Wednesday, December 22, 1999
Man o'War voted best of 20th Century
NEW YORK -- Man o'War and Secretariat, two mighty chestnut
colts, ran 1-2 in the race for Horse of the Century.
Man o'War, owned by Samuel D. Riddle and trained by Louis Feustel, won nine of 10 starts as a 2-year-old, then was unbeaten in 11 starts in 1920 before being retired. His loss in 1919 was a second-place in the Sanford at Saratoga to a horse named Upset.
Man o'War was selected as the greatest horse of the century by a six-member panel of experts assembled by The Associated Press. He received four first-place votes to one for Secretariat.
Secretariat won 16 of 21 starts in two years of racing and won the Triple Crown in 1973.
"I'm really thrilled these people in racing who have seen so many good horses would rank Secretariat with Man o'War," said Penny Chenery, who raced Secretariat.
"He had the same electric presence as Man o'War. Going to see Man o'War in the first half of the century was something. Seeing Secretariat in the second half of the century was the same thing."
Citation and Native Dancer tied for third. Citation once won 16 straight races, while Native Dancer's only loss in 22 career starts was a second place in the 1953 Kentucky Derby.
The great gelding Kelso, Horse of the Year five times (1960-64), was fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were: Tom Fool -- who received the other first-place vote -- Dr. Fager, Count Fleet, Spectacular Bid, and Forego and Seattle Slew, who tied for 10th.
Horses of both sexes were eligible for Horse of the Century, but the top 10 were all males.
As a 3-year-old, Man o'War did not start in the Kentucky Derby, but he won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. He had only one rival in the Belmont, and he beat him by 20 lengths. His margin of victory in the Lawrence Realization at Belmont Park in 1920 was 100 lengths.
Secretariat won 16 of 21 starts in two years of racing. Trained by Lucien Laurin, he was Horse of the Year in 1972 and again in 1973 when he became the first Triple Crown champion since Citation in 1948.
His Triple Crown was an amazing three-race performance. He became the first horse to break 2 minutes in the 1¼-mile Kentucky Derby (1:59 2-5), won the Preakness with an incredible last-to-first move on the first turn, then won the Belmont by 31
lengths in a world record of 2:24 for 1½-miles on the dirt.
In a separate vote for fillies and mares, Ruffian was picked No. 1, ahead of Twilight Tear. Ruffian was the only filly or mare to get a vote in the horses of both sexes category.
"That is terrific; I'm very pleased," said Stewart Janney III, whose parents owned the filly, trained by Frank Y. Whitely. "She provided us with excitement and unfortunately a moment of great tragedy."
Ruffian, champion 3-year-old filly of 1975, never lost to a filly in her first 10 career starts, but in a match race against Kentucky Derby-winning colt Foolish Pleasure in 1975, she broke down and was euthanized.
Twilight Tear, owned by Calumet Farm and trained by Ben Jones, was champion 3-year-old filly in 1944 when she won 14 of 17 starts and beat males.