Man O’ War was one of the greatest racehorses of all time. Man O’ War was a chestnut stud with a star and stripe on his forehead. He was foaled at Nursery Farms near Lexington, Kentucky. Man O’ War was sired by Fair Play, who won the 1908 Belmont Stakes to the undefeated Colin.
Man o War was the second foal out of Mahubah. Not long after Man O’ War was foaled on March 29th 1917 his owner, August Belmont Jr., had left to go overseas and his wife named named the foal ”Man O’ War” in honor of her husband. In 1918 at the Saratoga sale Man O’ War was sold for $5,000 which is the equivalent of $80,000 in 2016. He was sold to Samuel D. Riddle. At maturity Man O’ War stood at 16.2 and a half and had flawless legs and bone structure.
Man O’ War’s trainer Louis Feustel said that developing the colts talent was not easy because of his wild temperament. He was known to always throw off his riders and one time he got away for more than 15 minutes after a morning workout. They said that he fought like a tiger and that it would take days before they could handle him safely. Man O’ War had the longest stride of all time, 28 feet. He won 20 of 21 races and $249,465 in purses. The only race that Man O’ War had lost was to a colt named fittingly named Upset.
Man O’ War was also given athlete of the year next to Babe Ruth. In one of Man O’ Wars last races he had won by 100 lengths, and the charts say that he was never fully extended. I believe that Man O’ War was one of the greatest racehorses to ever live, but I do not think that he was the best. There is a horse that is a favorite of mine that I believe was one of the best of the best, Ruffian and. When Ruffian was a yearling, people were already calling her a freak and the ”filly that did not want to run”. Within the next year she had proven that she was one of the greatest racehorses to ever set foot on a track.
She was a dark bay who looked black and she was massive for a filly. The trainers and jockeys called her ”Sofie the Sofa” because she was so comfortable to ride. They soon found out how intelligent and how much of a freak she really was.
In her maiden race in 1974 she ran effortlessly, winning by 15 lengths. It was unheard of for any horse to do that, especially a maiden but she had more to show. People believed that she was as close to perfect as any horse could be. She didn’t always break well and she always started in the front, but she never lost a race.
Lucien Laurin the trainer of Secretariat, said ”As God be my witness, she may be better than Secretariat”. In all of her races Ruffian was never fully let go when she ran because her cautious trainer was afraid of how fast she really was, so in every race her jockey was always constantly trying to slow her down. We will never know how fast she really was.
She made a big name for herself, so then it was time for a match race with Foolish Pleasure, the Kentucky Derby winner. But nobody knew that this would be her last race. When it came time for them to run Ruffian was in the lead as usual, and some people say that a bird flew in front of her or maybe it was just her young bones, but she had broke her leg. The jockey couldn’t stop her, she still wanted to finish her race. When she finally stopped running they had put ice around her leg and taken her to the vet for surgery. They put her under.
She would most likely never be ran again but they just needed to save her life. They worked on her leg for hours and finally they had fixed it. But when Ruffian woke up from the anesthesia she thought that she was still in the race and started to thrash around. She had completely re broke her leg. They couldn’t put her back under anesthesia so they had to put her down. She was buried near a flag pole at Belmont Park, with her nose pointed towards the finish line. In 1976 she was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Even though it has been years since she has passed away, she still haunts people’s minds and especially mine. She is the perfect example of greatness.Another horse that was very intimidating on the track is Secretariat. The colt stood at 45 minutes old and started nursing 30 minutes later. The man that helped deliver Secretariat said that he was one the most perfect foal that he had ever seen. The older that the colt got, the more that he stood out from the other horses.
He was the leader of the pack and was very proud, but he was not calm. He was always doing something that always made people laugh. In the fall owner Penny Chenery and secretary of the farm, Elizabeth Ham were trying to name the colt. All of the names that they had tried to give him, the Jockey Club would not take. They tried tens of names, and finally they settled on Secretariat. When Secretariat grew to be massive, standing at 16.2 hands. He was very balanced, the best that they had ever seen and he was described to be perfect.
An australian trainer said of him that he was the perfect horse and that he had never seen anything like him. Secretariat was known for his huge muscles and large chest. His chest was so large that he had to have a custom girth built for him, and he was known for his powerful hindquarters. It is best for a horse to have very few conformation flaws because that means that they are less likely to get injured. Seth Hancock of Claiborne Farm once said, ”You want to know who Secretariat is in human terms? Imagine the greatest athlete in the world.
The greatest. Make him 6’3, the perfect height. Make him real intelligent and kind, and on top of that make him the most good looking guy coming down the pike. He was all that as a horse”.
Secretariat started his racing career in 1972. His regular exercise jockey was Jim Gaffney. The first time that he rode him he said it felt like he had a red machine under him and that the very first day he rode him he said that he had never rode something so powerful.