For this week’s highlighted performance, we’re rolling back to 1938 for one of the greatest match races in history: Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral.
Happy birthday, Man o’ War! The influential racehorse and sire would have turned 100 years old today. Reports of his races state that he was always eased up before the finish, far outstripping his opposition, and many speculate that the horse was never truly opened up to his top speeds.
As a breeding stallion, Man o’ War sired dozens of stakes winners — but perhaps the most iconic culmination of his prowess at stud was the match race between War Admiral and Seabiscuit that took place in 1938.
War Admiral was an undisputed champion — he won the Triple Crown in 1937 and was perhaps Man o’ War’s most distinguished own son. Seabiscuit was by Man o’ War’s son Hardtack and overcame a fairly obscure early career to win nearly a dozen races in his four-year-old season. With much of the country clamoring for a match race, these two champions finally met at Pimlico on November 1, 1938 for what was hailed as the “Match of the Century.”
This race — as well as the storied career of the underdog Seabiscuit — is well-chronicled by Laura Hillenbrand’s brilliant biography Seabiscuit: An American Legend, as well as the 2003 film Seabiscuit. What a feather in Man o’ War’s cap, to be the common ancestor between these two legends.
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