Racehorses: Horseracing is one of the most popular sports in the world and has been around for thousands of years since humans first domesticated horses. Thoroughbred horses were developed in the 17th and 18th centuries in England by crossbreeding native mares with Oriental stallions of Arabian, Barb, and Turkoman breeding. Here is a list of some of the greatest thoroughbred horses in the world from the past century.
1. Kingston Town
Kingston Town was foaled in 1976 to become one of the most successful racehorses in Australia during the 1980s. As a gelding, the horse won many Group 1 races including the Sydney Cup, the W.S. Cox Plate, the Queensland Derby, the Caulfield Stakes, and the Rosehill Guineas. He was named the Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year in 1980 and was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2001. He retired in 1985 after an unsuccessful attempt to race in the US that was marred by leg problems.
2. Phar Lap
Phar Lap, who is widely considered to be New Zealand’s greatest-ever racehorse, dominated the Australian racing scene in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He had 37 wins from 51 starts in his career and became the pride of New Zealand and Australia, winning major races such as the VRC Derby, the W.S. Cox Plate, the Rosehill Guineas, and the esteemed Melbourne Cup, to name just a few. Curiously, he never raced in the Doncaster Handicap, but if he did, he would have been a top Doncaster Mile bet, especially after 1930. He has been immortalized with a life-sized bronze statue at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne and another in Timaru in New Zealand, where Phar Lap was foaled.
Seabiscuit was a champion thoroughbred racehorse from the United States during the 1930s and early 1940s. This stallion won many notable races throughout his career including the Brooklyn Handicap in 1937 and both the San Antonio Handicap and Santa Anita Handicap in 1940. He has been the subject of many books, documentaries, and films over the years with the most famous being the film Seabiscuit which came out in 2003 and starred Tobey Maguire.
Secretariat was another US champion thoroughbred who was foaled in 1970 and is often named as one of the greatest racehorses of the 20th century. He entered the US Racing Hall of Fame in 1974 after winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in 1973, which made him the 9th Triple Crown winner. He also had 11 Stakes wins in 1972 and 1973 and was named American Horse of the Year in those years as well.
5. Makybe Diva
This English-bred mare has quite an impressive amount of wins under her belt. She was foaled in 1999 in Somerset, United Kingdom, and shipped to Australia the following year. She won the Melbourne Cup and the Sydney Cup in the 2003/2004 season, making her the first mare to have achieved the double win in one season. She went on to win the Melbourne Cup again in 2004 and 2005 and was named Australian Racehorse of the year in 2005 and 2006, being inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2006 also. The Makybe Diva Stakes, which was named for this racing legend, has been held annually at Flemington Racecourse in September since 2007.