Fastest Horse In The World Ever – Is It Just One?

Last Updated on March 11, 2022

All horses possess incredible speed, even an old, heavy draft horse can outrun a human, but the fastest horse in the world ever outshines all the others. Some breeds, such as the Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse, are specifically bred for their speed. However, other breeds, like the Arabian, also have impressive speed.

Fastest Horse Speed In The World Ever

Pinpointing the fastest horse in the world ever is not as easy as it sounds. Several horses in history can take this title. However, several factors change over time, such as surfaces, distances run, and even the accuracy of the timers.

Fastest Horse Speed In The World Ever

Winning Brew

The fastest ever speed officially on record took place at Penn National Race Course, Grantville, Pennsylvania, in 2008. It is an accomplishment by a two-year-old filly named Winning Brew. Winning Brew clocked an incredible 20.57 seconds over a 2 furlong (quarter-mile) distance.

The top speed Winning Brew reached during this run is 43.97 mph. To put this speed in perspective, the average speed of a Kentucky Derby winner is 37 mph. Another legend and contender for that fastest horse in the world, Secretariat, ran the Kentucky Derby at 38 mph.

Other than a record speed on one occasion, Winning Brew did not have an illustrious racing career. She took part in nine races with two wins and one-third, with total winnings of only $36,682. So even with her record, her career is not as impressive as some of the other contenders.


As a three-year-old Hawkster set a record of 37.82 mph over 1 ½ mile at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. Hawkster’s racing career is more significant than Winning Brew’s. From 23 starts Hawkster took home six wins, three seconds, and four thirds, earning $1,510,942.

Hawkster - Fastest Horse In The World

A Long Goodbye

In most cases, over a quarter-mile distance, the Quarter Horses run faster than the Thoroughbred, due to their superior ability to accelerate. The Quarter Horse, A Long Goodbye, holds the record for the fastest of its breed.

A Long Goodbye set his record at Sunland Park’s MBNA America New Mexico Challenge Championship in 2005. His racing time is just short of Winning Brew’s, completing the quarter-mile in 20.686 seconds. A Long Goodbye also did not have a legendary career, spending most of his time in claimer races before his record time.

Black Caviar

Black Caviar, filly, is an Australian Thoroughbred with an unbeaten record of 25 out of 25 wins. During her career, Black Caviar took the win in Australia’s Lightning Stakes three times. Her fastest time in the 1,000-meter race is 55.42 seconds, the record in this race.

Horse Of A Different Color: A Tale of Breeding Geniuses, Dominant Females, and the Fastest Derby Winner Since Secretariat


Looking at Secretariat’s record and ability to leave his challengers in the dust puts him in top contentions for the fastest horse ever. During his career, Secretariat (Big Red), won the Triple Crown, the first winner in 25 years. Not only did he win this rare achievement, but he also broke records in all three races.

Secretariat’s most spectacular race and one of the all-time best races ever is his win of the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. Two of his Triple Crown race times still stand today. Secretariat is the proud owner of five Eclipse awards, two Horse of The Year honors, and is inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame.

Man O’War

Arguably better than Secretariat is the legendary Man O’War. Racing in the 1920s, Man O’War took the win in 20 of his 21 races. Man O’War most likely possessed the longest stride length of any racehorse in history, averaging 25 to 28 feet.

Man O’War’s only loss took place at the Sanford Memorial. At the time, horses did not use starting gates. Instead, the horses lined up behind a starting wire. In the race, Man O’War was making a circle back and facing backward when the wire went up. 

This unfortunate start left Man O’War 10 lengths behind the rest from the start. However, he impressively made up the ground, finishing second by only half a length.

Final Thoughts About Horse Top Speed

As you can see, it is impossible to conclusively determine who the fastest horse in the world ever is. Each of these horses raced during different time periods, on different quality surfaces, over a mixture of distances, and in various weather conditions.

The fastest times do not necessarily match with the individual horse’s overall success on the track. Some can argue that a one-time clocking of the fastest time, entitles the horse to the titles of fastest. While others can argue that successive record-breaking and consistent winning against the best of their peers gives them the title.

Is Winning Brew faster than Secretariat?

Secretariat was a champion thoroughbred horse who set speed records for multiple distances and won a number of races. He humiliated his opponents and shattered course records. However, the Guinness World Records recognized Winning Brew as the fastest horse ever. Winning Brew, who was a two years old filly thoroughbred at the time, covered the quarter-mile (402 m, 2 furlongs) in 20.57 sec. 

Who broke Secretariat’s record?

The closest any horse has come to break the Secretariat’s record was Monarchos, who won in 2001. Monarchos’ winning time was 1:59.97, which is more than a half-second slower than Secretariat. Monarchos won the Derby in under 2 minutes, becoming the second horse in Derby history with this achievement. So far, no other horse apart form Secretariat and Monarchos has broken the 2-minute barrier at the Derby. 
In the Preakness, Monarcos was overtaken early on and came in sixth of the eleven runners. He then finished third in the Belmont Stakes, more than thirteen lengths behind the winner, who was Point Given. It was only after the race that they discovered that Monarchos fractured his right knee. Because of the injury he had to finish the season early. He was going to return as a four-year-old but he injured a tendon during the training and had to retire.

Can Seabiscuit beat Secretariat?

In the US, the Triple Crown is a prestigious title bestowed to a thoroughbred horse who can win the three biggest races in North America in his first year of racing: the Belmont Stakes, the Preakness Stakes, and the legendary Kentucky Derby. While Seabiscuit was an incredibly heroic opponent, only Secretariat could claim the Triple Crown. 
Seabiscuit was the all time money winner and horse of the year in 1938 and became the nation’s most beloved athlete during the Great Depression. He carried heavier than standard weights to accomplish his feats.

Why is Secretariat famous?

Secretariat is one of the greatest race horses of all time. He came in at number one on the most famous list of greatest racehorses. He lived an extraordinary life. His fame and popularity brought him all kinds of attention. Born on March 30, 1970, the thoroughbred set records in the 1973 Triple Crown and became the first winner of the coveted title in 25 years. He was nicknamed ‘Big Red’ because of his fiery disposition. A great deal of attention was drawn to Secretariat when he was a two-year-old colt. He became the youngest horse to win the Kentucky Derby and then went on to capture the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. 

Who was the only horse to beat Man O War?

Upset was the only horse who ever defeated Man o’ War! Man o’ War was extremely successful horse who won 20 of his 21 starts in his career. Upset defeated him in the seventh running of the Sanford Memorial Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on August 13, 1919, old only two years (Upset was foaled in 1917). Upset victory came as a big surprise to fans and the track officials. Man o’ War was still undefeated at the time, having won the Travers Stakes, the Whitney Handicap, and the American Derby. He was a favorite to win the 1919 Kentucky Derby.