Horses | History
On April Fool's Day, 1764, the moon's shadow passed over Europe, casting a night-like shadow over the daylight and perhaps inducing the birth of one of the most exceptional horses in racing history. Fittingly named Eclipse, this tall chestnut had a narrow white blaze on his face and one white stocking on his right hind leg and descended from two of the three founding Arabians in the Thoroughbred breed.
Unlike today's racehorses who begin their training as two and three-year-olds, Eclipse didn't start racing until the age of five and ran eighteen races over two years, of distances ranging from two to four miles. He retired undefeated with eleven King's Plates under his belt, including eight walk-overs - no horses showed up for the race.
At a time before planes and motorized vehicles, racehorses walked to their races, and historians estimate that during his racing career, Eclipse covered a distance of 1,400 miles across England.
Following his retirement, Eclipse sired more than 300 winners, and today, 95 percent of modern Thoroughbreds descend from him, including Nijinsky, Man-O-War, Seabiscuit, and Northern Dancer.
On February 27, 1789, at the age of 25, Eclipse died from colic. An autopsy revealed that Eclipse had an abnormally large heart, a trait passed down to a few of his offspring, ie. Secretariat