Which Was The Fastest Horse Ever?

One of the great debates in all of horse racing is which horse was the fastest of all time. Believe it or not the question is not as easy to answer as you might think it is. It is a subjective question that many horse racing fans believe contains a lot of variables. EZ Horse Betting is going to try to break down the debate and arrive at a conclusion about which was the fastest horse ever.


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Thoroughbred horses are amazing animals. They are able to sustain speeds in excess of 40 mph over distances of one mile or more. No other animal on the planet can match this feat. Thoroughbred horses also manage this while carrying from 112-120 pounds or more on their back. There is certainly no other animal that can do that.

For many years there have been records kept of finish times in horse racing. In most cases these are the records that we have to assess speed. But if we turn to the Guinness Book of World Records we can also find some insight into which was the fastest horse ever. Guinness has long been the official source of world records in many different types of contests.

A horse named Winning Brew is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest race horse over a distance of two furlongs or ¼ mile. Winning Brew was determined to have ran 43.97 mph for that stretch. Does this mean Winning Brew was the fastest horse ever? Critics will point out several reasons why this is not the case.

Quarterhorses are also race horses of a sort. They compete in quarterhorse races against their own breed. A quarterhorse is built to show an impressive burst of speed over short distances. These are also the types of horses that are used in timed rodeo events such as barrel racing and calf roping. There are many people who will claim that most quarterhorses could do better than 43.97 mph over a short distance. Does this mean that a quarterhorse is a candidate for the fastest horse ever?

What About Secretariat?

One name that always comes to mind when discussing the fastest racehorse of all time is the legendary Secretariat. It is hard to dispute that Big Red does not have a strong claim to the title. The horse is credited with setting track records in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Secretariat won the Belmont by 31 lengths in a feat that has never been duplicated.

The track records that Secretariat set in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes still stand as records today. In fact, they are more than that. They are benchmarks by which all other horses are judged in terms of speed. When Andrew Beyer was designing his Beyer Speed Figures he used Secretariat’s Triple Crown performance as the top figure by which all others are determined. When you see that a horse ran a Beyer Speed Figure of 100, that figure of 100 is based on Secretariat being assigned a 130 in his fastest race. In other words, there has to be something to compare the speed of present day horses to.

So, is Secretariat the fastest horse ever? Maybe. Some are going to dispute that and say that Secretariat is the fastest without question. Unfortunately, this does not hold water if we look at the dynamics of horse racing and start to poke holes in the theory.

Why It’s Hard to Pick the Fastest Race Horse Ever

If we were able to line up all the great race horses of history and have them run in a race against one another, maybe it would be easier for us to determine which one was the fastest. All we would need to do is note who won the race, right?

Not exactly. The fact is that if you ran a race like that ten times you could very well end up with ten different results. The reason for this is that there are so many variables that could work against a horse’s speed. The jockey could give the horse a bad ride. The horse could find itself in traffic and cut off while trying to make a move. The track surface could play a role. There are just too many variables to say with any certainty that one horse is the fastest of all time based on one race performance.

There is where the real problem comes in. We need to be able to look at speed over many races, not just one, to get an idea for which was the fastest race horse ever. If we can determine that one horse consistently ran faster than other horses in history, then we might be on the track of nailing down the answer to this speed question.

If We Had to Choose One Horse for Fastest of All Time

EZ Horse Betting thinks there are many great race horses that are worthy of being named the fastest of all time. The title of our article sort of leads you to believe that we are going to make a choice, though, so we will. In our opinion it is Secretariat that would probably merit the distinction of fastest horse ever, despite the arguments that we made earlier.

Here’s why. Secretariat can claim one thing that other horses cannot. The horse was consistently the fastest horse in the world over three of the toughest races in the sport. Track records in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes are nothing to sneeze at. Until another horse can make that same claim, we think it is hard to say any horse was faster than Big Red. Check our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!

Do you have a choice for the fastest race horse of all time? If so, let us know in the comments which one that you would choose. Also feel free to share our article so that your friends can also give their opinion.

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