Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Man o' War: The Centennial

It’s the centennial of Man o’ War’s birthday, today.

I think most of you are aware that the original #47 Man o’ War was my very first model horse, purchased with my birthday money. It was at a toy store called Circus World, across the street from the Kmart where Mom worked. Here he is, just a little worse for wear:

In case you cannot tell from the photo, he is also a Chalky. The blaze was not original: it was an attempted repair at a seam split, gone wrong.

(Yes, a store-bought Chalky. I am old!)

 “Has a nice head on him.” Dad said, nodding in approval of my selection. He had been a horseracing fan, too, as a kid, listening to the races on his radio. (His favorite racehorse was Native Dancer.)

I have since acquired many Breyer Man o’ Wars, of both the Classic and the Traditional variety. One of my most recent and treasured acquisitions being the 1991 Gold Charm Raffle Horse, at last year’s BreyerFest:

For as many as I have, there are still more I would love to own: a Presentation Series one, one in the Showcase packaging, a MIB Chalky one, one with a Large Blue Ribbon Sticker, one in the original corrugated shipper…

…and any other Test Colors or Oddities, if I can find them. I have a few of the later, and one of the former – depicting another famous racehorse, Phar Lap:

The Kentucky Horse Park will be hosting a Man o’ War Celebration from now through November 1 – the 70th Anniversary of his death, in 1947. (The likely origin of his original issue number, in case you hadn’t made the connection before.) Here’s a link:

And gosh, look at what’s on the list of events:
JULY 14TH, 15TH & 16TH
As part of the annual Breyerfest event at KHP, a collector’s edition Man o’ War horse has been commissioned. This replica of the greatest Thoroughbred of all time will prove to be a popular addition to the heavily attended model horse festival for fans from around the country.
That’s all there is to say, really. I’ll be spending the rest of my afternoon doing a Snoopy Dance of Joy.

Happy Man o’ War Day!


Anonymous said...

Oh goodness!! Are they talking a new mold? I love Man O' War!! Any idea whether this model will be available outside of Breyerfest?

englishspot2003 said...

I went down today for the opening of the exhibit. It was pretty nice, kind of small. Most of the actual artifacts they had, I've seen before in the small Man o' War section in the museum.

Carrie said...

"Big Red, the mostest horse, by himself and never matched."
— W. Harbut
Ahh, I was hoping you'd post something today, especially your nifty little golden Man there!! My mantelpiece has become a Man o' War mini-shrine this past week in anticipation, with every model, photo, magazine, & poem I have piled on. I actually became a bit miffed as the day wore on & there was nothing from Breyer — I'd been wishing so hard they'd acknowledge the anniversary — so the news of something coming (I've been too busy to read the events listing yet, gah!) at BF is awesome! Snoopy Dance of Joy, indeed. HAPPY 100th, MAN o' WAR!

Cate said...

I am so glad Breyer will be doing something exciting for his birthday! I never really gave Man O' War a second though until I started reading your Breyerfest seems like the perfects place to get my hands on one!

I even sent Breyer a suggesting on their website to do something for Man O War's centenial...I like to think I've had some influence in this! ;)

Becky Hochstetler said...

The fact that the KHP and Breyer are doing something for this Big Red just goes to show of the impact that Man O' War has had and still has on America. I'm sure Will and Samuel Riddle, not to mention MOW himself, are smiling and what he still means to us. He was truly a magnificent horse and I wished I lived down in KY (or closer) so I can be able to be a part of more than just buying the Breyerfest model and listening to his funeral on the radio.

Happy 100th birthday, Man O' War.