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Kincscem painted by Emil Adam in 1887, from a print.
SireCambuscan (GB)
DamWater Nymph
DamsireCotswold (GB)
FoaledMarch 17,1874
DiedMarch 17,1887 (age 13)
CountryHungary (As Austria-Hungary)
BreederErnő Blaskovich
OwnerErnő Blaskovich
TrainerRobert Hesp
Record54: 54–0–0
Earnings199,705 fl = 379,805 goldmark (sic)[1]
Major wins
Hungarian Two Thousand Guineas (1877)
Hungarian One Thousand Guineas (1877)
Hungarian Oaks (1877)
Hungarian Autumn Oaks (1877, 1878, 1879)
Hungarian St. Leger (1877)
Austrian Derby (1877)
Austrian Kaiserpreis (1877)
Grosser Preis von Hanover (1877)
Grosser Preis von Baden (1877, 1878, 1879)
Staatspreis Erster Classe (1878)
Goodwood Cup (1878)
Grand Prix de Deauville (1878)
Kincsem Park in Budapest, Hungary
Kincsem Museum, Budapest, Hungary
Kincsem Horse Park, Tápiószentmárton, Hungary
Kincsem Hotel, Kisbér, Hungary
Kincsem Farm, Archer, Florida
Life-sized statue at Kincsem Park, Budapest
Last updated on June 9, 2009

Kincsem (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkint͡ʃɛm]; Hungarian for "My Precious" or "My Treasure"; March 17, 1874 – March 17, 1887) was a Thoroughbred race horse who has the most wins of any unbeaten horse the history of the sport, having won 54 races from 54 starts. The next closest such record belongs to Black Caviar, with an unbeaten record of 25 wins from 25 starts. Foaled in Kisbér, Hungary in 1874, Kincsem is a national icon, and is highly regarded in other parts of the world too. Over four seasons she won against both female and male company at various race tracks across Europe, including Classic race wins in Hungary and Austria, and major stakes victories in Germany, France and England. As a broodmare, she has proved a lasting influence on the breed, with modern descendants including English Classic winners Polygamy and Camelot.


Kincsem was bred in Hungary at the Gestüt Tápiószentmárton by Ernő Blaskovich (also called Ernst von Blaskovich or de Blascovich depending on the source).[2][3][4] Her sire, Cambuscan, was bred by Queen Victoria and went on to win the July Stakes and place in the St. Leger Stakes in 1864. He was sold to Hungarian interests and was brought to stand at the Hungarian National Stud in the Kisbér District in 1873. Cambuscan was by Newminster, while his dam, The Arrow, was by Slane. Kincsem was out of the Hungarian mare Waternymph, a daughter of the English horse Cotswold. Kincsem's third dam, Seaweed was also by Slane, making Kincsem inbred to him in the third and fourth generations (3x4).[5][6]

A perhaps apocryphal story surrounds the beginnings of Kincsem. Running with a group of fifty horses on the grounds of her owner's ancestral Hungarian home, she alone was lanky and ungainly. She would stand with her head low and her eyes half-opened. One night she went missing and when found again, was with a band of Romani people. "Why," asked her puzzled owner, "steal this horse when there were so many better to choose from?" "Because," answered the Rom, "The other horses may be better looking, but she was the best of the lot. She'll be a champion."[7][6]

Blaskovich normally sold all his yearlings and Kincsem was offered as part of a package deal with six others for £700. However, she and one other filly were rejected by the buyer, Baron Alex Orczy, who felt they were of inferior quality. Kincsem thus raced for Blaskovich as a homebred. She was trained by Englishman Robert Hesp and ridden in most of her starts by Englishman Elijah Madden.[8][6]

Kincsem with Csalogány and either her trainer Robert Hesp or groom Frankie Kincsem

Kincsem was a liver chestnut without any white markings who stood 16.1 hands (65 inches, 165 cm) high at maturity.[2] Despite Kincsem's talent, she was faulted throughout her racing career for her plain looks and lengthy frame. B.K. Beckwith, author of Step and Go Together, wrote, "She was as long as a boat and as lean as a hungry leopard ... she had a U-neck and mule ears ... she was lazy, gangly, shiftless ... she was a daisy-eating, scenery-loving, sleepy-eyed and slightly pot-bellied hussy."[6]

Kincsem was noted for her quirky personality, which sometimes manifested in slow starts to her races or a refusal to move if separated from her pet cat, Csalogány. She was devoted to her groom, who traveled with her everywhere and was subsequently known as Frankie Kincsem. Her hay, grain and water came from her owner's stud farm, and she refused to eat anything else. On one occasion at Baden-Baden, the water ran out and she refused to drink for two days until a suitable substitute was found at what was subsequently known as Kincsem's Well.[4][8][2][6]

Racing career[edit]

Life-sized statue at Kincsem Park, Budapest

Kincsem's career began in 1876 when she was two years old. She was entered for ten races in ten different places in Germany and what was then known as Austria-Hungary (modern-day Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic), winning them all.[1][9] She won at distances ranging from 4.5 furlongs (910 m) to 8 furlongs (1,600 m). In three of the races, she "distanced the field", referring to a margin of victory too large for precise measurement. In her other seven starts, her average winning distance was four lengths.[3] In one race, Kincsem failed to break from the starting line, preferring to keep grazing. After spotting the field an enormous lead, she finally started running and won easily. When she was led into the winner's circle to acclaim from the crowd, Blaskovich fastened a garland of flowers to her bridle. In all of her subsequent races, Kincsem refused to enter the winner's circle until he repeated the gesture.[6]

As a three-year-old she won the Hungarian 2000 Guineas in Pozsony, the Hungarian 1000 Guineas and the Oaks in Budapest, the Austrian Derby, Austrian 2000 Guineas and Kaiserpreis in Vienna and the Grosser Preis von Hanover and Grosser Preis von Baden. In all she had seventeen victories at distances ranging from 8 furlongs (1,600 m) to 16 furlongs (3,200 m). Two of her victories came by walkover, meaning no competitors were willing to face her, and three more were won by a distance. Her average winning margin in the other races was over four lengths.[3][10]

Kincsem's victory in the Goodwood Cup was covered by the Illustrated London News

Her four-year-old campaign was equally successful, beginning with nine straight victories.[3] She then traveled to England to take part in the Goodwood Cup. Originally she was expected to face eight rivals, including Ascot Gold Cup winner Verneuil. However, the field scratched down to just three: Pageant (Doncaster Cup, Brighton Cup and Chester Cup) at 5-4, Lady Golightly (Yorkshire Oaks, Nassau and Park Hill Stakes) at 2-1 and Kincsem at 3-1. Kincsem was not at her best, having suffered from seasickness while crossing the Channel. Pageant set the early pace with Kincsem trailing. With six furlongs remaining, Kincsem moved into second while Lady Golightly started to drop back, essentially turning it into a match race. Halfway down the hill in the homestretch, Pageant looked to have the race locked up, but Kincsem gradually closed the gap and ultimately "won in a canter" by two lengths. "She is obviously a rare animal," wrote the Daily Telegraph, "and little need be said to recommend her further than that she has now won 37 consecutive races."[6][11][8]

That year, she also won the Grand Prix de Deauville and the Grosser Preis von Baden for a second time in what proved to be the closest call in her career – she won a run-off following a dead-heat with Prince Giles the First while carrying 137.5 pounds (62.4 kg) compared to his impost of 122 pounds (55 kg). In all, she won fifteen starts that year from 8 furlongs (1,600 m) to 20 furlongs (4,000 m) while carrying an average weight of 144.9 pounds (65.7 kg). She won three races by a distance and one by walkover. In the other eleven races that year, her average winning margin was 2.45 lengths.[3]

In 1879, Kincsem turned five but proved that she had not lost a step by winning all twelve starts (including three walkovers) by an average of 4.6 lengths. She carried an average of 153.3 pounds (69.5 kg) at distances from 12 furlongs (2,400 m) to 18 furlongs (3,600 m). She earned her fiftieth victory in Frankfurt, followed by a win in the Grosser Preis von Baden for the third time. She also won the Hungarian Autumn Oaks for the third time. All told, she retired with 54 wins from 54 starts.[3]

As her unbeaten streak against Europe's best horses continued, Kincsem attracted great interest from the European racing public. Emperor Franz Josef was known to be a fan[10].[8] It is rumored that the Prince of Wales offered to buy her but Blaskovich declined, saying "If I sold Kincsem, I would not dare return to my native soil."[4][6]

Race record[edit]

Date Track Distance Race Finish Margin Weight
June 1876 Berlin 1000m Erstes Criterium 1 4 lengths 118 lbs
July 1876 Hannover 1000m Vergleichspreis 1 1 length 118 lbs
July 1876 Hamburg-Horn Hamburger Criterium 1 1 12 lengths 124 lbs
July 1876 Bad Doberan 947m Erinnerungsrennen 1 1 12 lengths 129 lbs
August 1876 Frankfurt 1000m Louisa-Rennen 1 10 lengths 128 lbs
August 1876 Baden-Baden 1000m Zukunfts-Rennen 1 distanced the field 56.5 kg
October 1876 Sopron 1200m Bürgerpreis zu Oedenburg 1 distanced the field 52.5 kg
October 1876 Vienna 1600m Kladruber-Preis zu Wien 1 10 lengths 121 lbs
October 1876 Prague 1400m Kladruber Criterium zu Prag 1 distanced the field 123 lbs
October 1876 Budapest 948m Rennen der Zweijährigen 1 12 length 124 lbs
April 1877 Bratislava 1800m Trial Stakes 1 1 length 115.5 lbs
May 1877 Budapest 1600m Hungarian 2000 Guineas 1 distanced the field 114.5 lbs
May 1877 Budapest 1600m Hazafi-Dij 1 1 12 lengths 114.5 lbs
May 1877 Vienna 2400m Austrian Derby 1 distanced the field 119 lbs
May 1877 Vienna 1600m Austrian 2000 Guineas 1 2 lengths 125 lbs
May 1877 Vienna 3200m Kaiserpreis I. Classe 1 10 lengths 110 lbs
June 1877 Hannover 3000m Grosser Preis von Hannover 1 6 lengths "in a canter" 56 kg
July 1877 Hamburg-Horn 2800m Renard-Rennen 1 4 12 lengths 55 kg
September 1877 Baden-Baden 3200m Großer Preis von Baden 1 3 lengths 51 kg
September 1877 Frankfurt 2400m Wäldchens-Rennen 1 10 lengths 55 kg
September 1877 Sopron 2400m Allami Dij Sopron 1 3 lengths 130 lbs
September 1877 Sopron 2000m Allami Dij 1 1 length 130 lbs
October 1877 Budapest 2800m Hungarian St. Leger 1 10 lengths 114.5 lbs
October 1877 Budapest 2400m Hungarian Oaks 1 3 lengths 133 lbs
October 1877 Vienna 2400m Freudenauer Preis 1 walkover 133 lbs
October 1877 Vienna 2400m Kaiserpreis III. Classe 1 1 length 135 lbs
October 1877 Prague 3200m Kaiserpreis II. Classe 1 walkover 134 lbs
April 1878 Vienna 1600m Eröffnungsrennen 1 2 lengths 144 lbs
April 1878 Vienna 2000m Praterpreis 1 3 lengths 148.5 lbs
May 1878 Bratislava 2400m Pozsony Allami Dij 1 5 lengths 152 lbs
May 1878 Budapest 3200m Másodosztályú Allami Dij 1 5 lengths 148.5 lbs
May 1878 Budapest 2000m Kisberi Dij 1 3 lengths 153 lbs
May 1878 Budapest 2400m Staatspreis I. Classe 1 distanced the field 153 lbs
May 1878 Vienna 2600m Staatspreis II. Classe 1 1 length 153 lbs
May 1878 Vienna 1600m Trial Stakes 1 distanced the field 143 lbs
May 1878 Vienna 3200m Staatspreis I. Classe 1 5 lengtbs 153 lbs
August 1878 Goodwood 4022m Goodwood Cup 1 2 lengths 135 lbs
August 1878 Deauville 2400m Grand Prix de Deauville 1 12 length 135 lbs
September 1878 Baden-Baden 3200m Großer Preis von Baden 1 dead heat
5 lengths in run-off
62.5 kg
September 1878 Sopron 3200m Sopron Allami Dij 1 distanced the field 152 lbs
October 1878 Budapest 2800m Ritterpreis 1 walkover 134 lbs
October 1878 Budapest 2400m Stutenpreis 1 12 length 148.5 lbs
April 1879 Bratislava 2400m Pozsony Alami Dij 1 8 lengths 158 lbs
May 1879 Budapest 3600m Gróf Károlyi Dij 1 walkover 136 lbs
May 1879 Budapest 3200m Osztályú Allami Dij 1 2 lengths 160.5 lbs
May 1879 Budapest 2400m Staatspreis I. Classe 1 2 lengths 168 lbs
May 1879 Vienna 2800m Staatspreis II. Classe 1 10 lengths 159.5 lbs
May 1879 Vienna 3200m Staatspreis I. Classe 1 2 lengths 160.5 lbs
June 1879 Hoppegarten 2400m Silberner Schild 1 3 lengths 160.5 lbs
August 1879 Frankfurt 2800m Ehrenpreis des Landgrafen von Hessen 1 4 lengths 139 lbs
September 1879 Baden-Baden 3200m Großer Preis von Baden 1 34 lengths 64.5 kg
September 1879 Sopron 3200m Sopron Allami Dij 1 walkover
October 1879 Budapest 2800m Richterspruch 1 walkover
October 1879 Budapest 2400m Stutenrennen 1

Source: Galopp-Sieger[12]

† Distances in the source are shown in meters, even for races such as the Goodwood Cup that were actually run in furlongs. For an approximate conversion from meters to furlongs, divide by 200. For example, 1600 meters equals roughly 8 furlongs (one mile).

‡ Weights in the source are shown in either pounds or kilograms, depending on the usage of the racetrack in question at that time.

Heading the Unbeaten Flat horses list[edit]

Unbeaten Flat horses[13]
Horse's name
Birth year
1. 54/54 races Kincsem  Hungary 1874 Cambuscan x Waternymph
2. 25/25 races Black Caviar[14]  Australia 2006 Bel Esprit x Helsinge
3. 19/19 races Peppers Pride[15]  USA 2003 Desert God x Lady Pepper
4. 18/18 races Eclipse  Great Britain 1764 Marske x Spilletta
4. 18/18 races Karayel  Turkey 1970 Prince Tudor (GB) x Linda (TUR)

Stud record[edit]

After her 54th win, Kincsem was kicked by a stable companion and retired, making news around the racing world.[6] Her career as a broodmare was short but successful. Her five offspring were:[8]

  • Budagyöngye ("Pearl of Buda"), filly 1882, by Buccaneer. Won German Derby. Highly influential broodmare.
  • Olyan Nincs ("None Such"), filly 1883, by Buccaneer. Won Hungarian St Leger. Notable broodmare.
  • Talpra Magyar ("On Your Feet Hungarian"), colt 1885, by Buccaneer. Untried, but sired the exceptional Tokio, winner of the Austrian Derby, Grosser Preis von Baden, and the Hungarian St Leger.
  • Kincsőr ("Guardian of Treasure"), colt 1886, by Doncaster, second in the Austrian Derby and died shortly before the German Derby in which he was highly favoured.
  • Kincs ("Treasure"), filly 1887, by Doncaster. Untried, she became an influential broodmare, her daughter Napfény ("Sunshine") being a major stakes winner and in turn producing the good filly Miczi, winner of stakes races in Hungary and Austria.

Kincsem died on her thirteenth birthday March 17, 1887 from a colic attack, shortly after the birth of her last foal, Kincs.[1] Newspapers across Hungary edged their pages in black the day she passed. Flags were flown at half mast.[7]


Kincsem Park, Hungary's premier racecourse and located in Budapest, is named in her honour. There is a life sized statue of her by the entrance to the old grandstand.[16] Smaller statues of her can be found in the Chandelier Room at Santa Anita Park in California[6] and the Newmarket Horseracing Museum in England.[10] Blaskovich's stud farm now houses the Kincsem Equestrian Park and Kincsem Museum, which contains a room devoted to the mare's career.[17] Her skeleton, a hoof and her feeding trough are on display at the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture.[18][19]

In the period from 1890 to 1970, the progeny of Kincsem's three daughters won 41 classic races in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary and Italy.[1] Although many descendants were lost during World War II, her family still survives, producing winners across Europe. In 1974, Polygamy, a female-line descendant through Budagyongye, won the Epsom Oaks. Kincsem's most notable modern descendant is Camelot, winner of the 2012 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and Irish Derby.[20][21]

When including Kincsem in his book of the 100 Greatest Racehorses, racing commentator Julian Wilson noted that although the competition she faced in Hungary was difficult to evaluate, she was "probably one of the best mares to ever race in Europe."[10] Taking into account her ability to handle heavy weights and the range of distances over which she was successful, turf historian Richard Sowers wrote that there was "little question that [she] compares favorably with any Thoroughbred in history."[3]


Although Kincsem is Hungarian bred, her pedigree is mainly British. She was also the result of a mistake: Blaskovich had planned to breed his mare Waternymph to Buccaneer, but instead the mare was mated with Cambuscan. Both stallions had been imported from England to stand at the Hungarian National Stud. Cambuscan had earned nine wins including the July Stakes during four seasons of racing. Originally retired to stud in England, Cambuscan was not considered a great success though he did sire 2000 Guineas winner Camballo.[6][22]

Kinscem's dam Waternymph (or Water Nymph in some sources) won the Hungarian equivalent of the Oaks and 2000 Guineas. She was a daughter of British sire Cotswold, who had been imported to Germany in 1858. Waternymph's dam is listed in most sources as The Mermaid, a British mare who had won the King John Stakes as a two-year-old.[2] However, according to German racing expert Philipp Alles, Waternymph's dam was instead an "illustrious" mare named Catherina.[6] Kincsem's female line is not on file on the Jockey Club's online database, Equineline.[23] The following pedigree assumes she descends from The Mermaid.

Pedigree of Kincsem (HUN), chestnut mare, 1874[24]
Cambuscan (GB)
Touchstone Camel
Beeswing Doctor Syntax
Ardrossan mare (1817)
The Arrow
Slane Royal Oak
Orville mare (1819)
Southdown Defence
Waternymph (HUN)
Cotswold (GB)
Newcourt Sir Hercules
Aurora Pantaloon
The Mermaid (GB)
Melbourne Humphry Clinker
Cervantes mare (1825)
Seaweed Slane
Seakale (Family: 4-o)[20]


A Hungarian film, Kincsem — Bet on Revenge [hu; sv], directed by Gábor Herendi, was released in 2017.[25] The feature film presented Kincsem's history with fictitious details. The movie stood as the most expensive domestic movie with a combined cost of 3 billion forint. The Hungarian National Film Fund shared 2,078 billion forint from the total production cost.[26] The movie was released in Hungarian cinemas on 16 March 2017 and was later shown at the Cannes Film Festival.[27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Ahnert, Rainer L. (editor in chief), “Thoroughbred Breeding of the World”, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970
  2. ^ a b c d "Kincsem". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Justice, Charles (2008). "The Greatest Horse of All: A Controversy Examined". AuthorHouse. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "KINCSEM on Magyar News Online". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  5. ^ ASB – Kincsem (HUN) Retrieved on 2009-8-7
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Anderson, Abigail (20 September 2013). "KINCSEM: THE MYSTERY AND MAJESTY OF AN IMMORTAL". THE VAULT: Horse racing past and present. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b Turf and Sport Digest, September, 1949
  8. ^ a b c d e "Kincsem". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  9. ^ "The Pall Mall Budget: Being a Weekly Collection of Articles Printed in the Pall Mall Gazette from Day to Day, with a Summary of News". 1879. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Wilson, Julian (1987). Julian Wilson's 100 Greatest Racehorses. London: Queen Anne Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 0-356-14293-0.
  11. ^ Jones, Kathleen. "Kincsem" (PDF). Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Willkommen auf der Seite". Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Frankel's place in unbeaten history". Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  14. ^ "BLACK CAVIAR (AUS) br. M, 2006". Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  15. ^ "Peppers Pride Perfect Streak Peaks at 19". 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  16. ^ "Faded glory may be reborn". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  17. ^ "". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Museum of Hungarian Agriculture". Visit Budapest. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  19. ^ Shelley, Alexandra. "Budapest's Museums of Everyday Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  20. ^ a b "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Partner Mare - Family 4-o". Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  21. ^ "Classic Colt Camelot Conveys Kincsem Heritage". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  22. ^ "Cambuscan". Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  23. ^ "Pedigree of Kincsem". Equineline. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  24. ^ "Kincsem Horse Pedigree". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  25. ^ Alissa Simon (2017-11-02). "Small Hungarian Market Supports Big Cinema Ambitions". Variety.
  26. ^ Zrt., HVG Kiadó (14 March 2017). "Szerelem a Monarchia idején – nem a lovak miatt jó mozi a Kincsem". (in Hungarian). Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Kincsem - Bet on Revenge". Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  28. ^ "'Kincsem — Bet on Revenge': Film Review | Cannes 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 August 2018.