Man o’ War

Man o´ War (b. 1917) never captured the Triple Crown title, but he still belongs on this site since he won both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1920, and most experts agree that he likely would have won the Kentucky Derby to that year, if only he had been allowed to participate. His owner Samuel D. Riddle disliked racing in Kentucky and also voiced concern that the Kentucky Derby was too long for his young horse. This decision might seem odd today, but we need to remember that the concept of the Triple Crown of the United States thoroughbred racing wasn´t firmly established until Gallant Fox won the Preakness, Belmont and Kentucky races in 1930.

Man o´ War was the grandson of Rock Sand, who had captured the British Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing back in 1903.

Man o War

Basic info about Man o´ War

Life span: 1917-1947

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Breeder: August Belmont, Jr.

Owner: Samuel D. Riddle

Trainer: Louis Feustel

Record: 21: 20–1–0

Because of this chestnut color, he was nicknamed Big Red.


Man o´ War was bred by August Belmont, Jr. of the Belmont Stakes Belmonts. The horse was born during World War I, when Belmont, Jr. was stationed with the army in France. To honour her husband, his wife named the horse Man o´ War.

When Belmont, Jr. decided to give up horse breeding and racing, Man o´ War was purchased at auction by Samuel D. Riddle for $5,000.

Pedigree of Man o’ War

Fair Play
Hastings Spendthrift
Fairy Gold Bend Or
Dame Masham
Rock Sand (GB)
Triple crown winner
Merry Token Merry Hampton

Racing career

Man o´ War entered 21 races and won 20 of them. He lost his last race due to a very bad start, as the lap was initiated when Man o´ War was facing the wrong way. Despite this, he managed to do a remarkable catch-up and placed second, after the winner Upset.

Examples of prestigious races won by Man o´ War:

  • Tremont Stakes (1919)
  • Grand Union Hotel Stakes (1919)
  • United States Hotel Stakes (1919)
  • Hopeful Stakes (1919)
  • Futurity Stakes (1919)
  • Youthful Stakes (1919)
  • Travers Stakes (1920)
  • Jockey Club Gold Cup (1920)
  • Lawrence Realization Stakes (1920)
  • Stuyvesant Handicap (1920)
  • Miller Stakes (1920)
  • Withers Stakes (1920)
  • Potomac Handicap (1920)
  • Dwyer Stakes (1920)
  • Preakness Stakes (1920)
  • Belmont Stakes (1920)

Man o´ War won close to $249,465 in prize money during his racing career.

Stud career

Man o´ War lived until 1947 and thus had plenty time to devote to his impressive stud career after retiring from the race track. He sired a total of 64 stake winners and champions.