A couple of things are sure to make a horse race voted one of the best by race fans. But the two most important things are probably a close race, or an incredible race. Here’s what we mean, with a countdown of the five best ever horse races.
5. Bustino at Ascot, July 26 1975
Head to head races are the true excitement in this world, and this was a head to head race between Grundy and Bustino from the beginning. The two horses ran at incredible speeds right from the gate, with Grundy taking the lead early on, but not able to shake off Bustino. The excitement continued to mount as Bustino faltered behind Grundy, picked up again, faltered again and then finally barreled to the finish with a half a length lead. Some have called this the race of the century.
4. Arkle in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, March 7, 1964
This race excited fans for a number of reasons, not the least being that fact that it was a contest between two famously rival countries – Ireland and England. This alone brought a fever pitch to the build up to the race and the day of the race was did not disappoint. An Irish balladeer even wrote a song about the famous Arkle and depicted the jumps (this was a steeplechase race) and speeds of both horses as Arkle kept in Mill House’s tailwind until nearly the end, when he took off to take the race with a five length lead.
3. Affirmed in the Belmont Stakes, June 10, 1978
Alydar had already beaten Affirmed in the first two of the Triple Crown, by a length in the Kentucky Derby and by only a neck in the Preakness. Belmont meant the Triple Crown for Alydar and the beginning of the race looked like it was in the bag for him. That is, until Affirmed pulled ahead in the final mile and ruined his chances. It was neck and neck from then on, and Affirmed took it in the end with a lead of only a head.
2. Bayakoa in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Belmont Park, October 27, 1990
Two major stars were expected to go head to head in this race, since Go For Wand had just had five straight major wins, and Bayakoa was the previous year’s winner of the Breeder’s Cup. As expected, the two were locked together in a neck and neck race all the way until the home stretch. Go For Wand’s right foreleg gave way, and she went down leaving the field open for Bayakoa. A sad ending, but still a great, extremely close race until almost the last.
1. Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes, June 9, 1973
Maybe one race had a song written about it, but this one was so famous that a movie was made about it. Not only was this an incredible race at Belmont Park, but it was the culmination of the Triple Crown, granting Secretariat that prestigious honor. Secretariat broke the world record for 1.5 miles by gaining an incredible 31 length lead on the other contenders. He was going so fast that it took his jockey two furlongs to bring him to a stop. Many race fans consider this the greatest horse race of all time.
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