The Legendary Race Horse: Man O' War
Just before midnight on March 29, 1917 Mahubah foaled a beautiful
chestnut colt now known as Man O' War. The entry in the Nursery
Stud daybook was written as follows:
Mch 29, 1917-- Mahubah foaled ch colt by Fair Play. Star, narrow
stripe from right of star down center of nose. Height: 42 Girth:
Man O' War's mother, Mahubah, meaning "may good things be with
you" had a sweet disposition that was inherited by her father,
Rock Sand, winner of Great Britain's Triple Crown. His father,
Fair Play, was a large, powerful horse, but was just as
temperamental as his father, Hastings.
In 1918, Major Belmont decided to sell all his yearlings,
something he had never done before.
On Saturday, August 17, 1918 all of the yearlings went to
Saratoga. Famed horse owner Samuel D. Riddle bought Man O' War
for $5,000, while the average price for the yearlings was $1,107.
Because of his red hair, he was often called "Red", but when he
grew over 16 hands, his nickname was changed to "Big Red".
Feustel began the chore of breaking "Red" when they arrived at
Glen Riddle Farm in Pennsylvania. Feustel recalls saying
"Mahubah's colt, He was a tough horse to break, a tough horse to
In the spring of 1919 Man O' War was trained at Havre de Grace
On June 6, 1919 the young colt made it to the racetrack, in a
maiden race at Belmont Park. His odds were 3-5. This race was
five furlongs long, in which he ran in :59 seconds, winning by
Man O' War was a legend before finishing racing in October. There
had been a discussion for a long time, which was: Who was the
greatest horse of the century- Colin or Sysonby? That was not a
question anymore, Man O' War was the best.
During the sixteen months between June 1919 and October 1920, Man
O' Was literally rewrote the record books. His record included:
Dwyer Stakes- 1 1/8 miles (World Record)
Belmont Stakes- 1 3/8 miles (World Record)
Lawrence Realization- 1 5/8 miles (World Record)
Jockey Club Stakes- 1 ½ miles (American Record)
Wither Stakes- 1 mile (American Record)
Kenilworth Park Gold Cup- 1 ¼ miles (Track Record)
Potomac Handicap- 1 1/16 miles (Track Record)
Travers Stakes 1 ¼ miles (Equaled Track Record)
Man O' War won the Belmont Stakes by 20 lengths and the Lawrence
Realization by an astounding 100 lengths.
This horse had 21 starts and 20 wins. The single blemish on Man
O' War's track record was the Sanford Stakes. He was turned
sideways when the mash barrier went up, causing him to place
second in the race.
This phenomenal colt retired as the greatest money-winning
thoroughbred ever. $249,465 (which was at that time a record)
23 years as a stallion, he produced 64 stakes winners, including
War Admiral. The Fillies he sired became wonderful brood mares
who produced 164 stakes winners.
On November 1, 1947, at age 30, Man O' War died of natural causes
at Faraway Farms. He will always be the greatest
the 20th century and the millennium.
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