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"The Red Terror"
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Lap, regarded by many as the best racehorse of all time,
was bred in New Zealand and raced primarily in Australia.
He won an amazing 37 times in 51 races, and placed in 5
others. He set track records in 8 races. He is the only
horse ever to be favored in 3 consecutive Melbourne Cups.
Phar Lap was by Night Raid and out of Entreaty by Winkie.
The phrase "Phar Lap" means wink of the sky or
lightning in Thai. Born in 1927 in New Zealand, Phar Lap
was brought to Australia at age 2. He grew to a monstrous
height of 17.1 hands and upon his death it was discovered
that his heart weighed 13.7 pounds, the average for a horse
is around 9 pounds. The mighty Secretariat had a heart that
weighed close to 22 pounds!
After proving himself the best in Australia, Phar Lap was
invited to the Agua Caliente Handicap, a race to be held
in Mexico that offered a $50,000 purse. Phar Lap traveled
by ship across the Pacific ocean, arriving in rainy San
Francisco and then had a 400 mile trip in a horse van to
Tijuana where the weather was very hot. Phar Lap had to
carry 129 pounds, more than most of the other horses in
the race, and against some of the best horses in America.
In addition, Phar Lap was trying dirt for the first time.
Phar Lap overcame the obstacles going from last to first
to win by 2 lengths in a record time of 2:02 4/5.
Before he had another race, in Menlo Park, California,
he became ill, and despite all that could be done for him,
he died on April 5, 1932, only five years old. It has long
been suspected that there was a plot to have him killed
in America, but no information has ever turned up, and the
actual cause of death remains a mystery to this day.