Greatest Horse “Match Race” of All Time

Back in October 1920 one of the most anticipated and hotly contested horse races in the world took place at Kenilworth Race Track (Windsor Ontario). It was the first horse race ever filmed in its entirety, and had a purse of $75,000 (about $747,000 in 2008 dollars).

Public Domain Photo

Public Domain Photo

A match race between two of the most famous and successful horses of the time.

Sir Barton was owned by Commander J.K.L. Ross of Montreal.

 

 

 

Public Domain Photo

Public Domain Photo

Sir Barton was horse racing’s first triple crown winner, capturing the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes in 1919.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Domain Photo

Public Domain Photo

Man o’ War was one of the most dominating and impressive horses of all time, Man o’ War is considered by many to be the greatest Thoroughbred racehorse of all time. In 21 career races, Man o’ War won 20 of them. The only one he lost was in 1919, was under dubious circumstances.

 

 

 

 

The race at Kenilworth Park was filmed. They had a capacity crowd. Reports at the time put attendance at more than 20,000.

The final start of Man o’ War’s career came in Windsor Ontario Canada in the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup (the first race to be filmed in its entirety). For this 1¼-mile match race, Man o’ War ran against Sir Barton but easily drew away in the first furlong and was slowed to win by seven lengths. Over his two-year career, Man o’ War won 20 of 21 races, setting three world records, two American records and three track records.

The Kenilworth Park Gold Cup was in actuality a “match race” between Sir Barton and Man o’ War. Another champion horse named Exterminator, was invited to compete in the race, since Canada did not allow match races. Due to the owners of the three not coming to a compromise on the conditions of the race, Exterminator was scratched, and in fact raced that same day on a different track.

Man O’ War – Only Loss

In the early 1900s, there were no starting gates. Horses circled around and then lined up behind a piece of webbing known as the barrier and were sent away when it was raised. In Man o’ War’s only loss, the Sanford Memorial Stakes, he was still circling with his back to the starting line when the barrier was raised (though some accounts give other reasons). After Man o’ War turned around, he already was far behind the starters. Jockey Johnny Loftus put Man o’ War in a bad position, getting boxed in by other horses. Despite this, he came close to winning, losing by a half-length.

 

Filed under: County News

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!