Now that American Pharoah has become the first horse to win horse racing’s Triple Crown in almost four decades, people are curious about where he ranks among the best race horses ever. Well, here is my unscientific answer to that question.
Let’s start with the fact that 12 horses have now won the Triple Crown. Of those 12, all raced the same length in their victories except for 1919 winner Sir Barton, whose victories in the Preakness and Belmont came at shorter distances than what is now run in those races. So, let’s compare the 11 horses that won all three races from 1930 (Gallant Fox) to 2015 (American Pharoah). All 11 raced the same distance in the three races of the Triple Crown.
The formula is quite simple: We are going to add the times of the three races for one grand total time (I told you it was unscientific). Before we do that, however, I am going to crown the greatest horse of all-time: Secretariat. Consider this… Secretariat has the fastest time in each of the three races, and he did it in 1973, over 40-plus years ago. If we compare Secretariat’s times in each race with American Pharoah, the closest American Pharoah gets to Secretariat is the Belmont; A.P. ran 2:26.65, while Secretariat’s 1973 time was 2:24, more than two seconds faster than A.P. Secretariat was almost five-and-a-half seconds faster in the Preakness and a little over 3.6 seconds faster in the Kentucky Derby.