Times don't mean everything because there are horses like Seabiscuit who put on bursts of raw speed when an opponent challenges them after running full out for a mile already.

Secretariat was the fastest horse ever, & since the topic is "The best race horses of all time", common sense tells me that the fastest is the best. Secretariat.

OMG SEcretariat is the best he beat man o war's record seattle slew's even riffian, barbaro, and even zenyatta. He is better than man o war and he is the number one he started as a small horse but became a great legend. I own his grandaughter RIP Buddy

Wrong there are horses rated over 150 on this list that were better

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2 Man O' War Man O' War

Big Red was never legitimately beaten. His only loss came on a re-start when the starter started the race while Man O' War was not in position. He started several lengths back and only lost by a head. This race has created a controversy that goes on today. His blood line flowed through all the great horses, Seabiscuit, and Secretariat included. It is fitting that if Secretariat is first, Man O' War should be second. However, in 2006, Big Red was voted the Greatest Race Horse that Ever Lived for the 86th year in a row.

ManO'War like Ruffian were never set down. No one knows how fast they could go because they outclassed the field so much they had no reason to run all out. Ruffian was in the lead at every point of call.. Always and broke or matched records in every race but one... And she broke these records while under tight wraps! Track records are impressive but they are but a part of what establishes a grat racehorse. Whenever either horse was entered in a race, almost all others pulled their horses out of the race unless shooting for 2nd or 3rd place.30length win is great but ManO'War had a 100 length win just loping along! Secretariat was great but not The greatest. He had a Hollywood PR agent... Amazing what that can do for the popularity of actors, singers and now racehorses. Thete are so many better horses that have come and gone if you care to read on past great horses who had no PR agent.. They are like commercials.. Used to brainwash the uninformed. They are on blogs and they are on ...more

MOW was the best racehorse that has breathed he was never fully extended always pulled up in the end. He was only reported as tired after his best race against john P. Grier the world would never get to know what this horse could really do but he is still king of this sport and set the path for our champions today he lives on in zenyatta curlin rachel alexandra black caviear etc (also secretariat has no relation to Man O' War no blood linking them) MOW was estimated to go 45mph on the training track Sec was clocked at 41 but both of them would have been amazing to see challenging eachother

Read Walter Farley's book!

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3 Seabiscuit Seabiscuit Seabiscuit was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse in the United States. A small horse, Seabiscuit had an inauspicious start to his racing career, but became an unlikely champion and a symbol of hope to many Americans during the Great Depression.

Seabiscuit, I think should be the number 1 horse that ever lived because unlike most of these horses in this list, they are born naturally big. Seabiscuit was the underdog before he showed the world what he was really made of. Despite of his smaller size compared to his rivals in his time, he was asked to run with heavier loads but still managed to run in record time, now imagine if he carries less weight. Wooh. At the end of the day, even without the size or the handsomeness of what secretariat has, he still is one of the greatest that ever lived and that is because the horse has heart and his not willing to back down from any competition.

Actually Seabiscuit beat War Admiral by four lengths not ten. It says so in the book.

If the 'Seabiscuit story' had been written as fiction nobody would believe it. No other horse would have overcome such adversity and gone on to achieve what he did!

The odds against him were great. He was able to overcome so many physical oddities and naysayers who thought he would not succeed to be a horse who not only won races but brought such joy to people both in and out of racing circles. He was always the underdog(horse) and exceeded all expectation to become one of the best; in my opinion he is the BEST!

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4 Phar Lap Phar Lap Phar Lap was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse whose achievements captured the public's imagination during the early years of the Great Depression.

Won 32 of his last 35 starts (with two 2nds) at distances from 1400m - 3600m. He was also a 1200m winner earlier in his career. Was not restricted to racing against his own age but rather took on all comers. Won Australasia's biggest race the Melbourne Cup as well as Australasia's best race the Cox Plate twice. Raced on and WON on all 4 days of the world famous Flemington spring carnival in the space of 7 days at distances from 1600m - 3200m, a feat that will never be attempted again let alone matched! Was shipped off to North America and won his only start there in the world's richest race at the time, the 2000m Agua Caliente Hcp, where he shouldered 58.5kg's. He raced wide to avoid the kick back and still won easily, with a cracked hoof, by 2l. This was to be his one and only race on dirt and in North America as he was poisoned by arsenic in suspicious circumstances at Menlo Park outside San Francisco due to the well held belief he was virtually unbeatable

Should be at the top of the list, won a melbourne cup, 2 cox plates and holds a massive winning streak of 14 wins in a row, he could of done more if he wasn't poisoned by American mobsters, he was a great Australian horse

Beat every horse in Australia during the great depression which makes this horse that even more special then he traveled over to America (by boat) to win the worlds current richest race taking on the best in the world before a suspicious death at his peak. Their is no doubt he is the best horse to walk this land.

Cause his heart was twice the size of a normal race horse, the yanks killed him cause he was the best.

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5 Frankel Frankel

Frankel, much more than just a undefeated European champion, the best thoroughbred to ever set foot to a racetrack throughout the history of the thoroughbred. At his peak, rated a remarkable 147, a rating which has never been repeated, nor never will. His 2000 Guineas win was right up there with the best of his performance's, going hard out from start to finish and still making everything else look extremely ordinary, two furlong's out, Frankel was an amazing 15 length's clear, an achievement no one will ever see a thoroughbred perform again. Frankel had it all, a 100% perfect record, 14/14, which could have went at least 100/100 had his connection's decide to keep the equine champion going. Yes, Phar Lap's, Melbourne Cup win's and other major win's were quite impressive, but the level of horse's he faced would have been no where near the quality of horses Frankel destroyed easily. Yes, the famous Seabiscuit story was an amazing, unlikely fairytale, but to call him the best ever? No. ...more

The best horse I have EVER seen... Not that I am any kind of expert but I've been watching the races for 35 years and this guy just brings a smile to anyone that see's him race. Never in trouble, he travels so sweetly with a turn of foot that blows away the opposition no matter who they are and leaves us all feeling so privileged just to witness his greatness. A once in a lifetime experience... If you haven't seen him run yet, do it... He will leave you speechless.

He has won every race for which he has entered often by over 10 lengths. Perhaps the best miler ever. Although he has not raced at over a mile until recently, he proved that he can also win at 10 furlongs at York. Sadly he will be retired to stud after his last race in october 2012, so that will be the last chance to see this magnificent horse.

As a sprinter, his split furlong times, are substantially better than those achieved by such a great horse as Secretariat, running over longer distances.

Frankel is an utter legend. Best racehorse of all time, hands down. 100% record, says it all.

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6 Ruffian

Why do people take a great horse and put her 7th!? Ruffian was the greatest horse at under a mile. Maybe even the greatest ever. She could sprint or stay and would beat anyone and everyone they threw at her. But on that fateful day she would face a colt for the first time in her life. At the start she banged her left shoulder on the starting gate and swerved hard on her right foot. But despite any pain she kept running and in a few strides she was dead even with Foolish Pleasure. After a brisk three furlongs a flock of birds flew in front of them and the great filly's ankle snapped. But she kept running pulverizing her sesamoids ripping the bone through her skin until finally after 100 yards she stopped. After 8 hours of trying to save Ruffian's life, she was finally put to rest. Her final resting place is in the infield at Belmont Park, with her nose pointed towards the finish line.

Ruffian was this once in a lifetime horse..not just for me, for everyone. Mystical, dark, black except for a little around her delicate nose, she was a monster on the track. Ruffian had sprinter speed, even moreso than regular sprinters, but could take it a mile and a half, yet she was wrapped up in a show horse's body. A horse like this comes along only once in a lifetime, I was old enough to watch her tragic race, yet young enough to mourn her for decades. Have we had other very good female racers? Absolutely. But, for example, Zenyatta could not catch Ruffian, and Rachel would not be able to keep up with her. She was not around long enough to set long win records, hers stopped much too early. One of my wishes would be to bring her back to us, but we who truly LOVED this magnificent horse will hopefully see her again. As far as the match race goes, which any knowing horse racing fan would agree was a very bad idea, she was already putting her competitor down; he was already getting ...more

I love Ruffian she is my hero she showed people what she was really made of she had a better time that secretariat in her first race! She is truly amazing and she will always be number one. Everyone has to admit she is one of the greatest racers of all time she would have beaten foolish pleasure has she not broken her leg. The best and worse part is that she tried to keep going and when she woke up she kept trying to run. She has the true heart of a racehorse.

An absolutely beautiful and remarkable horse. Just can't spot thinking about what if...

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7 Black Caviar

Hard to compare her against middle distance and beyond but definitely the greatest sprinter ever. Had a cruising speed that was untouchable in the jurisdiction that breeds and races the worlds fastest sprinters of this era. Did stretch to 7 furlongs but it would be debatable that she could have repelled the stamina of Frankel at that distance. It surely would have been a race to remember if they met and is a big shame as both were in their physical prime at the same point in time. Unfortunately they were on different sides of the planet certainly Frankel's connections had no financial incentive to travel and as it turned out Black Caviar didn't seem to cope well with her trip to England anyway although she still managed to win. Unfortunately due to circumstances Europeans never got to see her awesome ability because if you compared her to some of the recent dominating performances of Australian sprinters that went to Royal Ascot then they would have witnessed her winning by a very big ...more

Black Caviar had a 30 hour flight to the UK and sustained a grade-four tear of the quadriceps and a grade-two tear of the sacroiliac during the final stages of the race. Racing over a straight six furlongs on rain-softened turf in a foreign country, in front of the biggest crowded she has seen to win her 22nd race in a row... That's what I call a Champion...

I saw her race three times live and each time I was on the fence at the winning post. Watching her coming down the straight is a memory I will never forget and it was all so easy to her. Each time she gapped her rivals in the blink of an eye, and always whilst just being ridden hands and heels the whip never touched her big, beautiful arse.

25 races for 25 wins and a few in race record time - simply the best ever sprinter and fastest horse ever.

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8 Citation Citation

Citation is number 1 folks. The greatest horse of the 20th Century. 27 for 29 as a 3 year old, speaks for itself. Won the Jersey Stakes by 11 lengths in the midst of the Triple Crown. The Pimlico Special was a walk-over - no one else would take him on. Ran on 10 different tracks. To quote Andy Cannon, "If you went to Citation's grave today, and played a bugle, the call to the post; Citation would break out of the ground and beat everything else around". A LOT of folks still feel that that's true. Citation was the winner of the computer simulated race between the greats. There's no doubt about it - he's number one!

Won the Triple Crown in 1948 and it was 25 years later before Secretariat won the Triple Crown

Glad to see Cy on this list as a top ten. He was a TC winner and deserves his recognition. A lot of critiques leave Citation off their top ten list. But against Secretariat he would had the same fate as Sham.

Goes without saying!
number 1 ever!

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9 Zenyatta

Zenyatta is probably the greatest horse ever... She was so great that she never ran a whole race to her potential but won everyone but one... Check her times her last mile in the breeders cup faster than the because winner fastest last mile in because history fastest quarter mile in history of the b cup. 17 plus hands has a stride second to none no horse has ever gained ground on her gives a world class horse 5 lengths with 300 yds to go n catches him... No other horse alive can run her down... And if I'm wrong prove it... If you had every great horse alive at the quarter pole tied coming for home... I'm sure you would not leave her out... Why? Cause you know why!

Zenyatta ROCKS! She is only second to Barbaro in my mind. She won the Breeders' Cup Classic, the hardest race in it and became the FIRST EVER filly to win it aganst all the boys. And she was 5! PLEASE - ZenyattaForever

Zenyatta us simply amazing. She beat all the boys, was the fisrt ever to do so, and won the Breeders' Cup Classic. The year before, she won the Ladies' CAlssic, and became the first ever horse to have two concecutive Breeders' Cup wins. GO ZENYATTA! I love Zenyatta, hence my name. - ZenyattaForever

She is definitely in the top 10 of ALL time. a truly God's finest of Thoroughbreds. 😇👍🏽🐎❤️

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10 Seattle Slew Seattle Slew Seattle Slew was an American Thoroughbred race horse who won the Triple Crown in 1977—the tenth of twelve horses to accomplish the feat.

I remember the news brimming with Seattle Slew's victory. It seemed that everyone was excited that so much attention was given to a horse and a race somewhere across the country. For a moment, we all felt we were back in some 1940's Mickey Rooney movie (The Black Stallion). And it was also the year my son, Jason Byron, was born. How can I not remember and not vote for Seattle Slew as my favorite?

Was at Belmont the day he became the 10th
Triple Crown winner and the 1st Undefeated
Triple Crown winner. A very tough horse who
came back after a serious illness to defeat
Affirmed and thrill his fans.

Greatest all around race horse ever. Along with his second to none record on the track, his impact on the breeding facet of horse racing will be felt for generations. I feel head to head no horse could beat him,well maybe Dr. Fager in a short distance. Slew was simply assume. Please remember Slew is the only horse ever to win the Triple Crown undefeated that alone deserves higher ranking on this list.

Seattle Slew, we love you!

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The Contenders

11 Barbaro Barbaro Barbaro was an American Thoroughbred racehorse who decisively won the 2006 Kentucky Derby, but shattered his leg two weeks later in the 2006 Preakness Stakes, which ended his racing career and eventually led to his death.

I understand the sentiment of those who think it's not right to put Barbaro on a best racehorse list. For obvious reasons I agree. But those people 1) didn't see him win the Kentucky Derby in one of the best fields in a very long time. Such a natural! Such ease! No sweat - literally. No foam at the mouth. Just a stroll in the park. He was amazing! I would have bet the farm on his winning the triple crown. In fact, after the Derby, I turned to a friend and said, "It would take something catastrophic to keep this horse from running away with the next two races. He loved to run, and it was so easy for him. So sad.

I love Barbaro. I was at his Preakness. However, based upon 2 G1 wins, I cannot place him in a top 20 list of all-time greats particularly when international horses are included. I can think of dozens of horses I would rank ahead of him - Dr. Fager, Kelso, Dancing Brave, Treve, Sea The Stars, Damascus, War Admiral, Spectacular Bid, Buckpasser, Brigadier Gerard, John Henry, and even Count Fleet.

Also, his Derby field was good, but not great. It did not rival American Pharoah's, Street Sense's, or Silver Charm's. After all, the eventual 3 year old champion, Bernardini, was not even in the Derby.

Barbaro was the BEST racehorse in America (not counting Zenyatta, she is so the best female). He won the Kentucky Derby! I mean COME ON! of course he's great
But secretatiat deserves first, I wholeheartedly agree. - ZenyattaForever

Barbaro is my second favorite.That was my birth year 2006.I think Barbaro would how won the Triple crown if his leg didn't shatter.

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12 Sea Bird II

Sea Bird was the pre eminent racehorse in Europe in the 20th century. He won the Epsom Derby and Prix de l'arc de Triomphe on the bridle , the only horse ever to do this. He was so good that he was never extended so no-one knows just how good he was. I have seen all the great racehorses of the past 50 years, but Sea Bird is the only one who sent shivers up and down my spine. Many people consider him ' Champion of Champions'.

I saw Sea Bird win the Epsom Derby in 1965 and his performance was simply mindblowing. He won the most prestigious Derby in the world in a common canter and 11 of the horses who finished behind him won 15 races between them during the remainder of that season. 'Champion of Champions' is a fitting title for this equine superstar. - eljorich60

The greatest racehorse that ever trod turf. Sea Bird II won ALL his as a 3-year old with the greatest of ease, his wins were totally effortless. There will never be another like him, he was, quite simply, perfection in equine form. - eljorich60

I have been following Euro and US racing since 1960. Rated number 12 is a joke. He is the greatest racehorse I have ever seen. - plupi100

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13 Red Rum

,Unfortunately there are too many Americans voting who simply don't appreciate what the National is.

It is the ultimate test over the ultimate jumps over the ultimate distance.

To win it once is incredible, to win it twice is phenomenal, to win it thrice is verging on impossible, throw in a Scottish national in the same year & its other two appearances also being in the top 4 finishes, is simply one of the most outrageous achievements which anybody has ever heard of.

I mean I get that Secretariat was a phenomenally quick horse and has hammered records that have stood for years, and still holds those records today...but the Belmont is only a 12f race.

The Grand National, to put into perspective for people who don't know. Is a National Hunt Steeplechase, which is two laps of the track & over 30 fences, the field is usually around 50 horses, but has been as many as 66 before, the fastest time which has ever been run is just under 9 minutes, the race is just ...more

Greatest Horse of all time with the biggest heart, and in my opinion it's like Sprinters or Marathon Runners - Flat or Distance Horses - Jumpers over Distance are the Bravest and the fittest horses of the lot, especially ones that win over 4m 4f! Take a look at the National in which he beat Crisp @ Red Rum "1973" Grand National: Enough said, no need to bore with times, tracks, excuses for losing or not being unbeaten. Takes a true Class horse to come back after a taste of defeat to beat the best in the greatest test of horse racing... 3 times!

The "greatest" thoroughbred racehorse that has ever lived. In over 100 races he fell only once. Full of heart, full of talent and full of sheer guts... He won the Grand National a record 3 times; with no other horse ever winning it more than once.

The best enough said.

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14 Affirmed Affirmed

Won over $2.34 million, which in 1975 is much more than it is now.

Affirmed had the heart AND the physique of a true champion

Great racer made ya feel for Alydar and both horses underrated.

There Was Man O' War, Secretariat, and Last But Not Least Affirmed

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15 American Pharoah American Pharoah American Pharoah is an American Thoroughbred racehorse who won the American Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2015. In winning all four races, he became the first horse to win the "Grand Slam" of American horse racing.

I watched him when he won the Arkansas Derby and every race after that. And when I saw him run I just knew that this was the horse to do it. He runs so flawlessly that you can't take your eyes off him. I know he's no Secretariat and I wasn't around during that time. But to me he gives you that hope like Secretariat did. And that's all that matters. Winning the triple crown only seemed like a pipe dream. But when he won, it looked like he won it with ease. He turned that dream into reality. Then he won the Breeders Cup Classic in record time. And I cried when he crossed the finish line. I never had that much emotion for any racehorse. Thank you Pharoah you gave me hope and I hope one day that I will be able to meet you. I think he deserves a rank because he turned non horse fans into racehorse fans. If that makes sense.

There are not many horses that come around like him. One of the most unique strides of a horse ever, and he used it to his advantage over the others. He was able to conserve energy and eat up tremendous amounts of ground in the mean time. He came within half a length of sweeping the Triple Crown along with the Travers and Breeders Cup Classic. Still, winning the Triple Crown and the Breeders Cup Classic may well stand the test of time. He will always be one of the most popular of all time great horses with that very unique and kind demeanor that he had towards people.

Good race horses are a dime a dozen a lot of horses can win upper level allowance races and stakes races but rarely do you ever see a horse that can go out and dominate grade 1 stakes races the way Pharaoh did his one loss doesn't really even matter his performance in the Triple Crown and Breeders Cup show that he was one of those rare horses that you only see once in a lifetime many horses are great but I was always taught that a Triple Crown winner is something extraordinary there are good horses there are great horses then there are 12 legends the 12 Triple Crown winners the last being American Pharaoh

American Pharaoh, like Secretariat, has the sweet natured temperament and superior athlete physical dominance that make him my pick. He is beautiful, charismatic, confident and powerful all in one.

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16 Omaha

Did a term paper that included Omaha. He was a great racer and the research proved it.

Wonderful runner, totally underestimated by most.

Pharlap will never be matched

17 Rachel Alexandra

The "Wonder Filly", who is one of the only fillies to ever have been compared to the great Ruffian. Her 20 1/4 length win in the Oaks was impressive, but her win in the Preakness against the boys was something else entirely. Her time at the Mother Goose Stakes was less than a second slower than the record set by Secretariat. She recently ran against the best boys in the country at Woodbine, and she became the first filly to ever win that race. She also set a track and course record. Calvin Borel, who ran Mine That Bird to victory in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and gave up his Preakness ride to jockey Rachel instead, says that she is "The best horse he has ever ridden. " His list of horses whom he had jockeyed is impressive, to say the least.

Great filly.. but not a top 25 horse. Only one great season. Maybe a top 70 horse, but not 25

She is the only horse to win the second Jules of the triple crown and was the only horse to win out go get number 13

Superior race mare.

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18 Brigadier Gerard

Luck enough to be alive and witness him thrashing "The Mighty Mill Reef" I remember the whole expectation building up to the 2,000 Guineas - everyone expecting it to be a match between Mill Reef and My Swallow just watch the race on Youtube and see him quicken up in hugely impressive fashion and leave them for dead - gutted when Roberto beat him but lets not forget Roberto won a Derby and Rheingold who then won the Arc - this is a top European performance and he beat Allez France - all of this form ties in with and endorses the class of what Brigadier Gerard did - hated soft ground yet Knuckled down to beat mudlark Sparkler in Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot - Loved him to bits and cried when Roberto beat him

Lots of talk about Frankel being the greatest but has not beaten the quality that the Brigadier beat and Frankel's four year old campaign has been brilliant but not tested him in the Arc for E.G. brigadier still my number one! Nijinsky a close second.

Interesting breeding which shouldn't have produced a horse of this higher calibre. He was a terrifically physically impressive specimen who oozed power and apparently he was not "molly-coddled" as a youngster. A horse who looked his best when galloping up the hill at Newmarket in '71.

A true great! Seabird's Arc, Secretariet's Belmont, Frankel's 2000 G, and the Brigadier's thrashing of Millreef and My Swallow are the highlights of my racing memory. - plupi100

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19 Kincsem

Kincsem was undefeated in fifty-four starts. This alone is incredible. Now take into account the amazing advantages she gave her opponents in races. In one race the starter had all the horses but Kincsem lined up. Kincsem was eating some grass off to the side. People tried to move Kincsem, but she wouldn't budge. So finally the starter let the other horses off. Kincsem kept eating grass, watching them running away. Then she decided to run. She won. How many horses do you know of that can stand still at the start of a race and still win? And I think I forgot to mention the weight she carried. If remember correctly, it went as high as 168 lbs.

Raced against the best that Europe & the UK had to offer. Constantly travelled over multiple countries and internationally. Won at distances from 1000 - 4022 metres against all champions & all comers, with weights ranging from 57 kilos to 63 kilos in all conditions ranging from sunny to sodden... Phenomenal!

How can any horse in this list compare to that? None on this list come close.

Kincsem is the greatest racehorse in racing history to this point, and it is highly unlikely, if ever, that her unparalleled record will be approached, let alone beaten.

Greatest horses and fastest horses aren't the same. I think greatest should be those who have accomplished the most. Winning all her races, Kincsem deserves to be in the top 10

She won 54 of 54 races!

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20 Native Dancer

Native dancer was not only a great race horse but a sire of sires so most be considered in the best place in the world.

Should be in the top 10.
Most exciting 'come from behind' winner ever.
Was bumped twice in the Kentucky Derby
Or would have retired undefeated.

What is this horse doing in 96th place should be in top ten for all of his great wins

Northern Dancer is amazing and he is in the top 10 at least

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21 Mill Reef

Champion 2yo and 3yo, Coventry, Gimcrack and Dewhurst, Derby, Eclipse, King George, Arc, then 15l winner of Ganay - ignore official distance and check out actual distance, and Coronation Cup as 4yo. Then successful career at National
Stud. Any ground, no problem? Winning distances - you needed binoculars to see the rest. Simply the best middle distance turf horse ever

Great sire won the Derby trained by my grandfather and recovered from a broken leg

Quite possibly my number one racehorse on the flat.

So fast love him

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22 War Admiral War Admiral War Admiral was an American thoroughbred racehorse, best known as the fourth winner of the American Triple Crown and Horse of the Year in 1937, and rival of Seabiscuit in the 'Match Race of the Century' in 1938. During his career toward the end of the Great Depression, War Admiral won 21 of his 26 starts ...read more.

Please war admiral should be in to ten for shore. He won the triple crown. You have to give him credit for that. - Gatsby

One of the best except for one race. Secretariat did not carry the weights that Man O War, Seabiscuit, and War Admiral did.

If the Biscuit is in the top 10 then by default War Admiral has to be just under him.

Needs to be top 10, won the triple crown. Only 12 to do it in history.

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23 Dancing Brave

Greatest of all time - look at his times for the last 2 furlongs in the derby. Forget his performance in the US - he was injured. The ARC was the best run of all time - to produce that finish off a record pace - truly incredible

Without doubt his arc performance was incredible against the finest field ever assembled. must have been travelling 10mph faster than anything at the finish

Best horse I ever saw, won the Arc going away in what was a world class field, never seen a turn of speed like it.

Absolute superstar, his Arc performance was incredible and no other horse could have finished a close second in the Derby from where he was coming round Tattenham Corner. Astonishing speed.

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24 Ribot

Second greatest horse in the history of thoroughbred racing behind Sea Bird II. Ribot was unbeaten in 16 races stretching over three seasons.

He should be up there in the top 5, He has won in all kind of distance and in turf/dirt. He won the biggest race in uk and France (twice). He is truly one of a kind.

A temperamental champion. But unbeaten in all his races and by far the best middle distance horse in flat racing.

Ribot is the greatest of the European racehorses. Frankel couldn't touch him with a ten horse length pole.

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25 Sea the Stars

To have sea the stars in this position tells me how completely stupid this list is. Secretariat deserves his place at no. 1 due to his speed records, to hold the triple crown, break all the records and still hold the Belmont stakes record 40 years on! Unbelievable. But sea the stars has done something that no horse has ever done and many have tried. The Guinness, derby and arc in the same season as well as 3 10 furlong group 1s every month for 6 months. The 2 times he was pushed he broke race and track records for the distance. He always done enough but I have no doubt the better the opposition the faster this colt could go. For me a very close second to secretariat.

Incredible horse.. Only ever did enough and whatever pushed him he would stick his head out... Against anything... The horse I think he would have had trouble against would be franked over a mile... Any distance after that no competition

Records tells the story won on every type of ground never gave in the best considering the variety of distances he won over

The best Horse of all times...

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26 Arkle

They lumped hugh weights on this horse to stop him waste of time he was world class, they can say all you like about all flat horses but over the jumps there is only one arkle never will we see the likes of him again super horse

Arkle is the pre eminent steeplechaser of the past 70 years. He is universally regarded as the greatest chaser of all time - eljorich60

This must be an American site, what with all those Yankee horses at the top. If Arkle hadn't been shackled with more weight than the rest no other horse would have got near him. 24th on this list is laughable, and so is Brigadier Gerard's placing.

Arkle is the greatest horse ever without a doubt. No American horse can compare with Arkle

V 11 Comments
27 Carbine

Champion racehorse and sire. Still holds Melbourne Cup weight carrying record for winner. Started 5 times in a week in top class races, including 2 races on the same day, for 4 wins and a 2nd. Came back the next year and did it again but won all 5! As a sire, he sired an English Derby winner who in turn sired another English Derby winner and over half of all Melbourne Cup winners have Carbine in their pedigree.

Carbine was an amazing horse. He is the only horse to have won the Melbourne Cup with more than 65kg. He is one of only two horses to complete the Sydney-Melbourne Cup double, the other being the champion mare Makybe Diva. He was unplaced only once in 43 starts, succumbing to a hoof injury. He was a successful sire and one of his most well known progeny is Spearmint (the great grandsire of Phar Lap) and most great racehorses of today are his descendants including Makybe Diva, Frankel and Black Caviar.

The best of the best check his record also champion sire none will ever compare

Best horse of all time and backed it up as a stallion.

if he was around these days and did what he did back then...wow he'd be worth 50 million as a stallion

V 8 Comments
28 Nijinsky

The ridiculously low position given to this amazing horse reflects the insular attitude of the majority of those who have voted. If he could have competed against the seven highest ranked other horses that specialised in running the same distances with all in their prime, I know where my bet would have gone.

I have seen every great racehorse over 50 years and I have never nor do I think I will ever see a horse as good as Nijinsky for as long as I live he was without doubt in my opinion the greatest horse I have ever seen
His King George victory was astonishing he walked across the line there wasn't a horse in history that could have lived with him that day!

Most versatile horse ever best jockey best trainer best owner time tends to cloud peoples minds but anybody who saw nijinsky run will I'm sure rate him the greatest of them all

The best race horse ever in my opinion

V 13 Comments
29 Kelso

I saw Kelso run many times. His heart was huge and he was classy. He was also very much loved my racing fans everywhere, its just so long ago, many don't know much about him. But no horse has ever won Horse of the Year FIVE times, and he has some pretty good competition. And he was still a winner at age 8! He needs to be in the top ten somewhere.

Horse of the year 5 times and track record still stand

Kelso set a world record on dirt and an American record on grass in a span 0f 11 days. He ran the mile and one half one fifth of a second faster than Secretariat's Belmont Stakes and he had to run around 3 turns as supposed to Secretariats 2 turns. He raced before they started using steroids.

Kelso was, is, and will always be the best all around racehorse ever!

V 14 Comments
30 Count Fleet

Triple crown winner, won belmont by over 25 lengths. Same record as secretariat, their careers are a parallal. Beautiful horse that had caring owners who retired him after an injury. Lived to the ripe old age of 33. No 3 horse of all time

If you put secretariat in the top ten then count fleet needs to be in the top ten.

Another speechless horse. Have nothing to say - Horsegirl

Your kidding me. Right? HE WON THE TRIPLE CROWN for the love of Pete. How could he be 141th he WON THE TRIPLE CROWN>

31 Kauto Star

When Kauto came back to win the gold cup.. Jesus man... what a horse and what a trainer... Wow...

What a horse kauto star was! Definitely one of the best national hunt racehorses of all time.

Loved his last King George win. People forget that Kauto was as brave as any horse!

The best by far

V 11 Comments
32 Dr. Fager

Dr. Fager was a scary fast racehorse, folks. The only thing that limits his ranking somewhat is the fact that he did not run the Triple Crown races. That he is ranked 32 here is absurd! He is undoubtedly top 10. Many across the pond consider Frankel the best miler, but those who know Dr. Fager, know better.

Extraordinarily fast. He won 18 of 22, did the mile in 132.2 carrying 134 lbs running the 2nd qtr in any unbelievably fast 20.6, went under 2 minutes for 1 1/4 miles three times carrying up to 135 lbs. No horse could run so fast carrying so much weight except perhaps Forego. His achilles heel was he couldn't be rated & was given to chasing rabbits. In a match race with only one horse to focus on he would be a formidable opponent for any horse that ever lived.

I was at Atlantic city when he put away all of the best turf horses of his time in the one & three sixteenth mile UN handicap on good turf with 130+ pounds - first time turf & he rated well and came again in stretch! After that he won a 7 furlong grade I stake at aqueduct world record time of 120.2 eased up with 139 pounds on his back! maybe the best all around horse of all time!

Blazingly fast horse. Set the record for the mile on dirt in 1968, and it still stands today. A ranking of 32 here is laughable and ignorant. Definitely top 10; arguably, top 5.

V 20 Comments
33 Sham Sham

Its true, Sham is a footnote in Racing History now, but perhaps he helped make the Secretariat Legend even greater as was the only horse to really push him, his performances in the first two races of the triple crown, would have been more than good enough against almost any other horse, and burned out in the belmont, due to the crazy speed set off at, definitely deserves more credit than he has had with the passing of the years

A forgotten horse by many, but think in any other year would have been legendary, a triple crown winner in record times, some may say finished last in Belmont, but that was mainly because tried to burn off Secretariat and it backfired, would surely have run a different race had the great one not been present, run the second best time ever in a race and only finish second, that's almost seems impossible?

Sham should be in the Top 5 without a doubt. He is the only horse that could touch Secretariat, would've won the Triple Crown in almost any other year. He has the 4th fastest time ever to run the Kentucky Derby maybe even 2nd because of the lack of the timing technology back then. This rank truly pisses me off.

If Sham had been foaled in any other year, he would have won the triple crown and remembered as one of the greats. He just had the misfortune of running against the greatest racehorse that ever lived.

V 20 Comments
34 Eclipse

Agree. Never headed. Had to quit racing because on one would put a horse against him. The foundation sire of nearly all the thoroughbreds. How could anyone not think he is the greatest since thoroughbreds became a breed?

"Eclipse first, the rest nowhere". That sums him up. The horse is the number one thoroughbred flat racehorse to me. Remember that American horses race for the Eclipse Awards, the benchmark in achievement in the United States.

Named after the Solar Eclipse of 1764, this is the thoroughbred 90% of all modern day racehorses are descended from. He won all of his 18 races, and prior to winning his 2nd race by 240 yards Dennis O'Kelly coined the phrase "Eclipse first, the rest nowhere. "

Eclipse should be named number 1 on the list.

V 6 Comments
35 Arrogate

Best horse of the 21st century.

He is a good horse,but his defeated in DEL MAR unbelievable.I think it is jockey's mistake.M Smith must got the early speed and inside rail.I am very sorry about ARROGATE.That must be the only defeat for him.

36 Cigar

It was an amazing horse perhaps top 5. He started running at 4 so he could not run any of the triple crown races. But winning 16 consecutive races as he did was just incredible.

Honestly I believe Secretariat I s first but I voted for Cigar because is at 37? Seriously 37? Didn't race when he was younger but one of the most decorated race horses with an incredible win streak during a competitive time. Top 5 horse no doubt.

Cigar was one of the most thrilling horses that I ever saw in my childhood. Specially the rider he had Jerry bailey and him were like best friends. Cigar will always be my favorite horse of all time.

Top five, easy.

V 9 Comments
37 Flyingbolt

A top class steeplechaser from the 1960s and, like his stable companion, Arkle, trained in Ireland. Flyingbolt was the Champion Two Mile chaser and the very next day ran a highly creditable third in the Champion Hurdle. - jeepster

38 Spectacular Bid Spectacular Bid

I wouldn't put the Bid at #1 (although some would), but he deserves a lot more love than he gets... In American racing the "classic" race distance is 1-1/4 miles on dirt... The Kentucky Derby, the Breeders Cup Classic, and many of the famous Handicaps are run at that distance. Think of all the GREAT horses that have run that distance on dirt... Now remember ask who is the World Record Holder for 1-1/4 miles on dirt?

It is Spectacular Bid as a 4 year old (1:57 & 4/5s at Santa Anita). It does not surprise me that the man in the saddle that day, Bill Shoemaker, has be quoted as saying that Spectacular Bid was the best horse he ever rode and he rode a lot of GREAT ones.

The only races he lost was due to human errors or injury. Could have been undefeated. I don't know if we ever saw how fast this horse was capable of running as he was never threatened. A great horse

How in the world could Spectacular Bid be ranked #42. I've followed horse racing for over 50 years. He is without question a top 5 thoroughbred.

A horse that set many records should be top five. If he had won the Belmont everyone would rate Tim as a top five

V 19 Comments
39 Smarty Jones

He one the Kentucky Derby in 2004! Don't forget that's not it - Horsegirl

Smarty was a great story and a better horse. If it wasnt for early retirement he would be top 5 of this list.

One of the better sprinters of all time. Came into Belmont undefeated and finished second only because he went out too fast, then retired right after due to injury. A shame

The Preakness win was the best I’ve ever seen. I still get touched watching the owners cry.

V 5 Comments
40 Vaguely Noble

aaa

41 Forego

Simply stated - given the weights he carried throughout his long career Forego was the strongest thoroughbred ever to step on a race track... If you look at his races he stands out as different - he wasn't particularly graceful or sleek... Rather his wins were through sheer power and determination... The strength of this horse was breathtaking

Many horses listed don't belong, little common sense and some knowledge will eliminate many I see listed. American Pharaoh is there because a host of people experienced there first triple crown and so they vote for him. I believe of all triple crown winners he is the weakest. Secretariat, Man O'War, PharLap, Citation, Kelso, Native Dancer, GallantFox, Ribot Seabiscuit, Zenyatta all belong way up there and also does FOREGO three time Horse of the Year, four time Handicap champion, and amazingly Sprint champion. Carried lots of weight saw him lose to a horse who had only 108 pounds while toting weights of 138, 137 pounds. Came from the clouds under 137 to nail stakes winner Honest Pleasure in one of the greatest races ever the Marlboro Cup. Overcame weight and injuries to beat a who's who of buzzsaw thoroughbreds over his career. He belongs right there with Kelso and close to the top. Forget these lists they don't do many of these legends justice.

This is ridiculous, who composed this list? Forego is counted 8th on the all time great list by Bloodhorse. This great horse had carried great weight and with substantial physical problems with his legs. How much faster and greater this horse would have been without there ailments no one can tell, he was an outstanding giant among giants. Truly one of the best horses to step onto a racetrack.

Greatest, biggest horse I ever saw run. Complete domination over the compettition

V 6 Comments
42 El Gran Senor

Was he not great at stud or dose this not count.

Was a really great horse. Stunning unbeaten as two-year old, among many good ones,
his display in the 2000 Guennias among the strongest field og milers seen in many years,
was stunning. He lost the Derby, from a jockey mistake, hit the front to soon, but got revanch
in the Irish Derby.

43 California Chrome

I love California Chrome his color is the same as my horses color and I thought that was pretty cool but besides that he Chrome is amazing it would of been cool if he won the triple crown but hey it doesn't matter if you win or you lose just have fun

Gorgeous horse and have lots of devoted fans. He looks very handsome and runs so beautiful.

Considering the high caliber of his competition, his ability on all surfaces and versatility in racing style being able to win on the lead or come from behind - he should certainly be in the top ten! All time leading money earner in North America means he excelled in the big races.

California Chrome is the greatest horse ever. He is a true champion. Chrome brought awareness to fans who knew nothing at all about the races. He's truly the people's horse. I love Chrome and everything he stands for. His owners and trainers are also awesome.

California Chrome is gorgeous racer. He is very fast and the number 5 horse on my list.

V 10 Comments
44 Winx

Won 3 Cox Plates in a row, the first in record time, the second by a record margin, and the third beating her own record.

About to watch the cox plate for 2016

The best horse Australia has seen

25 consecutive win and counting.

V 16 Comments
45 John Henry

The measure of the greatest race horse isn't how fast it can run on a given day or under certain track conditions. It is how many times he goes to the pay window. Seems the motive today is to find a good horse race him for three years. If the horse puts up exceptional performances retire it to stud and make millions on breeding fees. Most horses don't run more than 25 races. There true potential over time is never proven. On the other hand John Henry had no stud potential so he just ran races. He ran 83 races. Had 39 firsts, 15 seconds and 9 thirds. If you bet John Henry "across the board" whenever he ran you would have gone to the pay window 75% of the time. He was still winning Grade I races at 9 years of age. Any other horse in racing would have been a long time retired before their record could get blemished by time and their breeding value compromised. Racing is all about money.

The meanest, the ugliest, the best and the most loved horse ever. I don't care who he was up against. If John wasn't boxed in and had daylight in front of him, he would do whatever it took to win. He loved to run, especially coming from behind. That 84 Arlington Million Race still brings tears to my eyes when I watch it. John belongs to be much higher on this list. He's earned it!

You seriously marked John Henry as 40th on the board... Are you kidding me! Do you know squat about horse racing... He deserves to be under seabiscuit... Just my opinion... Doesn't make it right but that is what I think.

I actually him race once, an incredible horse.

V 10 Comments
46 Denman

What a great horse, tough as old boots and tried his heart out in every reach. It is good to see that he had taken to his new career so well.

This is about horse racing thoroughbreds not jumpers.. should be taken off this list and put horses like easy goer in the top ten

One the toughest horses to race in recent years

A great champion. Always gave his best. His Cheltenham Gold Cup win is one of my all time favourite races to watch.

V 2 Comments
47 Carry Back

Carry Back was a tiny racehorse as studs go. He won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and lost the Belmont to Sherluck. His specialty was coming from behind, often coming from dead last to win by a neck or head. He went on to Europe and won there as well. I saw him years later in Ocala at stud. He was leaning against a corral fence and when I walked up to him he looked like a pony. I couldn't believe how such a small horse could beat the giants. He deserves to be on this list due to his great heart.

Won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness coming from way back which was his specialty. Went on to wins in Europe. I saw him at stud in Ocala and was surprised to see how small he was, not much bigger than a pony. Great heart and deserves the recognition.

48 Desert Orchid

Simply the best. That 1989 gold cup with yahoo was the greatest race I have seen.4 King george vi chases 3 in a row in 1988,1989,1990 plus he won a Irish grand national despite nearly falling at the last so tell me than why he not number 1 on this list let alone on it until RIP Desert orchid 1979-2006

Loved this horse! I remember my Uncle saying he was past it! I said no way he will win it no problem...and he did! His scope over jumps was just amazing to watch...always my number one racehorse of all time.

If it was rating the most beloved horses of all time, would certainly be Top five, a very good horse though even without that.

Desert Orchid is the best horse ever sometimes I even roleplay as him

V 13 Comments
49 Mill House

Just a great horse

50 Persian War

This British horse was one of the greatest hurdlers of all time and considered by many, myself included, to have no equal. Won three Champion Hurdles 1968-1969- 1970 and was second in 1971. - jeepster

My favourite hurdler

Persian War was by far the best Two Mile Hurdler in the UK. Apart from Three Champion Hurdle wins and the Triumph Hurdle; he carried big weights to victory in handicap hurdles notably the 1968 Schweppes Gold Trophy. Unlike more recent Champion Hurdlers he beat high calibre horses.

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List Stats

12,000 votes
208 listings
9 years, 87 days old

Top Remixes (41)

1. Secretariat
2. Barbaro
3. Ruffian
avengedsevenfoldrocks
1. Secretariat
2. Man O' War
3. Sea Bird II
meanfish
1. Secretariat
2. Seabiscuit
3. Zenyatta
Tinker1020

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