The sport of kings has produced many memorable events, but we’ve picked our top 10 greatest horse racing moments from the past 50 years.
Magical thoroughbreds, legendary trainers, and iconic jockeys are on the list of breeds that made both players and purists purr with delight.
1973 Grand National
The top weight Crisp led his rivals a happy dance through the Aintree spectacle, which made a majestic 30 lengths clear and still had 15 lengths ahead of the last fence. But Red Rum, who received 23 pounds, got out of the chase and scored a flying finish to break in the longtime leader and claim the first of three national triumphs in one of the greatest horse races of all time.
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1973 Belmont missions
After being held together for smooth success in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the Secretariat got his head and was allowed to unleash its full strength in Belmont, destroying its rivals to romp home an unbelievable 31 lengths and the first Triple Crown for 23. to complete years. CBS sports spokesman Chic Anderson famously said: “He moves like a huge machine!”
1975 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes
English and Irish derby winners Grundy defeated Bustino in what has been called Britain’s race of the century. After the latter’s two pacemakers took to a relentless gallop, the leaders fought a brief tussle at Ascot’s final stadium to create one of the most epic moments in horse racing history.
1978 Belmont missions
After Chasing Home Confirmed in America’s Triple Crown’s first two legs, Alydar was helped to retaliate over two additional stadiums and appeared to be doing just that as he hit the home stretch. Steve Cauthen, however, conjured up one final rally from Affirmed, who had a nose ahead of the curve.
1981 Epsom Derby
After taking the lead around Tattenham Corner, Shergar moved sweetly clear before moving further and further away from his fading opponents. “There’s only one horse in it, you need a telescope to see the rest,” shouted Peter Bromley for BBC Radio as Shergar’s white face glowed in a 10-length victory. This iconic image is one of our great horse racing moments.
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1991 Breeders Cup Youth
Arguably the most spectacular performance in the history of the Breeders’ Cup as the French raider Arazi came back from at least a dozen lengths to crush a talented lineup. Pat Venezuela snaked through the field and quickly solved the problem on the head, with NBC Sports racecaller Tom Durkin yelling, “Arazi is walking right past you … here’s a superstar indeed!”
2005 Melbourne Cup
Makybe Diva stormed the Flemington straight to storm three clear lengths and then comfortably held off the late risers to complete a historic triple in the race that stops a nation. “A champion becomes a legend,” the commentator roared as the British-bred and Australian-trained mare had one last magical moment before retiring after the race.
Cheltenham Gold Cup 2008 & 2009
After taking the lead with one lap to go, Denman jumped for fun and ran ragged defending champion Kauto Star at his first Cheltenham Festival meeting. Richard Hoiles described this ad as: “Relentless, relentless.” However, 12 months later, Kauto Star was back on top when he became the first horse to regain the blue ribbon of the steeplechase, with Denman 13 lengths back in second place.
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2011 2,000 guineas
Even experienced professionals were stunned and could only watch in awe as the mighty Frankel started the race early in Newmarket and galloped into a considerable lead. It was asked if Tom Queally struck too soon, but Henry Cecil’s wonder horse did not stop. “A pure class horse, Frankel destroyed it halfway – an incredible achievement,” was the comment about one of the greatest racehorses of all time.
Belmont missions in 2015
American Pharoah was pushed hard in the Kentucky Derby and faced sloppy conditions in the Preakness Stakes, so the Belmont would be a tough test of their resolve. Bob Baffert’s superstar, however, made the whole race, clearing late under a brilliant ride from Victor Espinoza to finally end the Triple Crown drought. “The 37-year wait is over, American Pharoah is finally the right one,” roared racecaller Larry Colmus.
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