This year’s 2000 Guineas winner Frankel displayed one of the most remarkable displays of speed and stamina that have been seen in a horse for quite some time as he crushed his 12 rivals in a display rarely seen on a racecourse. He may not repeat that performance but the style and panache of the so far unbeaten colt will live long in the memory.
That rare performance got us thinking about other such jaw-dropping performances and here are four that would have elicited the same response as the victory of Frankel did at Newmarket. Those who had backed him in the horse racing betting odds would certainly have been impressed.
First up is the win of Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes in 1973. This was a victory that was so special and dramatic they made a film about it. As Secretariat came round the final bend at Belmont Park in New York he was already going clear from the rest of the field and as commentator Chic Anderson said at the time he was “moving like a tremendous machine”. That “machine” had extended his lead to 31 lengths at the line and secured the hallowed Triple Crown in the process and on top of that broke the world-record time for one and a half miles. Those who place horse racing bets will have seen few better horses.
In recent years the Derby has seen some solid performances but nothing could compare to the sight of the late great and much missed Shergar galloping up the Epsom straight in glorious isolation. By the line he was ten lengths clear and still on the bridle, and became an iconic winner of the Blue Riband in 1981.
Dancing Brave didn’t win the Derby although many though that he should have being beaten ½ length by Sharastani after an ill-judged ride by his jockey Greville Starkey. He rectified that situation under Pat Eddery in the 1986 Arc at Longchamp, the field were spread wide across the course in arguably the best Arc field ever assembled and TV viewers could not even see the winner. That was Dancing Brave who stormed down the outside of the field to win by one and a half lengths in a record time – his turn of foot (a great asset) used to full and devastating effect.
Finally it’s back to the USA for out concluding performance, that of Arazi in the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – his run that day was probably one of the most devastating ever seen in a Breeders’ Cup race, it certainly was for legendary commentator Tom Durkin who remarked “and Arazi runs right by ’em!” as he performed an audacious move around the entire field on the home turn that left them all for dead. His jockey – Pat Valenzuela was sat motionless at the time and Arazi cantered home to a five length success which could have been trebled. It was a defining moment in Breeders’ Cup history.
Performances like these don’t come along often but when they do savour, enjoy and remember them.