Man O’ War, one of the most famous and successful racehorses in history, also known as Big Red, was a chestnut Thoroughbred racehorse born in 1917. He won 20 of 21 races in his career and set multiple track records. He was voted Horse Of The Year in 1920 and inducted into the National Museum Of Racing and Hall Of Fame in 1957.

Man O’ War was sired by Fair Play and his dam was Mahubah, a daughter of Rock Sand, the 1903 English Triple Crown winner. He was bred by August Belmont Jr., a prominent American banker and member of the New York Racing Association.


As a yearling, Man O’ War was sent to train with Louis Feustel at his Faraway Farm in Kentucky. Feustel recognized the colt’s potential and took him under his wing, training him carefully and diligently. Man O’ War’s first race was on May 11, 1919, at Belmont Park in New York, where he won by a length. He went on to win his next nine races, including the Hopeful Stakes and the Futurity Stakes, both major events for two-year-olds.


In 1920, Man O’ War continued to dominate the racing scene, winning all seven of his starts, including the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes, and the Lawrence Realization Stakes. In the latter race, he set a new world record for the 1-3/4 mile distance, finishing in 2:40.0. Man O’ War’s success on the racetrack made him a household name and a fan favorite. He was known for his powerful stride, high cruising speed, and exceptional endurance. He was also a versatile runner, able to excel at distances ranging from six furlongs to two miles. In total, Man O’ War won 20 of his 21 races, with his only loss coming in the Sanford Memorial Stakes at Saratoga, where he was defeated by a horse named Upset.

Post Retirement Status

After his racing career, Man O’ War retired to stud at Faraway Farm. He quickly became one of the most successful sires in the history of Thoroughbred breeding, siring such notable horses as War Admiral, Crusader, and Hard Tack. In all, he sired over 600 foals whereas 386 were registered including 64 stakes winners.

Man O' War horse memorial


In recognition of his Achievements on the racetrack and as a sire, Man O’ War was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1957, just three years after the Hall was established. He was also named the greatest racehorse of the 20th century by the Blood-Horse magazine in a 2000 poll of racing historians.


Man O’ War died on November 1, 1947, at the age of 30. He was buried at Faraway Farm, where a life-sized bronze statue of him stands to this day. His legacy lives on through his descendants, many of whom have gone on to achieve great success in racing and breeding.


In conclusion, Man O’ War was a remarkable racehorse whose talent and versatility earned him a place among the all-time greats. His 20 wins in 21 starts, including major stakes victories, make him one of the most successful horses in racing history. After his retirement, he continued to make an impact through his successful career as a sire, siring numerous stakes winners and becoming one of the most influential stallions in the history of Thoroughbred breeding. Man O’ War’s legacy lives on to this day and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest horses of all time.

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