Man O’ War … Greatest Race Horse Ever …

Posted on July 21, 2010. Filed under: Personalities, Sports |

Among the all time famed horses is Bucephalus, broken byAlexander while yet a boy – right in front of his father King Phillip. In sharp contrast but equally famous is Roxante, the poor donkey like creature, who was Don Quixote’s mount when he set out to conquer the world!

Man O’ War remains the greatest race horse of the Twentieth Century – if not of all time!

Man o’ War was born in 1917 and lived till age 30. But he raced for just two years, as a two year and three year old, before his owner, the uptight Mr Riddle put him to stud.

In contrast, Man o’ War’s grand son, the much adored SeaBiscuit, won his greatest races as a five year old and as a seven year old when eventually he was retired.

Man o’ War’s  debut was at Belmont Park in 1919, where he won by six lengths. Thereafter he went from win to win losing only one race and that because when it started he was facing in the wrong direction. To further compound his chances, his jockey panicked and thrice got him boxed in before he broke loose and thundered racing for the lead.

In those days there were no starting gates. Jockeys circled around gathering their horses behind a piece of webbing known as the barrier. The race began when it was raised. Man O’ War was circling and had  his back to the starting line when the barrier went up.

Still he came close to winning, losing by only a half-length as he charged across the finish line going faster than any other horse on the track. The winner was Upset, whose name is erroneously thought to have popularized a new phrase in sports.

Man O’ War never won the Triple because he was not entered in the Kentucky Derby. Mr Riddle did not like racing in Kentucky and he was also overly protective of his great horse. The previous year, Sir Barton had won the first-ever U.S. Triple Crown.

Man O’ War easily won the 1⅛-mile Preakness Stakes and set a new Pimlico track record of 1:38-3/5 for a mile. He was then slowed down as his owner did not want him to over exert. In the Belmont Stakes he won by 20 lengths, beating Sir Barton’s record set the previous year by over three seconds.

As the racing season wound down, no one wanted to race his horse against this invincible Super Horse, who was winning with ease every race he entered.  He beat the horse that did compete against him and that by one hundred lengths. His world record timing in this race was 2:40-4/5 for a mile and five-eighths  and it still stands.

The final start of Man O’ War’s career was in Canada in a race that, for the first time, was filmed in its entirety. In that race, Man O’ War brushed aside the Triple Winner, Sir Barton and though slowed down, went on to win by seven lengths.

Over his two-year career, he won 20 of his 21 races. He set three world records, two American records and three track records. As a two-year-old, he had carried 130 pounds and as a three year old he carried 138 pounds.  Few horses ever carried that much. He gave away as much as 32 pounds to other horses.

He sired the two successive Belmont Stakes Winners 0f 1925 and 1926. Sired by him, War Admiral was the 1937 Triple Crown Champ. Another offspring, Hard Tack sired the famous and much adored Seabiscuit who, forever, epitomizes the under dog. SeaBiscuit was Horse of the Year in 1938 and beat War Admiral in a one on one race which is considered an all time classic.

Man O’ War died in 1947 shortly after his longtime groom died. He lies at Kentucky Horse Park, where his grave is marked by his statue. He has been the subject of four biographies.

The only other Horse one can talk about in the same breath is Secretariat, who raced over 50 years later when racing tracks and conditions had vastly improved. Its like comparing the great Jesse Owens with the equally great Lightening Bolt.

In both the Kentucky as well the Preakness, Secretariat broke last.  This is  the commentator in the Kentucky, “Secretariat has made a sudden move and is now Sixth”. In this race Secretariat ran each Quarter faster than the previous. And in the Preakness, the Commentator who had only been commenting on the five or six leaders, suddenly yells, “And here comes Secretariat! He is going fast and he is going for the lead!” And his Belmont Record will, it seems, stand for Eternity.

Man O’ War was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame and a Race, the ‘Man O’ War Stakes’ is run in his honor. In the ranking of the Top 100 U.S. Thoroughbred Champions of the 20th Century, Man O’ War remains at First Place.

PS. Do take the trouble to read the so far Nine Responcesw – as apart from anything else, it shows  horse lovers at their best. These are encapsulated below in two segments – Keep Scrolling down and add a Comment by hitting ‘Reply’

4 Responses to “Man O’ War … Greatest Race Horse Ever …”

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Actually, I read that Secretariat broke that world record at the mile and 5/8ths distance in the Belmont Stakes as it took him 1/4 mile to come to a halt to prevent him from injuring himself after the race but when you added the first furlong to his Belmont Stakes time, it was faster than Man O War’s time over the same distance despite the fact Man O War was running hard the entire distance.

Here is a link to the angle of the two horses’ strides but youll see that Secretariat’s is significantly longer than Man O war’s. By the way, the site also gives Secretariat’s fastest times over the same distances as well as Man O war’s and Man O war does not beat Secretariat at any distance. In fact, even with slowing down at the Belmont, Secretariat beat Man o War by 3 seconds. Over the same distance at the Belmont, Man O War would have been back with the other horses that finished 31 lengths behind Secretariat as Man’s best time over that distance was over 4 seconds slower.

http://www.somaxsports.com/SecretariatSA.html

Secretariat was a Great Champion who even made cover of Time Magazine. One can never tire of watching All Three of his runs for his Triple Crown. They are all Classics. In the first two he breaks last and then on his own. without any prodding from Turcotte, goes around the entire field before taking the lead at the final turn. His records still stand. Indeed one may stand for all time. In all these three triumphs, it seemed as if it were his day. He was simply unbeatable. But six of 21 starts, were just not his day.
Man O War raced more than half a century earlier. The distance for the two races of the Triple he was allowed to run, the Preakness and the Belmont, was different to the distance Secretariat ran. The super cautious Mr Riddle never did allow his great horse to give his all anytime since he was always winning handily. It is a pity the quality of the film of his races does not do him justice.
As regards the long stride theory, physical attributes are just one aspect of all true Greatness. When some one asked Napoleon what he looked for in his Marshals, his response, “Give me a Marshal who is lucky!”

Lawrence: Be kindly informed that the creator of your Secretariat web site reference page deceptively and self-servingly produced a photo of Secretariat running all out at full stride which they measured as a 110-degree stride angle and at the same time – prevaricatingly speaking (prevarication means “deceptive lying”) – compared it with a Man O’ War photo showing an 88-degree stride angle, that was taken when MOW was skipping along during an easy morning workout at Saratoga and running at about half-speed.

Anyone who is not too disinterested to undertake the effort can locate several photos of Man O’ War exhibiting an 110 degree stride when running. We also found a photo made from a newsreel still of MOW with a 114 degree stride angle. A 110 degree running stride is rather common.

Photos even exist on the Internet that show a number of horse such as Zenyatta, Native Dancer, Curlin, Ridan, Dash for Cash (who was a quarter horse), etc. each running with a 110 degree stride angle. There is even a race photo available of Raise a Native from 1963 — taken when he was a young two year old!!!! – displaying a 110 degree stride angle.

All of which not only make Secretariat’s 110 degree stride angle NOT unique but instead a rather ordinary and commonplace thing.

As for comparing MOW’s running times, he ran on slower and heavier surfaced tracks and in the individual stretch runs of 19 of his 21 races, MOW was held under a strong pull by his jockeys who often were standing semi-upright in the irons to tighten his stride and slow him down well before the finish lines. The comparative running times of the two horses simply cannot be honestly compared. Yours sincerely.

I too found a photograph of Sec that showed a stride angle of 115 degrees…It is in Secretariat by Ray Wolfe..If we want to look at stride, Dr. Pratt of MIT is where one goes, in his published paper 1978. He describes in detail how to use film to measure stride…Sec was not like any other horse with a stride of 24 to 27 feet. Not many have this length, but is one of several components needed to win tough races. Sec wasnt just another ‘good’ horse, he accomplished things only great horses accomplish.

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9 Responses to “Man O’ War … Greatest Race Horse Ever …”

RSS Feed for IMPROVEACRATI…..improve…..grow…..excel ! Comments RSS Feed

Actually, I read that Secretariat broke that world record at the mile and 5/8ths distance in the Belmont Stakes as it took him 1/4 mile to come to a halt to prevent him from injuring himself after the race but when you added the first furlong to his Belmont Stakes time, it was faster than Man O War’s time over the same distance despite the fact Man O War was running hard the entire distance.

Here is a link to the angle of the two horses’ strides but youll see that Secretariat’s is significantly longer than Man O war’s. By the way, the site also gives Secretariat’s fastest times over the same distances as well as Man O war’s and Man O war does not beat Secretariat at any distance. In fact, even with slowing down at the Belmont, Secretariat beat Man o War by 3 seconds. Over the same distance at the Belmont, Man O War would have been back with the other horses that finished 31 lengths behind Secretariat as Man’s best time over that distance was over 4 seconds slower.

http://www.somaxsports.com/SecretariatSA.html

Secretariat was a Great Champion who even made cover of Time Magazine. One can never tire of watching All Three of his runs for his Triple Crown. They are all Classics. In the first two he breaks last and then on his own. without any prodding from Turcotte, goes around the entire field before taking the lead at the final turn. His records still stand. Indeed one may stand for all time. In all these three triumphs, it seemed as if it were his day. He was simply unbeatable. But six of 21 starts, were just not his day.
Man O War raced more than half a century earlier. The distance for the two races of the Triple he was allowed to run, the Preakness and the Belmont, was different to the distance Secretariat ran. The super cautious Mr Riddle never did allow his great horse to give his all anytime since he was always winning handily. It is a pity the quality of the film of his races does not do him justice.
As regards the long stride theory, physical attributes are just one aspect of all true Greatness. When some one asked Napoleon what he looked for in his Marshals, his response, “Give me a Marshal who is lucky!”

Lawrence: Be kindly informed that the creator of your Secretariat web site reference page deceptively and self-servingly produced a photo of Secretariat running all out at full stride which they measured as a 110-degree stride angle and at the same time – prevaricatingly speaking (prevarication means “deceptive lying”) – compared it with a Man O’ War photo showing an 88-degree stride angle, that was taken when MOW was skipping along during an easy morning workout at Saratoga and running at about half-speed.

Anyone who is not too disinterested to undertake the effort can locate several photos of Man O’ War exhibiting an 110 degree stride when running. We also found a photo made from a newsreel still of MOW with a 114 degree stride angle. A 110 degree running stride is rather common.

Photos even exist on the Internet that show a number of horse such as Zenyatta, Native Dancer, Curlin, Ridan, Dash for Cash (who was a quarter horse), etc. each running with a 110 degree stride angle. There is even a race photo available of Raise a Native from 1963 — taken when he was a young two year old!!!! – displaying a 110 degree stride angle.

All of which not only make Secretariat’s 110 degree stride angle NOT unique but instead a rather ordinary and commonplace thing.

As for comparing MOW’s running times, he ran on slower and heavier surfaced tracks and in the individual stretch runs of 19 of his 21 races, MOW was held under a strong pull by his jockeys who often were standing semi-upright in the irons to tighten his stride and slow him down well before the finish lines. The comparative running times of the two horses simply cannot be honestly compared. Yours sincerely.

Thank You …

I too found a photograph of Sec that showed a stride angle of 115 degrees…It is in Secretariat by Ray Wolfe..If we want to look at stride, Dr. Pratt of MIT is where one goes, in his published paper 1978. He describes in detail how to use film to measure stride…Sec was not like any other horse with a stride of 24 to 27 feet. Not many have this length, but is one of several components needed to win tough races. Sec wasnt just another ‘good’ horse, he accomplished things only great horses accomplish.

Hi there, just wante to also point out the MOW had one of the longest strides in history. An amazing 28 feet!!!! MOW also ran in harsher racing conditions than horses do today. The track surfaces were alot different back in the day. One of the reasons there are so many great racing horses today is because MOW’s genes run through a lot of the bloodlines. I am not saying that Secretariat is not an absolutely great athelete; just wanted to get the facts straight.

THANX

Hello. I just want to update the comments posted at this site with some recently acquired information.

We’ve since located several photographs taken of Man O’ War where his stride angle measures 120 degrees.

Also – importantly – and backed up by actual measurements and facts, the phony and disgracefully prevaricating SOMAX stride angle theory is thoroughly discredited by Byron Rogers in his June 18, 2015 article.

http://performancegenetics.com/stride-angle-fiction-or-fact/

And, we have found on our own that dozens of horses have larger stride angles than Secretariat and many also have longer running strides than Secretariat.

Also, in his June 15, 2015 article about stride lengths, it is shown that Secretariat had a much shorter running stride than Man O’ War, Frankel, Black Caviar or American Pharoah.

http://performancegenetics.com/the-stride-of-a-champion-how-does-american-pharoah-compare-to-secretariat/

It’s a bit disappointing that photographic results cannot be uploaded to this site. However, the information is out there on the Internet. If we can find it then most certainly most everyone else can, too. We have no special skills or methods for cyber research and browsing. Our regards to all.

P/s – although its an entirely different topic and is best left for discussion in a different forum, Secretariat did NOT win the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. His winning margin was the same as Count Fleet’s – to wit: 25 lengths (and not

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