The List: Ranking horses

Erica Thompson
"BoJack Horseman"

The Kentucky Derby runs on Saturday, May 4. I have no desire to watch or attend — other than to look fashionable and drink bourbon. But the nearly 150-year tradition has inspired me enough to rank horses for you.

Mister Ed

“I can't believe people watched a sitcom about a talking horse,” says the woman who watched sitcoms about a tiny alien from Melmac and talking dinosaurs in the '80s and '90s.


Named “American Horse of the Year” in 1938, Seabiscuit was a champion racehorse and symbol of hope during the Great Depression. But he was no Secretariat …

“Wild Horses”

This 1971 Rolling Stones song is a classic, listed on Rolling Stone's “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” and covered by 1,000 people, from Guns N' Roses to Kelly Clarkson. It's also depressing and boring.

Paul Revere's horse

Without that horse, Paul Revere wouldn't have been able to make his midnight ride to warn the colonial militia of approaching British forces. And without that ride, we wouldn't have received “Paul Revere” by the Beastie Boys or … um “The British Are Coming" by Weezer.

Black Beauty

The popular 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell has sustained throughout the years as a guide for teaching animal welfare, which is something to keep in mind as we enjoy the Kentucky Derby.

Black Jack

This U.S. Army rider-less horse participated in the funerals of three presidents: John F. Kennedy, Herbert Hoover and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Trojan Horse

Scholars may not be able to pin down the exact number of men hiding in the giant construction, but we can all agree it was part of a pretty sweet plan to ensure the Greeks' victory in the Trojan War.

Four horses of the Apocalypse

Sure, the men get all glory in this Biblical prediction of end times, but they won't be able to usher in calamity without their four-legged companions. Watch out for the pale one.

Li'l Sebastian

Look, I only have time for one single-camera, mockumentary-style sitcom in my life. So while I've seen the entire series of “The Office,” I have never seen “Parks and Recreation.” But I've been told that “Li'l Sebastian,” Pawnee's famous miniature horse, is universally beloved.

My Little Pony

Don't let the small stature and cutie marks fool you; MLP is a billion-dollar, multimedia industry, and one of Hasbro's most successful toys of all time. Of all time.

BoJack Horseman

A show about a washed-up, anthropomorphic horse-actor in Hollywood interacting with humans should not work. But it's supremely addicting. And the theme song by the Black Keys' Patrick Carney is amazing.


The champion racehorse not only revived BoJack Horseman's career (the actor played the lead character in the fictional film “Secretariat”), but he also still holds the record for the fastest time in the Kentucky Derby.