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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

The Greatest of All Time!

Top 250 graphic - smaller
Who are the greatest horses of all-time? 
 
It’s amazing how such a seemingly simple question can elicit such a varying array of passionate answers. Some swear there will never be another like Man O’ War, while others think the more recent Big Red was the improved version. Those who remember seeing Citation run invariably have him rated no lower than #3, while many who fondly remember racing in the late 70’s tend to have their favorite of Affirmed, Seattle Slew, or Spectacular Bid rated near the top of the list. More recent runners like Sunday Silence, Cigar, and Zenyatta have current popularity in their favor. Whether you believe ranking the greatest horses of all time to be a near impossible task, or an exercise in pure fun, we all have opinions on the horses that have graced the sport for as long as we’ve been watching.
 
No one takes as much joy and puts in as much time in ranking the stars of our sport, and the non-stars for that matter, as my colleagues and I at Horse Racing Nation. Now, for the first time we are publishing the rankings of the greatest of the greats, both past and present. Our goal is to create the most comprehensive rankings list the sport has ever seen. To those ends we have begun a push. We are announcing the rankings tonight and now we warmly welcome all of you to help us by contributing regularly, with the goal of establishing an all-time list of the Top 250 greatest horses. The big announcement on our results will be come on March 1. Let’s make it a list that the entire sport of racing can be proud of! 

Without further adieu, here is how the rankings stand today,  http://www.horseracingnation.com/polls/current/PowerRankings_All_Time
 
As you can see there is plenty of room for discussion. I published my All-time Top 10 list a few years ago. For comparison’s sake let’s take a look  where they fall on Horse Racing Nation’s current list:
 
1) Man O’ War - Currently #4 on HRN
2) Secretariat - Currently #1 on HRN
3) Citation - Currently #15 on HRN
4) Spectacular Bid - Currently #11 on HRN
5) Count Fleet - Currently not in the HRN top 100
6) Dr. Fager - Currently #26 on HRN
7) Kelso - Currently #8 on HRN
8) Seattle Slew - Currently #2 on HRN
9) Forego - Currently #21 on HRN
10) Native Dancer - Currently not in the HRN top 100
 
You can see why I feel that many horses are too low. Conversely there
are many on our current Top 250 who appear to me, to be overrated in a big way. These are of course only one man’s opinion. The great thing about these rankings is it is not the opinion of one man, rather it is a consensus of everyone. That is where you come in. Please take a look at the list and start rating the horses. You can rate a horse once a week. By all means, share this with your friends. Discuss who you think who should be in the Top 20 or more. Is your favorite too low? Start rating them where you believe they deserve to be ranked. Zenyatta too high? Blame too low? Fix it. Are the horses of yesteryear not given the respect they deserve? You now have the opportunity to have your opinion count. The more people that take an active interest and vote regularly, the better the rankings become. Are their horses that are high on the list that you are not too familiar with? Now is the time to find out more about them. In other words … have fun!
 
So I ask again, Who are the greatest horses of all-time? 

 

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Older Comments about The Greatest of All Time!...

Look at their fastest times for a given distance and their consistency.
Best, greatest etc ALL OVERUSED. It is historical perspective through the comparison to all history that eventually ranks any specific competitor. Some combatants ON ANY GIVEN DAY were the best THAT day....Excellence and CONSISTENTCY over TIME mark the great ones.
"A View From Above" a book by Wilt Chamerlain is informative reading. An except from this book was something I found so relevant and timeless. "Society is too quick to say that certain winners are great or even the best ever," Chamberlain wrote. "The best competitor does not always win. On any given day a miracle can happen. We've had a Kentucky Derby each year since 1875 and each year we've had a winner. Were they all great horses? No. It just means for that moment in time, about 2 minutes, that horse was the best. In horse racing, running times, the track condition, the gate position will be brought into the equation. Was it a four-horse field or a 12-horse field with a lot of bumping? Things that seem definitive and objective are not always so."
for hannahWTC (that reminds me of the world trade center) and in the grand scheme of things, isn't that more important then which horse we think is the greatest? BUT, so what about a Secretariat movie, they also made a movie about Mine That Bird, big whoop!!!
hannah, please tell me, does the book take into account the fact that Man O' War ALWAYS won eased up and was extended only ONCE in his career?
  • hannahWTC · Yes. It also takes into account that Secretariat won his 1 1/2 world record by 31, pretty sure that was easy · 216 days ago
  • LorraineLloyd · It's true. Are you a Secretariat fan!!! One of his charts even said he won "cantering" WHAT horse has had a DRF chart "cantering"??? Please advise, I'd appreciate it. · 176 days ago
cindy.carter94214, Man o' war's times were fast for his time but those times SUCK in comparison to horses such as Secretariat, Ruffian and many many others. And the tracks weren't much faster when Sec and Ruffian were racing. Man o' war was a great racehorse but is exaggerated because of the fields he was running against. Secretariat crushed almost all comers and had valid reasons for his losses. And he flat out demolished Man o wars 1 1/2 time by what, a whole 4 seconds. Ruffian also crushed his times. Actually, time wise Ruffian is the best race horse. So really, Man o war fans don't have to many valid reasons for why he is better
  • LorraineLloyd · I'd like to reply to this comment and join the discussion! You want to negate track conditions, then you are a Secretariat fan with your head in the sand (as most are). Tracks are always being upgraded and made to be better for safety and performance. Now, as for Secretariat's times, horses have run faster. As a matter of fact, Hawkster, another 3 year old (because I know you guys bring that up) ran 1 1/2 miles on the turf in 2:22, even faster than Secretariat. Now, I hear you, Secretariat's was on dirt, however; Hawkster (who is on no one's top 100 list) ran faster than Secretariat's Man O' War stakes. Horses HAVE run faster than Secretariat so let's start being fair and honest about other great horses. And, Man O' War still ran 1 5/8 faster WAY back in 1920!!!! · 176 days ago
THe Bid
How could you possibly rank Spectacular Bid over Seattle Slew? Safety pin my ass...
Yes...I spoke to the bartender who told me that if someone was to kill a tourist, the local will kill him before the cops get involved.
Sword, kill a tourist over there and your life is over.
BTW...They have the best catamaran trip ever!!!!!!
LAZ...I love Cuba. The beaches are awesome there, people are wonderful and kind hearted. Hardworking people but the crap that I can't get over is, if you kill a man, you get 4 years in jail, kill a cow and you get 12 years.
Intriguing... I don't believe they have racing there?
Sword, I was in a strange land called Cuba taking a vacation.
Secretariat lost races he should have won. In fact he looked like Big. Brown in the Belmont during his Woodward Stakes choke. He was a mediocre at best stud. People blindly flap their mitts over Secre saw a movie a poorly made awful movie full of half truths. Belmont
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • hannahWTC · And didn · 211 days ago
  • hannahWTC · And didn't MOW son War Admiral beat his 1 1/2 record and come back limping? If an injured horse can beat you, that says a lot · 211 days ago
Well paul feliciano got a bad rap for that race. sec was slammed from both sides right out of the gate and broke dead last and still managed a fast closing 4th going 5 1/2 or 6 furlongs.lauren was irritated at feliciano right after the race but someone in the press box urged him to review the tape and he agreed that it wasn't feliciano's fault.
Where were you hiding LAZ...
How is it wrong? Secretariat lost races when he had excuses. Why he was run when sick, had am abscess in his mouth, etc, I guess the illnesses or abscess(es) were only discovered post race. Not sure, but excuses anyway. A DQ as a baby does not mean he was not good enough to win. First race was attributed to jockey error. I don't hold a first race against many anyway. Big Brown in the Belmont should be no one's example of anything but an embarrassing horror story. Stud record is debatable and doesn't have to do with running. A movie? I like soup. That has the same relevance.
MOW also came from a foal crop os w2hat...1700?
This is also mostly wrong, sorry^^

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.