Man o’ War, (March 29, 1917 – November 1, 1947) is considered one of the greatest Thoroughbred racehorses of all time.
During his career just after World War I, he won 20 of 21 races and $249,465 in purses.
Man o’ War was sired by the prominent Fair Play. His dam, Mahubah, was sired by U.K. Triple Crown Champion Rock Sand. Man o’ War was owned and bred by August Belmont, Jr. (1851–1924), whose father’s accomplishments were recognized through the naming of the Belmont Stakes. Belmont Jr. joined the United States Army at age 65 to serve in France during World War I. While he was overseas, his wife named a new foal “Man o’ War” in honor of her husband. However, the Belmonts decided to liquidate their racing stable. At the Saratoga yearling sale in 1918, Man o’ War was sold at a final bid of $5,000 (equivalent to $78,000 in 2014) to Samuel D. Riddle, who brought him to his Glen Riddle Farm near Berlin, Maryland. The underbidder at the auction was believed to be Robert L. Gerry, Sr.
He has been the subject of four notable biographies: the first, Man o’ War, by Page Cooper and Roger Treat, was published in 1950, and is a classic of its kind; Walter Farley, author of The Black Stallion series, also wrote a slightly fictional biography of Man o’ War; in 2000, Bowen, Edward L. wrote a biography called Man o’ War: Thoroughbred Legends from Eclipse Press; and in 2006, Dorothy Ours wrote a new, extensively sourced biography entitled Man o’ War: A Legend Like Lightning.
Man o’ War was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1957. Soon after, the Man o’ War Stakes was created in his honor. In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the top 100 U.S. Thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, Man o’ War was ranked No. 1. He was also ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press as the greatest horse of the 20th century in a separate poll. He was also ranked No. 1 greatest horse in racing history by Sports Illustrated in 1992.