“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lexington in Fayette County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

The Mostest Hoss

The Mostest Hoss Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 23, 2022
1. The Mostest Hoss Marker
Inscription.  This was Man o' War.

Golden red, with white star on his forehead, he was tall, deep-chested and unforgettably proud in bearing. Bred and foaled in Kentucky, he was the “complete horse”, one for whom no excuses were necessary. His reputation towers above all others in American Thoroughbred racing.

Among his accomplishments as a racehorse were winning 20 out of 21 races, all but one of them stakes, breaking seven track records and establishing five American time records, while earning $249,465, a record sum in 1920.

Among his achievements at stud were siring 64 stakes winners, nine champions, and begetting daughters that kept his name among the ten leading broodmare sires for 22 years.

Born March 29, 1917, at August Belmont II's Nursery Stud near Lexington, Kentucky, he died November 1, 1947, at the age of 30, at Sam Riddle's nearby Faraway Farm. His remains are interred beneath this monument, sculptured by Herbert Haseltine.

To see Man o' War run was an experience to remember. Always the odds-on favorite, he won on fast tracks and off tracks. Breaking away fast, he would usually move quickly to the
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front and set the pace all the way to the finish. In the eloquent words of his well-known groom Will Harbut: “He's got everything a hoss ought to have, and he's got it where a hoss ought to have it. He's the mostest hoss that ever drew breath.”

Man o' War's greatness was no matter of chance. He was the product of a carefully planned pairing of magnificent bloodlines by his owner August Belmont II. His father, Fair Play, a three-time leading sire, was a son of Hastings, a two-time leading sire, and a grandson of famous Spendthrift. All three horses were high-spirited but carried weight well. As a counter-balance, Belmont bred Fair Play to Mahubah, daughter of the calm, intelligent Rock Sand, winner of the English Triple Crown. Mrs. Belmont took special trouble with his name, wanting to call him something “full of power”. It was 1917 so he became Man o' War.

The following year, with America at war and Major Belmont serving in Europe, the farm's yearlings were auctioned at Saratoga. There the young colt caught the eye of Louis Feustel, trainer for Sam Riddle's Glen Riddle Farm. He purchased him for $5,000 – not a great sum today, but one of the highest prices at the sale. Unsure of Man o' War's potential, Riddle said: “If we can't make a racer out of him, maybe he'll make a good hunter.” That was the fall of 1918. In a year, Man o' War would prove himself a racer
Man o' War image. Click for full size.
Unknown (Public Domain), 1920
2. Man o' War
for all time.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsSports. A significant historical date for this entry is March 17, 1917.
Location. 38° 8.937′ N, 84° 31.236′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Kentucky, in Fayette County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Iron Works Parkway and Iron Works Pike. Marker is next to the Man o' War grave site and memorial in Kentucky Horse Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4089 Iron Works Pkwy, Lexington KY 40511, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. African Americans in Racing (here, next to this marker); Getting Ready (here, next to this marker); Descendants in Man o' War's Memorial Gravesite (a few steps from this marker); Isaac Burns Murphy (a few steps from this marker); The Two-Year-Old (a few steps from this marker); Will Harbut and Man o' War (a few steps from this marker); The Years at Stud (a few steps from this marker); The Three-Year-Old (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Man o' War Gravesite and Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 23, 2022
3. Man o' War Gravesite and Memorial
Credits. This page was last revised on July 30, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 30, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 103 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 30, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
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Jun. 16, 2024