Blood-Horse magazine List of the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century

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In 1999, The Blood-Horse magazine assembled a seven-person panel of distinguished horse racing people: Keeneland racing secretary Howard Battle, Maryland Jockey Club vice president Lenny Hale, Daily Racing Form columnist Jay Hovdey, Sports Illustrated senior writer William Nack, California senior steward Pete Pedersen, Louisville Courier-Journal racing writer Jennie Rees and Gulfstream Park steward Tommy Trotter.[1] Each of the experts compiled a list of what they considered to be the top 100 thoroughbred racehorses of the 20th Century, which was then combined into a master list. The list was expanded into a book with complete biographies.

The small body of voters meant that any individual ballot had the potential to disproportionately influence the final tally, which ended up coming to pass. At the time of the list’s unveiling, Blood-Horse managing editor Evan Hammonds spoke to the Associated Press.[2] Hammonds revealed that Secretariat and Man o’ War had both received three of the seven first-place votes. (Citation received the other first-place vote.) Man o' War was listed in first, second or third place on all seven ballots; six of the voters gave the same placement to Secretariat. However, Hammonds noted, a single voter kept Secretariat out of the top 10 “because he got beat a few times.”

Though Blood-Horse promotes its top two selections as a ranking that “will generate debate for years to come”,[3] the magazine likely did not expect that debate to begin with one of its own experts. After the results became available, William Nack criticized the voting process as "skewered" because one of the seven voters had ranked Secretariat 14th, thus costing him the top slot. "That's an outrage," Nack told the New York Daily News. "You mean this one person thought Secretariat would finish last in a 14-horse race?"[4][5]

The electoral friction was ultimately reflected in the introduction to the Blood-Horse's “Top 100 Racehorses” book, which conceded, “For all the work and dreaming that went into it... one approaches the list... with a nagging sense of its folly as a rational exercise and of the maddening arbitrariness of its outcome.”[1]

A total of 192 horses were recommended by at least one voter.[2]

Also in 1999, the Associated Press asked the same question of six voters; four chose Man O' War, one named Secretariat, and the sixth picked Tom Fool, who finished 11th on the Blood-Horse list.[6][7] Additionally in 1992, Sports Illustrated conducted a poll of a panel of seven experts (Joe Hirsch, executive columnist, Daily Racing Form; Woody Stephens, thoroughbred trainer for more than 50 years; Jim McKay, broadcaster, ABC Sports; Jim Bolus, secretary-treasurer. National Turf Writers Association; Frank E. Kilroe, retired California racing official; Tommy Trotter, Arlington International Race Course steward; and William F. Reed, turf writer for 28 years) with Man O' War also voted No. 1 greatest horse (with Secretariat No. 2) in racing history.[8]

Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century

  1. Man o' War
  2. Secretariat
  3. Citation
  4. Kelso
  5. Count Fleet
  6. Dr. Fager
  7. Native Dancer
  8. Forego
  9. Seattle Slew
  10. Spectacular Bid
  11. Tom Fool
  12. Affirmed
  13. War Admiral
  14. Buckpasser
  15. Colin
  16. Damascus
  17. Round Table
  18. Cigar
  19. Bold Ruler
  20. Swaps
  21. Equipoise
  22. Phar Lap
  23. John Henry
  24. Nashua
  25. Seabiscuit
  26. Whirlaway
  27. Alydar
  28. Gallant Fox
  29. Exterminator
  30. Sysonby
  31. Sunday Silence
  32. Skip Away
  33. Assault
  34. Easy Goer
  35. Ruffian
  36. Gallant Man
  37. Discovery
  38. Challedon
  39. Armed
  40. Busher
  41. Stymie
  42. Alysheba
  43. Northern Dancer
  44. Ack Ack
  45. Gallorette
  46. Majestic Prince
  47. Coaltown
  48. Personal Ensign
  49. Sir Barton
  50. Dahlia
  51. Susan's Girl
  52. Twenty Grand
  53. Sword Dancer
  54. Grey Lag
  55. Devil Diver
  56. Zev
  57. Riva Ridge
  58. Slew o' Gold
  59. Twilight Tear
  60. Native Diver
  61. Omaha
  62. Cicada
  63. Silver Charm
  64. Holy Bull
  65. Alsab
  66. Top Flight
  67. Arts and Letters
  68. All Along
  69. Noor
  70. Shuvee
  71. Regret
  72. Go for Wand
  73. Johnstown
  74. Bald Eagle
  75. Hill Prince
  76. Lady's Secret
  77. Two Lea
  78. Eight Thirty
  79. Gallant Bloom
  80. Ta Wee
  81. Affectionately
  82. Miesque
  83. Carry Back
  84. Bimelech
  85. Lure
  86. Fort Marcy
  87. Gamely
  88. Old Rosebud
  89. Bewitch
  90. Davona Dale
  91. Genuine Risk
  92. Sarazen
  93. Sun Beau
  94. Artful
  95. Bayakoa
  96. Exceller
  97. Foolish Pleasure
  98. Beldame
  99. Roamer
  100. Blue Larkspur


  1. ^ a b Thoroughbred Champions: Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century. Blood Horse Publications. 2000-10-25. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b Tim Whitmire (February 24, 1999). "Big Red edged by winner of 20 races". Daily News. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  3. ^ Horse Racing's Top 100 Moments. Blood Horse Publications. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  4. ^ Ziegel, Vic (1999-02-28). "Less Than Spectacular Bid Is Top 10 Hit, But A Dud As Dad". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  5. ^ "Casino online Sportsbook". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  6. ^ "Man o'War voted best of 20th Century". ESPN. 1999-12-22. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "And The Count Is In". 1992-10-27. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 

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