His trainer said that managing him was like holding a tiger by the tail. His owner compared him to "chain lightning." His jockeys found their lives transformed by him, in triumphant and distressing ways. All of them became caught in a battle for honesty.
Born in 1917, Man o' War grew from a rebellious youngster into perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time. He set such astonishing speed records that The New York Times called him a "Speed Miracle." Often he won with so much energy in reserve that experts wondered how much faster he could have gone. Over the years, this and other mysteries would envelop the great Man o' War.
The truth remained problematic. Even as Man o' War---known as "Big Red"---came to power, attracting record crowds and rave publicity, the colorful sport of Thoroughbred racing struggled for integrity. His lone defeat, suffered a few weeks before gamblers fixed the 1919 World Series, spawned lasting rumors that he, too, had been the victim of a fix.
Tackling old beliefs with newly uncovered evidence, Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning shows how human pressures collided with a natural phenomenon and brings new life to an American icon. The genuine courage of Man o' War, tribulations of his archrival, Sir Barton (America's first Triple Crown winner), and temptations of their Hall of Fame jockeys and trainers reveal a long-hidden tale of grace, disgrace, and elusive redemption.
Praise for Man o' War
“Written with an effortless command of history and language, Man o' War frees Thoroughbred racing's greatest icon from nearly a century of mythology and mystery. In its pages, Man o' War lives in all his complexity: emphatic, breathtaking, maddening, both a blessing and a curse to those who cultivated his superlative talent. Man o' War is a riveting work, researched meticulously and told brilliantly.” —Laura Hillenbrand, New York Times bestselling author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend
“You take twenty-two chapters, mix in one spectacular Thoroughbred racehorse, and gently blend in just enough inscrutability, dishonesty, and plot---voilá! One must-read book that equals hours of unadulterated pleasure.” —George M. Steinbrenner III
“The golden era of racing and its greatest star come to life in the vivid pages of Dorothy Ours's outstanding retrospective on Man o' War.” —Joe Hirsch, Daily Racing Form