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Man o'War's Funeral

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  • Man o'War's Funeral

    In her DRF blog Barbara Livingston recalls some photographs which she bought from James W. Sames, III, who took them at Man o'War's funeral in 1947.

    Far be it from me to add anything to Livingston's superb comments = the photos are indeed a window to a great past. However, it made me wonder: which horse, if any, since then would have merited a similar occasion? Assuming, of course racing had maintained the same public stature which it had in 1947 as one of America's top sports?
    Starts with an 'S,' ends with a 'T.' You figure it out.

    "Houston, Tranquility Base here, picking up where we left off ..."

  • #2
    ...Maybe Secretariat would have. Zenyatta (not for a long time, one hopes.) Citation probably deserved it, even though he didn't get it. Probably the one who came closest to having it and was closest to deserving it was Red Rum (I mean, geez, he even got a song.)

    But I do think Man o' War was truly a special case. Even Secretariat isn't quite...that something that Man o' War was.
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    • #3
      Man O'War was just so unique for a host of reasons that I don't think any horse would've garnered a radio audience or taps being played overseas in his/her honor by soldiers. I don't think people can even begin to grasp in today's terms his popularity while he was alive.

      Comparatively Exterminator's death did make front page news in multiple daily newspapers including the New York Times. Secretariat's passing in 1989 was featured on many tv news programs and broadcasts.


      • #4
        During the first few years of WWII, Whirlaway was as popular as they came. He was considered a national hero by the American people and press. Soldiers and sailors overseas were more interested in how Mr Long Tail was performing on the track then any ball club back home. Whirlaway is credited with helping start the War Bond drive. Also once he retired there was a parade and a special "Whirlaway Day" which was held annually for a number of years.


        • #5

          Hi All,
          In the Standardbred world, I would think both Dan Patch and Greyhound deserved big funerals....but have no idea what was done with either of them. I think I'll look this up. In QH racing I know Refrigerator got a lot of coverage when he passed - he was so popular with the public.

          Ruffian's funeral was a relatively quiet affair, with mostly track workers attending. I remember being told at the time it was because they didn't want to have a big circus. They wanted her buried quietly and with dignity. Only those closest to the horse were at the flagpole. Many workers spread out along the rail and fence line.



          • #6
            The question is, is the horse noteable for overall greatness in performance, or for contributing to the thoroughbred breed and racing as a whole? Obviously Man O War did both, but there are some sire of sires and mares that also would deserve kudos from the racing world and a noteable passing.

            Some horses are just stars and capture the public's imagination, like Man O War, Secretariat, Native Dancer, and Whirlaway. Northern Dancer was a stallion that had a tremendous impact on the breed, but he didn't really come into the limelight like the above horses did.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by Kwill View Post
              Some horses are just stars and capture the public's imagination, like Man O War, Secretariat, Native Dancer, and Whirlaway. Northern Dancer was a stallion that had a tremendous impact on the breed, but he didn't really come into the limelight like the above horses did.
              Not in the US, no, but in Canada Northern Dancer was as much a celebrity as the others above had been.
              Starts with an 'S,' ends with a 'T.' You figure it out.

              "Houston, Tranquility Base here, picking up where we left off ..."