Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“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)
 

Will Harbut and Man o' War

 
 
Will Harbut and Man o' War Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 23, 2022
1. Will Harbut and Man o' War Marker
Inscription.  A most unusual man became Man o' War's groom in the fall of 1930. He was Will Harbut. Man o' War was now stabled at Faraway Farm, Sam Riddle's newly built stud farm near Lexington, Kentucky. A unique relationship developed between horse and groom as Harbut proceeded to do more than all the history books to nurture the legend of Man of War's greatness. How he did it is described by Jack Clowes:

“It was love at first sight. The groom and the horse took to each other immediately, and they became inseparable friends for the rest of their lives.

“The famous horse's popularity brought visitors flocking to Faraway Farm. Will Harbut was a genial man with an inborn flair for promoting. Man o' War was a ham who delighted in being promoted. Between them they built up an act that delighted them and everybody who came to visit. Will vowed that Big Red could understand every word he spoke, and, when you saw the two in action, you could believe it.

“Will would escort groups of visitors around the barns, introducing them to the other distinguished horse on the farm. And he would show them the huge bell that was rung whenever one
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
of Man o' War's offspring won a stakes race. All this was wonderful buildup, of course. Finally, almost casually he would open Man o' War's stall. “And this y'ere hoss is Man o' War,” he would say in his soft, musical way, then, he would go through the spiel that was sheer poetry. 'He's the mostest hoss what ever drew breath, and he was foaled right over there on Major Belmont's place on March the 29th in the year 1917. Easy there, Red.'

“Big Red would pose outrageously while this was going on, lifting his noble profile and visibly enjoying the oohs and ahs of the admiring assembly. It was a wonderful show.”

The relationship flourished for 17 years. Then, Will Harbut died suddenly in the fall of 1847. Man o' War, his bouts of colic at last becoming too much for him to take, died less than a month later. The first horse in American history to be embalmed, he lay in state at the center of his stud barn in a casket lined with Riddle's black and gold silks. At the funeral, hundreds of prominent people from the horse world listened to eulogies in his memory.
One of these by Ira Drymon sums up best what people remember about Man o' War: “Almost from the beginning, Man o' War touched the imagination of men, and they saw different things in him. But one thing they will all remember is that he brought an exaltation to their hearts.”
 
Topics. This historical marker
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
is listed in this topic list: Animals. A significant historical year for this entry is 1930.
 
Location. 38° 8.931′ N, 84° 31.23′ 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 Years at Stud (a few steps from 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 Race He Lost (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); The Two-Year-Old (a few steps from this marker); Getting Ready (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 178 times since then and 29 times this year. Photo   1. 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
m=202933

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
U.S. FTC REQUIRED NOTICE: This website earns income from purchases you make after using links to Amazon.com. Thank you.
Paid Advertisements
Feb. 28, 2024