The Mount Rushmore of horse racing

If there were a Mount Rushmore or two or three for horse racing who would be the sport's version of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt? Our choices are:


1. Secretariat: Though he managed to lose on a few occasions he is simply the most famous, most revered horse ever. His 31-length win in the 1973 Belmont Stakes is without a doubt the single greatest performance ever by a horse, of any era, at any time, at any racetrack. He is the Babe Ruth of horse racing, the standard of excellence that every horse to come will be compared to and never live up to.

2. Man o'War: If any horse comes close to Secretariat when it comes to the greatest that ever lived it is the original "Big Red." Beaten only once in his career, he is a legendary figure in racing. Like Secretariat, his inclusion on this Mt. Rushmore is a no-brainer.

3. Seabiscuit: When The Blood-Horse magazine listed the top 100 race horse of the 20th century Seabiscuit checked in only at No. 25. There may indeed have been 24 better horses than Seabiscuit, but our Mt. Rushmore is about more than raw ability. It is also about the impact a horse made, their place in popular culture. Even before the book and the movie came along, Seabiscuit was a horse who transcended horse racing.

4. Citation: Ask some old timers who the best horse that ever lived was and a lot will say it was Citation. His 3-year-old year was nothing short of spectacular. He won at distances from 6 furlongs to 2 miles, swept the Triple Crown and dominated older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.


1. Bill Shoemaker: Arguably the most famous jockey ever and the dominant figure in an era in California where racing was big enough that "The Shoe" made four appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He wasn't just a horse racing star, he was a star.

2. Eddie Arcaro: "The Master." There was a time when horse racing was as big as any sport in the country, except, perhaps, baseball. And during that era Eddie Arcaro was considered the greatest jockey of the times. He won 17 Triple Crown races and is the only jockey to ride two Triple Crown winners, Citation and Whirlaway.

3. Laffit Pincay Jr: Longevity, talent, class, ability … Pincay had them all.

4. Johnny Londgen: With apologies to Angel Cordero Jr., Jerry Bailey, Steve Cauthen, Isaac Murphy and others, the final spot goes to the great Johnny Longden. He appeared in an episode of "I Love Lucy" playing himself. It's tough to see Javier Castellano being invited to appear in an episode of "Parks and Recreation." That tells you how popular racing was at the time and how great Longden was. He rode Count Fleet to a Triple Crown sweep and was, for the longest time, the winningest jockey in history with 6,032 victories.


1. Wayne Lukas: By most definitions he's the most successful trainer in the sport's history. By racing in major races all over the country he revolutionized the sport with his "D. Wayne off the plane" approach. For the better part of 20 years he played the game at a level that no one else could come close to. His horses have won 25 Eclipse Awards.

2. Ben Jones: Calumet Farms was the greatest stable in the history of racing and the trainer who made everything go was Ben Jones. He made the cover of Time Magazine in 1949. He is the only trainer to win the Kentucky Derby six times, including victories by two U.S. Triple Crown winners, Whirlaway and Citation.

3. Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons: He trained two Triple Crown winners in Gallant Fox and Omaha and won 13 Triple Crown races. From 1894 to 1963, he was around for 70 years.

4.Woody Stephens: There are many who merit the final spot on the Mt. Rushmore for trainers, but Woody Stephens' five straight wins in the Belmont pushes him ahead of the rest of the pack.


1. Saratoga: The history, the current quality of racing, the crowds it attracts … there is nothing like Saratoga.

2. Churchill Downs: The Churchill marketing people call it the "world's most legendary racetrack," which is a little much, but as the home of what is far, far, far and away the most important horse race in the U.S. it belongs on this Mt. Rushmore.

3. Hialeah: Not, of course, the Hialeah that is the home of meaningless quarter horse races, but the stately, beautiful racetrack that was the center of the sport during the winter for so many years … that Hialeah deserves this honor.

4. Belmont Park: The final spot comes down to four, Santa Anita, Belmont Park, Del Mar and Keeneland. All four would have been good choices, but Belmont gets the nod. It's a shame what has become of the track, which has turned into an empty and depressing reminder of days gone by, but it is where Triple Crown winners confirmed their greatness and, particularly before the Breeders' Cup was invented, the place where so many champions were crowned.