7 of the Most Famous Racehorses Ever

By  //  January 18, 2022

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A guide to the racehorses everyone remembers 

This is one of the best times of the year if you are a horse race lover. We have the Pegasus World Cup starting soon – this is the TVG betting guide to the event – and the American Triple Crown derbies will be starting soon too. 

To celebrate the start of this amazing year of horse racing, we are going to rank the most famous racehorses of all time – starting at #7. 

#7 – Frankel

We are kicking off this list with Frankel, a British horse racing star. We feel a little guilty for rating Frankel so low on this list, but it has to be done. 

Frankle is one of the only race horses to race over 10 times and be undefeated. In fact, Frankle went undefeated over 14 races. 

He was trained by Sir Henry Cecil – one of the most famous British horse trainers of all time – and won the following races 2,000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes, International Stakes, and Champion Stakes. 

Frankle never raced in America, but we would have loved to have seen him challenge some of the best from this side of the pond. 

#6 – Kauto Star

Kauto Star might just be the most famous French racehorse of all time. 

He made his name by winning King George VI Chase 5 times, the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice, the Tingle Creek Chase twice, the Betfair Chase twice, and the National Hunt. 

Kauto Star was named the best Steeplechase Horse in four different years. He constantly blew away the competition. 

What made Kauto Star such a big deal was the fact that he had such a long period of success. Many of the horses on this list only raced for 1-2 years. Kauto Star was racing for over 8 years. 

He made over £3 million throughout his career and put French horses back on the radar. 

#5 – American Pharoah

American Pharoah is the most modern horse on this list. But, he more than deserves his place. 

American Pharoah won 9 out of 11 of his starts. He won the American Triple Crown in 2015 and was also named American Horse of the Year that year. He also won the Breeder’s Club Classic in 2015. He is the only horse to have done all three in one year. 

The Year before he was named 3-year-old Horse of the Year, and 2-year-old Horse of the Year before that. 

American Pharoah won over $8 million in winnings during his career. He is currently out to stud in Kentucky. 

American Pharoah was trained by Bob Buffet, one of the most successful American trainers of all time. 

#4 – Secretariat

Secretariat is truly one of the best horses to race on an American course. 

If we asked you to name the three most famous courses in America – you would probably say the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes (collectively known as the American Triple Crown Derbies). 

Would you believe us if we told you that in one year, a single horse won all of these races and set a new course record for each? What if we told you this happened 40+ years ago and these records still stand? 

It sounds too good to be true, but that horse was Secretariat. It’s no wonder we still talk about him. 

#3 – Red Rum 

Red Rum did something no other horse did before or has done after – he won The Grand National at Aintree, UK three times. He did this in 1973, 1974, and 1977. 

While this might not sound too impressive, it is important to remember that The Grand National is one of, if not the most, competitive races in Europe. No other horse has come close to breaking his record – apart from Manilla Times. 

His comeback and win at the 1973 event is still considered the greatest Grand National victory ever. 

The other reason this horse’s story is so popular is because Red Rum was trained by a family business. This family has now had three generations who have trained a Grand National winning horse.  

#2 – Seabiscuit 

Seabiscuit really was an American hero in the 1940s. 

His career had got off to a rocky start, but in 1937 he changed stables, and his fortunes really changed. He went from winning 1 in 4 races to winning nearly every single race he entered. He was voted American Horse of the Year in 1939 and was the top-earning horse of the 1940s. 

You are probably wondering why all of us know so much about a horse that was racing 80 years ago, well the simple truth is that Seabiscuit captured the imagination of the press and writers of the time. 

Many books and movies have been written about the career of this horse. We are sure many more will be written in the future.  

#1 – Shergar

We don’t think that a “most famous racehorses” list can be taken seriously unless Shergar is on it. 

Not only did this horse have one of the most successful racing careers out there, but he was also kidnapped and never seen again. 

Shergar took part in 8 races during his lifetime – he won 6 of them. All of these races took place in the UK and Ireland. After his final race, Shergar was retired and put out to stud. 

It was at this stud farm that he was kidnapped. His owners received a ransom request for £2 million. The ransom was not paid, the kidnappers stopped replying and the horse was never seen again. 

Some believe the kidnapping was faked as a form of tax fraud. *  

Shergar might be one of the most famous horses of all time because of the mystery surrounding his disappearance. Many have remained fascinated by this horse and his case because there have been no developments in decades and we may never know what happened to them. However, they will also be remembered for their performances on the racecourse.