It was such a joy to walk down the honored halls of some of the most famous horses of all time that we couldn't just limit it to one blog. It was hard enough to pick just a handful to celebrate, but it's been such fun to comb through their history and share their stories with you!
Happy November, Friends! Have you stopped by to enjoy the cool weather and beautiful foliage on our riding trails yet? It's starting to get chilly - so make sure you come to see us soon! While you are waiting for your next ride, we wanted to continue our history lesson with some of the most famous horses of all time. We are moving forward with Seabiscuit and Seattle Slew!
This amazing horse was the grandson of Man O' War, one of the horses we discussed in our last blog. Ironically, Seabiscuit didn't show any racing qualities until later in life and was on the smaller side. He was born in Lexington Kentucky on May 23, 1933. Just two years later he made his racing debut at Hialeah Park in Florida on January 19, 1935. Thankfully he was purchased by Charles S. Howard after his first few unsuccessful racing seasons. He lost 17 races in a row before Howard found him with trainer Tom Smith. They found Seabiscuit 200 pounds underweight, exhausted, and in a terrible temperament. He needed rest, relaxation, and to heal before anyone raced him again. That's exactly what Smith gave him, and he came out of his vacation a brand new horse.
With the help of Smith and his jockey Red Pollard, Seabiscuit won 11 of the 15 races he entered in 1937. Pollard was a bit of a controversial jockey. He was much bigger than most and was blind in one eye. But both underdogs took to one another right away, and the pair became famous virtually overnight. His popularity soared during the Great Depression and gave the country something to hang on to. He was named Horse of The Year in 1938 and was the champion handicap horse in 1937 and 1938. One of his crowning moments, known as the "Match of the Century", was when he defeated Warm Admiral in 1939 at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. War Admiral was considered the fastest horse of his time, and no one saw this race turning out the way it did. Seabiscuit retired in 1940 and went on to inspire many books, movies, and a major motion picture in 2003 with Toby McGuire, Chris Cooper, and a full star-studded cast.
In his six racing seasons, Seabiscuit won 33 of his 89 races with a total winning of $437,730. At the time this was a record for an American Thoroughbred. Just a few days shy of his 14th birthday, Seabiscuit died of a heart attack and is buried at Ridgewood Ranch in California.
This stunning horse was born on February 15, 1974. His owners were Mickey and Karen Taylor and Jim Hill of Tayhill Stable. His parents were Bold Reasoning and poker mare, My Charmer. No one expected much from Slew when he was born, but thankfully someone gave him a chance. The moment he hit the race track, he was a born runner.
When Slew was born he was described as ugly, He was an almost all-black bay, something that didn't catch the eye. He had big floppy ears and a very big personality. He was big for his age, and very clumsy when he first started. He needed time to grow into his body, and to learn how to become the powerhouse he was destined to be. He was bought by Tayhill Stable at a steal of $17,500 in 1975. He was then trained by Bill Turner, and under his tutelage Slew learned quickly and had great confidence in his skills. At three years old he made his career debut with jockey Jean Cruguet, who helped him make a 5 length victory at Belmont Park on September 20th, 1977. He went on to win the Triple Crown that same year.
Slew was the 10th Triple Crown winner for the United States and the first to complete the series with an undefeated career record. Through his career years between 1976 and 1978, his total earnings were $1,208,726. He had 17 starts, 14 first place wins, and 2 second place wins. Just two months before he was set to retire he defeated the heir to the Triple Crown, Affirmed, in the Grade 1 Marlboro Cup at Belmont Park.
After he retired, he sired more than 100 stake winners. He was the only stakes winner to sire a Belmont winner, A.P. Indy, who also sired a Belmont winner, Rags to Riches. At the tender age of 28, Slew passed away 25 years to the day he won the Kentucky Derby.
These amazing horses have such inspiring stories to tell. We are inspired by them daily and the legacy they have left behind. We have loved walking down memory lane with you and look forward to the next time we meet. See you at the stables!
Just like any Hall of Fame, horse lovers can easily name off some of their favorite famous horses of all time. In this two-part blog post, we will be talking about some of the most famous horses of all time and why they changed the world of horse racing as we know it.
Horse lovers through time, no matter their age or background, can name off some of the most famous and important horses of all time. Each one of them will have their own opinions on why they believe their top four or five took those places. But there are a few who always make the top ten list. These beautiful creatures helped change history, shaped the country when they were needed the most, and gave people something to celebrate in desperate times throughout history itself. Even if you've never ridden a horse, we are sure that you could name at least one famous horse. We are going to be celebrating some of these incredible animals and celebrate their legacies!
His owner, Samuel Riddle, was a very private man, and almost decided not to race him. His career was cut short after just three incredible years, and his owner didn't allow him to race in longer events. This included the Kentucky Derby and the other famous races that if he would have won, made up what became known as the Triple Crown. Even still, he established three world records, two American records, and seven track records. He was the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes champion in 1920 and defeated the 1919 Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton, by 7 lengths in 1920. In his whole career, Man O' War lost just one race at the Sandford Memorial Stakes but still came in second. It was a story that haunted his whole career and the rest of his life. He was so popular during his race years, that everywhere he went he had an armed guard protecting him.
After he retired into sire life, he produced over 64 stake winners and 200 champions. One of his offspring sired Seabiscuit, who we will be talking about in our next blog! His total record earnings when his career came to an end was $249,465. Which during a time of war, was pretty incredible. After his death, he laid in state for several days as thousands came to pay their respects to the incredible horse. He is now buried at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Who is your favorite famous horse of all time? We still have a few more horses to introduce you to, but those will have to wait until next time!
Middleton Place Team