What is the most important quality of a horse? Is it its beauty? Its strength? Its temper? I think, when it comes to racehorses, their most important quality is speed. This is why I have chosen the animals on today’s list of 5 Top racehorses of all time not by their track record or number of descendants, but the top speed they reached during their best races.

Winning Brew

Winning Brew, trained by US trainer Francis Vitale, holds the official Guinness world record for the highest speed ever on a racecourse. Its record on two furlongs is 43.97 mph (70.76 km/h), at the Penn National Race Course in Grantsville, Pennsylvania, on the 14th of May 2008. Winning Brew covered the quarter-mile in 20.57 seconds.


Bred in Kentucky by Robert C. Sims, trained by US Racing Hall of Fame inductee Ron McAnally, Hawkster holds the world record for 1½ miles (2,414 meters) with a speed of 37.82 mph (60.86 km/h). The record was set by the 3-year-old Hawkster on October 14, 1989 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.


Widely considered the best race horse ever to run, Secretariat was probably the fastest horse ever to race on dirt. Note that the above two records were set on turf. Secretariat holds the world record on dirt, with 2:24.


Sham was not only an incredibly fast animal, but it was also a pretty large one. Sham’s performance at the races was overshadowed by Secretariat alone. There’s no record of its top speed, as the timekeeping had yet to reach its peak, but the records show that it ran the distance in either 1:59 4⁄5 to 2:00 1/5.


While there are many other magnificent horses out there worthy of mention, let’s not forget about those running before timekeeping has reached the precision of our times. One of them was Kincsem, with one of the greatest records ever: she won 54 races without a defeat. Her career started in 1876 as a two-year-old, when she ran (and won) ten races in ten cities in three countries. Her season lasted for three years, during which she captured some of the most prestigious titles in Europe.

Sure Win

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