Equestrian sports is one of the longest-running sports events in the world. Horseracing, in particular, is probably one of the most popular. In the United States, annual horseracing competitions like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes have the biggest share of followers among other equestrian sports.
Besides these races, other renowned competitions like Dubai Derby, Gold Cup at Ascot, Melbourne Cup, and Epsom Derby are also celebrated by international horseracing enthusiasts.
Several thoroughbreds have hit the headlines through these horseracing events. To know the names of the best horseracing heroes in history, here’s a list we have prepared.
If you watch and bet on horse racing, you probably know Secretariat. Secretariat is arguably the best horseracing legend in the sport’s history. He was also popular for his nickname “Big Red.”
The chestnut colt was foaled at Caroline County, Virginia, and was bred by Meadow Stud. Secretariat was a Triple Crown Series winner and the record holder of the fastest horse to finish all three races (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes) in 1973.
Another notable achievement he had was being inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1974. He was also ranked by Sports Illustrated as #17 in the 40 Greatest Sports Figures in the Last 40 Years in 1994.
Man O’ War was a chestnut colt inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1957. He was foaled in Bursery Stud, near Lexington, Kentucky, and was bred by August Belmont Jr., an American financier and horseracing enthusiast. Man O’ War won both the 1920 Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. He also won another 19 major stakes from 1919 to 1920.
In 2020, Man O’ War was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. He was also named the #1 Top 100 US Racehorses of the 20th Century. His legacy is memorialized through a life-size statue of him at the Kentucky Horse Park.
A horseracing competition was also named after him. It was called Man O’ War Stakes at Belmont Park.
Seattle Slew was a dark brown cold foaled at Lexington, Kentucky, and was bred by Ben S. Castleman. Seattle Slew was the 10th Triple Crown Series Champion, and his iconic victory happened in 1977.
Other competitions he had conquered and won were the 1978 Stuyvesant Handicap, the 1978 Woodward Stakes, and the 1978 Marlboro Cup, among many others. He was inducted into the US Racing Hall of Fame in 1981.
Black Caviar was an Australian-bred horse trained by Peter Moody. The dark bay filly was the champion of 2009 Danehill Stakes, 2010 and 2011 MVRC Schweppes Stakes, MRC Schillaci Stakes, and nine other major stakes under her belt.
Black Caviar was also named 1st in the 2013 World Thoroughbred Rankings and the Australian Racehorse of the Year for three consecutive years (2011, 2012, and 2013).
Winx is another Australian-bred horse we have on the list. This bay filly is bred by Fairway Thoroughbreds and trained by Chriss Waller. She was named the Australian Horse of the Year from 2015 to 2019. She was also an Australian Champion Middle Distance Racehorse in the same period. Winx was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2017.
The Winx Stakes at Randwick Racecourse was also named in her honor. The legendary filly was also immortalized through her statues at Moonee Valley and Rosehill Gardens
Zenyatta was a brown filly who won both the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic and the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic. She was also hailed the American Champion Older Female Horse for three consecutive years (2008, 2009, and 2010). Zenyatta was also an inductee of the 2016 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. A stake called “Zenyatta Stakes” was named after her, and a life-size statue of the legendary filly was sculpted in Santa Anita Park in 2012.
Kelso was an American-bred dark bay gelding owned by Bohemia Stable and was trained by Dr. John Lee and Carl Hanford.
He won nine races in 1960, wherein six of them were stakes. He also won 11 consecutive races, with six in 1960 and another five in 1961. He was named the Outstanding U.S. 3-Year-Old Male Horse in 1960 and U.S. Champion Older Male Horse from 1961 to 1964.
Makybe Diva was a bay filly bred in Emily Kristina Pty Ltd and trained by David Hall and Lee Freedman. Her major wins were the 2005 W. S. Cox Plate, Turnbull Stakes, Memsie Stakes, The BMW Stakes, Australian Cup, and Melbourne Cup. In 2005, she was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. The Makybe Diva Stakes in Flemington Racecourse was also named after her.
Hurricane Fly was an Irish-bred thoroughbred trained by J-L Pelletan and Willie Mullins. He won the Morgiana Hurdle for three consecutive years (2012, 2013, and 2014). He also conquered the Champion Hurdle in 2011 and 2013.
Hurricane Fly was also the champion of the Irish Champion Hurdle from 2011 to 2015 and the December Festival Hurdle in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Affirmed was an inductee of the United States Racing Hall of Fame in 1980 and ranked 12 among the U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century. The chestnut colt was bred in Harbor View Farm and was trained by Laz Barrera.
Affirmed remarkably won the 1978 Triple Crown Series. The following year, he won six major races: the 1979 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Woodward Stakes, Hollywood Gold Cup, Californian Stakes Santa Anita Handicap, and Strub Stakes.
Horseracing is a sports event enjoyed in many countries, and the names covered in this list are only a few of the most iconic horses around the globe. With their strong display of speed and vigor on the track, these legendary horses have made it to our list. We bet you have your favorite horseracing hero from our list!