KENTUCKY HORSE PARK: REMEMBERING THE FOUR GREATS OF HORSE RACING

Four Greats

REMEMBERING FOUR OF THE GREATEST RACEHORSES THAT EVER LIVED: MAN O’ WAR, SEABISCUIT, WAR ADMIRAL, SECRETARIAT

When my daughter suggested we visit the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington during our tour of northern Kentucky, I had no idea what to expect. Neither Elizabeth nor I had ever heard of this place before.

My elder daughter and her four kids went there last summer during their visit to the US (from Vienna, Austria where they all live) and had a great time, according to my Ohio-based daughter.

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Well, little did I know that our visit to Kentucky Horse Park would take me nearly a century back down the memory lanes of thoroughbred racing. Because that’s where three of the four greatest racehorses of the 20th century have found their final resting place.

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And since Elizabeth and I paid our respects to Seabiscuit (the fourth great racehorse) at Santa Anita, California over four years ago – this Kentucky visit gave us a chance for a closure and reunion of the Four Greats of thoroughbred racing: Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, War Admiral and Secretariat.

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The story of the Seabiscuit of War Admiral’s rivalry is particularly riveting. It was told beautifully in the Oscar-winning film “Seabiscuit” released in 2003.

A small horse, Seabiscuit had an inauspicious start to his racing career, but became an unlikely champion and a symbol of hope to many Americans during the Great Depression. Seabiscuit was the subject of a 1949 film, The Story of Seabiscuit; a 2001 book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand; and a 2003 film, Seabiscuit, which was based on the Hillenbrand book.

Here’s a clip from that wonderfully movie – “Seabiscuit’s Final Race”…

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And now, here’s the original footage of the Nov 2, 1938 match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral which went down in history as arguably the greatest race ever staged in the history of horse racing.

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Back to Kentucky Horse Park, by the time Elizabeth and I got there, a dressage competition was already in progress. Here are now some still shots from that event, as well as our walking and Clydesdale-drawn tour of the park.

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At the end of our walking tour, we stumbled upon the museum dedicated to Saddlebred horses. That’s where Elizabeth tried her luck riding one inside the museum…

Elizabeth on Horseback at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY

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