Horse racing is the oldest equine sport in the entire world, dating back as far as 4500 BC. Horse racing is considered “the sport of kings”. Races can be as long as two miles or just a quarter of a mile long.
Racehorses are ridden by jockeys. Jockeys must be very light so the horse they are riding is not carrying excess weight, allowing the horses to run faster. Jockeys wear brightly colored clothes called “silks” when racing. Horse racing tack is quite different from normal English tack. The saddles are very lightly built, and have a very short forward positioned flap. There is not really a difference between normal English bridles and racing bridles, except sometimes racers use a colorful nylon bridle instead of a leather one.
There are only two breeds of horses which are the best at horse racing, thoroughbreds and some arabians. Almost every racehorse is a thoroughbred, but sometimes there might be an Arabian racehorse. Thoroughbreds are most widely used for horse racing because of their speed and long legs. Thoroughbreds are the fastest breed of horse in the world.
There are many famous racehorses in the world, but some of the greatest racehorses are Man O’ War, Secretariat, Ruffian and Frankel.
Man O’ War, The Greatest Race Horse In The World
Man O’ War, is considered by many to be the greatest racehorse of the 2oth century. He was foaled in Lexington Kentucky on March 29th, 1917. His dam, Mahubah, was a nice tempered daughter out of Rock Sand, the 1903 Triple Crown Winner. Man O’ War’s sire, Fair Play, who was sired by the notoriously bed tempered Hastings and winner of the Belmont Stakes in 1896, was known for his ability to produce top foals. In the United States, Fair Play was the only stallion at that time to have sired six foals who won over $100,000 in purses. Man O’ War won 20 out of 21 races. He lost one race because the starting gate, which at that time was simply a net behind which the horses circled while waiting for the starter, went up while he was turned the wrong way. Man O’ War lost by less than half a length. Man O’ War set eight track records in all, three world records, two American records and three tied records. Big Red, which was his stable name, passed away on November 1st, 1947 at the age of 30. To this day, Man O’ War is still regarded as the most outstanding racehorse of all time.
Here is a tribute video about Man O’ War:
Secretariat, The Incredible
Secretariat was born early on a cold spring morning on March 30th, 1970 at the Meadow Stud Farm in Caroline County Virginia. Secretariat’s dam was Somethingroyal, the Broodmare of the Year in 1973. Secretariat was sired by Bold Ruler, an amazing race horse winning 23 of his 33 races. Secretariat set many unprecedented track records that still stand today. Secretariat won 7 of his 9 races in his two year old season, and he was the first two year old horse ever to win the Horse of the Year award in 1972. Secretariat’s greatest race ever was the Belmont Stakes on June 7th, 1973. Secretariat won that race by an incredible 31 lengths! Before Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes, he won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and set new world records for each. Secretariat was the ninth horse in the world to win the three Triple Crown races. Secretariat was put to sleep on October 4th, 1989, at the age of 19, due to a hoof disease called laminitis. A necropsy was done on Secretariat and it was discovered that Secretariat’s heart weighed 22 pounds. The average weight for a horse’s heart is 9 pounds. Secretariat’s heart was also perfect in proportion, it was not at all mutated like some of the larger horse hearts are. Secretariat is still recognized by many to be the greatest racehorse in the world.
Here is a tribute video about Secretariat:
Ruffian, The Legend
Ruffian, a near black filly, was born to run, which in the end, destroyed her. She was foaled on April 17, 1972 at Claiborne Farms in Paris Kentucky. Out of Shenanigans, a proven producer of top racing foals and sired by Reviewer, a great racehorse who won 9 of 13 races, Ruffian equaled and broke many track records. Her very first race was won by an easy 13 lengths and she continued to win by several lengths with all of her other races. In August, 1974, it was discovered that Ruffian had a small fracture in her right hind leg after she had won the Spinaway Stakes in a record time of one minute and eight seconds. Ruffian’s two year old season ended because of her injury. Although, even with only five races in her two year old season, because of her grandness, Ruffian was awarded for the best two year old filly. After a couple months of stall rest, Ruffian’s fracture healed without incident. Her three year old season was even better than her first. She went on to win the Comely Stakes, the New York Filly Triple Crown and the Mother Goose Stakes. She seemed unbeatable; it was questioned though, if she could beat the Kentucky Derby Winner, Foolish Pleasure. A match race was set between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure to be run on July 7th, 1975. Unlike Foolish Pleasure, Ruffian did not break cleanly from the starting gate. She swerved slightly to one side and crashed her shoulder into the gate as she exploded out of the start box. Not far into the race, Ruffian suddenly took a misstep, and her jockey heard a loud crack. Ruffian’s right leg had broken, and despite this and her jockey’s efforts to stop her, she kept running. She was operated on throughout the entire night, which sadly did nothing but contribute to her pain. She was put to sleep during that night. Ruffian is still remembered for her brilliant racing ability.
Here is a video with Ruffian racing:
Frankel, Not Only The Unbeaten, But The Untouchable
Frankel is the greatest modern day racehorse of this century. Winning all of his 14 races and setting many new track records. Frankel was foaled on February 11th, 2008 at Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket Britain. His dam, Kind, is a successful racehorse who won 6 of her 13 races. Frankel is sired by Galileo, who is sired by Sadler’s Wells, a proven producer of first class racing colts and fillies.With each of Frankel’s races, he has won by several lengths, “especially down the final stretch – simply beautiful to behold (he covers an incredible 22 feet with each stride, as well as having an unusually large heart).” Frankel won the Horse of the Year award for two years running, 2011 and 2012. Frankel is the most valuable equine on the planet, being worth 100 million dollars! He was retired as a four year old because his owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah wanted to retire him while he was still uninjured and unbeaten in a race. Frankel is now happily retired at stud, his stud fee costing more than $200,000. Frankel is now officially regarded as the greatest racehorse in the world.
Here is a video showcasing fantastic Frankel:
There are many great and historical figures in racing, the racers and their owners, the trainers and jockeys.