The year 2017 commemorates the 100th birthday of one of the sport’s greatest heroes, writes Sarah Whitelaw.
Man O’War (Fair Play), was once famously described as the ‘mostest horse’, and is widely regarded as the greatest racehorse bred in the US – although fans of US Triple Crown winner, Secretariat (Bold Ruler), have often hotly disputed this!
Man O’War, known to his thousands of fans as ‘Big Red’, as was Secretariat later, won 20 of 21 outings with his sole loss coming as a 2yo when given a controversial ride in the Sanford Stakes.
The champion, was not only voted the Top Horse of the 20th century both by The Blood-Horse and ESPN but also the 81st athlete overall by ESPN, an all but unheard of honour for a racehorse!
Winner of both the classic Gr1 Preakness Stakes and Gr1 Belmont Stakes at three, Man O’War carried up to 138lbs (63kgs) in his races, when giving away as much 32lbs to his rivals.
His winning margins varied from one length to a reputed more than 100 lengths (when whipping his solitary rival in the 1920 Lawrence Realization Stakes). He also set no fewer than eight track or world records.
Man O’War went on to enjoy huge success at stud, (despite allegedly covering mares of varied quality), and was North America’s Leading Sire in 1926.
His Triple Crown winning son, War Admiral, was top sire in 1945 and was Leading Sire Of Broodmares twice. He sired 64 stakes winners from 379 foals, including War Admiral, and Gr1 Belmont Stakes winners, American Flag and Crusader.
Saturday’s impressive Gr1 Pegasus World Cup winner, Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song), has multiple lines of this champion, with his ancestor, Unbridled, carrying at least six lines of either Man O’War or one of his sons. He is also found multiple times in the pedigree of America’s most recent Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah (Pioneerof The Nile).
Fappiano, whose male line descendants include the important sires, Candy Ride, Unbridled, Unbridled’s Song and Empire Maker, is inbred to Man O’War.
Three times US champion sire, Tapit, is another inbred to the great horse. With his great son, War Admiral, proving an exceptional broodmare sire (he is damsire of Horse Of The Year and legendary broodmare sire, Buckpasser, among others), the name of Man O’War has been safely carried down the past century.
One of North America’s best stallions, Tiznow (Cee’s Tizzy), a former Horse Of The Year and dual Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, is one of the leading examples of this once dominant male line.
Sire Of Sires
The grandson of Relaunch has sired over 60 stakes winners thus far, including 2016 Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, Tourist, and fellow Breeders’ Cup winner, Folklore.
Tiznow is also making a name for himself as a sire of sires and is responsible for the very promising young sire, Gemologist, whose first 2yos last season included Gr1 Frizette Stakes winner, Yellow Agate, among others.
The Blood-Horse stallion register reflects at least 25 sons of Tiznow registered at stud, including the Tourist and Gemologist. His Gr1 producing sire son, Tiz Wonderful, however, has since been sold to Korea.
Former Brazilian Triple Crown winner, Bal A Bali, is another tracing back in male line to Man O’War. His sire, Put It Back (Honour And Glory), has at least seven official champions to his name as well as US Gr1 winners In Summation and Jessica Is Back.
The name of Man O’War features prominently in the pedigree of former South African champion sire, Captain Al, whose progeny dominated proceedings at Saturday’s Sun Met race meeting.
Captain Al, whose three feature race winners on the day included Gr1 Betting World Cape Flying Championship heroine, Carry On Alice, is closely inbred to the great mare and producer Busanda, a daughter of Man O’War’s great son, War Admiral. (The successful US sire Sky Mesa is another inbred to Busanda).
Cee’s Tizzy, the sire of Tiznow, is broodmare sire of one of South Africa’s top sprinters in Trip To Heaven, a close second in Saturday’s Cape Flying Championship.