Man o’ War has been acclaimed as the greatest racehorse of all time, and nearly three-quarters of a century after his death his legend continues to grow. In Man o’ War, veteran racing historian Edward L. Bowen recounts the life and times of “Big Red.”
Bowen traces not only Man o’ War’s life but also those of the people connected to him—his breeder, August Belmont II; his trainer, Louis Feustel; and his famed owner, Samuel D. Riddle—weaving their stories into that of the great horse.
Man o’ War became the greatest sports hero of his era, mentioned with the same reverence as Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, and Red Grange. Man o’ War’s legend began at age two when he won nine of ten starts. Due to his great popularity, his only loss was surrounded by rumor and intrigue. Man o’ War never knew defeat again. He dominated his rivals at every turn, even winning one race by a recorded 100 lengths.
Retired to stud in Kentucky, Man o’ War welcomed tens of thousands of fans to Faraway Farms where faithful groom Will Harbut would regale visitors with tales of Man o’ War’s exploits. The sons and daughters of Man o’ War—including Triple Crown winner War Admiral—and their descendants carry on his legend in the Thoroughbred breed today.
This edition includes a new afterword by the author.
Edward L. Bowen is the author of more than twenty books on Thoroughbred racing history. He was a staff member of the weekly trade publication The Blood Horse for some thirty years, including seventeen as managing editor and five as editor in chief. He was also editor of The Canadian Horse for two years. Bowen served as president of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation from 1994 through 2018. He has received numerous awards within the world of Thoroughbred sports journalism and authorship, including an Eclipse Award for magazine writing, the Charles Engelhard Award from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Old Hilltop Award from Pimlico Race Course, the Walter Haight Award from the National Turf Writers Association, and the gold medal designation in Foreword’s sports category.
Man o’ War
Introduction A Confluence of Destinies6
Chapter 1The Horse in a Gothic Arch12
Chapter 2A Passing of Flaming Batons34
Chapter 3Timpani and Trumpets56
Chapter 4What a Marvel82
Chapter 5Keeper of the Legend122
EpilogueFor the Ages142
AfterwordA Century of Legends: Some XXX
Burnished, Some Refuted
“Man o’ War wins again! The dramatic brilliance of the Horse of the Century comes alive in the spell-binding words of the gifted Ed Bowen.”
–Daily Racing Form