Few sports benefit from the attention of as many genuine fans, who also happened to be devoted
lovers of the sport on more levels than just money or statistics. These are the starring competitors in
the sport of thoroughbred horse racing, one that has benefited from their subsequent analysis of
potential future, or even possible comparative outcomes of past events. As with other sports, just one
or two competitors every few decades transcends the performance of their peers by such massive
margins it not only uplifts them head and shoulders above those of their champion peers. They attain
legendary status with their achievements at a level it leaves them standing alone.
In the sport of kings, a host of performance yardsticks attempts to measure and gauge the exact
potential of each for a comparison. Whether it be time over various distances, acceleration out of the
gates, time over the first 100, or the number of consecutive races won. It may also factor total races
won, and many others in the never ending pursuit to compile the analytical data needed to determine
outcomes and ratings of individual horses. Over the past century, this list speaks of names such as
American Pharoah, Red Rum, Affirmed, Barbaro, Sea Bird II, Seattle Slew, Citation, Zenyatta, Black
Caviar, Ruffian, Phar Lap, Frankel, Seabiscuit, and Kelso, all extraordinary in their time all
However, two names simply have none other to compare to except each other, unfortunately, spread
so far apart in time the comparison becomes meaningless due to many changed variables, such as
training, feeds, track surfaces, etc. These two individuals, immaterial of whatever yardstick used, their
names appearing at the very top, remaining steadfastly anchored the in the same position in every
comparison over the past century of horse racing.
Secretariat and Man of War both distinguished themselves as the greatest athletes in time yet could
not have had more polarly opposed personalities. Man of War, foaled in 1917, received an apt name
since he displayed a temper so violent it nearly prevented his trainers from breaking him for the
saddle. He eventually allowed a saddle but kept his violent, unbreakable nature for the racetrack
always first out of the gates never willing to yield the lead, decimating the field. He lost just one race
in his twenty-race career. At the time start gates were not in use, as the rope shot up for the start of
the race he was facing backward, he turned around, already four lengths behind the last placed horse,
overtook the field to finish a close second. He once won a race by an unbelievable 100 lengths, while
carrying 15 pounds more than his rivals!
Secretariat lovingly called “Bid Red”, foaled in 1970 appeared as the absolute perfect physical
specimen but displayed a somewhat lazy nature due to his penchant for sleeping and eating. Initially,
his trainers considered him too clumsy but managed to win his first race and just 11 days later his
second, raising suspicions he might be a little more special than initially thought. Unexpectedly for a
high-strung race horse he was playful and regularly grabbing the broom handles from the stall hands
as they went by, playing tug of war with them.
He was indisputably the greatest of all, breaking a 25-year drought by winning the Triple Crown in
1973, the previous winner last captured the famous Triple Crown Trophy in 1948. His laid-back, good
natured way showed on the track as well, he had the habit of starting last, casually passing the whole
field with relative ease to usually win by several lengths, never a photo finish.
Due to injury he lost the race before the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown, then won
the race in spectacular fashion starting from last as always and set a new record 1:59.40 for the
course and a world record for a three-year old over the distance that stands to this day, in fact to date
only one other horse has ever managed to run a sub 2 minute over the same distance.
In the second leg of the Triple Crown, at Preakness, he delivered the same unstressed, easy
performance and set another record 1:53.00 for the course and a world record over the distance that
still stands to this day.
At the Belmont, the long 2400m race, tensions were high for the third leg of the Triple Crown, he
started different, coming out of the gates in a well-placed second and had what at the time seemed
like a battle for the race with Sham (a well-known speed horse) was working him hard. At half
distance Secretariat pulled away slowly, at the three-quarter he accelerated again to finish with a 31-
length lead by the finish. He not only became the first horse in 25-years to achieve the ultimate accolade,
the Triple Crown, he set another course and world record 2:24.00 which still stands to this
Legendary horses and performances like this rouse the emotions amongst millions of punters,
fortunately in the modern-day conveniences such as reliable, trustworthy online bookmakers prevent
us from having to waste time at a main-street shop when in a hurry. A vast number of such great
potential betting partners are available at prime online UK bookmakers which we found at Nostrabet.
Despite his previous two great achievements, it is his legendary Belmont performance he is most
remembered for. Imagine, 5761 winning track tickets were never claimed but instead kept as
souvenirs by their punter-owners. All incomparable yardsticks, but consider the further incredulity of
the situation, during the race his jockey never used the crop once. During each quarter of the race he
set a faster time than in the previous right to the finish, after the finish most horses are dead tired, it
took his jockey another two furlongs just to get him slowed and another furlong to convince him to
turn around. He still had more to give even in this legendary performance, and we never saw the best
he was capable of. Secretariat is the single greatest racehorse in history of the sport bar none!
In 1989, Secretariat passed away and posthumously revealed what possibly could have been his great
advantage, he had great heart! Literally, his heart weighed in at 22.5 pounds whereas the average
thoroughbred racehorse heart comes in at around 8.5 pounds!