1. Sir Barton had thin hoof walls and tender feet. It was difficult to get nails to stay in his hoof and he had to wear a piece of piano felt between his shoe and his hoof as a cushion of sorts, so he often lost his shoes during races.
2. Gallant Fox had a wall-eye, or a ring of white around his eye, that some thought made him look mean. It was said to scare horses if they tried to pass him.
3. Omaha won the Withers Stakes between his victories in the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
4. War Admiral was nicknamed “The Mighty Atom” because of his small size. He stood at just 15.2hh.
5. Both Whirlaway’s sire and dam were excitable horses, so it was no surprise that he was a sort of basket case. He had a bad habit of bearing out, was hard to saddle, and often times missed the break.
6. Count Fleet made winning the Belmont Stakes look easy - he crossed the wire 25 lengths ahead of his competitors. His margin of victory was a record until Secretariat broke it in 1973.
7. A hoof injury as a yearling caused Assault to walk with a limp and he sometimes stumbled on his way to the racetrack. Once at a gallop, however, Assault moved just fine.
8. Citation won 19 of his 20 starts as a three-year old at distances ranging from 6 to 16 furlongs.
9. Secretariat dominated the media. He was featured on the cover of Time, Sports Illustrated, and Newsweek in 1973.
10. Seattle Slew loved the winter as its beginning let him know that the breeding season was coming soon. He spent much of his time looking out the window of his stall, anticipating the arrival of mares.
11. In order to beat Alydar in the Belmont Stakes, Affirmed had to be urged with a left-handed whip. It was the first time Steve Cauthen had to do that.
12. American Pharoah bumped his leg before his yearling sale, leaving a lump and therefore discouraging bidders. Mr. Zayat did not want to sell his horse for anything less than $1 million, so he bought the colt back for $300k.
13. Justify was originally trained by Rodolphe Brisset, but only for two months. He did not race for Brisset and was eventually sent to Bob Baffert out in California. A pulled muscle kept him out of the races until he was three.
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Follow on Instagram Sources: American Classic Pedigrees (Sir Barton) American Classic Pedigrees (War Admiral) Brisent (Whirlaway) America’s Best Racing (Assault) The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (Citation) Seattle Slew