Spectacular Bid as a yearling

Courtesy: Keeneland

Spectacular Bid was born February 17, 1976, the son of Spectacular, a small gray mare who raced at county fairs, and Bold Bidder, a half-brother to the immortal Secretariat. He was not the prettiest horse to look at – his dull, battleship-gray appearance and his lack of conformity in his legs – but he could run. After several disappointing races at 2, he ripped off a 12-race winning streak that included the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

He stepped on a safety pin on the morning of the Belmont Stakes and finished third. After a close loss to the champion Affirmed, he reeled off another 10-race winning streak, including an undefeated campaign at 4 years old. He retired as the richest horse in Thoroughbred history.

  • Record: 30 starts, 26 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third, 1 fourth (87% winning percentage, the highest among the 25 richest colts in Thoroughbred history)
  • Born: February 17, 1976
  • Jockeys: Ron Franklin, Bill Shoemaker
  • Trainer: Grover G. “Bud” Delp
  • Owner: Harry, Teresa and Tom Meyerhoff (Hawksworth Farm)
  • 2-year-old Male Horse of the Year, 1978
  • Won World’s Playground (G3), Champagne (G1), Young America (G1) and Heritage Stakes (G2) in 1978
  • Won 4 Grade I stakes in 1979, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Marlboro Cup
  • 3-year-old Male Horse of the Year, 1979
  • Went undefeated as a 4-year-old in 1980, winning five Grade 1 stakes
  • Won the Woodward Stakes in a walkover, the first since Coaltown in 1949
  • Horse of the Year, 1980
  • Set a then-record of $22 million to stand at stud
  • Carried 130 pounds or more five times, winning every time
  • Had winning streaks of 12 and 10 races in a row
  • Raced at 15 different tracks in 9 states
  • Broke 7 track records and equaled another
  • Still holds the world record for 1 1/4 miles on dirt (1:57 4/5)
  • Ranked the 10th greatest Thoroughbred of the 20th century, according to Blood-Horse magazine
  • Died: June 9, 2003