How would you, learned readers, compile a list of the greatest mares of the past 100 years? And which fillies and mares would be on your list?
That pair of questions and the technical requirements to answer them are considerations that have been spinning round the gray matter for some time, especially when thinking about our contemporary addition to that list.
Even going back 100 years puts some of the mares, most notably Regret, out of the experience of readers, and I do believe that conscious evaluation of the horse from personal experience is very helpful for making up a list such as this.
However, our personal experiences also color our judgment to a much greater degree than cool-minded analyses of historical racers.
In considering this point, it seems to me that horses from 1911 through 1960 are mostly going to be known to us only through the words of commentators, news reporters, and historians. Many of us, however, have personal recollections of racers from 1961 to present and can offer those insights and a greater understanding therefrom.
In addition, we now have the amazing option of the internet, which has thousands of race replays available for viewing, and we can test our recollections against the actual running of the races in some instances. (Those intrepid youths turning 22, and others, can also watch videos of racehorses who came before and whose important performances have not been lost to time.)
For example, I reviewed Personal Ensign’s BC Distaff from 1988, although more as a check on my recollection than as a query about whether the great daughter of Private Account should be on the list. Of course she should. Her performance in that race, as well as a dozen others, was splendid: full of courage, athleticism, and exciting sport.
So, tell me. Which make your list? We can take some notes along the way to share insights and perhaps learn a bit from the pleasant recollection of great horses performing their best.