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July 31, 2010

The Big Red was a Winner

Camera Critters

Phar Lap

This is the skeleton of the champion racehorse, Phar Lap. Phar Lap, which is Thai for lightning in the sky, was a chestnut. He was born near Timaru, New Zealand in 1926 and died in Menlo Park, California in 1932 after eating poisoned grass. He was poisoned on purpose, and rumor states the mob was responsible, carrying out the poisoning to protect their financial interests. Shortly before his death, he won the world’s richest race, the Agua Caliente Handicap in California. He did most of his racing in Australia and loved to run at the front of the field. Nicknamed Big Red, he won 36 of his last 41 races.

Phar Lap’s skeleton is in the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand.
His heart is in a bottle in Canberra, Australia.
His hide is in the Museum of Victoria, Australia.

Currently, his skeleton is in Melbourne, Australia (on loan) to celebrate the running of the 150th Melbourne cup, a race that Phar Lap won in 1930.

To visit more animal photos go to Camera Critters.


  1. Gattina

    How sad and really disgusting !

  2. Nikki-ann

    I’d never heard of this horse before. Poor thing.

  3. Christina, Sweden

    interesting, seems he was a hero and how sad he passed away. Lots of crazy people in the world ethen as well as now

  4. mary

    What a sad ending for such a wonderful horse.

  5. Shelley Munro

    It was a sad ending. Phar Lap is pretty much a household name down this end of the world. Everyone who knows racehorses will recognize the name.

  6. jeanette8042

    That’s pretty sad but at least he’s remembered.