Early Thoroughbreds



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Eclipse, foaled during the great solar eclipse of 1764, is considered by many to be the greatest racehorse of all time.

He started racing at the age of 5 in May of 1769. After his second victory, he was purchased by the Irish Colonel Dennis O’Kelly.

Eclipse won 18 of his 18 races, including 11 King’s Plates, usually by between 10 and 20 furlongs. During his racing career, he raced over 60 miles and walked 1,400 miles to meets across England.

He is said to have covered 83 feet per second at his top speed.

After 17 months of racing, Eclipse was retired to stud due to lack of competition — no one was willing to bet on his rival horses.

He was the second-leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland for 11 years, and it has been estimated that Eclipse is a tail-male ancestor of 95 percent of contemporary Thoroughbreds.

The Eclipse Awards, the highest honor in American Thoroughbred horse racing, are named after this racehorse great.

Curation Date


Photo Source

Eclipse and O'Kelly by Theodore Andrea Cook


Eclipse, Horse, Thoroughbred, Pedigree