Why would someone, born several decades after the death of Man O’ War, be so passionate about this one? Why not Secretariat, Seattle Slew, John Henry, or any of the modern GREATS?

You can blame Walter Farley. I always loved horses, and the Black Stallion movies. Around the age of 11 or so, when my passion for horses was growing at a fever pitch, I asked my mom to  take me to a bookstore (they existed in my day!) to see if I could get some new reading material. I believe we went to a store in Hollywood. I picked up a couple of Walter Farley books I hadn’t read before, and then spied another: Man O’ War. I wish I could remember what my thoughts were upon finding this one. I do know that she bought the book for me, and I read it. Again and again and again and again. I was mesmerized. I could not get enough. Big Red got into my bloodstream and has never left.

I have planned trips to Kentucky and Maryland just for him. Wasted hours digging up photos and tidbits of info on him online. Broke my heart when I learned what happened to his old home. Talked peoples’ ears off about him and his ancestors and his sons and daughters. Looked for links to him in modern pedigrees. Noticed people with surnames such as Riddle or Jeffords or Loftus and wondered if they were related somehow to THE Riddle or Jeffords or Loftus.

I’m still searching for more info and I will never get enough. Not until the day comes that a time machine has been perfected and I can at last go back into history and meet my Hero.

He must have been something special…


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