Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sir Barton: Four-Year-Old Season

  The year after effortlessly winning the Triple Crown(the three races weren't actually called that until the 1930s), Sir Barton returned to the racetrack, running his first four-year-old race at the Havre de Grace track. He placed fourth behind Billy Kelly. Then he returned victorious in the next handicap race. Next, in the Marathon Handicap, Barton was forced wide and ended up placing third behind Wildair.

 He then went on to win the Rennert Handicap at Pimlico by one length, despite the fact that he carried 132 pounds. After that, Barton, carrying 129 pounds, defeated Exterminator, an older champion. Then he easily won the Dominion Handicap. He then ran mile and three-sixteenths in 1:55 3/5, setting a new American. Barton was irrefutably a champion when racing against older horses, but a younger horse was beginning to take his place as champion: Man o' War.

 Man o' War was defeating any horse at any track, and almost everybody was afraid to race their horses against him. It was beginning to get hard to find him competition. Then a plan was preposed: Man o' War and Sir Barton, the two great horses of the time, would match race in the Kenilworth Gold Cup in Canada.
Sir Barton running in one of his races(photo credit).

 Man o' War, who was carrying six less pounds than Barton, easily beat Barton by seven lengths, breaking the track record at the same time. After that, things began to look down for poor Barton. He lost the Laurels Stakes, ran third behind Mad Hatter and Billy Kelly in Pimlico's Fall Serial #2, and finished second behind Billy Kelly in Pimlico's Fall Serial #3. He was retired to stud at Audley Farm, Virginia after that.

 Then, in 1933, he was mysteriously sold U.S. Remount Station in Front Royal, Virginia. He later ended up in Robinson, Nebraska, as a stud horse with the meager fee of $10. J.R. Hylton, owner of a few racehorses, bought the old horse and cared for him until he passed away on October 30, 1937. He was buried near his paddock, with a simple sandstone block as a headstone. Later, in 1968, he was moved to Washington Park in Douglas, where he still lies today, a generic fiberglass horse statue marking the site.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sir Barton: Three-Year-old Season

 In 1919, John Ross entered Sir Barton in the Kentucky Derby, not expecting him to win. In fact, he planned that Barton would actually lose so that the favored Billy Kelly would win. Barton's primary purpose was to take an early lead, tiring out fast Eternal and Under Fire so that Billy Kelly could take the lead and win.

 However, the plan backfired. Billy Kelly failed to catch Sir Barton on the homestretch, and placed second, five lengths behind his stablemate. Eternal had finished tenth.

 Then came the Preakness, only four days after the Derby. Sir Barton easily won by by four lengths, defeating both Eternal and Dunboyne, the previous year's Futurity Stakes winner.

 After that, Barton once more defeated Eternal, this time in the Withers Stakes on May 24.

Sir Barton after winning a race(click here for photo credit)
 Next, he won the Belmont Stakes, effortlessly defeating the American time for a mile and three-sixteenths(the Belmont Stakes was only that long back then) with his time of 2:17 2/5. At the time, the three races(the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes) were not known as the Triple Crown. They were officially given that title in the 1930s. Even so, Sir Barton is still considered the first Triple Crown winner.

 Sir Barton lost for the first time since his streak began in the Dwyer Stakes. Purchase, the first winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, defeated him. Billy Kelly, however, was becoming a top sprinter, and defeated Barton five times that season, including in the six furlong sprint at Havre de Grace. Barton avenged his defeat in the Potomac Handicap, despite his 132 pound burden.

 He then finished second to The Porter, and third in the Havre de Grace Handicap, with Cudgel and Exterminator in front of him. In the Maryland Handicap, he beat the older Mad Hatter by two lengths. Mad Hatter then came back and defeated Barton in the next race, the Pimlico Autumn Handicap.

 Barton made a come-back when he won the other two races in the Pimlico fall serial, defeating bother The Porter and Billy Kelly. With the three-year-old record of eight wins and thirteen starts, Barton received Horse of the Year honors

Sir Barton: Two-Year-Old Season

 During the spring of 1916, Sir Barton, a chestnut colt with a blaze on his face, was born on John Madden's Hamburg Place in Lexington, Kentucky. His sire was Star Shoot,  son of the English Triple Crown winner Isinglass, and his dam, Lady Sterling, daughter of a stallion known as Hanover.

 Sir Barton's two-year-old season was unsuccessful. After not placing in the Tremont Stakes, the Flash Stakes, the U.S Hotel Stakes, and the Sanford Memorial Stakes, he was sold to Canadian Naval Commander John Ross for $10,000. Although Ross, who had recently inherited $12 million dollars from James Ross, his father, was new to thoroughbred racing, he owned several successful horses, including 1918's top two-year-old, Billy Kelly.

 Sir Barton's trainer then became Harvey Bedwell, a cowpuncher from Oregon who had worked with horses since he was thirteen.

 Sir Barton had an unpleasant disposition, disliking everybody except for his groom, Toots Thompson. Many people speculate that the reason for his bad temper was his hoof problems. Sir Barton's hooves were soft and shelly, and it pained him every time he ran, especially when his shoes fell off during a race, which they often did. Because of this, Bedwell inserted piano felt between Barton's shoe and hoof.

 Furthermore, Barton hated workouts. He only pushed himself when other horses ran with him, so Bedwell was forced to tire several horses just to give Barton a workout.

"To get him fit you have to half kill him with work - and a lot of other horses as well," said Bedwell. Ross's son describes the horse as "an irascible, exasperating creature." Barton's temperent certainly didn't make him well liked.

 Barton, ridden by Earl Sande for the first time, did not place in Hope Stakes. It was only to be expected. His next race, however, had a surprising outcome: he finished second behind Dunboyne. Nobody had expected Barton to even place. Even so, the accomplishment was simply dismissed as a stroke of luck, and no expected Barton to accomplish what would in his three-year-old season.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Citation: Five and Six-Year-Old Season

  After a one year break from racing, Citation returned to the racetrack in 1950 to win a six furlong(1320 yards) race at Santa Anita. In his next race, he met his rival, Noor. In every race the two entered, world records were broken and the two vied against each other to come out victorious. One of the greatest rivalries in racing history had begun.

 In the Golden Gate Mile, Citation defeated Noor, setting a new world record of 1:33 3/5, a record that stood until 1966. However,  Noor, who was carrying 110 pounds, ran the Santa Anita Handicap in world record time, defeating Citation, who carried 132 pounds. He once again defeated Citation in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap, running a 2:52 4/5 two and three-quarters mile, a record that still stands today. Citation raced him two more times that season in the Forty-Niners Handicap and the Golden Gate Handicap. Both times he lost to Noor, who ran the tracks in world record time.  It seemed as if Big Cy was becoming a forgotten has-been.

 By the end of the season, Citation had won two races, place second to Noor six times, and second to Roman Inn once.

 If that season was bad, then his next season was worse by far. Warren Wright's(owner) dying wish had been that Citation would become the first millionaire equine, so he would not be retired before Wright's dream came true.

  Citation came third in his next two races, then ran out of money for the first time in his career after losing the Hollywood Premiere Handicap. His prospect of failing seemed further emphasized when he lost the Argonaut Handicap. However, just when things were beginning to look impossible, everyone's hopes were buoyed by Citation's successful runs in the Century Handicap and the American Handicap. Suddenly, things didn't seem so impossible.

Citation, the great racehorse(photo credit).
 In his next race, the final of his career, Citation raced against Bewitch, the first horse to hand him defeat, in the Hollywood Gold Cup. He won, becoming the first equine millionaire, and Bewitch earned $462,605, more than any other mare.

 Afterwards, Citation, along with Coaltown and Bewitch, retired to Calumet farms. Not only was Citation a Triple Crown winner, Horse of the Year, and the richest equine, but he also had the honor of being the first equine to be painted by Richard Reeves. He sired Preakness winner Fabius and champion filly Silver Spoon, to name a few. Then, on August 8, 1970, Citation, the great champion, passed away. He was buried next to his sire and dam, Bull Lea and  Hydroplane II.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Citation: Three-Year-Old Season

  In 1948, Citation began his three-year-old season in a six furlong(1320 yards) race, beating an older horse from his home stable, Armed, the previous Horse of the Year, by one length. The two were next entered in the Seminole Handicap, and Citation once again defeated the more experienced horse. People couldn't believe that a young would defeat older horses so early in the season.

 Next, Citation won both the Everglades Stakes and the Flamingo Stakes. However, when his regular rider, Al Snider,  was killed in a fishing accident and Eddie Arcaro took his place, Citation lost for the second time. The Chesapeake Trial Stake's track was slick and muddy, so Arcaro was afraid to push the young horse too hard. Consequently, Citation placed second to a horse known as Saggy. Later, in the Chesapeake Stakes, Citation came back for revenge, and Saggy placed eleventh.

 Then came the Kentucky Derby. Almost everyone expected one of the horses from Citation's stable,  Calumet, to win, but the question was, which one? Many believed that Coaltown would, and Citation would not come out victorious. They would soon see for themselves how wrong they really were.

 Right out of the gates, Coaltown, Citation's rival, took the lead. It wasn't until the half mile point, when  Coaltown was leading by six lengths, did Citation make his move, easily passing his rival for a win of three and half lengths.

 In the Preakness Stakes, Citation's win was even more amazing than the last. He led from starting to finish, winning by five and a half lengths, with Vulcan's Forge second. Then Big Cy ran in the Jersey Stakes, easily winning by eleven lengths, which, to many people's surprise, did not scare off competition for the Belmont.

 At that time, everyone knew that Citation had speed, but his stamina was questionable. No one expected a 1948 Triple Crown winner. After all, many horses win both the Derby and the Preakness but fail to grab the final jewel of the Crown: the Belmont Stakes, a grueling, mile and a half race that requires a special combination of both speed and stamina, something people thought Citation lacked. Even so, surprises do happen, and Big Cy was ready to surprise.

 Everyone's expectations faded in nothingness as Citation made his move, winning by eight lengths and tying Count Fleet's record of 2:28 1/5. Citation had effortlessly snatched the Triple Crown!

 Citation later injured his hip in the Chicago Stars and Stripes Handicap, but he returned to the racetracks just two weeks later in top form, winning both the American Derby and the Sysonby Mile. Even though some still believed that he lacked stamina, their doubts were clashed a few weeks later when Citation won the two mile long Jockey Club Gold Cup by seventh lengths. He made 1947 Preakness winner Phalanx and champion mare Conniver look like amateurs! He then won the mile and five sixteenths Empire Gold Cup.

 No one dared to race Citation in the Pimlico Special, so Citation automatically took the prize money. Then he headed west, winning two races, including the Tanforan Handicap in track record time.

 By the end of the season, Citation had won 27 races out of 29 lifetime starts, and had earned $865,150, as well as the 1948 Horse of the Year award. What a horse!

 Unfortunately, he developed osselet, and type of osteo-arthritis that effects the fetlock. Because of that, he had to sit out one season, giving Coaltown the 1949 Horse of the Year award.

Citation: Two-Year-Old Season

On April 11, 1945, a bay colt was born at Warren Wright's Calumet Farm, the most successful thoroughbred stable in American history. His sire is Bull Lea, who had raced under Calumet's blue and red colors before becoming a stud horse, and his dam is Hydroplane II, daughter of the English champion Hyperion.

 Two years later, Citation began his racing career at the time when most horses at the track came from his home stable, Calumet Farms. Some of these horses included the filly Bewitch, Citation, and his rival Coaltown, who would compete against Citation for championship honors.

A picture of Citation(click here for original).
 On April 22, he won a race for two-year-olds, called a maiden race, by one length. Then he went on to break Arlington Park's track record for five furlongs(1,100 yards) and to win his first stake race, the Washington Park's Elementary Stakes. He only lost one race that season. In the Washington Park Futurity, his stablemate Bewitch, who had not lost a race that season, beat him, setting the new track record of 1:10 2/5. Some speculate that Citation had held back to prevent breaking Bewitch's streak, since he certainly wasn't pushing himself to the limits. Nobody really knows.

 Next he won the 1947 Futurity Trial Stakes, and then gave Bewitch her first defeat in the Belmont Futurity. After that, he won his final race of the season, the Pimlico Futurity, and was rewarded divisional championship honors. Of the nine races he had won that year, he had only lost one race, which is pretty good.

 But no one knew how great he really would become.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Man o' War: His Retirement and Death

When his racing career was finished, Man o' War returned to Glen Riddle Farm for the winter. Then, on January 28, 1921, he was ridden under his racing silks in Lexington, Kentucky. His first stud season was at Hinata Farm. Next he moved to Faraway Farms, where he met his old stablemate, Golden Broom. He sired many 386 foals, including Seabiscuit and War Admiral.

 He was so famous that thousands of people came to see him in his retirement. In fact, he was one of the biggest tourist attractions in the U.S.

 On November 1, 1947, Man o' War died at age 30. He had been sick for months, thrashing around in his stall until he finally died. After his death, his body was embalmed, and he was lowered into a oak casket with the aid of a homemade sling.

 An estimated 2000 people came to his funeral on November 4, 1947. Sixteen pin oak trees were planted around the grave, symbolizing his sixteen years at stud, and the thirty hornbeam trees that lined the path to his grave in his paddock at Faraway Farms marked his age. Samuel Riddle was not present, but he sent yellow and white carnations to lay on the grave. The event was so big that nine eulogies were read from, and it was broadcasted on the radio so that people all over the country would hear of the death of the great horse.

  Every racetrack throughout the country held a moments silence the time of the funeral, 3 PM, to honor the mighty horse.

Man o' War's gravesite is still marked by a
statue in the Kentucky Horse Park(click here for original photo).
 A few days after the funeral, he was moved to Kentucky Horse Park, where all could see his gravesite, which was marked by a statue.

 Even today, people still honor this great horse. His statue still marks his gravesite, and there is even a race named for him.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Man o' War: Lawrence Realization, Jockey Club Stakes, Potomac Handicap, and Kenilworth Park Gold Cup

 Man o' War, the legendary racehorse that no one dared to race, was down to the last four races of his career: the Lawrence Realization, the Jockey Club Stakes, the Potomac Handicap, and the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup. After those races, he would be retired to stud in hopes that he would pass his talent to his offspring. 

 However, by the time Big Red returned to Belmont Park for the Lawrence Realization, no one wanted to race their horses against him. Only the horse named Hoodwink stood forward to accept the challenge. Hoodwink's owner openly admitted that he was running for the second place prize, as Hoodwink was clearly out of Man o' War's league. Because of this, Man o' War was being clocked throughout the race to see if he could beat the old record of 2:45 for a mile and five eighths. And beat he did.

 A new world record of 2:40 4/5 for a mile and five eighths was set by Big Red. Not only did he beat the world record, but he also took an early lead, flying down the track and winning by an incredible 100, a feat that has not been repeated since.

 The next week, he moved on to the Jockey Club Stakes, beating the American record for one and a half miles with a time of 2:28 4/5. On the other hand, his run in the Potomac Handicap brought trouble. While running, he bumped himself, bowing a tendon. Even so, he manage to defeat Wildair, Blazes, and Derby winner Paul Jones, as well as break the track record with a time of 1:44 4/5.

 Man o' War's trainer tried to keep Big Red fit enough to run one last race: the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup. Triple Crown winner Sir Barton, the only horse racing against Man o' War in the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup, had been having a fabulous handicap year even as Man o' War had been breaking records left and right. 

 Sir Barton was weighted with 126 pounds, and Man o' War 120 pounds. Right out the Gates, Man o' War took the lead and defeated Sir Barton by seven lengths and broke the track with the time of 2:03.

Man o' War winning the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup(click here for original
 After the race, people discovered that Sir Barton had been suffering from sore feet and that Man o' War's stirrup had been cut before the race, though the job had been poorly done and the stirrup held. Rumors had it that Willis Sharpe Kilmer was offended that his horse Exterminator had not been invited to the race, but no one knows what really happened. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Man o' War: Stuyvesant Handicap, Dwyer Stakes, Miller Stakes, and Travers Stakes

By late June, Man o' War, also known as Big Red, was making a name for himself as an unbeatable. racehorse. Hardly anybody was daring enough to race him, and many scratched their horses from a race they knew he would be in. Man o' War had became something of an invincible legend.

Man o' War winning the Stuyvesant. (see here for original)
 Next up his list of races was the Stuyvesant Handicap. Only one horse raced against him---Yellowhand. Even though Man o' War was carrying 135 pounds, 32 pounds more than his opponent, he easily beat Yellowhand, winning by 8 lengths. He truly was invincible.

 Then he moved on to the Dwyer Stakes, a 1 1/8 mile track at Aqueduct. Once again, only one horse opposed: John P Grier. For the better part of a mile, the two horses battled neck and neck for first place, Man o' War finally pulling ahead to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Not only had he won, he had also broken another world record with a quick time of 1:49 1/5.

 After that came the Miller Stakes and the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Man o' War won both quite easily, and in the Travers Upset came second and John P Grier, who an uncommonly bad race,  finished third. Also he equaled the Travers' track record of 2:04 4/5.

 Man o' War had only four races remaining: the Lawrence Realization, the Jockey Club Stakes, the Potomac Handicap, and the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup. Little did fans know that one of the greatest races in history was about to take place, and that Big Red would be part of it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Man o' War: Preakness Stakes, Withers Stakes, and Belmont Stakes

By the time the Kentucky Derby of 1920 rolled along, Man o' War was acknowledged as a fierce competitor, and everyone was afraid to race their own horses against the Big Red, as he was known. However, Big Red did not run in the Kentucky Derby. Samuel Riddle, his owner, believed that May was too early for three-year-old horses to race. Consequently, seventeen horses ran the Derby in his absence.

 The next week, only a handful of Derby entrants had the guts to run against Big Red in the Preakness at Pimlico Park in Baltimore. It would be 1 3/16 miles long, quite a distance for young horses. Nevertheless, Big Red took and early lead, fending Upset off in the homestretch and winning by 1 1/2 lengths. He ran a fast time of 1:51.3 seconds.

 Next came the Withers Stakes. Only two horses raced against Man o' War, who was only carrying 118  pounds in the mile long race. He won easily, beating the second-placer, Wildair, by two lengths, and setting a new American record of 1:35 4/5.

 Then he ran in the Belmont Stakes(1 3/8 miles), which was pretty much a match race between him and Donnacona, the only horse who accepted the challenge. Both horses carried 126 pounds. Even so, Big Red easily drew away from Donnacona, breaking Sir Barton's American record by over three seconds with a time of 2:14 1/5. This made his time a new world record! In addition, he beat Donnacona by 20 lengths!

 Undoubtedly, Man o' War was the greatest racehorse of his time. Every racing fan had no doubt that he would succeed in his next race, the Stuyvesant Handicap. They would just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to Treat Hoof Infections Naturally

Everyone knows how important a hoof is to a horse---no hoof, no horse. Horses have used hooves in self-defense and to protect the soft, frog inside of the wall. But what if a hoof becomes so infected that your veterinarian suggests amputation? What do you do then?

 This same exact thing happened to a show horse in 2000. Even though the pastern and coronet band were swollen to the size of a cantaloupe, the owner did not decide to amputate, as the vet had suggested. Instead, he used essentials oils to relieve the swelling. It worked miracles.

Day 1:
 According to the Essential Oils Desk Reference, you should cleanse the wound with Thieves oil blend and helichrysum(a type a plant belonging to the daisy family), then bandage it. When this had been done to the show horse I have previously mentioned, the pain was alleviated enough for the horse to stand on the foot.

Day 2:
 By the next day, the swelling in the show horse's hoof had gone down by 50%. They(the owners) once more cleansed the wound with Thieves and helichrysum before filling it with Animal Scents Ointment.

Day 3-14
 For the next twelve days, the wound was cleansed morning and night with Thieves, Melrose, and helichrysum, then filled with Animal Scents Ointment.

 Today, the horse walks as well as it used to, displaying no discomfort. At first, the pastern was still slightly swollen, but it was healed completely in within eight months, and only a small scar remains on the pastern.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Akhal-Teke Horse

When horse lovers hear someone mention the breed Akhal-Teke, they imagine a long, skinny horse with gleaming coat and thin neck supporting a small head. This beautiful, hotblooded, desert horse is popular today in all types of competitive events.

Historians claim that the Akhal-Teke is at least 3,000 years old, and is related to the Turkmene, a horse that has existed since 2400 B.C.

Akhal-Tekes shine like gold because their hair has very little
opaqueness in it. Instead, the opaque core is replaced with
transparent medulla, which refracts light, giving the horse a shiny appearance.(for original picture, see
Horse Nation)
Around the beginning of the sixth century AD, a nomadic Turkish tribe found the Teke and adopted it into their tribe, treating the horse as part of the family and even letting them sleep alongside the tribesmen in a tent. Weather was harsh, fluctuating from bitter cold to sweltering heat. Even so, the hardy horses survived, and even thrived, on the grain and mutton fat cakes they were fed.
In 1881, when Turkmenistan became part of the Russian Empire, the Russians called the horses Argamaks, meaning "cherished Asian horses." They later renamed them "Akhal Teke" after the Teke Turkmen who lived near the Akhal oasis.

 They tried crossbreeding the Akhal-Teke with Thoroughbreds in hopes of improving the breed, but with the added Thoroughbred blood, the once hardy horse could not withstand the harsh desert climate.
Akhal-Tekes are also recognized by their narrow frame
and cat-like eyes.
Consequently, in 1973, authorities decided that all foals would have to be pureblooded Akhal-Tekes in order to be allowed in the studbook. Any stallion not producing pureblooded offspring is scratched from the studbook. 

 Akhal-Tekes are use in almost every horse competition, including endurance racing, show jumping, dressage, and flat racing. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Arabian Horse

Arabians are probably the most popular horses in today's world. Because of there spirit, endurance, and athleticism, they excel in all sports, including jumping, dressage, and endurance racing.

 An Arabian's most distinctive features are its arched neck, dished face, high-set tail, and large nostrils on a small muzzle. Also unique to the breed is that it has five lumbar vertebrae, seventeen ribs, and sixteen tailbones, while other horses have eighteen ribs, six lumbar vertebrae, and eighteen tailbones. Furthermore, every Arabian has dark skin, which protected them from the blazing Middle Eastern sun.

 Arabians have lived with the Arabian Peninsula's nomadic tribesmen, the Bedouins, for thousands of years. The Bedouins were so fond of their horses that they even brought them inside their tents. Even Mohammed used the hardy, loyal horses as a way to spread the word of Islam.

For original photo,  click here
 However, it wasn't until the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, when the Turkish government sent forty-five to the event, that the Arabian finally became popular in America. At the time, a businessman by the name Peter Bradley had bought a lot of them. Thirteen years later, he funded an expedition for cartoonist Homer Davenport to buy more of the treasured horses and send them to America. Two years after that, Davenport, along with Arabian enthusiasts, founded the Arabian Horse Registry of America.

Then, in 1950, the International Arabian Horse Association was finally formed. It offered shows specifically for registered Arabians and half-Arabians. Finally, the two organizations(Arabian Horse Registry and the International Arabian Horse Association) united as the Arabian Horse Association.

Arabians are very spirited horses.(Click here for original photo)
   Arabians perform well in almost every event, both Western and English. Because of this, Arabians have been crossbred with other breeds to improve the breed and create good sport horses. Nowadays, most saddle horses can be traced to the Arabian.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Man o' War: Two-year-old Season

After his win of six lengths in his first race, held at Belmont Park, Man o' War moved on to win five other stake races. They include the Keene Stakes at Belmont Park; the Youthful Stakes at Jamaica Park, the Hudson Stakes at Aqueduct Park; the Tremont Stakes at Aqueduct Park; and the US Hotel Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse(click here for race record).

 However, he did not perform too well in his next race, which was to be at Saratoga.

 Often known as "Graveyard of Champions", many great racehorses have been defeated there, including Man o' War. That race of August 13, 1919, is most remembered by his fans because it is the only race that he had lost.

  Just before the rope was raised(they didn't have starting gates back then), Man O' War backed up. Because of his slow start, he ended up losing, but only by the meager distance of half a length! I find that really incredible.

Man o' War(left) ironically lost to a horse known as Upset,
the only loss of his career. 

 Ironically, his defeater's name was Upset. Upset's victory gave the word "upset", which at the time meant "to capsize", a new, more figurative meaning: an unexpected outcome. Sports commentators began using the phrase "pulled an Upset" whenever the outcome of a sport event was unexpected.

 Despite his single loss, Man o' War remained a favorite among racing fans, and won all the other races he ran that year, giving him a victory of 9 out of 10 races.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Man o' War: His First Race

Man o' War was an incredible racehorse. Not only was he a good athlete, but he also had a fiery temper, which made him extremely difficult to break. In fact, ex-jockey Harry Vitotoe was bucked off many times before Man o' War was calm enough to ride.
"He fought like a tiger," his owner, Samuel Riddles remarks about Man o' War's breaking, "He screamed with rage, and fought us so hard that it took several days before he could be handled with safety."
Man o' War even threw his jockey, Johnny Loftus, 40 feet the first time Johnny rode him, and escaped at Saratoga Springs another time, taking 15 minutes to catch. He certainly was spirited.

 The Riddle and Jefford families had shared a training track nearby their farms in Maryland at the time. Just before Man o' War's first racing season, he and the Jefford's most promising colt raced each other on that track in preparation for the racing season, which had been done every between the each family's most promising two-year-olds. Being chunkier, Man o' War had lost. Yet he performed much better in his first official race.

 Ironically, it took place at Belmont Park, which was owned by his breeder. Man o' War had an amazing start, and won by six lengths, though Johnny Loftus had kept the rein tight.
"He made half-a-dozen high-class youngsters look like $200 horses," says a newspaper editor. His race was truly remarkable for an unseasoned horse, but many even more remarkable races lied ahead of him.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Paso Fino

Click here for original photo.
The Paso Fino(Paso Fino means "fine step") is an incredible horse. They are definitely unique because of their special, natural gaits, and they do have a long history. In fact, their ancestors date back to the early 1500s.

 Back in the 1500s, when people from almost every country began to settle the New World, Spanish conquistadors brought horses with them to Santo Domingo(which is in the Dominican Republic). The horses  that came with them include Barbs, Andalusians, and the now extinct Spanish Jennet. The Paso Fino's unique gait, a key trait in the breed, is believed to have come from the Jennets.

  Only in the 1940s did Americans finally begin to import the unique horse from Columbia and Puerto Rican. After years of selectively breeding the finest horses in the group, a new, even better horse was created: the American Paso Fino.

 Today, the Paso Fino is recognized for its smooth gait and for how surefooted it is. Because of these traits, in conjunction with its stamina, speed, and agility, it also excels in endurance competitions, barrel racing, and pole bending. Furthermore, it has a wonderful gait unique to its breed.

 In shows, riders must ride their horses on long, wooden boards known as sounding boards. The judges listen carefully for the breed's hallmark, which is a rhythmic, four-beat gait, and judge the horses and riders by how evenly spaced the beats are.

 There are three versions of the Paso Fino's gait. The slowest, known as the Classic Fino, includes a short stride and rapid footfalls. The Paso Corto is unhurried involves slightly longer strides. Finally, the fastest gait, Paso Largo, has long strides and is not very collected.

Click here for original photo.
 However, the most prominent trait, in my opinion, is temperament. The Paso Fino is a people loving horse, full of spirit and eager to please. Even when riding the horse, you will find that it is reliable, consistent, and responsive to your commands. That is what makes a great horse, not anything else.

Paso Finos are all-round horses, great for competitions or just for riding. They are friendly and great around all people.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Man o' War: His Early Life

Man o' War, like Secretariat, is probably one of the greatest racehorses that ever set foot on the racetrack. Out of 21 races, he won 20, and holds three world records, two American records, and three track records. That means he holds more records than Secretariat! No wonder he is often considered the racehorse of the century. 

 On March 29, 1917, the gangly Man o' War was foaled by Muhubah. His sire was named Fair Play. Right from the day he was born, his breeder, August Belmont Jr., knew that the foal had inherited his grandsire's (named Hasting) spirit. Also included in the mix was just enough calmness from Muhubah's  sire, Rock Sand, to balance his temperament. August Belmont Jr. believed the horse was special.

Man o' War as a young foal.(click here for original site)

Yet he was forced to sell the special colt. Not long after Man o' War was born, Belmont Jr. was recruited to serve his country during World War I, and had to sell all his new foals at the Saratoga Yearling sale. He kept the brood mares to continue the breeding operation, but Man o'  War, named by his wife, had to go. Man o' War was sold to Samuel Riddle for $5000, about half of what the horses he would later beat had been sold for.

 At the time, no one expected the colt to amount to anything. But he did. And in the process he became one of the greatest racehorses the world has ever known.