The Fastest Horse Breed & What Makes It Fast?

Last Updated on March 8, 2022

Equine athleticism, grace, and beauty are second-to-none. However, each breed is built differently and hold distinguishable characteristics ideal for certain disciplines. One of the most thrilling events to watch is racing. The speeds reached on race tracks even amazes non-horse lovers! But what is the fastest horse breed? It should be no surprise the consensus for the fastest breed is a Thoroughbred, as well as the breed holding the current record.

The Fastest Horse Breed- About the Thoroughbred

The modern Thoroughbred is truly a marvel. As most breeds have undergone significant changes via selective breeding programs, the modern Thoroughbred still possesses its ancestors’ unparalleled speed and agility. Thoroughbreds originated in the 17th and 18th centuries. Modern Thoroughbreds all trace back to one of three stallions imported to England for breeding. The horses are tall, slender, and extremely athletic.

The Fastest Horse Breed- About the Thoroughbred

Although they excel in racing, Thoroughbreds are high performers in many other events. Still, they dominate the race tracks. Records show American horse racing as far back as 1665, but documented all-Thoroughbred racing wasn’t formed until 1745. Governor Ogle of Maryland is given credit for the first race. Modern racing is now a multi-million-dollar horse industry. Horse racing is a major part of American history. Race fans toast mint juleps in honor of “Derby Day” across the country each year!

What Makes them Fast?

Confirmation, or a horse’s natural bone and body structure, play a huge factor in speed ability. Years of selective breeding have helped shape modern-day horses, with only some keeping a heavy focus on conformation built for speed. For example, measured wither height does not necessarily play a huge factor. Speed comes from a horse’s stride rate and the actual physical distance or length of the horse’s stride. Most racing Thoroughbreds will have a stride rate of at least 130 strides per minute. Some racehorses have had strides up to 160 strides per minute!

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Noteworthy Thoroughbreds

Winning Brew

Winning Brew is a Guinness Book world record holder with the fastest speed out of the gate! He clocked in at 43.97 miles per hour! Although there have been several Quarter Horses clocked in at higher speeds since then, Winning Brew maintains the record due to the long-distance racehorses are able to maintain at these speeds.


Although Secretariat did not earn the title of “fastest horse”, Secretariat is a racing legend. Secretariat was the first-ever Triple Crown Winner and held a record finish time of 2:24:0! Secretariat is best known for his 25-lengths win at the Belmont Stakes. In 2007 Secretariat was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. He was the first animal to receive the honor! And just three years later in 2010, Disney released a full film about Secretariat.

Final Thoughts

Thoroughbreds remain the “fastest” horse breed despite other fast horses clocked in at astonishing speeds due to distance. The American Quarter Horse and Arabian are also fast and athletic, but still unmatched for a Thoroughbred’s speed-hold. Standardbreds, although trotting horses have the fastest second-gear trot! Have you been to the track to see any races in action?

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Is Thoroughbred faster than Arabian?

Thoroughbreds are the most famous horses in the world, and have the fastest legs of all the other horses. They are well-known for their speed, stamina, strength and courage. Other breeds of very fast horses include the Quarter horse, which is a popular choice for riding horses, and the Arabian horse, which are famous for its beauty.
Thoroughbreds were actually developed from different Arabian sires – the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerly Turk. They were selectively bred to further develop their speed and stamina, and have been used for racing and show jumping. Thoroughbreds are also used in dressage and eventing. 

Is Arabian horse the fastest?

Arabian horses are one of the fastest breeds in the world. They can reach up to 40 mph and are very commonly used at endurance racing and speed events as they are capable of sustaining high speeds for an extended period of time. While they can be trained to do many different things, they are most often used for endurance and speed events such as fox hunting and show jumping. The Arabian horse is a large breed that can stand between 15 and 17 hands tall. They are a light color with a long face and are very athletic.

What breed of horse is used for racing?

Thoroughbreds are generally raised for the purpose of being a racehorse. They are typically bred for their combination of speed, stamina, and agility. They are a “hot-blooded” breed that is particularly suited to the demands of running in races. Thoroughbreds are considered the fastest horse breed in the world. They also won the Guinness World Record for the highest horse speed at 70.76 kilometers per hour. Their abilities were developed over the centuries of selective breeding and became one of the most popular breeds in racing today. These horses are known for their great endurance and speed and have the ability to go longer distances than other breeds.

What is the 2nd fastest horse breed?

The second fastest horse breed is American Quarter Horse. This breed performs outstanding at sprinting short distances. The American Quarter Horse is the only breed that has a specific breed standard for racing. These horses have been bred for speed and endurance.
American Quarter Horses are an excellent choice for racing and showing. They are versatile and have many different uses. American Quarter Horses can be used for dressage, show jumping, and reining. They are also used as a trail and ranch horse.

Which horse is faster male or female?

Male racehorses are generally taller and stronger than female horses. That physical advantage also makes them faster in most cases. Male horses also outnumber females on the racetrack and hold nearly all the important records. Female horses have had a number of great races and winners, but none of the records. In addition to height, strength, and speed, males tend to train better than females. They also tend to be less prone to injury, and recover from injuries better.