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.