The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will unveil its new exhibit, Man o' War at 100, on March 29 in the Museum's Contemporary Racing Gallery. The exhibit will remain open through 2018.
The exhibit's debut coincides with the 100th anniversary of Man o' War's foaling date of March 29, 1917 at Nursery Stud in Kentucky. Man o' War at 100 examines the enduring legacy of the great thoroughbred's racing career, cultural impact and influence on the sport through his offspring. The exhibit features iconic artwork, prestigious trophies, rare photographs and multimedia and numerous other artifacts relating to Man o' War, one of the most accomplished and popular racehorses in American history.
A winner of 20 of his 21 lifetime starts, Man o' War was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1957 and was named Horse of the Century by The Blood-Horse. Owned by Samuel D. Riddle and trained by Hall of Famer Louis Feustel, Man o' War won the Keene Memorial, Youthful, Hudson, Tremont, United States Hotel, Grand Union Hotel, Hopeful and Futurity stakes as a 2-year-old in 1919. He also suffered his lone career defeat that year, finishing second to Upset in a controversial running of the Sanford Memorial Stakes at Saratoga.
As a 3-year-old in 1920, Man o' War won all 11 of his starts: the Preakness, Withers, Belmont, Stuyvesant Handicap, Dwyer, Miller, Travers, Lawrence Realization, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Potomac Handicap and Kenilworth Gold Cup. He defeated the sport's first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton, in the Kenilworth Gold Cup match race, earning a $75,000 purse and a gold cup crafted by Tiffany and Co., which now serves as the presentation trophy for the Travers Stakes. Man o' War set a record in the 1920 Travers that stood for 42 years.
Retired to stud with record career earnings of $249,465, Man o' War sired Hall of Fame members War Admiral, Crusader and Battleship. A total of 81 Hall of Fame racehorses can trace their lineage back to Man o' War. During his retirement, Man o' War was Kentucky's most prominent tourist attraction, as thousands of fans visited him at Faraway Farm each year and heard the legendary stories of his racing career, as told by his faithful groom, Will Harbut.
Man o' War died at the age of 30 on Nov. 1, 1947. The elaborate funeral service held on Nov. 4 was broadcast on NBC Radio and nine eulogies were given. He was buried at Faraway Farm and later moved to the Kentucky Horse Park, where he is immortalized under a larger-than-life-sized statue by renowned sculptor Herbert Haseltine.
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