Even some 70 years after his death, Phar Lap remains an enduring symbol of the Australian turf. A winner of 37 of his 51 starts, he started favorite in three successive Melbourne Cups, the only horse in the long history of Australia's most famous race accorded that distinction. In a unique feat in 1930, he won a race on each of the four days of the 1930 Flemington spring carnival, including the Melbourne Cup with 15 lb. (6.8 kg.) more than weight-for-age. Today he resides in the Melbourne Museum, as the most popular exhibit; a life-like monument to his greatness; his mammoth 14 pound heart is in the National Museum in Canberra, while his skeleton is displayed in the Dominion Museum in Wellington. Phar Lap became the most public horse of all time, not entirely because he was so sublime. Drama, controversy, wickedness and savage cruelty rode with the big, gentle chestnut from barrier to box. Criminals in Melbourne tried to shoot him on the Saturday morning before his 1930 Melbourne Cup win and finally, tragically, he suffered an agonizing death in mysterious circumstances in California, USA, on April 5, 1932, when he was only a five-year-old after having defied the odds to win an international race at Agua Caliente, in Mexico only days before. He beat the best company in two continents with an ease and authority never seen before or since. His achievements live in the hearts, if no longer the memories, of all who love thoroughbred racing.
Agua Caliente, 1932 Victoria Derby, 1929 W. Cox Plate, 1930 Melbourne Cup, 1930