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Top 10 Most Acclaimed Racehorses Across World History

Horse Racing is a pastime that has enthralled people from all over the world for centuries. Engaging in betting and achieving the incredible thrill of the elusive Superfecta is one of the all-time highs of horseracing itself. By examining the most acclaimed racehorses across world history, we discover the unique qualities that make a renowned racehorse.



1.  Seabiscuit

In 1936 the unsuspecting Seabiscuit was suddenly coming into his own. A new trainer named Tom Smith and a new jockey named Red Pollard came onto the scene. Seabiscuit suddenly went from unimpressive to outstanding throughout the next year. The team took home 11 wins of 15 races they entered making them one of the most successful in recent years.


Despite several setbacks including Red Pollard losing an eye in a training accident, Seabiscuit became one of the most popular racing horses of the 30s. In 1939 Seabusicuit would face off against another well-recognized horse, War Admiral. This infamous match granted Seabiscuit victory and notoriety that even extended to the silver screen in 2003.

2.  Winx

This world-record-winning mare is an Australian queen. Winx was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame whilst still in training and then went on to win 22 consecutive races between 2015 and 2019. She Competed in prestigious races such as Cox Plate, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and Chipping Norton.


Winx’s career set the stage for many prospective racehorse trainers. She proved that youth doesn’t equal inexperienced but rather undiscovered. By the time she entered the races, she was 4 years old but not without having already been ranked as the best horse in the world a few times over. When a star is born, the world takes notice.

3.  Citation

In 1948 Citation became the first horse in the U.S. to win a million dollars. Born in 1945, Citation was an underdog. He won his first-ever race in Havre De France, Maryland, surprising many. This newcomer shocked the stands with his fierce agility and persistence.


Citation went on to win 16 consecutive stakes races and was the 8th winner of the American Triple Crown. He set many records including the world record of 1:58 ⅕  on a dirt track that wasn’t broken until 30 years later. After winning the Hollywood Gold Cup, Citation retired, but not without giving us a noteworthy offspring, Silver Spoon.

4.  Zenyatta

In 2004, Zenyatta was foaled. She went on to become the winner of several Champion Older Female awards from 2008 to 2012. She even took home American Horse of the year in 2010 and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2016. Zenyatta became the first female horse to take home many awards, breaking records and setting standards even higher.


Zenyatta raced until she was nearly 7 years old. She continued to break records throughout her career and nearly retired with no losses under her belt. This goes to show that age doesn’t define a winning horse, talent does.

5.  Black Caviar

This mare became an undefeated racing horse in 25 races. Black Caviar was the WTRR World Champion Springer from 2010 to 2013, winning every year. During this same time period, she won Australian Racehorse of the Year, Australian Champion Sprinter, and European Champion Sprinter.


Black Caviar became so acclaimed that the Lightning Stakes she won so frequently came to be renamed Black Caviar Lightning in her honor. After retiring in 2013 Black Caviar began giving birth to her successors. Her firstborn, Oscientra, began training in 2017 and has incredible promise. 

6.  Secretariat

A beautiful horse was born in 1970 named Secretariat. While his beauty convinced some he would never be a good racehorse, Secretariat went on to win 8 consecutive victories at just 2 years old. This unprecedented success led to this horse earning the title of Horse of the Year in 1972. After that, he won the Triple Crown and set a world record at the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths.


People adored Secretariat like no other racehorse in history. As made clear from the motion picture produced in 2010, no one was bound to forget the strides he made in racing. In fact, he even graced the U.S. postage stamp in 1999 following his death in 1989.

7.  Hurricane Fly

He may be small, but Hurricane Fly made history as a champion hurdle jumper. Hurricane Fly began flat racing in 2006, only coming in 2nd place twice and failing to place that high again in the following two races. Then, he found his stride. In 2008 Hurricane Fly won the GradeThree Gras Savoye Prix de Longchamp Hurdle.


After becoming one of the best horses in the hurdle competition, Hurricane Fly had 5 consecutive wins from 2011 to 2015 at the Cheltenham Festival. He was the first horse to do so in nearly 40 years. Though he might not have been the fastest, he became acclaimed as a champion hurdle jumper and holds records to this day.

8.  John Henry

By 1983, John Henry had already earned over 4 million dollars. An American champion thoroughbred horse, John Henry became a household name all throughout the 80s. He took home 39 wins overall and even won Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year twice.


He won major handicaps such as the Round Table Handicap, San Gabriel Handicap, and Sunset Handicap through his illustrious career. He lived to be 32 years old and was celebrated with not one, but two statues in his honor after his death.

9.  Man O’ War

Quite possibly the savior of American horseracing, Man ‘O War is recognized as the greatest racehorse of all time. Also known as Big Red, this horse took home 20 of 21 races just after WWI. Man O’ War won two Triple Crowns in 1920 and continued his career by setting records no one ever thought possible.


His talent was so unmatched, Man O’ War can be traced back to almost all American pedigrees in this era. He can even be found to directly descend Seabiscuit. Success ran in his blood and now it’s being passed on to several new contenders. Man O’ War contributed greatly to the culture that stands behind horse racing today.

10.  Makybe Diva

Makybe Diva was foaled in March 1999. She is the only horse to win three Melbourne Cups and the only female horse to win it more than once. During the early 2000s, she dominated races across Australia. In 2006 she was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame and received a bronze statue station in her hometown of Port Lincoln, South Australia. 


Makybe Diva is a testament to horses that come into their own later in life. Her six-year-old season was one of her most successful and proceeded to make her as renowned as she became. She now has a stake named for her called the Makybe Diva Stakes for horses ages three and older as of 2007.

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