TDN Weekend

Winx By The Numbers

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Winx | Sharon Chapman

By Rinaldo Del Gallo III

With Arrogate (Unbridled Song)’s dramatic win in the G1 Dubai World Cup, some say that he is the best racehorse that ever lived. There is a worldwide debate, however, about whether Arrogate is the best racehorse of the moment, let alone in history. Winx (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}), a 5-year-old Australian mare, is currently second behind Arrogate in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. She has a current win streak of 17 races that dates back to May 16, 2015. Several things should be of note:

NUMBER OF CONSECUTIVE STAKES WINS: Winx’s 17-straight wins have all comes in stakes races. Only two horses, the once-defeated Zenyatta (Street Cry {Ire})–with 17 straight stakes victories equaling Winx–and the undefeated Black Caviar (Aus) (Bel Esprit {Aus}) with 23 straight stakes victories, have as many successive stakes scores in the history of Thoroughbred racing. All three are fillies. Black Caviar and Winx are both Australian. Winx and Zenyatta are by the same sire.

NUMBER OF GROUP 1 WINS: Winx is climbing on an elite list of most Group/Grade 1 races won. So far she has 12 Group 1 wins. In the history of Thoroughbred racing, only 15 horses have won more Grade or Group 1s. No other horse has won 12 G1s in total; 6 horses have won 13 G1s; 5 horses have won 14 G1s; Black Caviar won 15; John Henry and Kauto Star won 16; and the hurdler Hurricane Fly has 22.

NUMBER OF CONSECUTIVE VICTORIES: The list of known horses with 17 or more consecutive victories of any kind is most exclusive. Only five did so without being defeated, and another 33 did so with defeats. The horse with the most consecutive victories is the Puerto Rican horse Camarero, who won 56 in a row from 1953-1955. Camarero goes back in tail-female to the legendary Maggie B.B., a mare that produced a GI Belmont S. winner, a GI Preakness S. winner, and another horse that won the G1 Epsom Derby, the G1 St Leger and just missed the British Triple Crown with a second in the G1 2000 Guineas. Maggie B.B. has numerous great tail-female descendants, such as Harlan’s Holiday. Harlan’s Holiday, as fate would have it, won among other things the GIII Iroquois S., the race for 2 year-olds named after Maggie B.B.’s colt that won the Derby. The horse second on the list for most consecutive wins is Kincsem, the Hungarian mare born in 1878 who took many big races and took 54 in a row. Since Camarero lost races and Kincsem was undefeated, Kincsem also goes down in history as the undefeated horse with the most victories.

GENDER: Zenyatta won 19 races in row and only lost one–to the colt Blame (Arch) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic. Winx, on the other hand, before her current streak, came second three times and was out of the money on three other occasions. But Winx has a major up on Zenyatta: Zenyatta only faced the boys twice, both times in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. After Winx’s G1 Queensland Oaks win on May 20, 2015–the second victory of the streak–she was to face and defeat boys in her next 15 races, making 16 of the wins of the streak in mixed-gender company. Black Caviar, who raced only in turf sprints, faced the boys on numerous occasions.

THE RISK: Winx won her last race, the weight-for-age A$4-million G1 Queen Elizabeth S. (2000 metres or 10 furlongs) at Randwick on Apr. 8 by a convincing 5 1/2 lengths. But with every attempt at a rich Group 1 comes the potential for loss. Mister Frisky (Marsayas) had a 16-race winning streak going, including the 1990 GI Santa Anita Derby, but finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby. The Bard, a winner of 23 of his 25 races (not to be confused with the famous American of the same name) won all 16 of his juvenile starts in Britain. His first race at three was the 1886 Epsom Derby, where he lost to Ormonde, who went on to win the British Triple Crown. The Bard went on to win his next six starts, and would be very high on the list of consecutive wins with only six horses ahead of him (arguably fewer) but for the Derby start. Brigadier Gerard (GB) (Queen’s Hussar {GB}), who only lost once in 18 races, had amassed a fifteen-race winning streak at the highest level of competition until his loss to Roberto (Hail To Reason) in the inaugural Benson and Hedges Gold Cup in 1973.

But the streak does not always end in great races. While the quality of Kincsem’s races could be debated, it was clearly the highest level of racing in Austria, Hungary and Germany, and many of her races were against mixed-gender company. But unlike many of the great racing mares whose streaks came to an end when facing the very best of stakes competition with mixed company, Kincsem took the 1878 Goodward in England, now a Group 1 race at two miles but then 21 furlongs (2 5/16 miles) and one of Europe’s major races. Kincsem also won the 1878 Grand Prix de Deauville in France at roughly 1 1/2 miles.

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