The only horse to cross the finish line first in two Japan Cups. But she was disqualified and placed second in the 2010 Cup; a decision that provoked widespread criticism. She prevailed the following year, beating (among others) Arc winner Danedream, Dubai World Cup winner Victoire Pisa, her Japan Cup conqueror-via-disqualification Rose Kingdom, and Canadian International winner Sarah Lynx . A G1 winner at two, she won Japan’s equivalent of the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks at three, the Tenno Sho (Autumn) and Victoria Mile at four, and the Japan Cup at 5. Thus she was a G1 winner every year she raced. She was Japan’s Champion Older Female twice and Horse of the Year in 2010.
Grundy was the undefeated, Group 1-winning, Free Handicap-topping, Champion Two-Year-Old Colt in Britain in 1974. The following year he won the Irish 2,000 Guineas, Irish Derby and Epsom Derby before taking on, and beating, a top-class open company field in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which was ranked #2 in The Observer’s 2002 list of “The 10 Greatest Horse Races of All Time.” Grundy was voted Britain’s Horse of the Year for 1975 and was Timeform’s highest rated horse of that year.
It is grossly unfair that Foolish Pleasure is remembered mostly – if at all – as “the other horse” in the ill-fated match race in which Ruffian so tragically broke down and was subsequently euthanized. Foolish Pleasure deserves to be remembered for the considerable accomplishments of his racing career, not just for one race (which he won, by the way). He was the undefeated Eclipse Award winning Champion Two-Year-Old Colt of 1974. He won the KY Derby and was runner-up in both the Preakness and Belmont at 3. He beat Forego in the Suburban Hcp at 4. His career stats were 26 – 16-4-3, thus he was off the board only three times while winning at G1 level every year he raced (2, 3 and 4).
The U.S. stallion Kingston recorded the most wins, 89, of any horse known to have raced at the top level of competition in a major thoroughbred racing country. He began racing at 2 and retired at 10. He was a multiple winner each year he raced and was America’s top handicap horse six times, at one stage winning 33 of 35 starts. He set U.S. speed records for 7f and 10f and retired in 1894 as America’s highest earning thoroughbred to that time. But perhaps even more impressive than his 89 wins were his career stats of 138 – 89-33-12; thus he finished in the first three in 134 of 138 starts over nine straight years of racing!
Wise Dan did not race at two. At three he did not race in the classics but won a GIII and finished mid-field in the BC Sprint. He has become a great miler on the grass, a two-time winner of the BC Mile and other GIs over 8f on the carpet. But he has also won at GI level on the dirt over 9f and holds the Keeneland track record for 9f (polytrack). His greatest claim to fame, though, is his unique achievement of being the first horse to win three Eclipse awards in successive years: Champion Older Male, Champion Male Turf and Horse of the Year in 2012 and again in 2013.
The British-foaled, German-owned and French-trained Le Glorieux achieved a truly extraordinary triumph in 1987. As a three-year-old colt he won G1 races against elite older horses on three continents: the Grosser Preis von Berlin, the Washington DC International Stakes and the Japan Cup.
only beaten when a mare ( on heat ) was put in next stable , keeping him awake before Arc trial , still came a galent third
Singspiel has a unique, elite G1 trifecta: the only horse to win the Canadian International Stakes, Japan Cup and Dubai World Cup. Much traveled, he also won the Coronation Cup the International Stakes (both G1) in England.
Petite Etoile was one of the best female thoroughbreds to race in England in the mid-20th century. Her three-year-old campaign in 1959 was one for the ages: she won all six starts (two of them Classics and five of them now G1s including the Champion Stakes against older horses of both genders) and was named Britain's Horse of the Year. She continued racing at 4 and 5, won the Coronation Cup both years and was Timeform's top-rated older female both years. Her career stats underscore her class and consistency: 19 -- 14-5-0 (never worse than second) and earnings of 72,624 pounds which stood for seven years as a record for a female thoroughbred trained in England or Ireland.
In 1868 Formosa became the first filly to win what became known as the fillies’ Triple Crown in England: the 1,000 Guineas, the Epsom Oaks and the St Leger. But she did more than that. Two days before her victory in the 1,000 Guineas, she scored a dead-heat win in the 2,000 Guineas, first leg of the colts’ Triple Crown. She thus shares with the legendary filly Sceptre the distinction of winning four English classics, although Sceptre won all four outright. Formosa beat males at 2, 3 and 4. But she became less consistent as she got older (she retired after an unsuccessful five-year-old campaign) and finished with a career record of 15 – 7-3-1.
In 1942 Sun Chariot won the fillies’ Triple Crown in England: the 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and St. Leger (in which she beat that year’s Epsom Derby winner Watling Street). She was beaten only once in nine career starts, a third in her debut at three. She had topped the Free Handicap at two after winning all four of her juvenile starts, including beating colts in the Middle Park Stakes (now G1).
In 1853 this English-bred colt became the first winner of the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St Leger - at that time the most prestigious races for three-year-olds in Britain and subsequently hailed as the Triple Crown. As a four-year-old he also won the prestigious Ascot Gold Cup and retired with the enviable record of 10 - 9-1-0 (which included two walk-overs).
He was the dominant horse in Japan at the turn of the century and retired as the richest thoroughbred of all time, earning the equivalent of USD16,200,337. He was Japan’s Champion Three-Year-Old Colt in 1999 (1st in the equivalent of the 2,000 Guineas, 2nd in the equivalent of the St Leger, 3rd in the equivalent of the Derby). He was Japan’s Horse of the Year in 2000. He won the Japan Cup that year and was beaten a head in the same race in 2001. His career stats were 26 – 14-6-3. He won eight G1s, four G2s and one G3. He was runner-up in four G1s and third in two G1s. A class horse.
Almighty racehorse, winning the Derby and Irish Derby, then becoming the most imperious stallion in training, being in a sire of future champions. World class.
The ill-fated Tim Tam won the KY Derby and Preakness and looked certain to take the 1958 Triple Crown until he shattered a sesamoid in the home stretch of the Belmont. Astonishingly, he struggled on to finish second, 5 ½ lengths ahead of the third horse. He never raced again, finishing his brief but brilliant career with stats of 14 – 10-1-2 and he was later inducted into the Hall of Fame. His trainer, the great Jimmy Jones said of him: “Whenever they talk about a thoroughbred, and all that term implies in the way of courage and class, I’ll always think of Tim Tam.”
Red Rum won three Grand National steeplechases in Britain in 1973-1974 and 1977 and was second in this race in 1975 and 1976. He had a massive fan club and was much loved by millions of people all over the world. Red Rum's record will NEVER be beaten.
America’s top juvenile in 1922, and KY Derby and Belmont Stakes winner the following year, Zev represented the U.S. against the 1923 Epsom Derby winner Papyrus who had crossed the Atlantic to take on the best three-year-old in America in a $100,000 match race at Belmont Park. Zev won by five lengths to become the first KY Derby winner to beat an Epsom Derby winner. Zev was also accorded U.S. Horse of the Year honors for 1923 and retired the following year having surpassed the world earnings record set by Isinglass in England in 1895 and the U.S. earnings record set by Man o’ War in 1920.
this filly captured the hearts of millions and she won every race she was enterd in besides her last race that she lost her life for the love of racing
As a three-year-old in 1979, Königsstuhl became the first – and still the only – winner of Germany’s Triple Crown. The German TC comprises: the Mehl-Mülhens-Rennen (1600m, inaugurated in 1871), the Deutsches Derby (2400m, inaugurated in 1869) and the Deutsches St. Leger (2800m, inaugurated in 1881). Also at three he beat older horses in the prestigious G1 Aral-Pokal on his way to becoming Germany’s Horse of the Year. He won every year he raced, from 2 to 5, winning Italy’s G1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club in his last campaign. And he was never off the board, compiling a career record of 20 – 11-7-2.
Salvator was retrospectively named US Horse of the Year in 1889 (as a three-year-old) and 1890. He beat the best of his era each year he raced, at 2, 3 and 4. After losing his first two starts he won his next 16 and retired at 4 with career stats of 19 – 16-1-1. His rivalry with Tenny was legendary, culminating in their 1890 match race which Salvator won by a half head, prompting an ode by the celebrated poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox. When he died in 1909, the New York Times hailed Salvator as “the most celebrated thoroughbred race horse of his time.”
Maybe Arkle (in fourth place in this list) really was the best steeplechaser ever, but Flyingbolt, who was trained in the same stable at the same time, was at least his near-equal and possibly his superior. The pair never raced against one another, but on several occasions Flyingbolt took on horses who had raced against Arkle, and he beat them no less decisively. As a result, his official handicap rating was only marginally lower than his stablemate's. And he was the more versatile, showing top class winning form over hurdles as well as fences and over distances from two miles to three and a quarter.
He sadly ended his career after fracturing his leg. However after winning 4 straight Class 1 victories winning the Hardwicke stakes by over 3 lengths and thashing a world class field in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes by 11 lengths beating the record by 3 seconds. That was undoubtably the best preformance of the year if not the century so far. He beat the Irish Champion Stakes winner and the Arc winner so he deserves to be right up there with Sea The Stars and Zarkava.
One of the greatest fillies of all time. She won the breeders cup distaff on her last appearance to finish her 14 race career undefeated.
(1885-1914) AUS-NZ Over half of the 65 Melbourne Cup winners from 1914 to 1978 were descendants of Carbine. Statistics and contemporary assessments indicate that he was a dominant Antipodean racehorse of the 19th century, and he still ranks with such 20th-century Thoroughbreds as such as his descendants Nearco, Northern Dancer, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Ballymoss, Shergar, Arkle, Never Say Die, Mr. Prospector, Nasrullah, Nijinsky II (winner of the UK Triple Crown), Royal Palace, Better Loosen Up, Sir Ivor, Phar Lap, Tulloch, Kingston Town and Bernborough in terms of renown among turf historians.
Persian War was a hurdler who won 3 Champion Hudles in Britain in the late 1960's and 1970. He is regarded by may as the best hurdler ever.
Achieved the Fillies' Triple Crown in 1985 by winning the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and the St Leger. A race is honoured in her name at Newmarket called 'The Oh So Sharp Stakes'.
Great steeplechaser who raced in Britain in the 1930's. Won 5 Cheltenham Gold Cups and a Grand National. Rated by many experts as one of the best chasers of all time.
New Approach was the European Champion Two-Year-Old Colt of 2007, winning all five of his starts including the National Stakes in Ireland and the Dewhurst Stakes in England (both G1). At three he went 6 – 3-2-1, with G1 wins in the Epsom Derby, the Irish Champion Stakes and the Champion Stakes (in record time, which still stands). He was named European Champion Three-Year-Old Colt and shared top billing, with Cullin, as the World's Best Racehorse of 2008 by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in its World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings.
As a three-year-old Hurricane Run was declared the World’s Best Racehorse of 2005 by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in its World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings. He was also voted European Horse of the Year in ’05. His big wins at three included: the Prix Hocquart (G2), the Prix Neil (G2), the Irish Derby (G1) and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). His only defeat at three was a close second in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby). At four he won the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) and was a much-impeded fourth in the Arc. He finished off the board only once in his 14 – 8-3-2 career.
Winner of the 2000 Guineas and the Derby. Would have won the St Ledger and become the first winner of the Triple Crown for more than 40 years but for the inept performance of an inexpeirenced jockey. Should be at least in the top 20. He will win another grat race, either the Arc of the Breeders Stakes.
Winner fo the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes in 1984, He died only 10 days after his Belmont win. There's no telling how great he could have been, but I feel he deserves mention.
Arazi's win in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile was simply mindblowing. There has never been a performance by a racehorse, of any age, to compare with this. Sadly Arazi was never the same horse as a 3-year old, but his legacy will live in the memory of all those who saw that truly incredible performance by the French colt who absolutely pulverized the best that America could muster.
Won the Arkle, Paddy Power Chase twice, Champion Chase twice, Tingle Creek twice and two Melling Chases.
Big Buck's is the greatest staying hurdler there has ever been, anywhere in the world. He is unbeaten in his last 17 hurdle races and will probably extend that sequence next season. Fantastic horse.
Finally, the U.S. Hall of Fame is inducting Clifford, the brilliant three-year-old and hard-knocking handicapper of the 1890s. He raced each year from 2 to 7 and compiled a career record of 62 – 42-10-8 (off the board only twice; left at the start both times). He beat many of the best of his era including Hall of Famers Henry of Navarre and Ben Brush, the great mate Yo Tambien, Lamplighter, and he was runner-up to the great sprinter Domino. Clifford was described by the New York Times as “one of the most brilliant performers the American turn has ever known” (NYT, 26 Oct 1897).
One of the most dominent steeplechasers of all time. Won 3 Gold Cups and a King George IV Chase. Great great horse. One of the biggest tragedies of all time when losing his life at Exeter. He popularity matched those of Arkle, Red Rum and Desert Orchid. Best Mate leaves golden memories after giving his all for the final time. This sentence sums this great horse up. RIP Best Mate. Ranks up there with the top 15 of all time.
A filly with a brief but brilliant career, beating colts in what are now G1 races both years she raced, at 2 and 3, and winning two Classics. At 2 she beat colts in the Dewhurst Plate. At 3, in 1878, she beat colts in the 2,000 Guineas (the subsequent Epsom Derby winner Sefton was third). And two days later she won the 1,000 Guineas. The great pity of her short career was her tantalizing failure to run down the leader in the Epsom Oaks. She retired with career stats of 8 – 6-1-1 and went on to produce an Epsom Derby winner (Jeddah) and an Epsom Oaks winner (Canterbury Pilgrim).
A beautiful chestnut filly, Bosra Sham won the Fillies Mile as a two year old, won the Fred Darling, 1000 Guineas, and Champion Stakes as a three year old, and won the Brigadier Gerard and Prince of Wales stakes as a four year old, despite suffering from fragile feet which affected her gallop. She raced against and beat some of the top colts of her time including Halling and Alhaarth. She lost only three times in her career and was beaten each time by top class horses, in 2000 Guineas winner Mark of Esteem, Breeders Cup Turf winner Pilsudski, and Japan Cup and Dubai World Cup winner Singspiel. In my opinion Bosra Sham's form merits a place high up in this list.
Possibly the most underated horse of alll time. Won the Derby by seven lengths, breaking the Epsom Downs track record in the process Only two horses had ever won the Derby by a larger distance, Shergar by ten lengths in 1981, and Manna by eight in 1925
my point is eclipse won every race he atended to which surly makes him the best thoroughbred of all times, my other point about eclipse being the maker of all thoroughbreds is because he was the first horse known to have the big heart gene which he past down to all the fills and colts he produced, mark my word you can trase EVERY thoroughbred back to eclipse. EVERY thoroughbred. not ever every thoroughbred has burley turk in it or godolphin arabian or even darley arabian, and as these horses segest godolphin arabian was a arab, burley turk was a barb, and darley arabian was an arab. eclipse on the other hand was a thoroughbred. the point is eclipse is the best thoroughbreed of all times because Secretariat only won 16 races, eclipse won EVERY RACE. man'o war only won by 20 lengths. eclipse win by 90 LENGHTS. ECLIPSE IS THE BEST RACE HORSE EVER BORN. IF THIS IS NOT ENOUGHT TO BE THE BEST RACE HORSE EVER, THEN WHAT IS.
legendary Alexander the Great's horse and one of the most famous actual horses of antiquity
Deserves to be on this list for his impressive triumph in the 2015 US Triple Crown, the first TC winner in 37 years. It remains to be seen how good this crop of three-year-olds is but American Pharoah beat them fairly, squarely and emphatically. In the modern era, winning the US Triple Crown is a rare and heroic accomplishment. All hail American Pharoah!
Could well be on the way of becoming one of the top 2m chasers in recent years. Impressive winner of the 2012 Tingle Creek as well as the Arkle Challenge Trophy trained by Nicky Henderson.
One to watch! With one of the most heroic wins of the last years (Epsom Derby). The arc will show if she can confirm. André Fabra already thought she had a better acceleration then his other champion Peintre Celebre
a mare that won three Melbourne cups in 03,04 and 05, and many other races including an Australian cup over 2000m and in the process broke the Australian record and set an unofficial record for 2000m on turf. she also set the record for weight carried by a mare in the Melbourne cup in her 04 and 05 wins.
Recently completed the Derby double at Epsom and Curragh. By an Oaks winner in Ouija Board and a Derby winner in Galileo.
Five time winner of the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle between 2009 and 2013, one of the new races at the annual Cheltenham Festival.
Unbeaten in 11 starts. This great filly is now officially rated the best sprinter in the world and has beaten Hay List who also deserves to be on this list, however, this great filly has never had to break sweat and has never been asked to do more than a canter. Should definately be at worst top 20.
The only horse to ever bring a lump to my throat. Beautiful in motion and brave as a lion. Unbeatable on its day
The only horse to win both the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A special horse.
Related I think to the 2008 Derby and Champion Stakes winner New Approach. Winner of the 2012 Dewhurst Stakes
Won the 2011 Fighting Fifth Hurdle among a host of big race victories. One of my favourite horses and his usual front running style.
2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. Also won the Ryanair Chase, Betfair Chase and the Paddy Power Gold Cup. Just touched out by Cape Tribulation on his long awaited return in a pre Gold Cup trial on the 27th January 2013.
I saw where someone had listed Sea Bird as the greatest European champion ever. Believe me when I tell you, there's tons of people in Europe that would argue for Brigadier Gerard as the greatest European champion ever. That being said, when you start talking about all time great thoroughbreds from America and Europe, the list never changes and it probably never will. In America, without failure, it's always Man O' War, Secretariat, Citation, Kelso, Native Dancer, Dr. Fager, and Seattle Slew as that are always listed as the top half dozen. Much the same in Europe. It's always Brigadier Gerard, Sea Bird, Mill Reef, Nijinsky, Dancing Brave, and Shergar. You can argue that a few of those horses from both countries had overall better careers than Secretariat. But one thing I'm absolutely certain of. There's no horse on that list, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, that would've gotten to within 10 lengths of Secretariat in that 1973 Belmont Stakes. That's the pinnacle as far as any one individual race anywhere is concerned. That was simply God showing off in equine form. He was actually the jockey and had the reigns that day. Turcotte just happened to be on Secretariat's back along for the ride!!
French bred horse that won the 2011 Champion Stakes and the 2014 Coronation Cup among this horse's career victories. Last seen in France winning a Group 1 as of July 2015.
Winner of the 1993 Arc De Triomphe but is later best known for producing two outstanding Epsom Derby winners, Galileo and Sea The Stars.
2015 Breeders Cup Turf but is best known for finishing so many second places in Group 1 races, the most recent was the Irish Champion Stakes on September 10th at Leopardstown.
As of August 2016, has notched up six Group One victories including the 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks, emulating Kazzia's both victories in 2002. Recently won the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on 30th July.
The top chaser in the 2m division during the 2013/14 National Hunt season including the Queen Mother Champion chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
HE IS BY FAR THE GREATEST AS HE SIRED ALMOST ALL OF THE IMPORTANT HORSES OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!! Who in Europe, America or elsewhere ran best when is always debatable. Bu THEY probably would not have existed without the Darley Arabian. Siring is as or more important than racing!!!!!!!!!!
I seem to remember this grey horse winning the 2010 Old Roan Chase at Aintree among his many victories.
great 2yo pacer. Has already set three Ontario Sires Stakes records. saw him once. came from 9th position at the half and ran away under wraps to win by 13 1/2 lengths
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