1919 Sanford Memorial Stakes

Man o’ War lost the only race of his career to Upset on August 13, 1919, in the Sanford Memorial Stakes.

In this photograph, Upset (Willie Knapp up) is in the lead, Man o’ War (Johnny Loftus up) is on his heels, and Golden Broom (Eddie Ambrose up) trails behind Man o’ War. Lingering controversy over the race would play a part in the suspensions of both Loftus’ and Knapp’s jockey licenses the following year.

The accompanying statement Johnny Loftus gave reporters following the loss appeared in the Daily Racing Form on August 16, 1919.


Cook 429A - 1919-08-13 William Willie Knapp Jockey on Upset beating John P Johnny Loftus Jockey on Man o' War at Sanford Stakes in Saratoga.jpg

“Man o’ War was beaten at the start, but he would have overcome that defeat if I had better luck. I ran him into a pocket and because of his heavy burden of 130 pounds I was afraid to take him back and around the outside.

"I anticipated an opening next to the rail on the turn out of the backstretch and again at the head of the homestretch, but every time I was fooled. The leaders didn’t run wide and my procrastination in the stretch caused me to fail to overcome the handicap. Mr. Pettingill handled the colt at the barrier.

"If I had taken him to the outside an instant sooner he would have won, for he is the gamest and most courageous horse I ever rode. He would have caught Upset in a few more strides and would have gone on a half mile farther if I would have urged him to.”

- Johnny Loftus, 19191


1. Daily Racing Form (August 16, 1919). “Downcast Over Man o’ War’s Defeat: Jockey Loftus Tell How the Great Colt Was Beaten in Sanford Memorial Stakes”