It's always sad when a horse dies on the track, but at least she was doing what she loved. My condolences to those who loved her.
A great list! Thanks for compiling all of this so that people who enjoyed these horses could relive their glory days and those who may not have known about them could learn more about them!
Even though her life was short, she still ran some really great races. It's too bad that we won't get to see any foals of hers do the same. But, they did the right thing in putting her down before she suffered. R.I.P.
When looking at Man O' War's race record, I think it is more important to look at his times, what distances they were run at, and how many records he smashed that still stand, especially at a time when the tracks weren't as safe or as fast. Any good judge of horses shouldn't be looking at the number of horses a horse raced or was up against in his career, because that was not Man O' War's choosing. He couldn't control that other owners were scared to enter their horses just because they were afraid of not finishing in the money. A good judge of horses wouldn't say that the only reason he was good is because he didn't have anyone to race against. He was a great horse. We all know that Sir Barton was the first TC winner. And we also know that Man O' War whooped him, and still had to be pulled up at the end, which was the case for almost ALL of his races. As for Zenyatta, I am a huge fan, but I wouldn't rate her above Man O' War. She definitely proved herself against the guys in both BC's, but other than that, she just had an exciting racing style. I hate to say that, because I love to see mares win, but she definitely does not deserve to be ranked above Man O' War. The unfortunate thing for Zenyatta is that her owners didn't put her in the races that would have really challenged her true racing capacity. Still a great horse, though.
*kind of profit, not king of profit
icyhotboo: Belmont wasn't his owner, just his breeder. He sold all his colts soon after WWI started because he felt like horse racing wouldn't be as big as it had been in previous years and that he wouldn't make the king of profit he wanted to make. Riddle was his owner; however, he was a more new owner than most and usually let Feustel make the decisions. Like I said, John Shirreffs did the same thing with Zenyatta (waiting until she was ready instead of starting her early and possibly causing injury). You're right about Exterminator, though, and I respect your opinion. That definitely would have been a historic race no matter who won, and I wish that it had happened just as much as anyone. The main reason that the race against Sir Barton happened is because of pressure that Feustel got from fans, the press, and even Riddle, who, like I said, would have respected him even if he hadn't agreed to the match with Sir Barton.
Although the foal crop was small, you can't argue with the fact that Man O' War still holds track records today, despite not having many other colts to race against during his career.
Man O' War, for sure. When you add up all the highlights of his career (well, his whole career was pretty much a highlight), there's really no comparison. See my comment on his page for my full opinion! :)
Sorry that this is so long! I just had to get my whole opinion out there.
Although many people consider Secretariat to be a greater horse than Man O' War (because he won the Triple Crown and he's broken some of Man O' War's records), we all need to remember a few things. First, the only Triple Crown race that Man O' War didn't race in was the Kentucky Derby, and that was only because his trainer, Louis Feustel, wanted to wait until he was ready to start his 3-year-old career (which is similarly what John Shirreffs did for Zenyatta). Apparently, he was ready enough because he even ran a race in between the Preakness and the Belmont, which many trainers don't allow for their horses to do, so they can conserve their strength. Second, they didn’t have starting gates back then so the horses weren’t always level with each other. True, the starter had to wait until all the horses were standing still to raise the feeble barrier that served as a starting line, but one horse could have been a few steps closer to the barrier than another (which does make a difference because many races have been won and lost by a fraction of a second). Third, the tracks back then were all the same. They weren’t specially designed to give the horses faster times; Secretariat had that advantage when he was racing, even though the tracks still weren’t as fast in the 1970’s as they are now. But in 1919 and 1920, it was just dirt. Nothing special on the top or the bottom to help improve the times. Yet Man O’ War still holds track and race records to this day. Fourth, Man O’ War could race at all distances. He won as a sprinter and he won as a long distance runner (although here we have to give Secretariat some credit because he won at varied distances too). Fifth (sorry that I keep going on), Man O’ War only lost one race. This was because, at the start, he was getting a little hard to handle (he was always feisty before a race), and the starter started the race when he and his jockey were turned around. To his credit, Man O’ War only lost by half a length, coming in a close second. Finally, according to historical documents and biographies about Man O’ War, he was never completely let go to run at his absolute fastest. The only race in which he was allowed to completely extend himself (for part of the race) was the Lawrence Realization. And still, he was pulled up before the end so that he didn’t run himself into the ground (because Feustel said that no horse could run all out for a whole race, even though many of his fans, and even his owner, believed Man O’ War could). To add to that, a couple of his races only included one or two other horses because all the owners and trainers were so terrified of his speed (and, of course, he made them look like they were just walking around the track compared to him). When you add up all of these factors and compare them to Secretariat’s career (which was still extremely impressive), there’s really no other American thoroughbred who could ever live up to Man O’ War’s legacy.
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