List of leading Thoroughbred racehorses

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Kincsem, Ch.m. 1874, undefeated winner in
54 starts in five countries
Cobweb was an undefeated winner of the 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks.
Undefeated: Goldfinder, b.c. 1764 (Snap – mare, by Blank)

The List of leading Thoroughbred racehorses contains the names of undefeated racehorses or those horses which had a very impressive racing record. The great racehorses of over two centuries have been able to capture the public’s imagination because they could outrace their peers in a number of major races or in long consecutive winning sequences.

Ever since English Thoroughbreds commenced racing, the aim was to find the fastest and best of them all. Centuries later, and after many great racehorses have passed on debates continue as to which were the leading racehorses. A good consistent racehorse, typically requires ability, stamina or speed in varying degrees, to defeat their contemporaries. However time tests are unreliable as a good basis for comparisons between horses of different eras. Time variations may occur as a result of using hand-operated stop-watches, track conditions and wind direction etc. which make timing an unreliable judging criterion.

The two main forms of Thoroughbred horseracing are flat racing, and hurdle or steeplechase (jumping) races over obstacles.

Winning all three of the two-year-old, or three-year-old Triple Crown races though is a rare achievement and is considered one of the greatest accomplishments of a Thoroughbred racehorse. Below are listed most of the leading horses of the world’s racecourses for over two centuries.

Undefeated horses[edit]

Federico Tesio bred several undefeated champions including Nearco, Ribot, Braque and Cavaliere d’Arpino, whom he considered the best horse that he ever bred.[1]

Below is a list of Thoroughbred racehorses who have an undefeated race record.

Wins
Horse
Bred
Details
Foaled
Pedigree and notes
54 Kincsem Hungary ch m 1874 Cambuscan (GB) x Water Nymph by Cotswold[2]
25 Black Caviar Australia br m 2006 Bel Esprit x Helsinge by Desert Sun (GB)[3]
19 Peppers Pride United States B.f. 2003 Desert God x Lady Pepper by Chili Pepper Pie[4]
18 Eclipse Great Britain Ch.c. 1764 Marske x Spilletta by Regulus[5][6][7]
18 Karayel Turkey B.h. 1970 Prince Tudor (GB) x Linda (TUR) by Cihangir (GB). Triple Crown winner.[8]
16 Ormonde Great Britain B.c. 1883 Bend Or x Lily Agnes by Macaroni. Triple Crown winner.[9][10]
16 Prestige France c. 1903 Le Pompon x Orgueilleuse by Révérand[11]
16 Ribot Great Britain B.c. 1952 Tenerani (ITY) x Romanella (ITY) by El Greco[12]
15 Colin United States Br.c. 1905 Commando x Pastorella (GB) by Springfield[13]
15 Macon Argentina c. 1922 Sandal (GB) x Bourgogne by Your Majesty[14]
14 Frankel Great Britain B.c. 2008 Galileo x Kind by Danehill[15]
14 Highflyer Great Britain B.c. 1774 Herod x Rachel by Blank[16]
14 Nearco Italy Br.c. 1935 Pharos (GB) x Nogara by Havresac II(FR)
13 Barcaldine Great Britain B.c. 1878 Solon x Ballyroe by Belladrum
13 Personal Ensign United States  B.f. 1984 Private Account x Grecian Banner by Hoist The Flag[17]
13 Tremont United States B.c. 1884 Virgil x Ann Fief by Alarm
12 Asteroid United States B.c. 1861 Lexington x Nebula by Glencoe (GB)[18]
12 Braque Italy B.h. 1954 Antonio Canale x Buonamica by Niccolò dell'Arca[19]
12 Crucifix Great Britain B.f. 1837 Priam x Octaviana by Octavian[20]
11 Goldfinder Great Britain B.c. 1764 Snap x mare by Blank[21]
11 Kurifuji (Toshifuji) Japan Ch.f. 1940 Tournesol (GB) x Kenfuji by Chapel Brampton (GB)
10 Nereide Germany B.f. 1933 Laland x Nella da Gabbio (ITY) by Grand Parade (GB)[22]
10 Tokino Minoru Japan B.c. 1948 Theft (IRE) x Daini Tyrant's Queen (GB) by Soldennis[23]
10 Handsomchamp USA Gr./R h. 2002 Fabulous Champ x Holly D by Hey Rob[24]
9 Bahram Great Britain B.c. 1932 Blandford x Friar's Daughter by Friar Marcus
9 Combat Great Britain Br.c. 1944 Big Game x Commotion by Mieuxce (FR)[25]
9 Faugheen Ireland B.g. 2008 Germany x Miss Pickering by Accordion
9 Grand Flaneur Australia B.c. 1877 Yattendon x First Lady (GB) by St. Albans[26]
9 Patience Hungary Ch.f. 1902 Bona Vista x (GB) Podagra (GB) by Galopin[23][25]
9 Regulus Great Britain B.c. 1739 Godolphin Arabian x Grey Robinson by Bald Galloway[27]
9 St. Simon Great Britain B.c. 1881 Galopin x St. Angela by King Tom[28]
8 Alipes Great Britain Br. or b. f. 1757 Regulus x Lusty by Locust[29]
8 American Eclipse United States Ch.c. 1814 Duroc x Miller's Damsel by Messenger[30]
8 Caracalla France B.c 1942 Tourbillon x Astronomie by Asterus[23]
8 Maruzensky Japan b. c. 1974 Nijinsky II x Shill by Buckpasser
8 Sweetbriar Great Britain Ch. c 1769 Syphon x mare (1763), by Shakespeare[31]
8 Tiffin Great Britain b. f. 1926 Tetratema x Dawn-wind, by Sunstar
7 El Rio Rey United States B.h. 1887 Norfolk x Marian by Malcolm[32]
7 Kitano Dai O Japan Ch.c. 1965 Die Hard x Kitano Hikari by Tosa Midori
7 Malt Queen Australia Br.f. 1905 Maltster x Her Majesty by Sunrise[33]
7 Mannamead Great Britain h. 1929 Manna x Pinprick by Torpoint[33]
7 Perdita II Great Britain B.m. 1881 Hampton x Hermione by Young Melbourne[25]
7 The Tetrarch Ireland Gr.c. 1911 Roi Herode (FR) x Vahren by Bona Vista[25]
7 Zarkava Ireland B.f. 2005 Zamindar (USA) x Zarkasha by Kahyasi[34]
6 Bay Middleton Great Britain B.c. 1833 Sultan x Cobweb by Phantom
6 Bustin Stones United States Ch.h. 2004 City Zip x Shesasurething by Prospectors Gamble[35]
6 Candy Ride Argentina B.c. 1999 Ride The Rails (USA) x Candy Girl by Candy Stripes (USA)
6 Cavaliere d’Arpino Italy B.c. 1926 Havresac II (FR) x Chuette (GB) by Cicero[23]
6 Claude Italy B.h. 1964 Hornbeam (GB) x Aigue-Vive (FR) by Vatellor[36]
6 Hurry On Great Britain Ch.c. 1913 Marcovil x Tout Suite by Sainfoin[23]
6 Quintessence Great Britain B.f. 1900 St. Frusquin x Margarine by Petrarch
6 Tolgus Great Britain B.h. 1923 Stefan the Great x Rosa Croft by Lemberg[37]
5 Ajax France B.h. 1901 Flying Fox x Amie by Clamart
5 Avenir Certain France B.f. 2011 Le Havre x Puggy by Mark of Esteem
5 Dice United States B.h. 1925 Dominant x Frumpery by Chicle[38]
5 Emerson Brazil B.c. 1958 Coaraze (FR) x Empenosa by Full Sail (GB)[23][39]
5 Flying Childers Great Britain B.c. 1714 Darley Arabian x Betty Leedes by Wharton's Careless[23]
5 Husson Argentina Ch.h. 2003 Hussonet (USA) ex Villa Elisa (CHI) by Roy[40]
5 Kneller Great Britain Ch.c. 1985 Lomond x Fruition by Rheingold[41]
5 Landaluce United States B/br.f. 1980 Seattle Slew x Strip Poker by Bold Bidder
5 Landgraf Germany B.c. 1914 Louviers (GB) x Ladora (GB) by Ladas[23]
5 Melair United States Gr.f. 1983 Debonair Roger x Melrose Nugget by Viking Spirit[42]
5 Norfolk United States B.c. 1861 Lexington x Novice by Glencoe (GB)[18]
5 Precocious Great Britain B.c. 1981 Mummy's Pet x Mrs Moss by Reform[41]
5 Reset Australia B.h. 2000 Zabeel x Assertive Lass by Zeditave
5 Fasliyev Ireland B.h. 1997 Nureyev x Mr P's Princess by Mr. Prospector[43]
5 Teofilo Ireland B.h. 2004 Galileo x Speirbhean by Danehill[44]
5 Queen's Logic Ireland Ch. f. 1999 Grand Lodge x Lagrion by Diesis[45]
4 Agnes Tachyon Japan ch.h. 1998 Sunday Silence x Agnes Flora by Royal Ski
4 Blood Royal Ireland B.c. 1971 Ribot x Natashka by Dedicate[41]
4 Fuji Kiseki Japan blk.h 1992 Sunday Silence x Millracer by Le Fabuleux[46]
4 Golden Fleece United States B.c. 1979 Nijinsky II (CAN) x Exotic Treat by Vaguely Noble
4 Lammtarra United States Ch.c. 1992 Nijinsky II (CAN) x Snow Bride by Blushing Groom
4 Madelia France Ch.m. 1974 Caro x Moonmadness by Tom Fool[47]
4 Raise a Native United States Ch.c. 1961 Native Dancer x Raise You by Case Ace[48]
4 Sea The Moon* Germany B.c. 2011 Sea The Stars x Sanwa by Monsun
4 Snap Great Britain Blk.c. 1750 Snip x Sister to Slipby by Fox
4 Vindication United States B.h. 2000 Seattle Slew x Strawberry Reason by Strawberry Road[49]
4 White Moonstone Great Britain B.f. 2008 Dynaformer x Desert Gold by Seeking the Gold[50]
4 Drone United States Gr.c. 1966 Sir Gaylord x Cap and Bells by Tom Fool
4 Taghrooda* United Kingdom b f 2011 Sea The Stars x Ezima by Sadler's Wells
3 Blue Train Great Britain Ch.c. 1944 Blue Peter x Sun Chariot (IRE) by Hyperion[41]
3 Boniform New Zealand B.h. 1904 Multiform x Otterden (GB) by Sheen[51]
3 Cobweb Great Britain B.f. 1821 Phantom x Filagree by Soothsayer
3 Danzig United States B.c. 1977 Northern Dancer (CAN) x Pas De Nom by Admirals Voyage[52]
3 Kantharos United States Ch.c. 2008 Lion Heart x Contessa Halo by Southern Halo[53]
3 Footstepsinthesand Ireland B.c. 2002 Giant's Causeway x Glatisant by Rainbow Quest[54]
3 Pharis France Bl.c. 1936 Pharos (GB) x Carissima by Clarissimus[23]
3 Pronto Argentina B.c. 1958 Timor x Prosperina by Gusty[23]
3 Valyra Great Britain B.f. 2008 Azamour x Valima by Linamix[55]

* Still active.

Cherimoya, 1908, won the Epsom Oaks at her only start.

Other undefeated racehorses[edit]

Nordlicht (chestnut horse 1941–1968, by Oleander x Nereide, by Laland) was also undefeated after an unknown number of starts. His victories included the Deutsches Derby and the Austrian Derby.[56] Middleton and Amato had one start each with both of them winning the Epsom Derby and then retiring. Cherimoya did likewise when she won the Epsom Oaks at her only start. Morston (colt by Ragusa x Windmill Girl by Hornbeam) had two starts winning both, the second of which was the 1973 Epsom Derby. Sailor won both his races, including the 1820 Epsom Derby. Suspender had three starts, in smaller races, for three wins.[57] Don Juan by Loyalist, Ball's Florizel (1801), Mirza by the Godolphin Arabian, and Lecturer (1869), were also unbeaten, but the number of their wins is unknown.[58]

Most wins[edit]

Kingston (by Spendthrift) had 138 starts and won 89 of these, including 30 stakes-races. Commencing a winning sequence as a four-year-old on 21 August 1888 Kingston had 35 race starts until 30 May 1891 when he was defeated only twice. Bankrupt who won 86 races from 348 starts, and he too, was also by Spendthrift.[59]

Catherina (1830, by Whisker), started in 171 races and won 75 of them, many over long distances, including the Manchester Cup and Heaton Park's King's Cup.[60]

Successive victories[edit]

Camarero after 56 consecutive race wins

Some horses which were defeated have also demonstrated an impressive record by scoring many successive victories. The horses who were defeated, but had ten or more consecutive race wins are:

The undefeated Norfolk

Timoleon (1813) not only won 13 consecutive races, but he sired National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame horse, Boston (1833) who started in about 45 races, winning 40 of these, including 15 in succession and in turn sire of Lexington, who had 7 starts for 6 wins and a place. Lexington in turn sired Kentucky (23 starts, 21 wins), plus the undefeated Asteroid and Norfolk, which are listed below.

Horses that held long sequences of jumping victories in include: Sir Ken won 16 hurdle races in England, Poethlyn won 11 steeplechases in succession including 2 Grand National races.[96]

Most wins in one season[edit]

Most group / grade one (G1) wins[edit]

All grade one / group one races are open for International level, all local group / grade one are not included. The horses with ten or more G1 race wins are:

In 1902 Sceptre became the only racehorse to win four British Classic Races outright. Previously, in 1868, Formosa won the same four races but dead-heated in the 2,000 Guineas Stakes.[120]

‡ Mare

Successive group / grade one (G1) wins[edit]

Successive Stakes wins[edit]

Horses who were defeated once[edit]

Horses such as Wheel of Fortune, Barbaro, Ruffian and Vanity (1812) sustained injury or broke down in their only defeat.

Below is a list of Thoroughbred racehorses who were defeated once.

Wins
Horse
Origin
Details
History
Race defeated
22:21–1–0 Native Dancer United States Gr.h. 1950 Polynesian x Geisha by Discovery Kuntucky Derby 2nd
21:20–1–0 Man o' War United States Ch.h. 1917 Fair Play x Mahubah by Rock Sand Sanford Stakes 2nd
20:19–1–0 Zenyatta United States B/br.f. 2004 Street Cry x Vertigineux by Kris S. 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic 2nd
19:18–0–0 Hambletonian Great Britain B.h. 1792 King Fergus x Grey Highflyer by Highflyer[121]
19:18–0–0 Squanderer India B.c. 1973 Valoroso (GB) x Milky Way (IND), by Scamperdale (GB)[71]
18:17–1–0 Botafogo Argentina 1914 Old Man x Korea (GB) by Raeburn[23]
18:17–1–0 Brigadier Gerard Great Britain 1968 Queen's Hussar x La Paiva by Prince Chevalier 1973 Benson & Hedges Gold Cup 2nd
18:17–0–0 Gradisco Venezuela 1960 Show Ring x Gradara by Orsenigo
16:15–1–0 The Flying Dutchman Great Britain 1846 Bay Middleton x Barbelle by Sandbeck 1850 Doncaster Cup 2nd
15:14–0–1 Sysonby United States 1902 Melton x Optime by Orme Sheepshead Bay Futurity 3rd
14:13–1–0 Camarine Great Britain 1828 Juniper x Rubens mare by Rubens
12:11–0–0 Alba Germany 1927 Wallenstein x Arabis by Ard Patrick[23]
12:11–0–0 Invasor Argentina B.h 2002 Candy Stripes x Quendom by Interprete 2005 UAE Derby 4th
12:11–1–0 Isinglass Great Britain 1890 Isonomy x Deadlock by Wenlock Lancashire Plate 2nd
11:10–1–0 Queen of Trumps Great Britain br. f. 1832 Velocipede x Princess Royal by Castrel
11:10–0–1 Wheel of Fortune Great Britain f. 1869 Adventurer x Queen Berths by Kingston 1879 Great Yorkshire Stakes
11:10–0–1 Galopin Great Britain 1872 Vedette x Flying Duchess by The Flying Dutchman 1874 Middle Park Plate 3rd
11:10–1–0 Imi Hungary 1953 Internezzo x Minci by Mannamead[23]
11:10–0–0 Ruffian United States f. 1972 Reviewer x Shenanigans by Native Dancer Match race against Foolish Pleasure
11:10-1-0 Atlantic Jewel Australia b. f. 2008 Fastnet Rock x Regard by Zabeel 2013 Underwood Stakes
10:9–1–0 Don John Great Britain 1835 Waverley x Comus mare by Comus 1839 Port Stakes 2nd
10:9–1–0 Alleged United States 1974 Hoist the Flag x Princess Pout by Prince John 1977 St. Leger Stakes 2nd
10:9–0–0 Dubai Millennium Great Britain 1996 Seeking The Gold x Colorado Dancer by Shareef Dancer 1999 Epsom Derby 7th
10:9–1–0 Forli Argentina 1963 Aristophanes (GB) x Trevisa by Advocate (GB)[122]
10:9–1–0 West Australian Great Britain 1850 Melbourne x Mowerina by Touchstone. Triple Crown winner.[123]
10:9–1–0 Majestic Prince United States 1966 Raise a Native x Gay Hostess by Royal Charger 1969 Belmont Stakes 2nd
10:9–1–0 Divine Proportions United States 2002 Kingmambo x Myth to Reality by Sadler's Wells 2005 Prix Jacques Le Marois 2nd
10:9–1–0 Horse Chestnut South Africa 1995 Fort Wood x London Wall by Col Pickering
10:9–1–0 Phone Trick United States 1982 Clever Trick x Over the Phone by Finnegan
9:8–1–0 Dante Great Britain 1942 Nearco x Rosy Legend by Dark Legend[23] 1945 2000 Guineas Stakes, 2nd
9:8–1–0 Donatello II France[124] 1934 Blenheim II (GB) x Delleana (ITY) by Clarissimus (GB)[23]
9:8–1–0[23] Herold Germany[124] 1917 Dark Ronald x Hornisse by Ard Patrick
9:8–1–0[23] Mistress Ford France 1933 Blandford (IRE) x Polly Flinders II by Teddy
9:8–0–0 Sea the Stars Ireland 2006 Cape Cross x Urban Sea by Miswaki Maiden race
9:8–1–0[23] Sicambre France 1948 Prince Bio x Sif by Rialto 1950 Prix Morny, 2nd
9:8–1–0 Smarty Jones United States 2001 Elusive Quality x I'll Get Along by Smile 2004 Belmont Stakes, 2nd
9:8–0–1[23] Sun Chariot Ireland 1939 Hyperion x Clarence by Diligence
9:8–1–0 Horometer Canada 1931 Hourless x Star Pal by North Star
9:8–1–0 Dalakhani Ireland 2000 Darshaan x Daltawa by Miswaki 2003 Irish Derby, 2nd
8:7–1–0 Graustark United States 1963 Ribot x Flower Bowl by Alibhai[23] 1966 Blue Grass Stakes, 2nd
8:7–0–0 Big Brown United States B.h. 2005 Boundary x Mien by Nureyev 2008 Belmont Stkaes DNF
8:7–0–0 King Kamehameha Japan B.h. 2001 Kingmambo x Manfath by Last Tycoon 2004 Keisei Hai
8:7–0–0 Reel United States Gr.m. 1838 Glencoe (GB) x Gallopade by Catton[125]
8:7–0–0 Shakespeare United States B.h. 2001 Theatrical x Lady Shirl by That's a Nice 2005 Breeders' Cup Turf
8:7–1–0 Sea Bird France 1962 Dan Cupid x Sicalade by Sicalade 1964 Grand Critérium, 2nd
8:7–1–0 Macaroni United Kingdom 1860 Sweetmeat x Jocose debut race at 1862
8:7–1–0 El Gran Senor United States 1981 Northern Dancer x Sex Appeal by Buckpasser 1984 Epsom Derby, 2nd
8:7–1–0 Sinndar Ireland 1997 Grand Lodge x Sinntara x Lashkari 2000 Ballysax Stakes, 2nd
8:7–0–1 Grand Parade Ireland blk.c. 1916 Orby x Grand Geraldine by Desmond
7:6–1–0 St Patrick Great Britain 1817 Walton x Dick Andrews mare by Dick Andrews
7:6–0–0 Barbaro United States 2003 Dynaformer x La Ville Rouge by Carson City[23]
7:6–1–0 Lexington United States 1850 Boston x Alice Carneal by Sarpedon (GB)[23]
7:6–1–0 Partner Great Britain 1718 Jigg x Sister to Mixbury, by Curwen's Bay Barb[126]
7:6–0–0 Val d'Or France 1902 Flying Fox x Wandora by Bruce
6:5–1–0 Hoist the Flag United States 1968 Tom Rolfe x Wavy Navy by War Admiral
6:5–1–0 Kingston Treasure Hong Kong 1995 Spectacular Love x Attempting by Try My Best
6:5–1–0 Majesticperfection United States 2006 Harlan's Holiday x Act So Noble by Wavering Monarch
6:5–1–0 Meld Great Britain f. 1952 Alycidon x Daily Double by Fair Trial
6:5–1–0 Sebring Australia Ch.c. 2005 More Than Ready x Pure Speed by Flying Spur[127]
6:5–1–0 Voltaire Great Britain 1826 Blacklock x mare by Phantom
6:5–0–0 Zilzal United States Ch.c 1986 Nureyev x French Charmer by Le Fabuleux
5:4–1–0 Bletchingly Australia Br.h. 1970 Biscay x Coogee (GB) by Relic (USA)
5:4–1–0 Riddlesworth Great Britain 1828 Emilius x Fillagree by Soothsayer
4:3–1–0[23] Blandford Ireland 1919 Swynford x Blanche by White Eagle
4:3–0–0 Wild Dayrell Great Britain Br.h. 1852 Ion x Ellen Middleton by Cain. Won Epsom Derby.
3:2–0–1 Bois Roussel Great Britain Br.h. 1935 Vatout x Plucky Liege by Spearmint. Won Epsom Derby.[128]
3:2–0–0 Nureyev United States 1977 Northern Dancer x Special by Forli 2,000 Guineas Stakes DSQ (finished 1st)
3:2–0–0 Wilkes France 1952 Court Martial x Sans Tares (GB) by Sind.[129]
  • Still Active

Horses that have won more than $10 million[edit]

All of the horses that have won over $10 million (and many others) belong to the Nearco sireline with the sole exception of Curlin, who is from the Native Dancer branch of the Phalaris (grandsire of the same Nearco) sireline.[128]

In 1951 Citation became the first horse to win one million dollars.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]