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Race horses & large hearts

When they say that a horse as a lot of heart, they may take this literally, especially for performance race horses.  The average horses, heart weights 8 pounds and famous race horses hearts are many times the average heart size.

The first documented evidence that high-performance race horses had enlarged hearts was Eclipse whose heart was found to weigh 14 pounds, back in the 1700's.

"Eclipse was cut open by a London surgeon after his death in 1789. The heart found inside of Eclipse was so much larger than other horses that it was weighed.

Eclipse’s great heart weighed 14 pounds, more than twice the normal weight of hearts of horses of that era – approximately six pounds.

Today, necropsy results show that the top race horses have super-large hearts:

"Today, the normal weight of a horse’s heart is 8.5 pounds.

Even though Secretariat’s heart was not weighed at autopsy, Dr. Thomas Swerczek, head pathologist at the University of Kentucky, estimated it at 22 pounds after finding the second-largest heart in Sham (Secretariat’s Triple Crown rival) and weighing it at 18 pounds."
 

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