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On this day in 1920, 100 years ago, the legendary racehorse Man o’ War raced for the last time, winning the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup, which was actually a match race against 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton, although no one used the term “Triple Crown” at that time. This was the first horserace to be filmed in its entirety. Man o’ War did not win the Triple Crown because he did not race in the Kentucky Derby.
Thoroughbred racing and the Triple Crown were not the same 100 years ago as they are today. Samuel Riddle, Man o’ War’s owner, skipped the Kentucky Derby because he felt, and he was not alone at the time, that horses should not race a mile and a quarter early in their 3-year old season.
The Blood Horse named Man o’ War as the greatest race horse of the 20th century with Secretariat at number two. I respectfully disagree, but appreciate the impact Man o’ War had on racing and on American sports in general. His funeral service in 1947 was nationally broadcast on radio. From America’s Best Racing, a picture of Man o’ War:
I just don’t think one can compare a horse foaled in 1917 when probably 5,000 foals were born to one foaled in 1970 when almost 25,000 were born. (Yes, in the context of horses “foaled” and “born” are essentially the same word.) However, Man o’ War’s impact on thoroughbred racing endures as his sire line continues to excel through horses such as Tiznow and Tiz The Law.
My father’s gas/service station was so close to Pimlico race course that one could hear the track announcer. In the mid-1990s I was part of a group that owned a racehorse and she actually won a couple of races for us. The waning of my interest in sports in general applies to horse racing as well, but I still watch the Triple Crown races and the Breeders Cup.
Is anyone reading a fan of horse racing? I would very much like to read any comments you might have.
Our move to the desert is supposed to be getting closer. Part of me will not believe it until (if?) it happens, but I think part of me is getting anxious. Without getting into disturbing detail, for a few days I have been suffering from what could be physiological manifestations of anxiety.
How can I calm down? Well, my running usually helps, at least for 4-6 hours, but so does this:
From owlshead.org a picture of a 1967 Corvette convertible with the auxiliary hardtop in place. I think that is the best automotive shape in American history, much like I think Secretariat is the greatest racehorse in American history.
I estimate the probability of my buying/building a restomod based on a ’67 Vette as very low, but not zero and not as low as the odds of winning the Mega Millions or Powerball. What is life without dreams?
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