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Windt im Wald Farm
Geauga County, Northeast Ohio
since 1995

MAN O' WAR (1917-1947)

Foaled on the gracious New York estate of August Belmont, for whom Belmont Park is named, Man O' War was a son of leading thoroughbred race sire, Fair Play, and Mahubah, a daughter of the famous French thoroughbred sire, *Rock Sand. It was Mrs. Belmont who gave the strapping red colt his name, anticipating World War I. In spite of his distinguished pedigree, Mr. Belmont decided to take Man O' War to the 1918 Saratoga Yearling Sale, where Louis Feustel, a trainer who had once ridden Fair Play, convinced Samuel D. Riddle to buy the colt for a "mere" $5000. Other horses that Man O' War was later to defeat in famous races sold for $10,000 and more at this same sale.

Because Mr. Feustel considered Man O' War too young to run the 1 1/4 mile distance, the colt did not run in the 1920 Kentucky Derby, but he won the Preakness Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths and the Belmont Stakes by 20 lengths. The drawing above shows Man O' War after the Belmont victory being ridden by his regular jockey, Clarence Kummer. During 1919 and 1920 Man O' War won 20 of his 21 races. The most famous race that Man O' War ran was against Sir Barton, the 1919 winner of the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes). In this race, the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup, Man O' War beat Sir Barton by 7 lengths. A length is a measure of distance that equals the length of an average racehorse.

Man O' War, retired to stud at Samuel Riddle's Faraway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, sired 386 foals from 1922 to 1943. Among some of the more famous offspring were American Flag, Crusader, Scapa Flow, Clyde Van Dusen (winner of the 1929 Kentucky Derby), Hard Tack (sire of Seabiscuit), War Flag, Battleship, War Admiral(1937 Triple Crown winner), War Relic, and two fillies from his last crop, War Kilt and Our Colors. The great match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral featured the two most famous and well-respected descendants of Man O' War.

Will Harbut, who was the groom of Man O' War for many years at Faraway Farm, knew the stallion, fondly known as Big Red, the best when he said, "He was the mostest hoss." Man O' War outlived his breeder, who died in 1924, and his jockey, who died at age 31 from pneumonia. It is said that Man O' War’s own death in 1947 was hastened because of a broken heart after Mr. Harbut's death. Mr. Riddle, after erecting a life-size statue of Man O' War at Faraway Farm, died in 1951at the age of 89. The statue still stands at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and Man O' War, some fifty years after his death, edged out 1973 Triple Crown winner, Secretariat, for the title of The Greatest Race Horse of the Twentieth Century.

Diane Jones
Windt im Wald Farm

 

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