The Best Horse Racing Winners of All Time


Horse racing is a hugely popular sport in the US and it is one that has been around for centuries. With hundreds of thousands of races having already taken place, it is no wonder that there have been a handful of horses that are considered the best winners of all time. 

The thing with horse racing though, is that it is a six-legged game; four that belong to the horses, and two that belong to the jockey that is riding them, although it is often the horse that gets the glory with their name being splashed across the newspaper headlines. 

Whether you are looking for information on previous winners so you can use it to your advantage to inform future bets, or you are simply trying to learn a bit more about the horses in any race, we have put together a list of some of the best horse racing winners of all time. 

If you are planning on placing any bets then you will need to know more than just which horses have performed well in the past, such as the odds and whether or not a horse is racing multiple times or with a new jockey. Luckily, you can easily find out more from TVG.

  1. Russell A. Baze

Starts: 53,578

Finishes in first place: 12,842

Total earnings: $199,334,219

Success rate percentage: 24%

It all started in 1974 for Russell A. Blaze when he first began his career in horse racing, but as of 2016, he has sat down from his saddle and has retired with the most recorded wins in the entire history of horse racing in North America. He had achieved this as early as 2006! 

He was officially honored for his impressive track record in 1999 when he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. So, it’s no surprise that he is number one.

  1. Laffit A. Pincay Jr.

Starts: 48,4786

Finishes in first place: 9,530

Total earnings: $237,120,625

Success rate percentage: 20%

Coming in behind Blaze at a close second is Laffit A. Pincay Jr. who has a similarly impressive record, as you can see, after he started his horse racing journey in 1996.

Originally born in Panama, he emigrated to the US where he took part in and successfully won some of the biggest and most famous horse racing events in America, such as the Kentucky Derby in ‘84, the Belmont stakes consecutively in ‘82, ‘83, and ‘84, and the Santa Anita Derby which he won a total of seven times. He had his hall of fame induction in 1975.

  1. Bill Shoemaker 

Starts: 40,350

Finishes in first place: 8,833

Total earnings: $123,375,524

Success rate percentage: 22%

Bill Shoemaker, often referred to by his nickname, “The Shoe”, first began horse riding when he was still a teenager back in 1949. He fell in love with the sport and it was not long before he had started to ride competitively in some of the most prestigious American horse races.

Some of his most notable accomplishments include winning four times at the Kentucky Derby and a whopping 11 times when he competed in the Triple Crown. What makes that second one even more impressive is the fact that he rode a total of 10 different horses! 

Unfortunately for us (and for the sport), The Shoe returedin 1990 after being inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame over 30 years earlier back in 1958.

  1. Pat Day  

Starts: 40,299

Finishes in first place: 8,803

Total earnings: $297,914,839

Success rate percentage: 22%

If we continue with our theme of Triple Crown race wins, we can follow up with Pat Day, a jockey who won nine of these races throughout the duration of his horse racing career, not to mention the fact that he won five times at the Preakness Stakes races. 

There is also his success at the Breeder’s Cup Classic races, which he won four times over a total of 15 years. In 1991, Day was also inducted into the National Museum of Racing. 

  1. David A. Gall

Starts: 41,775

Finishes in first place: 7,396

Total earnings: $24,972,821

Success rate percentage: 18%

Also known as “The General”, this Canadian jockey became known for being one of the best riders to grace the history of US horse racing, despite having never raced in any of the major Grand Slam events. His successes in the smaller races over the country was enough. 

Unlike the other jockeys that we have looked at this far, David A. Gall was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and was given the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, reserved for upstanding Canadian jockeys and awarded annually to the best horse rider.

  1. Chris J. McCarron

Starts: 34,240

Finishes in first place: 7,141

Total earnings: $263,986,005

Success rate percentage: 21% 

Not only did Chris J. McCarron win the Breeders’ Cup once, which is a pretty impressive accomplishment in and of itself, but he actually went on to win it five times which is amazing.

Between the years 1988 and 2001, so spanning over the course of a decade, Chris J. McCarron found success when competing in this race. He also won a few other big title races, such as the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. 

No wonder then that McCarron has managed to accumulate one of the largest purse totals that has ever been seen in the history of horse racing. It wasn’t until 1989 that he joined the others on this list and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. 

Final Thoughts 

So, there you have it – some of the biggest and best horse racing winners of all time. The good news is that horse racing shows no sign of losing popularity any time soon, so there will be more winners to come! 

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