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By what metrics? It would have to subjective. Ill rate the ones I've seen:
2. Seattle Slew
3. American Pharoah
I agree, just subjective impressions, still surprised to see AP above Affirmed.
1. Seattle Slew (Beat a TC winner)
2. Secretariat (Fastest over weak comp.)
3. Citation (Toughest horse of the 13)
4. American Pharaoh (Gran Slam)
5. War Admiral (Biscuit only blemish)
6. Affirmed (Beat soundly by Slew)
7. Sir Barton (Being 1st has merit)
8. Justified (Move's up if owners let him)
10. Count Fleet
11. Gallant Fox
Why Seattle Slew over Secretariat?
Well because until Justified he had been the only one to win it undefeated and he is the only triple crown winner to beat a triple crown winner in Affirmed who's consider one of the top 10 best American horses of all time. Also thought Secretariat ran faster, Slew beat way better horses than Secretariat did.
So by your criteria of Alydar being there then Victory Gallop too?? At least VG won one leg. Alydar lost all 3.
But if not for Affirmed, Alydar PROBABLY is the 11th TC winner. Not sure about Victory Gallop or a whole bunch of others.
I agree Alydar was a monster. Which it only solidifies my criteria of why Slew should be on top by beating Affirmed who beat Alydar in all 3 legs.
Are we talking the quality of the horse's career, or is it limited to his TC races? If the latter, no way Seattle Slew compares to Secretariat. I also don't believe SS beat better horses. as Sham, Forego, Royal And Regal, and Our Native were all Gr. 1 winners. "Big Red's" five week tour de force stands alone in the history of the sport. Rarely, if ever do you see a horse set three stakes records, at different distances, at different tracks, in consecutive races, in such a short time span. I won't comment on 2-13, but Secretariat is easily number 1, imo.
zambito said Slew beat way better horses than Secretariat did.
Sham was pretty good up to 10 furlongs, for a long time he had the 2nd fasted derby time
Secretariat beat the clock and destroyed everybody at 12 furlongs.
he destroyed the track variant in all 3 races and set new ones. that says a lot
l agree with your top 3 and of course scored for 3 year old season.top 2 switched
citation later on lost to the same horse 4 times, noor 9f to 14f. citation was 2nd all 4 races.
I didn't use any real criteria; just my opinion. If you want an objective way to rank them, there's plenty of ways to do it. One would be total lengths won by in the TC races:
American Pharoah 13 1/2
Seattle Slew 7 1/2
Justify 4 3/4
Affirmed -- around 1 3/4
As for American Pharoah, I just loved to watch him run. But he also ran the 6th fastest Belmont ever as the only horse in 2015 to run in all three races, and won by 7 1/2 lengths, fourth largest margin of victory among TC winners in the Belmont.