Secretariat! I'll Have Another! Phar Lap! Those are the horses that probably come to mind when you ask any outsider to racing about the best horse in history. Perhaps they're forgetting a few, like Man O' War or even Barbaro. Those horses were all good, but they were also all males. Even if you ask people inside of racing, some of those names might come up. Why does nobody mention Kincsem? Wait, who is Kincsem?
Reason 1: People are uneducated about her. Yes, that's right. Her. This fabulous filly went a marvelous 54-54 in 4 racing seasons, a feat unheard of in today's racing. Zenyatta came close, with 19-20, and Ruffian with 10-11, but those weren't even a fraction of races that Kincsem ran in.
Reason 2: She raced in the 1800's. Maybe racing was easier back then, maybe horses didn't try as hard. Ha! Who are we kidding: racing was as hard then as it is now, probably even harder. It may take too long to research a horse that wasn't alive in the past century. After being foaled in 1874, Kincsem would die from a colic attack in 1887, at the young age of 13. She foaled only 5 offspring, 3 of which were females.
At the age of 2, Kincsem was entered in 10 races, each at a different track. Of course, she won them all. As a 3-year old, she was entered in 7 races, all of them being stakes. When she was a 4-year old, Kincsem tasted her closest speck of defeat when she was faced in a runoff after a dead heat in the Grosser Preis von Baden. Why the weird names? She was born in Hungary, and then continued to race all over England, beating all of her challengers.
Old racing lore tells the story of gypsies and the spark of brilliance they saw. One day, when Kincsem was just a foal, she would stand with her head low and her eyes half-opened. Out of 50 horses, the gypsies only stole Kincsem. When the rightful owner finally found her, he asked the thieves a question. “Why steal this horse when there are so many better to chose from?” The gypsy replied, “Because, the other horses may be better looking, but she was the best of the lot. She'll be a champion.”
This is only the overview of the life of this magnificent horse, I strongly encourage each and every one of you to further research her.
Hungarian Two Thousand Guineas
Hungarian One Thousand Guineas
Hungarian Autumn Oaks
Hungarian St. Ledger
Grand Prix de Deauville
Written by Madison Jackson