The Oct. 12, 1920, match race between the legendary Man o' War and the first Triple Crown winner Sir Barton is often referred to as the "Race of the Century." The historical event, contested at Kenilworth Park in Windsor, Ontario, pitted the two greatest runners of the era against one another in the $75,000 winner-take-all 1 1/4 mile race.
The 3-year-old Man o' War came into the race as the nation's most popular horse of the time. The towering chestnut, affectionately known as “Big Red” and campaigned by Glen Riddle Farm, had won 18 of his 19 career starts (his only defeat coming as a juvenile in the 1919 Sanford Stakes to a horse named Upset), and was undefeated in his 10 prior starts in 1920. Entering the race, the reputation of 4-year-old Sir Barton, owned by J. K. L. Ross, was also stellar with a four-race win streak of his own. Renowned as the winner of the 1919 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, Sir Barton was the first "Triple Crown" winner in history, achieving that title even before the heralded racing accomplishment would be famously named as such.
In front of a frenzied crowd of more than 25,000, Man o' War jumped out to the lead and never looked back, handily defeating Sir Barton by seven lengths in the new track record time of 2:03. The contest had added historical significance in that it was the first horse race filmed in its entirety around a circular track. The race also marked the final start in Man o' War's career, and he was retired to stud where he would also find great success, siring more than 64 stakes winners including 1937 Triple Crown champion War Admiral.
This extremely scarce original ticket stub from the famed race is testament to the one of the most highly anticipated sporting events of the early 20th century. The general admission ticket features the date, the venue, ticket number 17967 and names of the horses headlined in red, along with the connections, sire and dam and $5.00 cost of the ticket - a considerable sum for the time.