“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 Race He Lost

The Race He Lost Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 23, 2022
1. The Race He Lost Marker
Inscription.  People are still surprised to hear that Man o' War actually lost a race – to a colt appropriately named Upset. It happened on August 13, 1919, in the Sanford Memorial Stakes. But this was not a case of Big Red having finally met his match on the track. It fact, Man o' War beat Upset on six other occasions in his racing carper. The reason for the one loss – though still argued about – can laid partly to circumstances and partly to the shrewd riding tactics of Upset's jockey, Willie Knapp. In the following account (reported by Horace Wade), Knapp tells how he won.

“There was nothin' wrong with Man o' War's race 'cept that I wouldn't let Johnny Loftus through on the rail. There were seven horses in the Sanford, with Man o' War held at 11 to 20 odds, but when the field bounced away, it was Golden Broom setting the pace with Upset on the outside just a neck away. Man o' War didn't make his bid 'til we hit the turn, and then he churned up along the rail 'til his head bobbed into the corner of my eye. There he was tossin' those 28-foot strides of his an' tryin' to squeeze through on the inside of Golden Broom and Upset.

“If I'd given
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
so much as an inch, the race would've been as good as over, but jockeys don't ride that way. I could have breezed past Golden Broom any time I took my feet out of the dashboard, but that would also have left Man o' War out of his mousetrap, and he'd have whooshod us in half a dozen strides.

“When Johnny Loftus, ridin' Man o' War, saw we weren't goin' to open up, there was only one thing left for hum to do. He pulled up sharply and ducked to the outside. That's what I'd been waiting for. That same moment I gunned Upset with my bat and galloped to the top in a pair of jumps. Mab o' War then had to come out around the two of us, and it cost him all o' two lengths. From there to the finish he was chargin' again like a jet plane but Upset had just enough left to push his head down in front.

“Sure I won the race all right – it was the greatest thrill of my life – but lookin' back at it now there's sure one horse which shoulda retired undefeated. Never was a colt like him: He could do anything and do it better than any horse that ever lived. If I'd moved over just an eyelash they day at Saratoga, he'd have beat me from here to Jaloppy. Sometimes I'm sorry I didn't do it.”
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsSports. A significant historical date for this entry is August 13, 1919.
Location. 38° 8.926′ N, 84° 31.237′ 
The 1919 Sanford Stakes image. Click for full size.
C.C. Cook (Public Domain), August 13, 1919
2. The 1919 Sanford Stakes
The upset by Upset was the only blemish on Man o' War's 21-race career.
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 at the Man o' War gravesite 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. The Three-Year-Old (here, next to this marker); The Years at Stud (here, next to this marker); The Two-Year-Old (a few steps from this marker); Will Harbut and Man o' War (a few steps from this marker); Getting Ready (a few steps from this marker); African Americans in Racing (a few steps from this marker); The Mostest Hoss (a few steps from this marker); Descendants in Man o' War's Memorial Gravesite (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.
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 90 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 30, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide photo of marker and surrounding area in context. • Can you help?

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
U.S. FTC REQUIRED NOTICE: This website earns income from qualified purchases you make on Thank you.
Paid Advertisements

Dec. 5, 2023