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Thoroughbred Champions: Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century Paperback – December, 1999

59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Of all of the fantastic horses this century has witnessed, it must have been a most difficult task to narrow down which of those were among the very best one hundred. However, the (Blood-Horse) magazine staff accepted the challenge to select the century's best.

Have you ever wondered where to find the race record of Dahlia (ranked 50th) for instance? Where can you find the pedigree for Sunday Silence (ranked 31st)? What great racehorse of the 1910s was sired by the farm's teaser stallion? By the way - the answer to that is Roamer (ranked 99th).

Opinion on "the greatest" will vary considerably, and a case can be made for almost any that are preferred. But within the covers of this book, you are sure to find the one that YOU think was "the greatest". And on his/her page you will also find a four-generation pedigree, tabulated race record, photographs, and a compelling narrative written by the talented editors of the Blood-Horse. You might even learn something you had not previously known, like I did while reading aboutRoamer's parentage.

We, the editorial staff of Thoroughbred Champions (the web site), give our most heart-felt accolades to Thoroughbred Champions (the book). --, December, 1999

From the Publisher

The Panel: Howard Battle - Keeneland racing secretary Lenny Hale - Vice president, Maryland Jockey Club Jay Hovdey - Executive columnist with Daily Racing Form William R. Nack - Senior writer, Sports Illustrated Pete Pedersen - Senior racetrack steward in the state of California Jennie Rees - Racing writer and columnist, Louisville Courier-Journal Tommy Trotter - Longtime racetrack steward

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Blood-Horse; 1st edition (December 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581500246
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581500240
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #441,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Susan Nunes on June 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
While this book will provoke arguments among racing fans as to which horses merit the "greatest" label, this is indispensible to anyone who loves thoroughbred racing. While most of the horses were and are familiar names to racing fans, some are not so well-known. Each horse is described in brief yet highly detailed biographies, and there are photographs galore.
As I said, there will be arguments as to which horses were the best, and the authors note how low the fillies, especially Ruffian, arguably a top 10 horse, ended up on the list. There was also some controversy over Secretariat's ranking, as one of the seven experts did not even list him in the top 10, thus he managed to finish only number two on the list, behind Man O' War (this immediately calls into question the "expertise" of the unidentified panelist).
But that's what these lists are for, to provoke discussion and even argument. I found this book endlessly fascinating.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By ealovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on April 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Thoroughbred Champions" does a meticulous job of presenting the top one hundred Thoroughbreds who raced in America (at least once) during the 20th century. Each racehorse is pictured with accompanying statistics. Stories flesh out the statistics and try to give us a feeling for the drama inherent in owning, or working with, or following the career of one of these beautiful animals. One of my favorite stories describes Personal Ensign's final race:
"Four lengths were all that separated Personal Ensign from a perfect career. With an eight of a mile to go in the 1988 Breeders' Cup distaff, it seemed an impossible amount of ground for the bay filly to close on the leader, Winning Colors. It took about fourteen seconds for that final eighth to be run, but it seemed like an eternity. Personal Ensign closed the gap relentlessly, inching slowly toward Winning Colors, and at the wire, she thrust a desperate nose in front of her younger rival."
I watched that last race of hers on T.V. I was recovering from abdominal surgery at the time, and I think I must have busted a stitch or two trying to 'help' Personal Ensign down that muddy track and over the finish line ahead of her rival (who had already won the 1988 Kentucky Derby).
Because these equine champions mean so much to some of us, there has been and will be lots of disagreement over the order in which they were placed on the list. Why, for instance does Easy Goer appear ahead of both Ruffian and Personal Ensign, not to mention Busher, Twilight Tear, and Dahlia? Both Busher and Twilight Tear were voted Horse of the Year---an honor that eluded Easy Goer.
Here is the list as compiled by the seven panel members chosen by "The Blood-Horse":
1. Man o'War, 2. Secretariat, 3. Citation, 4. Kelso, 5.
Read more ›
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A. Rizzo on May 17, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
That should have been the title of this book. I just received my copy and have been so deeply absorbed in it that the afternoon just flew by on golden hoofs. I've been an enthusiast of thoroughbred racing since, at a very tender age, my dad brought me to the stables at Belmont Park to see a friend who works there. They showed me a huge gray horse and I was so small I looked up into that massive animal's face, felt his warm breath on my face...and fell totally in love. The horse was Native Dancer, the love affair continues though I am now getting closer to retirement age. This wonderful book will take you from one champ to the next and all I could say was "I agree, I agree" as I moved down the list of the top 100. Though I knew most, there were some I did not know and those interested me the most. The list, together with pictures, pedigree and a small writeup on each makes this book a keeper! an encyclopedia of the 100 greatest thoroughbreds!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Corinne J. Stonier on November 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was so thrilled to find such a well-written & reserached guide to some of the best TB race-horses of our century! Hurray! It's complete - informative (I have read & reserached A LOT and learned things about my mare's grandsire that I didn't know - and I really enjoyed the photos of each horse. Thanks!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Chase on November 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book a few months ago and am still reading it, so don't be afraid of finishing it quickly! With tons of information about each horse and nice photos too, in color whenever possible, this beautiful coffee-table book will teach you about the history and current records of Thoroughbred racing. The exciting, well-written book really lets you take a peek into one hundred horses' lives; it's not just meaningless words and numbers. I think it's fascinating to place a century's worth of champions next to each other and rate them; finish reading the information and looking at a black-and-white photo for a horse in the early 1900's, turn the page and a clear color photo of a horse who raced just a few years ago appears. I love Thoroughbred racing, and this book recreates the excitement of a historic race, inspiring debates, memories and discussions about the featured equines, as well as informing those new to the sport about those famous names in modern champions' pedigrees.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jermann Barbara on August 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Like so many I guess, I seriously got into horse racing after I'd seen the Seabiscuit movie.... I went on reading Hillenbrand's book and from there on, I was helplessly done in. I moved up to Man O' War, from there to Secretariat, and finally I found this book. I was thrilled and still am. While of course virtually every horse's position in these top hundred is arguable, like the editors do acknowledge in the very introduction and as everyone may see for themselves in some fierce reviews of the book right here, I think this is not the real point of this book. I see it as a fantastic collection of all these magnificient champions I guess none of us would want to miss today. Whichever horse is first, second or last, these were all outstanding creatures that had the heart and soul, courage and strength to compete like they did. They lifted everyone up as they soared across the dirt or turf, they made and still make us dream. To have them all together in one book with pedigrees and pictures is awesome.

I am way too young (and moreover not american) to have seen the better number of them run, but I keep coming back to this book with the same fascination every time. It sends me dreaming, trying to imagine and of course... wanting more. Like one other reviewer, I think it's a great starting point for anyone who's gotten interested in horse racing. Enjoy !
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