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Offline innerwiz

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O.P. « 2020-May-02, 04:00 PM »

Secretariat still holds the track record for the Belmont Stakes from 1973.

Even got pace duelled early.  But it wasn't a pace duel for Secretariat, it was just a normal run.

Greatest normalised speed figures of all time, any horse, any era, any jurisdiction, any surface, any track condition.


Offline fours

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« 2020-May-02, 04:55 PM Reply #1 »
Outlier certanly

Drug fuelled?


Offline timw

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« 2020-May-02, 06:13 PM Reply #2 »
Did a quick search and this turned up.
If flat racing only is the test Secretariat no 2.  Arkle always no 1 in any UK based poll i have seen that includes jumpers,,255383,00.html
10 best racehorses of all time

Tuesday 23 May 2000

1 Arkle
(Trained in Ireland)
Born 1957
Golden years 1964-1966

A steeplechaser so far ahead of his peers that the Jockey Club and Irish Turf Club had to change the rules of weight in handicaps to take account of his extraordinary ability. A superb jumper, he never fell, and was significantly superior to his brilliant contemporary, Mill House, himself one of the best chasers of the century.

Arkle was the son of Archive, a 48 guineas stallion. He was bought as an untried three year old by Mary, Duchess of Westminster, for 1,150 guineas and named after the mountain facing her house at Loch Stack in Sutherland in the Republic of Ireland.

From the moment he won his first hurdle race at 20-1, Arkle appeared destined for greatness, usually with Pat Taffe riding him. Perhaps his greatest victory was the 1964 Cheltenham Gold Cup when he avenged defeat by Mill House in the previous year's Hennessy by winning by five lengths, a race that Julian Wilson described as 'the greatest steeplechase of the past forty years'. Until that race Mill House was widely believed to be the best steeplechaser since Golden Miller - but he would never again beat the great Arkle.

Roll of honour
Cheltenham Gold Cup 1964, 1965 and 1966
King George VI Chase 1965
Irish Grand National 1964
Hennessy Gold Cup 1964 and 1965
Whitbread Gold Cup, Leopardstown Chase 1964, 1965 and 1966

2 Ribot

(Trained in Italy)
Born: 1952
Golden years: 1955 and 1956

Unbeaten in 16 races, this Italian-trained colt was sent out to land a King George and two Arcs at a time when the transport of horses was relatively primitive. He was tungsten tough, and for two seasons ruled Europe. His second victory in the Arc, by six lengths from a strong field, was one of the best in the history of the race.

Roll of honour
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 1955 and 1956
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes 1956
Gran Premio di Milano 1956

3 Secretariat

(Trained in America)
Born 1970
Golden year 1973

Known as 'Big Red', this imposing colt was a Triple Crown winner whose performance in the final leg, the Belmont Stakes, was the finest in American racing; he won by 31 lengths in record time. A race was created to match him against the best of the age, Riva Ridge and Cougar, both winners of $1m in prize money. Big Red slaughtered them.

Roll of honour
Kentucky Derby 1973
Preakness Stakes 1973
Belmont Stakes 1973
Man O'War Stakes 1973
Canadian International Championship 1973

4 Sea-Bird II

(Trained in France)
Born 1962
Golden year 1965

One of the easiest winners of the Derby, his reputation rests on his victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The 1965 race attracted arguably the strongest field of middle-distance thoroughbreds ever assembled in one field. The flashy chestnut sweated profusely in the parade ring and then wandered alarmingly in the closing stages, but won unforgettably by six lengths.

Roll of honour
Derby 1965
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 1965
Grand Prix de Saint Cloud 1965

5 Mill Reef

(Trained in England)
Born 1968
Golden years 1971-72

The diminutive champion was outpaced by Brigadier Gerard in the 2,000 Guineas over a mile, a distance that favoured the winner. Raced over longer distances Mill Reef was unbeaten, and particularly effective on soft ground. Often he wouldn't just win, but win by a relatively large margin, as when he took the King George VI by six lengths. Brigadier Gerard won more races, but none of his achievements matched Mill Reef at his peak.

Roll of honour
Derby 1971
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes 1971
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 1971
Eclipse Stakes 1971
Prix Ganay 1972
Coronation Cup 1972

6 Phar Lap

(Trained in Australia)
Born 1927
Golden years 1929-32

The best horse to have been trained in Australia, he dominated their domestic racing for three seasons. In 1932 he was sent to America, and contested the prestigious Caliente Handicap in Mexico. Another win, another record, but soon afterwards he died from poisoning. His heart is preserved in the Australian National Museum.

Roll of honour
AJC Derby 1929
Victoria Derby 1929
AJC Craven Plate 1929
Melbourne Cup 1930
AJC Craven Plate 1930
AJC Craven Plate 1931
WS Cox Plate 1930
WS Cox Plate 1931
Aqua Caliente Handicap 1932

7 Brigadier Gerard

(Trained in England)
Born 1968
Golden years 1971-72

Unfashionably bred, the Brigadier won 17 of his 18 races, being beaten only by the Derby winner Roberto at York in 1972, a race in which both horses beat the track record. A resolute galloper, he won the best 2,000 Guineas of the century, but many of his subsequent successes were gained against relatively weak opposition.

Roll of honour
Middle Park Stakes 1970
2,000 Guineas 1971
Sussex Stakes 1971
Champion Stakes 1971
Eclipse Stakes 1972
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes 1972
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Champion Stakes 1972

8 Kelso

(Trained in America)
Born 1957
Golden years 1960-64

A gelding who was voted Horse Of The Year in America for five seasons, Kelso won almost £2m, a record that was not bettered until more than 10 years after his retirement. His reputation for speed and durability was gained on dirt, but he beat the best turf horses in the Washington DC International of 1964.

Roll of honour
Jockey Club Gold Cup 1960
Jockey Club Gold Cup 1961
Woodward Stakes 1961
Jockey Club Gold Cup 1962
Woodward Stakes 1962
Jockey Club Gold Cup 1963
Woodward Stakes 1963
Aqueduct Stakes 1963
Washington DC Inter'l 1964
Jockey Club Gold Cup 1964
Aqueduct Stakes 1964

9 Pretty Polly

(Trained in England)
Born 1901
Golden years 1904-06

The winner of the three Classics, Pretty Polly would have added the Derby if she had been entered. She had the physique of a colt, she was beaten only twice in 24 races, and is the filly of the century.

Roll of honour
The Oaks 1904
1,000 Guineas 1904
St Leger 1904
Coronation Cup 1905
Champion Stakes 1905
Coronation Cup 1906

10 Red Rum

(Trained in England)
Born: 1965
Golden year: 1974

Winner of the Grand National in 1973 and 1974, he finished second in the next two years before completing a third victory in 1977 at the age of 12. A sound jumper, suited by a severe test of stamina, he took the Scottish Grand National in 1974. Red Rum had dead-heated in his first race, a seller on the Flat at Aintree in 1967, 10 years before his final triumph.

Roll of honour
Grand National 1973
Grand National 1974
Grand National 1977
Scottish Grand National 1974

Justifying the selection

10 will be a regular feature in OSM, each month focusing on a different sport and a different topic. This month's was selected by Graham Rock, The Observer's racing correspondent. This is how he justifies his choice:

There is no objective system for measuring the abilities of different generations of racehorses. Official handicappers from around the world accept the impossibility. So this list is, of course, subjective. Compiling it was a fascinating but infuriating process - and I'll be disappointed if you find yourself agreeing with every choice. Some on my list have been included to acknowledge raw ability, others to recognise the hoofprint they have driven into the tableau of the sport. Arkle is my No 1 simply because he was manifestly superior to his contemporaries, although purists would be happier if a famous champion from the Flat had been chosen. Arkle was surely better than Golden Miller and Easter Hero, his two most obvious rivals. I prefer Ribot to Sea-Bird II because he dominated Europe for two seasons. His second success in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe of 1956 was at least as impressive as Sea Bird's in the same race nine years later. The victories that stamped him as exceptional were gained away from home, at a time when the process of taking horses long distances was laboured and debilitating. If Secretariat was the fastest racehorse to gallop in America, Kelso was the toughest, perhaps the most durable top-class thoroughbred. Pretty Polly's record suggests she was the best filly of the last century, ahead of Sceptre, while Red Rum is the most famous horse in the world. His record of three Grand National victories is unique. Nijinsky, Shergar, Dancing Brave and Peintre Celebre, all worthy champions, just missed the cut. None was as good as Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard. The Brigadier may have beaten Mill Reef on the only occasion they raced together; subsequently, the best performances of Mill Reef suggest he would have taken his revenge if they had met again. Over 10 furlongs or further, on easy ground, he would have crushed his adversary.

Now you have your say

Enraged by our choice? Unable to contain your ire at our stupidity? We thought so, and we want to hear from you. Write and tell us who your 10 would be, justifying your selection in no more than 50 words. A selection of your 10s will be published next month.

Send your cards to: 10 Raceshorses, OSM, Observer Sports desk, 119 Farringdon Rd, London EC1R 3ER or email us at

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2020-May-02, 11:12 PM Reply #3 »
Secretariat was an amazing racehorse.

But he was a success at Stud as well.

Patricia McQueen has written a few articles on the "Sons Of Secretariat". We often forget that he sired a Melbourne Cup winner, who was the result of a mating with champion 3yo filly Rose Of Kingston (Rosie).

The son who ran the fastest Melbourne Cup ever

There’s an old saying in the Thoroughbred industry – breed the best to the best, and hope for the best. For Australian businessman David Hains, that theory produced magic in the name of Kingston Rule.

Twenty-five years ago, the handsome son of Secretariat found the extra firm ground to his liking and won Australia’s famed Melbourne Cup, setting a course record that still stands today.

“Secretariat was the best horse as a racehorse in history, and I believed that a combination with Rose of Kingston might work,” Hains recalled recently of the royal mating he planned some 30 years ago. After all, Rose of Kingston was named Australian Horse of the Year at three; her victories for Hains included the 1982 AJC Derby against the boys.

The champion, by the undefeated Italian stakes winner Claude, was one of several mares Hains sent to his Kentucky farm in the mid-1980s. She was bred to Alydar, Seattle Slew, Nureyev and Green Dancer, but it was her 1986 son by Secretariat who would make all the headlines.

The flashy chestnut, nearly a carbon copy of his famous sire, earned the nickname Magic after he was born in Kentucky on March 18, 1986. Officially Kingston Rule, he was sent to trainer Patrick Biancone in France, who had several other horses for Hains at the time.

Although some sources say Kingston Rule had one poor start in France, there is no record of him running in an official race there. The youngster needed time to mature, so he was sent to trainer Tommy Smith in Australia.

Kingston Rule made his first start at Warwick on May 9, 1989. He finished 13th and last in a maiden race at 1,400 meters, beaten 35 lengths on a heavy, wet course. Smith thought he had seen enough, and recommended the horse be gelded. Hains wasn’t prepared to take that step given the bloodlines, so Kingston Rule was sent back to Kingston Park in Victoria to regroup.

After time on the farm, he was transferred to Bart Cummings’ barn in Melbourne.

He was described as a “raving, ranting bull” who was frightened of other horses and who would break out in sweats, according to Cummings and his then-foreman, Leon Corstens, as recounted by Les Carlyon in his biography of the trainer.

Patience and time were the prescriptions to calm the beast, and the Cummings team had plenty of both. For example, they took him to some of the country race meetings several times – not to race, just to get more experience being around other horses.

Kingston Rule made his first start for Cummings in the Chatham H. at Caulfield on January 6, 1990. He finished second, but appeared to be making a winning run when another jockey’s whip struck him on the head. He broke through with victories in his next two starts, both at Sandown, on January 23 and February 10.

Carlyon described the February appearance as that of a horse on the edge of a nervous breakdown – “He was so highly strung he was close to being unstrung ... It was as though he was waiting for a tiger to jump out and land on his back.”

Clearly Cummings and Corstens needed to keep working on Kingston Rule. “Too much blood, not enough mongrel,” Carlyon wrote. Hardly the type to win a Melbourne Cup.

After three more starts that fall, he was put away until the following spring, by which time Kingston Rule was starting to “conquer his demons,” noted Carlyon. After two unplaced finishes, he sent a message with a strong fourth-place effort in the 1,600 meter G2 Craiglee S. at Flemington on September 8, 1990, closing 20 lengths in the final half-mile.

“That was the day we knew for sure he had a big race in him,” Corstens said at the time. “It was a colossal performance.”

But he hadn’t yet done enough to be assured a place in the Melbourne Cup, and Cummings continued to tweak the horse’s training regimen. He added rubber shock absorbers under his shoes because he hit the ground hard with his forelegs. To encourage him to stretch out and keep his head down, Cummings added a big shadow roll. And he worked the horse hard, with long morning gallops, time on a treadmill, and even swimming sessions. “He was rather big and overweight in my opinion,” the trainer recalled in 2012.

After two more races, the colt won the 2,600 meter G2 Moonee Valley Cup on October 27, which guaranteed a spot in the Melbourne Cup. But he was blowing a lot afterwards, remembered Cummings. “I monitored him on a daily basis, and decided he’d have to run again before the Melbourne Cup.”

So, with the Cup looming, he ran in the G2 Dalgety at Flemington on November 3, historically a popular spot for Melbourne Cup-bound horses. He finished second, again uncorking a scintillating rally under new jockey Darren Beadman, coming from last to just miss by a half-length over 2,500 meters.

“He needed that race because he was a very heavy horse and it was the only way to clean his wind up,” recalled Cummings. “If you feed them well, the racing doesn’t hurt them. They need it.” And there’s no doubt that Kingston Rule was thriving on the schedule.

When he appeared at Flemington before the Melbourne Cup three days later on November 6, 1990, Kingston Rule was dead fit, his copper coat glowing. Most importantly, he was relaxed – with none of the nervousness so evident earlier that year. Cummings and Corstens had worked their magic. The horse looked so good that his odds quickly went down from 12 to 1 to 7 to 1, making him co-favorite with New Zealand’s The Phantom.

Early in the race, Kingston Rule settled along the rail, running just behind the first few in the field of 24, never too far back and saving ground almost every step of the way. Beadman eased him out turning for home and hit the front with a furlong to go. As The Phantom made his run on the inside, Beadman resisted any temptation to use the whip, which Kingston Rule didn’t like. He urged the horse on with only his hands and legs and won by a length.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I hit the front a furlong out,” said Beadman after the race. “I saw The Phantom come at me on the inside and I hoped it wasn’t him, as I thought he was a good chance, but my bloke was too good.”

Too good indeed. Kingston Rule completed the 3,200 meter race in a record 3:16.3, a time that has never been bettered.

Twenty-two years later, Cummings reflected on the horse, perhaps forgiving him his early antics. “He was a thorough gentleman. If he had two legs, I’d call him ‘sir.’ On a dry track, he was very, very effective, and he was a great stayer.”

Soft ground was his Achilles heel, so that disastrous first start over heavy going was easily explained.

Remarkably, Secretariat’s influence in the 1990 Melbourne Cup was not limited to the winner. Finishing third was the unimposing 6-year-old gelding Mr. Brooker, a son of Kentucky-bred Our Best Friend, a member of Secretariat’s second crop and the first of Secretariat’s sons to end up at stud in Australia.

Kingston Rule had earned a short vacation at the farm, and returned to Cummings’ stable in December with an ambitious goal – the 1991 Japan Cup. “I know what is required of the horse, the trainer and the jockey to win the Japan Cup, and in Kingston Rule I feel I have the right material to take on the best in the world,” Cummings announced at the time.

It wasn’t meant to be. After three starts in early 1991, he bowed a tendon and his racing career was over. He had four wins in 18 starts and earnings of A$1,549,125, plus the celebrity that came from winning one of the world’s most important races as a son of one of the world’s best racehorses.

So it was on to a second career as a stallion with high hopes, despite the fact that stayers weren’t usually popular and rarely received the best mares. He was sent to Ealing Park in Victoria, under the watchful eyes of Tim and Lisa Johnson.

Tim Johnson recalled that it took Kingston Rule a couple of seasons to fully mature and lose that racehorse look. “Then he developed into this magnificent horse – really there was no better-looking stallion anywhere.”

Very easy going at the farm, the horse loved to spend his days sunbathing. “He was too smart to waste his energy,” Johnson said, adding that Kingston Rule exercised just enough to look after himself, so he never got too heavy.

But like other sons of Secretariat, he struggled as a sire. His 1994 crop produced his two best offspring, the very good G1-winning fillies Kensington Palace and Sheer Kingston. In total, he sired 10 stakes winners.

His popularity waned as quality runners were few and far between, and he bred just a handful of mares annually in his later years.

“To have such a good-looking horse with such a good pedigree, it was a crying shame that he wasn’t more successful as a stallion,” said Johnson, who considered Kingston Rule part of the family at Ealing Park until the horse died from the infirmities of old age on December 3, 2011.

Offline sobig

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« 2020-May-03, 01:07 PM Reply #4 »
I see NBC ran a "virtual" Kentucky Derby featuring previous winners

Secretariat came from behind to win from Citation and Seattle Slew. Affirmed was 4th and American Pharoah 5th

Offline timw

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« 2020-May-03, 05:13 PM Reply #5 »
Someone has updated his wikipedia page to show as 'Other Wins' his win in the 2020 Triple Crown Showdown! perhaps taking admiration a little to far. 

Offline innerwiz

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« 2020-May-03, 05:26 PM Reply #6 »

Secretariat wins again!  Not bad after a 50 year spell.

Offline Wenona

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« 2020-May-03, 05:57 PM Reply #7 »
OK, I'll concede he probably would have given Red Seas a contest around the creek.

Offline pwa54

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« 2020-May-04, 05:29 PM Reply #8 »
Hard to believe there was any better than Secretariat!

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2020-May-07, 08:47 AM Reply #9 »
Man 'O War

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2020-May-07, 09:01 AM Reply #10 »
Horse of the Century: Man o’ War vs. Secretariat

And it's Citation coming up on the outside...

For more than 50 years Man o' War owned the unofficial title of Horse of the Century.

"Then Secretariat happened," says Dorothy Ours, author of "Man o' War - A Legend Like Lightning" and a former historian at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. "And the debate started, well this might be the best horse since Man o' War--maybe he's better than Man o' War."

Forty years after that spring of 1973, when Secretariat ran roughshod over the competition, the debate rages on.

Offline wily ole dog

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« 2020-May-07, 03:06 PM Reply #11 »
I’m not sold on the greatest ever tag. Never raced at 4 and got rolled against the older horses.

No idea who was but it’s a no from me :shy:

Offline timw

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« 2020-May-08, 09:40 PM Reply #12 »
Secretariat won 2 from 2 against older horses in his last 5 starts.  Synopsis of his last 5 runs follows.         
Commentary from wikipedia except information in "( )" used by me to explain shortened commentary.  In his second loss he was beaten in the second fastest time run at Belmont over that distance in sloppy conditions.           
Sometimes the gods fail and unlike many top European horses he did race 21 times.  And he won on dirt and grass.  If Timeform had a crack they would probably give begrudge him a 133!   He's still in my top 10 of all time.      
2nd-5 ( 1 length)      4 Aug 1973.   Whitney Stakes (3YO+ hcp at Saratoga, NY)
Secretariat's stunning loss (Whitney Stakes a 3YO+ handicap run 4 Aug 1973) can possibly be attributed to a viral infection, which caused a low-grade fever and diarrhea. "I was learning then that anything could happen in horse racing," said Chenery. "We knew he had a low-grade infection. But we decided he was strong enough to win anyway, and we were wrong.         
(After Whitney Stakes) Secretariat lost his appetite and acted sluggishly for several days.  Charles Hatton wrote: "He seemed distressingly ill walking off, and he missed the Travers. Returned to Belmont to point for the $250,000 Marlboro, the sport's pin-up horse looked bloody awful, rather like one of those sick paintings which betoken an inner theatre of the macabre. It required supernatural recuperative powers to recover as he did. He was subjected to four severe preps in two weeks. Astonishingly, he gained weight and blossomed with every trial.         
1st-7      15 Sept 1973.   Marlboro Cup Invitational Hcp (3YO+ Hcp, Belmont Park, NY)
Whitney Stakes winner ran fourth         
2nd-5 (4.5 lengths)      29 Sept 1973.   Woodward Stakes (3YO+ WFA, Belmont Park, NY)
(Next) was  the ​1 1⁄2 mile Woodward Stakes, just two weeks later, ... it rained before the Woodward and the track was sloppy ... Secretariat led into the straight but was overtaken by the four-year-old Prove Out, who pulled clear to win by ​4 1⁄2 lengths despite carrying seven more pounds than Secretariat under the weight-for-age conditions of the race. Prove Out ran the race of his life that day: his time was the second-fastest mile-and-a-half on the dirt in Belmont Park's history despite the sloppy conditions. Prove Out went on to beat Riva Ridge in that year's Jockey Club Gold Cup.         
1st-7      8 Oct 1973.   Man o' War Stakes (3YO, Belmont Park, NY)
On October 8, just nine days after the Woodward, Secretariat was moved to turf for the Man O' War Stakes ( 3YO) at a distance of ​1 1⁄2 miles. Secretariat set a course record time of 2:24​ 4⁄5.         
1st-12      28 Oct 1973.   Canadian International, 3YO+, Woodbine, Toronto, Canada
Secretariat's last race was against older horses in the Canadian International Stakes over one and five-eighths miles on the turf at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on October 28, 1973...... he rounded the far turn with a 12-length lead before gearing down in the final furlong, ultimately winning by ​6 1⁄2 lengths.