Can a person beat a horse in a race?

dqa if I read that correctly, the horse had to stop while the runner didn’t. The runner only won by 10 seconds, despite having a 60 minute lead. Hence, the horse was faster (took 60 minutes less to complete the same distance) although the runner won the race as stipulated by the rules. The rules were kind of stupid, though. The runner should have had to wait during the horse’s rest stops.

I also believe that in order for it to be fair, the runner should be given an approx 15 lb weight to carry.

A few things:

I wonder about the human vs. horse races. If it’s not a thoroughbred trained to haul ass a horse doesn’t have too much motivation to push itself. Is there any guarantee that some swayback racong a human is even trying hard?

Nonsense. Horses are long distance runners. As Spavined Gelding (who better to talk about over the hill horses :wink: ) a horse will quite literally run itself to death if its rider pushes it. Even if you don’t outright kill your horse riding it you can permanently damage the horse if it is ridden too hard. That said you have to make an effort at doing this. A horse can go for a long time and a good rider knows how to pace it for maximum ground travel over a given time without ruining the beast.

Secretariat was awesome. IIRC he ran one of his races in consecutively faster 1/4 miles. In other words, he accelerated all the way around the track.

I think I just heard about a horse that recently ran a race and only just missed Secretariat’s record (being the only other horse to finish the Derby [I think] in under two minutes) but I forget the horse’s name. He sounds like a good shot for the Triple Crown though which hasn’t happened in awhile.

I just did a quick check on the last Derby winner (War Emblem) who ran the race in 2:01.13. I’m not sure what horse I’m thinking of (maybe it is War Emblem) but I heard a story about him (and his owner) on NPR not too long ago. The horse is somewhat of a story because he is apparently a real surprise (no one expected his performance given his parentage and the stables he came from…they expected a good horse but not as good as he is turning out to be).

Anyone else have a clue as to what I’m talking about?

I think Quarter Horses are the true Equine sprinters. According to this site, QHs can do 440 yds in 20.733 seconds and 870 yds 43.845. According to this Track and Field site the men’s world records at 400 and 800 meters are 43 seconds and 1:41 respectively. I think a QH would take a human sprinter, especially if they had to start out of a gate the way the horses are trained.

I believe you are thinking of Monarchos. He won the Kentucky Derby in 2001 with a time of 1:59 4/5s, compared to Secretariat’s 1:59 2/5s in 1973.

You could be refering to Monarchos, as Darwin’s Finch mentioned, however you could very well be referring to War Emblem, the winner of the Derby and Preakness this year (he runs in the Belmont Friday) if you are recalling a different comparison.

The recent comparison to Secretariat (in The Blood Horse) was not drawn against final finishing time, but rather the last quarter mile each horse ran in their respective Derbies. War Emblem ran his finishing quarter in :24:43; Secretariat ran his in a jaw-dropping and outright freakish :23 flat. No horse in 128 Derbies has run a faster finishing quarter than these two.

Though War Emblem’s final quarter is very impressive, 1 2/5 seconds translates to a 7 length difference between the two. Just further evidence of the marvelous monster Secretariat was on the track.

How about, like, a two day race?

I remember seeing something about our hunting and gathering ancestors could keep chasing just about any animal until the creature tired and gave up. The animal might get miles ahead, but the humans kept going and going.

Some comments:

  1. Darwin’s Finch’s data regarding Secretariat’s accelerations are the closest thing I’ve seen to the point, but if I understand correctly, it still falls victim to comment #2:

  2. All horse-racing data is irrelevant; horses start out of a gate, but (if Lure is to be believed) are not timed for 20-40 yards. Also, horse races are never shorter than 350 yards (I think), and most are longer than this.

  3. I think it’s obvious that there is some distance that the smaller-massed human will be out in front before a horse’s greater speed overwhelms him; some say it’s 50 yards, some say it’s 10.

I repeat: does anyone have time data for horses sprinting short distances from a standing start?

No, the first one (previous link) he lost. That link (this one) he beat the human.