There are always stories of zero to hero in every sport, which many fans find fascinating. It’s because these narratives are filled with optimism. Furthermore, underdogs have no fear of failure since they have seen defeat and know how to pick themselves up and continue pushing.
These stories are rare in horse racing and the ones fans remember the most. Here are some of the most famous stories of horses that were considered long shots yet ended up winning.
Tipperary Tim (The Grand National)
Harold Kenyon was Tipperary Tim’s owner, and Joseph Dodd was the one who trained him in Shropshire. Tipperary Tim’s victory in the 1928 Grand National was a huge surprise. With odds of 10,000 to win, he had some of the highest odds of any horse in the field. Even more troubling is that his jockey, William Dutton, was not a trained professional.
Before the big Friday racing on March 30, 1928, Dutton’s friend was heard yelling, “Billy boy, you’ll only win if all the others fall!”
It was foggy, the ground was muddy, and 41 of the 42 horses dropped. It began on the opening lap as the race approached the Canal Turn. The remainder of the group swarmed over Easter Hero after he collapsed. Only seven horses made it through the fence with their jockeys on board. By the second-to-last round, only three players remained.
Billy Barton and Tipperary Tim were following Great Span’s lead. After that, his saddle began to slide. To lead the way, Billy Barton stepped up. The same fate befell him. Tipperary Tim won, while Billy Barton’s jockey finished second.
Aboyeur (Epsom Derby)
The Epsom Derby of 1913, often known as “The Suffragette Derby,” was a horse race held on June 4, 1913, at Epsom Downs. The 134th Derby was held that year. Controversially, Aboyeur, the underdog at 100-1 odds, won the race.
The contest came down to the wire. As the race came down to the wire, 10,000-longshot Aboyeur and Craganour savagely collided. There was hardly any space between the first five horses that crossed the finish line.
The owner of the legendary stallion Craganour was a man named Ismay. The White Star Line was started by his father, Thomas Henry Ismay. It turned out that one of the race stewards was Ismay’s enemy. Some of Major Eustace Loder’s friends drowned in the Titanic tragedy, and he holds the Ismay family responsible.
An official count showed that Craganour had triumphed over Aboyeur by a head. Loder eventually persuaded the stewards to file an official protest. It was claimed that Craganour had interfered with Aboyeur. Loder was successful, and Craganour was disqualified.
Charismatic (Preakness Stakes)
In 1999, the American racehorse Charismatic won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes but fell short in his attempt to win all three legs of the Triple Crown.
Taking after his iconic name, this racehorse’s 31-1 upset was a charismatic spectacle. However, in the Preakness Stakes, Charismatic was not well received at the betting booths. The best odds on a winning horse were placed on Menifee at -200. Charismatic was a long shot at 800.
While it wasn’t an outrageous price, it nevertheless came as a surprise that the Kentucky Derby winner was the fourth choice in the betting odds. However, Menifee was soundly defeated by Charismatic for the second match in a row, proving that he was the real deal.
When Charismatic won the Preakness Stakes, he became the odds-on favorite to win the Belmont Stakes. He was in the lead going into the last turn and looked to have clinched the Triple Crown before pulling up with an apparent injury and coming in third.
Rich Strike (Kentucky Derby)
Rich Strike, an 80-1 long shot, proved at the Kentucky Derby that thoroughbred racing isn’t reserved for humans and horses with impeccable bloodlines.
There was no talk about Rich Strike as a potential Kentucky Derby winner 48 hours before the race. He wasn’t even a part of the same race. The good fortune of the draw favored Rich Strike and trainer Eric Reed when Ethereal Road had to withdraw.
In the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports,” Rich Strike crossed the finish line first with a time of 2 minutes, 02.61 seconds. The chestnut colt joined Big Brown (2008) as the only horse to win the Kentucky Derby after starting from 20th place since the modern starting gate was introduced in 1930. Epicenter and Zandon, two of the favorites, came in second and third, respectively, but couldn’t catch up to Rich Strike down the stretch.
Just because you’re the underdog in a race doesn’t mean you can’t win. Regardless of whether you’re winning or losing, you should always take on the situation with an underdog mindset. If you’re an underdog, everyone else is betting against you. Perhaps, the need to show one’s worth through victory has become a common theme in the underdog stories we’ve featured here. Listings of horses for sale like https://www.horsescout.com/horses-for-sale should also be checked on a regular basis if you are looking to buy a horse, as there are so many listed regularly that you need to check regularly to make sure that you don’t miss the right horse.