An imposing mare holding an undefeated record of 13-0 that has been grinding out victory after victory at top-level outings against every male challenger that sets foot in her domain.
They call her “The Horse that Stops a Nation.”
At least, The Australian newspaper coined that descriptor of the four-year-old racemare as the international racing community held their breath to see if she could maintain her undefeated record in her recent outing in the Group 1 BTC Cup at Brisbane’s Doomben racecourse.
And, the “Black Flash” did it with ease. As daylight stood between herself and her rivals as she approached the wire, Black Caviar clinched her thirteenth victory in a style that embodied all of the markings of being a wonder horse.
Today, Black Caviar has many racing enthusiasts in the international community wondering whether she may be one of the greatest racehorses of all time. And perhaps, she already has claimed her place in that rare territory among a few that have been struck by her majestic talent.
Yet, prior to the rise of Black Caviar on the international stage, there was the wonder of whether Zenyatta was one of the best racehorses of all time.
In a 60 Minutes segment, the crew visited her stable, where her rider Mike Smith stated, “I think she could arguably go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, racehorse of all time.” And in the eyes of many, Zenyatta does hold a firm place in the canon of the greatest Thoroughbreds to ever grace a race track with her presence.
Similar to Black Caviar, Zenyatta had many spectators holding their breath as she claimed victory after victory. And, in her final outing, Zenyatta concluded her consecutive nineteen-race winning streak with a heartbreaking defeat that demonstrated that immortality doesn’t necessarily mean invincibility.
Yet, with true class, Zenyatta stood before the crowd at Churchill Downs after her lone defeat and received an honor that is arguably greater than a victory could award – a standing ovation from the 72,000 spectators in the crowd as they paid homage to her racing career during its saddest moment.
And, despite her sole defeat, Zenyatta remains one of the greatest racehorses of all time in my view.
However, there is also a majestic quality to the racemares that have been defeated and strike back without missing a step in their race for immortality. Goldikova, the European record holder for the most Group 1/Grade I victories, doesn’t boast an undefeated record. However, defeat doesn’t detract from her immortal quality.
Since becoming the only racehorse to win three consecutive Breeder’s Cup outings, Goldikova is pointing toward a dramatic finish to an exceptional career – a fourth consecutive victory in the Breeder’s Cup this fall. And, like Black Caviar and Zenyatta, Goldikova is credited by many racing enthusiasts as being one of the greatest racehorses of all time.
In the past few years, the tracks have been graced with three racemares that arguably will be held in the canon of immortal Thoroughbreds. And, the qualities that make these racemares “immortal” are being drafted before our eyes through the endeavors of racemares like Black Caviar, Zenyatta and Goldikova.
Roughly four years ago, when Rags to Riches became the first filly to win the Belmont in over a hundred years, I thought I had just watched a historical moment in racing.
I was wrong.
It wasn’t a historical moment.
It was an important moment in racing. It was long-awaited moment in which a single filly took on the boys in the Belmont and beat them in their home court, a feat that had not been accomplished since 1905.
And, since that moment, the modern quest to hold a place among the canon of greats seems to be a “mare’s world” in racing.