The Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular & famous horse racing event. We have reviewed the top 5 best horses in Kentucky Derby who made history in run for the races with memorable victories.
Secretariat was a famous American Champion racehorse born in Virginia in 1970. He is best known for winning the prestigious Belmont Stakes race three times, a record. Secretariat also won the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby races, making him one of only twelve horses to win all three of the so-called “Triple Crown” races. He remains the only horse to win these races with record-breaking times.
Secretariat’s racing career began in 1972 when he was entered into a race at Aqueduct Racetrack. He quickly showed promise but suffered from health problems that led his owner to sell him for $10,000 to a man who gave him as a present to his girlfriend. However, before he could be given away, the horse was sold at a reduced price of $5,000 by a friend of Penny Chenery’s who offered him a chance to buy the horse from the owner at the reduced price as it seemed that Secretariat might have been mistreated.
Chenery, who had always been interested in horse racing, agreed to purchase the horse and hired a trainer, Lucien Laurin, to oversee his care. Laurin was a well-respected trainer with over forty years of experience. Secretariat began his racing career with a win at Aqueduct Racetrack in 1972. In 1973, he won several races in the New York state area. He then went on to win the Wood Memorial Stakes, which was a competition that took place in New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack.
After winning several races, it became clear that Secretariat had talent and would continue to be competitive. However, there were some doubts about whether the thoroughbred could compete against top horses in places like California, which is recognized as a place where many of racing’s best competitors come from. To test himself, Secretariat was entered into the Triple Crown races for his first official competition at that level.
In 1973, Secretariat competed in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in New York. He won all three races with record-breaking times that were never beaten by any other horse within his lifetime. Secretariat is the only winner of the Triple Crown to achieve this feat in history.
After winning the Triple Crown, Secretariat continued to race in races throughout the United States. He was often compared to horses like Citation, who achieved similar feats earlier on in their careers. However, during a race in 1973, he suffered an injury that led people to believe his career would be cut short. After this moment, there are records of him no longer racing competitively. However, he gained popularity after his retirement and was purchased by the Meadow Stable that Chenery owned for $6.08 million in 1999, which was a world record price at the time for any horse.
After retiring from racing, Secretariat became an important sire for racehorses. His bloodline is seen as one of the most successful in the industry. Some of his most well-known descendants include Ruffian, A.P. Indy, and Seattle Slew.
Secretariat was an important horse not only because of his racing achievements but also because he influenced the thoroughbred industry. He has been recognized for his talents both during and after his lifetime. In 1970, he was the first horse to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In 1973, he was named Horse of the Year, and in 1998 he was voted as the greatest racehorse of all time by a panel of experts.
Secretariat died at the age of eighteen. While the official cause of death was a heart attack, some people believe that he may have been poisoned. The first evidence that Secretariat may have been poisoned came from Penny Chenery, the horse’s owner. She stated to ESPN’s E:60, “Secretariat was murdered… I’m convinced of it.” The show also interviewed an ex-IRS agent named John Collins, who said he had started looking into the poisoning because of something his friend, a racehorse trainer, had told him. His friend said one of the other jockeys at the stables where Secretariat lived claimed he saw people sprinkling white powder throughout his food.
Since then, many fans and experts that worked with Secretariat have come forward to claim that he was poisoned. There are also rumors that Kentucky authorities were investigating the matter, but no official confirmation had been made. If Secretariat was indeed poisoned, it would be a tragic end to one of the most successful racehorses in history.
The legacy of the Secretariat continues to this day, and his influence can be seen in the thoroughbred industry. He was an important horse because of his racing achievements and his influence on the industry. Thanks to him, the world has seen some of the most successful racehorses in history.”
2) American Pharoah
American Pharoah was foaled on February 2, 2012. He is an American Champion horse who won the American Triple Crown and The Breeders Cup Classic in 2015. He is the First out of the best horses in Kentucky Derby to win the Triple Crown in 37 years. American Pharoah was bred by Ahmed Zayat, who bought him for $300,000 as a yearling. He was trained by Bob Baffert, who had also trained the last Triple Crown winner, Saragrajos. American Pharoah was ridden in all of his races by Victor Espinoza.
American Pharoah was entered in the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2015. He won the race by eight lengths, setting a new Derby record. He then went on to win the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years.
In October, American Pharoah was entered in the Breeders Cup Classic. He won the race by five lengths, becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown and the Breeders Cup Classic. American Pharoah is the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown. He is also the 12th Triple Crown winner in history and only the 4th since the 20th century.
3) Seattle Slew
Seattle Slew was an American champion Thoroughbred racehorse. He was the eleventh Triple Crown winner and the first since Citation in 1948. Seattle Slew was a dark brown colt with a small white star and a snip on his forehead. He was foaled at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. Bred by Ben A. Jones, he was raced by Karen and Mickey Taylor. Seattle Slew was trained by Billy Turner.
Seattle Slew’s sire was Bold Reasoning, who won the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1968. His dam was My Charmer, a daughter of Poker who won the Mother Goose Stakes and the Test Stakes. Seattle Slew was originally intended to be a breeding stallion, but his owners decided to race him after he won his first two races by a combined margin of thirty-one lengths.
Seattle Slew raced at age two in 1976, winning three of four starts. He then won all five of his starts at age three in 1977, including the Bay Shore Stakes, Florida Derby, Wood Memorial Stakes, Triple Crown, and World Series of Racing. He then retired with a record of nine wins out of ten starts and earnings totaling $229,808. After claiming his tenth win in an allowance race at Aqueduct Racetrack on December 29, 1977, Seattle Slew was given an extended vacation.
Seattle Slew was voted the American Horse of the Year in both 1977 and 1978. In 1979, he was retired from racing and began his stud career at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Seattle Slew sired over one hundred winners, including two Champions: Our Emblem (two-year-old champion filly) and Raging Fever (champion older female). His best progeny includes:
In 1976, the yearling colt was sent to auction but failed to meet his reserve price. The colt was then bought by friends Karen and Mickey Taylor for $6000. They raced him under the name of their small company, and It’s Harder to Get Them in the Social Register. In late 1977, the Taylors turned down an offer of $3 million from cereal heiress Marjorie Jackson for Seattle Slew and his potential yet unproven stud fees; they eventually changed their minds, but by then, it was too late, as the mare had been bred to another stallion.
Seattle Slew was euthanized on May 7, 2002, at the age of twenty-eight due to the infirmities of old age. He is buried at Hill’ n’ Dale Farms in Lexington, where he spent his stud career and home for many years on a farm named in his honor. His gravesite is at the intersection of the main road and the farm drive, near a large statue of him donated by Lane’s End Farm (which stood on what is now part of his grave). Seattle Slew was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1981.
Preakness was an American thoroughbred champion racehorse. He was born on a farm in Kentucky in 1867 and went on to win many races, including the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes, and the Travers. Preakness was one of the most popular racehorses of his time, and he became a national hero when he won the Preakness Stakes in 1873.
He was foaled in 1867 at D.S. Randolph’s Glen Eden Stock Farm in Woodford County, Kentucky. He was sired by the great Lexington and out of the mare Broomstick. Preakness was trained by future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee Edward “Ned” Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons had this to say about Preakness: “The colt was a game, honest racer and as sound as a hickory nut. He had plenty of speed and heart, too.”
Preakness made his racing debut on July 4, 1871, at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey. He finished second. Among his other top finishes, that year was a second-place showing against professional racer Kingfisher in the Belmont Gold Cup Stakes at Jerome Park Racetrack in Fordham, New York.
Preakness won his first stakes race on May 28, 1872, when he captured the Free Handicap Sweepstakes at Jerome Park Racetrack. In this race, the top four finishers were to be given handicaps based on their performance in a previous race, but all four of these horses refused to be saddled and, as a result, had 25 pounds taken from them for this race. Preakness was able to stay close to the pace set by the leading horses, then produced a strong run in the stretch to win by two lengths.
In October 1872, Preakness captured his most significant win of the year when he defeated Kentucky Derby winner Azra and runner-up Falsetto in the Grand Duke Michael Stakes. He also finished third against older horses in the Jerome Handicap at Jerome Park Racetrack.
Preakness’s biggest win came on May 18, 1873, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, when he captured the Preakness Stakes. He was ridden by future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee James McLaughlin and was carrying 133 pounds, which was 30 pounds more than any other horse entered in the race. In the Preakness, McLaughlin allowed Preakness to remain near the front of the field from start to finish, and he won by three lengths over runner-up Reverberation.
In 1874, Preakness was sent to race in Europe, but he failed to win any races against the best horses in Kentucky Derby of that continent. He was brought back to the United States and raced until 1878 with modest success. In his last race, on November 11, 1878, at Jerome Park Racetrack, he finished second. Preakness was then retired to his owner’s farm in Kentucky, where he died on October 21, 1884, after being shot by his owner when he refused to obey his commands.
Affirmed was an American champion racehorse. He was foaled in 1975 at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. Affirmed was a chestnut horse with a narrow white blaze and three white socks. He was sired by the undefeated dual-Classic winner Exclusive Native out of the mare Your Hostess, who went on to produce Cosmah (winner of the 1980 Kentucky Oaks), and Noble Nashua (winner of the 1981 Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby, and several other races).
Affirmed was co-owned by Harbor View Farm (Peter Fuller) and Louis Wolfson’s Harbor View Racing Association. Affirmed was trained during his two-year-old season by Laz Barrera, and as a three-year-old, he was trained by future Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Whittingham.
The Affirmed – Alydar rivalry has been compared to the 1978 Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks boxing title fight. Both were undefeated champions that had vied for the unofficial title of “Greatest Two Year Old” in 1978; now, they met again as Three-Year-Old colts in the American Classic Races of 1979. Affirmed was undefeated in his sophomore season while Alydar had suffered a surprising loss in the June 7 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga to another future Hall of Fame colt, Spectacular Bid.
On August 3, 1979, they met again in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Alydar, ridden by Angel Cordero, Jr., made a strong bid on the lead in the stretch, but Affirmed, ridden by Steve Cauthen, prevailed by ahead. The finish was so close that both horses were given the same time, 1:59 2/5 for the mile and one-eighth race.
On October 6, 1979, they met for the third and final time in the $1,000,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Affirmed prevailed again by a head over Alydar with a time of 2:27 4/5 for the mile and one-and-a-half race. Affirmed had the record time of 2:19 3/5 for two miles (3,290 meters), which stood all-time until Curlin ran 2:00 4/5 in the 2008 Dubai World Cup.
Affirmed and Alydar met one more time on November 30, 1979, in the $500,000 Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park Racetrack in California. Their rivalry had become so heated that each owner claimed the other horse would be scratched should his horse lose again. Both were naturally betting favorites to win, and they raced neck-and-neck for most of this race before Affirmed drew away near the wire to win by two lengths.
On November 14, 1979, Affirmed won the second division of the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. On December 12, he won the 7 furlongs Remsen Stakes on a muddy track by four lengths, leading all the way. His final race as a two-year-old was on January 3, 1980, in the mile and one-eighth Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. Affirmed won by six lengths, with a time of 1:47 3/5, earning him the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Two-Year-Old Male Horse.