History’s greatest horse racing upsets

When it comes to betting on horse racing, bookies will often tell you about the race underdogs and favourites, however, the truth is that any horse could win. The unpredictability that comes with horse riding is one of the biggest reasons are attracted to betting on this sport.

Having said this, let’s take a look at how this unpredictability has resulted in upsets of a historic nature.

5 of the world’s greatest horse racing upsets


  1. Kentucky Derby

Horse: Donerail

Year: 1913


Donerail was not a favourite to win the Kentucky Derby in 1913, in fact, they gave him a 91-1 chance of winning. Imagine everyone’s surprise when out of nowhere, he shot ahead and won the race in record time. This caused Churchill Down’s greatest upset.


  1. Travers Stakes

Horse: Jim Dandy

Year: 1930


Although Jim Dandy had over 12 years’ experience in racing, the truth of the matter is that he lost most of these races. As a result, people didn’t bet on him, however, one rainy day in Saratoga Springs changed it all, resulting in a surprising win by Jim Dandy – an impressive 8-length victory.


  1. Kentucky Derby

Horse: Canonero II

Year: 1971


Canonero II was born with a crooked leg, and although he was listed as one of the available options to bet on, the track wouldn’t allow people to bet on him to win. What many people were unaware of, was the fact that Canonero II had recently won a race in Venezuela. So, imagine their surprise when the horse with the crooked leg ended up winning the race?


  1. Wood Memorial Stakes

Horse: Angle Light

Year: 1973


In 1973, Secretariat was the favourite to win. Unfortunately, just before the race, he developed an abscess under his lip, forcing him to hit the track in poor condition. This provided the gap needed for Angle Light to lead the way and secure first place, while Secretariat came third. This was not a great day for Secretariat supporters.


  1. Kentucky Derby

Horse: Mine That Bird

Year: 2009


Mine That Bird had a remarkable racing career between 2008 and 2010 in the United States and Canada. He also pulled off one of the greatest horse racing upsets of all time. At the 2009 Kentucky Derby, the odds were against him at 50-1. Out of nowhere, Mine That Bird bolted to the front and maintained an 8-length lead – winning the race.


And you thought horse racing was boring

The idea of watching horses run in a circle may seem like a slow day, but if our list of upsets are anything to go by, you may be in for a treat come racing day. Whether you are a spectator or bettor, the action and excitement of horse racing is something that shouldn’t be missed.