10 Most American Horses Of All Time

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When it comes to racehorses, the ones from America seem to dominate the field and have been since the early 1900s. This is mainly due to how the biggest races are based in America like the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup.

For more information on the current Breeders’ Cup, you can find out TVG favorites for the Breeders’ Cup and what American horses are participating in.

In this article, we cover 10 of the best American horses to grace the track.

Affirmed

Affirmed was the 11th winner of the Triple Crown which he did so in 1978. It wouldn’t be until 37 years later when the Triple Crown would be won again, this time by American Pharoah.

In 1978 and 1979 he won American Champion 3-Year-Old Male Horse and American Champion Older Male Horse respectively as well as American Horse of the Year in both years.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Citation

Born in 1945, Citation won the Triple Crown in 1948 and was the 8th horse to do so. He is the first horse to reach $1 million in winnings.

He was named U.S. Horse of the Year in 1948 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1959. Citation ranked 3rd on the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century list by Blood-Horse magazine.

Dr. Fager

Dr. Fager was born in 1964 and his 1968 season is considered to be one of the greatest single racing seasons. That year he became the only horse to hold 4 American titles in 1 year, Horse of the Year, Champion Handicap Horse, Champion Sprinter, and co-Champion Grass Horse.

He ranked 6th on the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.

Kelso

Kelso was born in 1957 and was ranked 4th on the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century. He won U.S Horse of the Year 5 times between 1960 and 1964, and U.S Champion Older Male Horse 4 times between 1961 and 1964.

He has defeated more champions and Hall of Fame horses than anyone other horse and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967.

Man o’ War

Man o’ War is considered to be one of the greatest racehorses of all time ranking 1st on the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century.

He won 20 out of his 21 races and in 1920 he was awarded American Champion 3-Year-Old Male Horse and American Horse of the Year.

Man o’ War was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1957.

Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit is mainly known for beating Triple Crown winner (and uncle) War Admiral in 1938 by 4 lengths at a 2-horse special at Pimlico. That year he was named American Horse of the Year.

He became a symbol of hope for many Americans during the Great Depression due to his small size and slow start to his career.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1958.

Seattle Slew

Seattle Slew is the 10th winner of the Triple Crown doing so in 1977. That same year he won U.S. Champion 3-Year-Old Male Horse and American Horse of the Year.  He was the first horse to win the Triple Crown undefeated, the next horse to do so was Justice in 2018 who is a descendant of Seattle Slew.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.

Secretariat

Secretariat is considered to be one of the greatest racehorses of all time ranking 2nd on the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century. 

He won the Triple Crown in 1973 and his Belmont Stake race where he won by 31 lengths is considered one of the greatest races in history. He also still holds the track record at the Kentucky Derby.

In 1972 and 1973 he won American Horse of the Year and then the following year in 1974 he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Spectacular Bid

Spectacular Bid was born in 1976 and holds the record for the fastest 1 ¼ miles on the dirt.

He won 26 of his 30 races and in 1980 was named American Champion Older Male Horse and American Horse of the Year.

He would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Zenyatta

Zenyatta was born in 2004 and is the only mare on our list. She won 19 out of her 20 races including the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Breeders’ Cup Distaff. This made her the first mare to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the first horse to win 2 separate Breeders’ titles.

She had a late start to her career at the age of 3 but won the American Champion Older Female Horse in 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2010 she would also win American Horse of the Year.

Zenyatta would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.

Final Thoughts

These horses each left an impact on racing and showed themselves to be eternal champions.