How Would Have American Pharoah Fared Against Secretariat?
American Pharoah made history last Saturday when he became the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown, ending a 37-year drought. But how would he have fared against the greatest horse of all-time?
Like Secretariat, American Pharoah ended a decades-long run without a Triple Crown winner (25 years for Secretariat). Like Secretariat, American Pharoah also won all three races pretty easily, including a five-and-a-half length win at Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
But what if the two raced against each other?
The Wall Street Journal put together the awesome split-screen video below that shows the two horses running the Belmont Stakes at the same time. While the two performed more than 40 years apart (Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973) and this doesn't account for weather, track conditions, etc., it's the best gauge of how two greats would have looked side-by-side.
You can't take anything away from American Pharoah's win. It was truly impressive. But if it came down to him against Secretariat, the legend would have won fairly easily.
While American Pharoah's time of 2:26.65 is one of the best in Belmont history, he still would have finished 2.65 seconds behind Secretariat. If you use the typical rate of five lengths per second, American Pharoah would have finished 13 lengths behind Secretariat. Affirmed, the last horse to win the Triple Crown, would have finished third -- one length behind American Pharoah.
Secretariat still holds the records at all three Triple Crown races.
Wiith that said, American Pharoah would have finished closer to Secretariat at the Belmont than any other Triple Crown winner in history. The folks at FiveThirtyEight put together this chart of how all the Triple Crown horses would have fared against Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes:
Again, never to take away from American Pharoah's amazing feat. He ended the longest drought without a Triple Crown winner in horse racing history. But you still can't forget the greatest who ever lived.