Hungarian Conservative

The Legend of Kincsem, the Unbeatable Wonder Horse of Hungary

Kincsem, painting by Emil Adam (1887)
Wikimedia Commons
Kincsem won all 54 races she ran, a record that holds to this day. However, as a filly, she was never sold because of her plain looks—which ended up greatly benefitting her owner Ernő Blaskovich.

Kincsem (meaning ‘My Treasure’ in Hungarian), the Thoroughbred racehorse who still holds the record for running the most races undefeated with 54, actually had trouble being sold as a young filly. Although she ‘came from royalty,’ as her sire was bred by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom herself, she was deemed too ‘common looking’.

She had plain chestnut coat with no white markings—she certainly did not stand out from her stable with her beauty. However, she later got all the praise, and even became a household name across Europe, thanks to her talents as a racehorse.

Kincsem was born in Tápiószentmárton, a village in the Hungarian part of the Austrian–Hungarian Empire, on 17 March 1874.

That means that the 150th anniversary of her birthday is coming up this year, just a couple of months from now.

She was bred in the stud of a farmer named Ernő Blaskovich. In her youth, Baron Alex Orczy refused to buy her in a ‘package deal’ with five other horses, opting for only taking four other horses of the same stud, while leaving Kincsem another one behind for being of ‘inferior quality’.

So, Blaskovich kept Kincsem for himself, and sent her to an English horse trainer named Robert Hesp living in the northern part of the Empire to train her to become a racehorse. Hesp stuck with the mare throughout her entire career. Kincsem raced her first derby in Berlin, Germany on 21 June 1876. That was the first win in her unprecedented, and still unmatched 54-race win streak.

In her first season, she travelled to 10 different cities across Germany and Austria-Hungary, attracting larger and larger crowds as her victories kept piling up, and word of the unbeatable wonder horse from Hungary spread.

By her second season on the racetrack, she won the admiration of Emperor Francis Joseph, too.

To the surprise of no-one, she captured the Kaiserpreis (Emperor’s Prize) in Vienna in front of her imperial fan in 1877.

All the while she was amassing triumph after triumph, Kincsem was insisting on staying close to her cat friend named Csalogány (Nightingale)—although the story of that friendship may have been exaggerated over time. According to the urban legend, Csalogány once went missing while travelling to Deauville, France for a derby with Kincsem. Kincsem cried and refused to get off the boat until she and her feline friend were reunited.

Kincsem retired at age five, after having won 54 recess across Europe, and losing none.

Her last race was in the fall of 1879, in Budapest, at the Hungarian Autumn Oaks.

The Kincsem Film

In 2017, a feature film was released in Hungary titled Kincsem, depicting the dramatized life and story of the wonder horse and her owner Ernő Blaskovich (played by Ervin Nagy). It still has the highest production budget of any Hungarian movie ever released, with around $10 million. However, that record is due to be broken with the upcoming release Most vagy soha! (Now or Never!), a film about the 1848 Hungarian Revolution.

KINCSEM Előzetes

Blaskovich Ernő mindenét elvesztette a szabadságharc után. Céltalan, kicsapongó életet él, amikor egy nap megjelenik élete nagy lehetősége, Kincsem, a csodaló, akivel sikert sikerre halmoz az európai lóversenypályákon. Ezzel a sors tálcán kínálja neki az elégtételt, hogy nemes küzdelemben győzze le ősi ellenségét, von Oettingen bárót.

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Kincsem won all 54 races she ran, a record that holds to this day. However, as a filly, she was never sold because of her plain looks—which ended up greatly benefitting her owner Ernő Blaskovich.