A true legend remembered: 100 years since birth of Man o’ War

Man O’ War before his his final race, in 1920. © Handicapper / en.wikipedia

From next month the remarkable legacy of legendary racehorse Man o’ War will be celebrated, starting with the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Thriving in the golden age of American sport, Man o’ War dominated sports headlines, often overshadowing legends such as Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Bobby Jones. His dominance of the sport was followed by a successful career at stud in Kentucky, siring Triple Crown winners and numerous other champions. His power as a sire can be traced down today to the most recent Triple Crown winner, the great American Pharoah.

The life and legacy of one of America’s original sporting heroes will be the highlight of year-long celebrations at the Kentucky Horse Park beginning on March 29, Man o’ War’s birthday.

“Man o’ War is a true American icon, born in Kentucky before going on to capture the country’s imagination by winning 20 of 21 races, smashing records and setting the bar that all other Thoroughbreds are measured by,” said Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director Laura Prewitt.

“We are excited to announce not only an amazing exhibit, but also numerous events that will be held here at his final resting place, the Kentucky Horse Park, and throughout central Kentucky.”

Entitled Man o’ War: The Mostest Horse That Ever Was, the exhibit will open on March 29 at the Kentucky Horse Park and will contain never-before-seen artifacts of his illustrious career as a racehorse, a sire, and from his life in the Bluegrass as one of the state’s most well-known and visited residents.

Man o' War in the 1920 Stuyvesant Handicap.
Man o’ War in the 1920 Stuyvesant Handicap. © Charles Christian Cook, via Wikipedia

“We took the name of the exhibit from Will Harbut, the man who took care of him most of his life here in Kentucky,” said International Museum of the Horse Director, Bill Cooke. “There are so many pieces of history with the Man o’ War exhibit that racing fans will be thrilled to see.”

The entire list of Man o’ War events will be announced on March 29, but will include a legacy mural of Man o’ War that will be painted in downtown Lexington, special Man o’ War-themed horse farm tours, a thoroughbred makeover, and more. On November 1, his day of passing in 1947, will be marked at the Park, where the great horse is buried.

“The story of Man o’ War is truly a remarkable one,” said Prewitt. “Our goal is to celebrate his life and equally encourage visitors to experience all that the Kentucky Horse Park has to offer.”

Man o’ War celebration at the Kentucky Horse Park


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