Best Race Horses of All Time

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

It is immensely telling that whenever this racehorse or that one world over is touted as the greatest of all time, that horse is invariably compared to the immortal Secretariat. As Charles Hatton wrote, Secretariat's "only point of reference is himself."

V 859 Comments
2 Man O' War Man O' War Man o' War was an American Thoroughbred who is widely considered one of the greatest racehorses of all time. Several sports publications including The Blood-Horse, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and the Associated Press voted Man o' War as the outstanding horse of the 20th century.

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.

For me, the only real way to compare and judge competitors from different eras in any athletic discipline is in how dominant they were. And in that, Man O' War has no competition. He nearly made a mockery of the sport, and all his latest "races" were really just speed exhibitions, as by then, no one wanted to send their best horses out to be so dominated. And all of that was with some of the highest handicap weights ever assigned. He was retired at 3, because had he raced another year, he likely would've been sent to post with even higher weight assignments - the highest assigned weights of any race horse in history to this day.

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

He is the best

V 126 Comments
3 Frankel Frankel Frankel is a British Thoroughbred racehorse. Frankel was unbeaten in his fourteen-race career and was the highest-rated racehorse in the world from May 2011.

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.

Anyone who saw Frankel win the Quen Ane Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday will not doubt that he is the fastest miler of today and perhaps forever. Over his favourite distance of 7 or 8 furlongs he must be unbeatable. He came in at odds of 11-10 ON so £1 winning for £10 stake. The Bookies knew his form. He has won every one of this 11 races, some quite easily. Punters were saying a bet on Frankel was a better investment than oputting money into a Building Society (Savings and Loan) and that they pay up faster.

After 3 furlongs the kjockey gave him his head and he just powered away. He looks so smooth and gracefully and obviouisly enjoys winning, which he did by 11 lengths.

From the split times for each furlong, it is clear that he accelerated away on the fourth furlong but had slowed down by the fifth and sixth. Perhaps he lacks the stamina for the Derby over a slightly longer course, or perhaos he was so far ahead that the jockey eased him up.

According to his ...more

V 158 Comments
4 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.

Such a great story is his life and the people in it from the owner to trainer and jockie. Its not in his feet Georgie, it's in his heart.

Sea biscut was the greatest there ever was due to a number of things. But to be so disadvantaged in so many ways yet able to do what can only be discribed as the impossible. The story of this horse, it reads like a fairytale. An incredible life of horse and the people who were privileged to be a part of it. I just love this horse and the greatness that he represents.

V 146 Comments
5 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 ran then all down All the time!

She should be second on list. I'm not even into horses or racing but honestly followed ONLY while this female ROCKET was out laying the smack down to anybody who dared get near her. The ONLY reason she ever lost was all Mike Smith's fault, he even owned up to it and other jockeys just kept mouths shut because that knew there hasn't been a horse like her ever. Nobody even touches her times today! Her personality was amazing, I mean she actually danced for the cameras and crowds. She's at WORST top 5 all time, these others are just big names everybody knows THE Z TRAIN IS#2 FOR SURE - Cush77

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

V 84 Comments
6 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

Very few horses ever have their name liveth forever more. Pegasus was the great winged stallion in Greek mythology. Greco-Roman poets wrote about the ascent of Pegasus to heaven after his birth, and his subsequent obeisance to Zeus, king of the gods, who instructed him to bring lightning and thunder from Olympus. One could then say that thousands of years later that the lightning would strike, and strike hard in the world of Thoroughbred racing. In the Thai language the word "Phar Lap" translated to English means "lightning". Pegasus lives on; and so does Phar Lap in the hearts and eyes of many.

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

Bright Star royally bred. Carried big heart biochemistry on X chromosome.

V 183 Comments
7 Black Caviar

Best sprinter ever by far!

Black Caviar would beat Frankel with a chest cold.

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...

V 106 Comments
8 Ruffian

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

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.

Best female horse ever!

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.

V 106 Comments
9 Sea Bird II

Without any doubt Sea Bird II was the greatest middle distance racehorse of the 20th century, there has never been another horse that comes close to his level of brilliance. Should be placed at the top of this list.

Have watched horse racing for 50+ years. Sea Bird II was the best I ever saw.

Just magnificent animal the champion of champions no12 disgraceful should be no1.

By far better than frankel won at 1 mile 1 furlongs won 1965 Epsom derby on the bridle and beat the best ever fiel ever in the 1965 arc by 6 lengths could have been 20 but crossed over the track in the final furlong second home was diatome winner of the 65 French derby and he beat the third by 8 lengths I have been watching horse racing for over 50 years and have seen most of the brilliant horses in that time great horses that where fantastic...but sea bird11 peerless no question!

V 16 Comments
10 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.

Voted to make people salty.

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.

I love Barbaro. I truly believe he would have won the triple crown if he had not shattered his leg at the Preakness Stakes.

V 39 Comments

The Contenders

11 Brigadier Gerard

The greatest racehorse ever to grace the turf.

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

Best mile and mile and a quarter hordr. Would beat Frankel up a stick. Frankel beat the same 6/7 Horses throught his career. The Brigadier beat horses like Mill Reef My Deallow Scottish Rifle Parnell Dahlia. etc. All who went on to win Classic and Group Races.

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.

V 12 Comments
12 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

The best Horse of all times...

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

V 14 Comments
13 Affirmed Affirmed

Affirmed when he retired was a horse they knew could set world records. Affirmed broke hroses Hart's there will to ever race again. He is right up along side Secratairat.

Biggest heart and most competitive nature. He was a true champion.

No better head to head racing than affirmed and alydar

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

V 9 Comments
14 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.

V 4 Comments
15 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.

How can they possibly rank the great Seattle Slew this low? He was the ONLY undefeated Triple Crown winner (up until last year) and as a breeding sire can arguably be deemed the greatest of all time, bar none. This list is complete BS--Slew should be ranked either #1 (if you also include passing on his talent to his get--no one else even comes close) or at the very least #2 if you are only comparing what each horse did on the racetrack.

Seattle Slew was rated this low for one reason. When he raced his goal was to win. The jockeys never had to even push Slew so he never had to show all he had. I almost say he jogged to his wins.

One of the few that could carry its speed a distance even when challenged early on. A true champion!

My dream race would include Secretariat, Spectacular Bid and of course Seattle Slew at even weights at 1 & 1/4 miles on the dirt.

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?

V 27 Comments
16 Red Rum

Won the world's toughest race 3 times and finished 2nd twice - enough said!

,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

The Greatest Steeplechaser of all time without question.
3 wins and 2 seconds over 5 years in the world's greatest race.
Should be far far higher on this list.

The National is the braves and most romantic race - it's winners are remarkable horses full of heart and beating adversity. And Red Rum was the pinnacle of them all. A truly remarkable horse.

V 55 Comments
17 Citation Citation Citation (April 11, 1945 – August 8, 1970) was an American Triple Crown-winning Thoroughbred racehorse stallion who won 16 consecutive races in major stakes race competition. He was the first horse in history to win one million dollars. He was foaled at Calumet Farms in Lexington, Kentucky. Citation more.

Move him way up.

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!

There is absolutely no doubt that Citation is the best of the best. His record speaks for itself.

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

V 25 Comments
18 Arkle

Arkle may never have carried 13 stone but he often had to give up to 42 lbs to the opposition and he still beat them by a distance. Mill House was considered the best steeplechaser of all time then along came Arkle and broke his heart. Without doubt,Arkle was the best steeplechaser ever. Des

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.

V 12 Comments
19 Shergar

Still holds biggest winning margin in the Derby by some distance joke of a position

A true Irish Legend

Probably the greatest Derby winner of all time and would have been a great stallion at stud had it not been for the scum that killed this fantastic horse. May they rot in hell.

He was outstanding! Swinburn and Pigott were also outstanding with him. Also very kind and beautiful racehorse.

V 8 Comments
20 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 by far my favorite! He would have one the triple crown had it not been for someone running their horse into him!

V 10 Comments
21 Winx

Every other nation is completely jealous of her ability. When she retires she will be renown as the greatest of all time. What a pleasure to see her in action. - lachiemc

Surely to be mentioned amongst the very best. Simply unbeatable. He won 33 consecutive races including 25 Group 1s, at distances ranging from 1300 metres to 2200 metres. And against very good horses.

The best of all time. I have never seen a horse like her. Was privileged to be at the track for her last 2 races.
She is like a horse on her way down to the start as she comes up the home straight.

As an avid watcher of horse racing I vote for The Wonderful Winx 25Group 1's 4 I repeat 4Cox Plates and undefeated in 33 starts in succession and Owner said she could of won Melbourne Cup but would of shortened her career
She should be numero uno

V 82 Comments
22 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.

Three years ago American Pharoah won not the Triple Crown, but the Grand Slam of horse racing. I feel that some people overlook that saying that the horses he was up against were not as good as those previous Triple Crown winners raced against. But the same could be said about any other racehorse, that he/she won just because the other horses weren't that good. What makes Pharoah special is that he wasn't those other horses that could not continue racing after the strain of the Triple Crown and his owners and trainer felt that he had the strength to continue. He won the Grand Slam, the only horse to EVER do so which is why I think he is definitely as good as Secretariat and any other racehorse ranked higher than him. Personally, he is my favorite racehorse of all time, not just because of his impeccable career but because of his loving disposition, public appeal, and simply the way he won his races. I am so grateful that I was alive to watch him change the racing industry, and show ...more

Only Grand Slam winner.
Only horse with the stamina to do all 4 races.

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.

Slow slow fractions in all his wins...great...i think not.

V 71 Comments
23 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

24 Golden Miller

His record speaks for itself. His sheer courage got him around Aintree to win. He was a not a natural jumper of the huge pre-war fences in the Grand National.

The most successful cheltenham gold cup winner winning it 5 times and the only horse to win the two nost prestigious steeplechases in the same year something that will never be beaten.

25 Ribot

Most versatile horse ever

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

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.

V 13 Comments
26 Carbine

To win so many in a week and then winning 5. But now Winks is here nothing like her.

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

V 9 Comments
27 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

28 Nijinsky


The best race horse ever in my opinion

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!

V 14 Comments
29 Kincsem

Easily the greatest horse

Best record should be the top.

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.

I think popularity and greatness aren't the same. But in fact, Kincsem is one of the most well known animals in whole Hungary. What a shame, that time and phisical distance doesn't let her to be in top 10. For me, and probably for most of the Hungarians she will always be the best, the one and only "Kincsem".

V 24 Comments
30 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. "

Look him up. He had to retire early since no one would bet against him. 18th century horse, essentially all modern day race horses descended from him. Had a heart twice the size of normal horses, a trait linked to thoroughbreds, and a trait that no one can seem to find in a horse prior to him.

V 6 Comments
31 Street Cry

His grand sire was Mr prospector and he sired one of the best zenyatta he deserves a higher place than this. He raced as a 2-4 year old. He did not have the best start as a 2 year old though.

Sheets cry was zenyattas dad. - Gatsby


32 Dr. Fager

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.

The only horse to win 4 awards in the same year

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.

V 24 Comments
33 Nashua

One of the top 10 horses of all time. Barely beaten by Swaps in the Kentucky Derby but far and away the better horse as his winning times in the Preakness and Belmonst attest to.

34 Smarty Jones

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

Horse was awesome example of grit

What a great story, and such a great little horse. I'm glad he's getting the love he deserves here.

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

V 5 Comments
35 Justify

Should be in the top 10 all time...only Triple Crown Winner to retire undefeated...beat more horses in winning the Triple Crown than any other Triple Crown winner...started his career with 4 100+ Beyer Speed Ratings...broke the 100+ year old Apollo Curse...

Baffert loves cheating, running Restoring Hope to take out the whole field in the first turn for justify to win the Belmont Stakes. Yes Justify is a great horse, but Baffert gets to decide truly how great his legacy is since he trains top older male horse West Coast as well as injured Top 3 Year Old Mckinzie. It's his decision if he will run these horses against each other if he does and Justify wins that'll help strengthen his legacy. With the retiring of Gun Runner and Arrogate I don't believe we'll truly know how great Justify is without much competition emerging heading into his summer campaign.

Baffert doesn't cheat when he enters another horse. That is the other owners that want their horse to run as well. Restoring Hope didn't have anything to do with Justify's winning the Belmont and Triple Crown. Watch the race again. Justify ran the hooves off the rest of the horses. He deserves to be in the this list!

He is the best looking racehorse to ever exist

V 7 Comments
36 Atlantic Jewel

From memory never run in the cox So you think would be a better choice

37 Sham Sham Sham, an American thoroughbred race horse, a leading three year old horse in 1973, but was overshadowed by his more famous peer, Secretariat. Sham was a dark seal brown in color. While racing, he wore green and yellow blinkers.

Great horse! Would of been triple crown winner if not for Secretariat the greatest horse of all time!

He was a beauty for sure.

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?

V 22 Comments
38 Spectacular Bid Spectacular Bid

Any list that puts Spectacular Bid this far down is embarrassing.


It is Atrocious to think The Bid is not Top 3 on this list.. I have him at 2 on pure raw talent horse ever could match him at 4 years of age from 6 panels to 1 1/4 mile... He has multiple Track and Stakes and World Records and it is said he averaged a mid 120 + Beyer his 4 year old season... unheard of... ever.

The best I've ever seen. What a horse.

V 25 Comments
39 Dancing Brave

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.

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.

V 22 Comments
40 Kingston Town

This horse won three Cox Plates and may well have won another one or two more but for experiencing serious leg problems. He was sent to America for treatment but didn't race in the States. After being returned to Australia, he was retired.

At one point in his career, he won 20 races in a row at various distances in Sydney, New South Wales. He was an outstanding horse from 1200m to 3200m (Sydney Cup) and was narrowly beaten into 2nd placing in a Melbourne Cup - a race that many good judges thought he would have one but for "pilot error" on the part of his regular rider, Malcolm Johnston.

A truly great horse!

Should be number 1

He was an absolute machine, he was not pampered like a lot of racehorses especially the more recent ones, he won from 1200m to 3200m, his acceleration is like I've never seen before or after. Ran injured for most of his career. 3 cox plates and 14 group ones. He definitely should be in the top 5 at least!

Was greater then most of he horses mentioned here no disrespect to them he destroyed all comers anywhere from 1200m to 3200m and carried injury for most of his career much greater th maybe diva.

V 16 Comments
41 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.

His record speaks for itself. For me he made racing a joy to watch.

V 4 Comments
42 Desert Orchid

Simply the best!

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

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

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.

V 14 Comments
43 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.

Top ten for sure. Makes my all-time favorite athlete list (behind Mickey Mantle, Elgin Baylor and Muhammed Ali). Incredible performer, rose above all odds... and weights! Check out YouTube and see for yourself!

V 6 Comments
44 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!

Without a doubt one on the best horses of all time!

V 11 Comments
45 John Henry

Amazing race horse, string and stoic. Overpowering!

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.

Great horse what a heart to win

#10 my friends

V 14 Comments
46 Horse Chestnut

The greatest the Southern Hemisphere has ever seen in my opinion. When he went abroad he showed the mighty Americans a taste of what he was capable of. Only a tragedy that injury ended his career for in my opinion the clash of all clashes would have been Horse Chestnut vs Dubai Millenium in the Dubai World Cup and I truely believe that Dubai Millenium would have come unstuck against this South African Giant known as "Big Red". What a LEGEND!

Certainly the best horse to have graced the race courses of South Africa. A turn of foot like no other Horse Chestnut won so convincingly he appeared to be in a different race. So sad that injury curtailed his racing career

I have watched other horses run and I have to say Horse Chestnut was the best. I agree he would have beaten anything that stood before him. South Africa has never had a better horse even today.

I watched this horse race. The best horse ever to have raced in South Africa. Would have beaten anything in the world at the time but for his injury.

V 5 Comments
47 Sprinter Sacre

But for injury would have been the best horse that ever lived.

Still racing but problem one of the best if not the best two mile chasers of all time, his cruising speed second to none.

One of my favourite Horses going over the big fences, clears them with so little effort

Best looker in the world and best jumper ever

V 6 Comments
48 Whirlaway

48? Really?

Good grief. Triple Crown Winner - won $5 million to help sell Bonds for the War effort. Single leading lone entity to do so. Won the Triple Crown and the Travers Stakes - only horse to this day to do this. Ran 60 times and came in first 32; second 15 times and third 9 times. Was buried at Normandy before being sent back to Calumet. Unbelievable - 49? He deserves far, far better than this.

49? Are you kidding me?! You're rating steeplechasers ahead of one of the greatest thoroughbreds of all time? This is Whirlaway people. One of only 11 triple crown winners. One of the greatest. So I can't put much credence in this list, especially because I haven't seen anyone here who can even put a sentence together.

How could you do this? He should be in the top eleven. For Pete's sake he WON the TRIPLE CROWN. Because 46th? You have got to be kidding me.

V 6 Comments
49 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.

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.

PSearch List

Related Lists

Top 10 Best Male Race Horses Top 10 Female Race Horses of All Time Top 10 Race Horses That Have Won the Triple Crown Top 10 Japan World Cup Race Horses Top Ten Best Race Horse Sires

List Stats

14,000 votes
209 listings
10 years, 53 days old

Top Remixes (42)

1. Frankel
2. Sea the Stars
3. Brigadier Gerard
1. Secretariat
2. Man O' War
3. Sea Bird II
1. Secretariat
2. Seabiscuit
3. Zenyatta

View All 42

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.