Horse racing is one of the oldest and most bet on sports. It has been dubbed the “Sport of Kings” and is one of the most common legal forms of gambling in the world. As such, famous racehorses have transcended the barriers of time and are revered by enthusiasts, breeders, jockeys, and of course, gamblers.
Aside from impeccable racing records, they have gone on to win some of the most sought-after prizes at world-renowned races, such as the Kentucky Derby, Aintree Grand National, and the esteemed Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Here’s our well-curated list of the top 10 famous racehorses of all time.
Secretariat, also known as “Big Red,” is one of the most famous racehorses to come from America. He was named Horse of the Year at only two years old. A Triple Crown winner, Secretariat’s most famous performance was in the final leg of the Belmont Stakes, which he won by 31 lengths!
Arkle is perhaps the greatest steeplechaser in the known history of racehorses. Trained in Ireland, he was a great jumper with extraordinary abilities. By the end of Arkle’s career, he had won three Cheltenham Gold Cups and the Irish Grand National, among other accolades.
Arkle continues to be one of the most famous racehorses of all time, with a Timeform rating of 212 – the highest ever awarded to any chaser.
Many have called the famous French Flat performer, Sea-Bird, the Horse of the 20th Century. The sturdy colt’s infamy can be credited to his win at the 1965 Arc, one of his best-known performances.
With a record of 7-1, Sea-Bird was the highest rated (145) Flat racehorse until Frankel replaced him in 2012. However, all winners of the Arc, Europe’s most prestigious race, are measured against Sea-Bird’s 1965 win to this date.
4. Kauto Star
Kauto Star was another French-bred record-breaking racehorse and a National Hunt champion. After being brought to England for training, he won the King George VI Chase five times.
Timeform describes the 16-time G1 over-fences-winning Kauto Star as the only horse to regain the Gold Cup, win four Betfair Chases, five King George VI Chases, and the Stayer’s Triple Crown. He is the fourth highest-rated chaser globally and has earned a total of £3,775,883 in prize money.
Ribot was a well-built Italian colt who remained unbeaten in 16 races. One of the most famous racehorses of all time, Ribot ruled Europe for two seasons. He won the King George Stakes in 1956 and was a two-time Prix de l’Arc winner. His 1956 Arc victory, won by six lengths, is described as one of the best Flat races in history.
6. Deep Impact
Deep Impact is considered to be the crown jewel of modern Japanese horse racing. Coming in 3rd at the 2006 Arc, Deep Impact has an undisputed record with 12 wins out of 14 races. He’s a Japanese Triple Crown winner, with an overwhelming run described by master jockey Taketoyo as “flying.”
Deep Impact has bred multiple G1 horses as a stallion and boasts 1,454,551,000 Yen in prize money.
7. Golden Tyrant “Orfevre”
Dubbed the Golden Tyrant, Orfevre is one of the most famous racehorses in Japan. The short-fused colt came close to winning the 2012 Arc but stalled in front of his goal due to his temper, which lost Japan another shot at the highly sought-after accolade.
However, Orfevre is also a Japanese Triple Crown winner who bagged second position twice in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and has won 1,576,213,000 Yen in prize money. The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and Longines ranked the infamous colt at number 6 in 2012’s World Thoroughbred Rankings!
8. Man o’ War
Man o’ War is one of the most well-known horses in America and the entire world. Born in 1917, he was famous for his fierce and violent temper and is credited with saving American horseracing during World War 1.
His winnings have a value of more than $3 million today. Man o’ War was also the father of Seabiscuit’s rival and Triple Crown winner, War Admiral.
Winx is a famous Australian racehorse that was foaled in 2011. The mare has amassed over £14 million in winnings and has accumulated numerous accolades, ranging from the four prestigious Cox Plate wins to three Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
She was ranked 3rd in Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings in 2016 and has won over 25 G1 races among her 33 consecutive Flat races!
Seabiscuit was America’s highest-earning racehorse during the late ’30s. He is most famous for beating Triple Crown winner War Admiral by four lengths in the Pimlico Special. The race was quickly dubbed “the match of the century.”
Seabiscuit and one-eyed jockey, Red Pollard, has been the subject of many books and films, which have made the colt one of the most famous racehorses of all time.
You can rake in hordes of money by betting on racehorses, but it requires expert knowledge and experience. We hope our list of famous racehorses piqued your interest and curiosity regarding the world of horseracing.