Computer Simulation: Greatest Horse Race of All Time Part 2 The Race

About the computer simulated horse race that pitted the greatest horses of all time against each other, history of the race.



Buckpasser broke to the front, followed by Citation and Man o' War. At the quarter, Buckpasser, Citation, Man o' War, and Swaps were bunched in that order, with barely a head separating one horse from the next. Kelso was 5th by a length, Equipoise 6th by half a length, followed by War Admiral, Exterminator, Count Fleet, Nashua, Native Dancer, and Tom Fool.

At the half mile, Buckpasser had taken control and led Citation by 2 lengths. Man o' War had not made his move and was 3rd by half a length. Kelso was 4th by a length and Exterminator had moved into 5th. Swaps was 6th and Count Fleet was 7th but beginning to fade badly. By the three-quarter mile mark, the Count had dropped back to 11th, leading only Native Dancer.

At one mile, Buckpasser had been challenged for the lead and passed by Citation, who now led by half a length. But Man o' War was coming up full throttle and trailed Buckpasser by only a head. Kelso was 4th by 2 lengths over Exterminator. Swaps, running 6th, had opened a huge gap between himself and Nashua who had moved up. Count Fleet, Equipoise, and Native Dancer brought up the rear.

The ghost of "Big Red" thundered into the stretch and passed Buckpasser. Now he trailed Citation by half a length and was moving up. The race became a duel between these 2 champions as Buckpasser faded to 3rd by a length.

By the 70-yard post, Man o' War had fought to within a jaw of Citation and this powerful animal who always wanted to be 1st had his eye on the finish line, dead ahead.

Now Citation, under tremendous pressure, showed his blood by stretching to the limit to inch ahead of the challenger. He flashed under the wire a bare neck ahead of Man o' War to win the Greatest Horse Race of All Time in 2:00 and start one of the greatest arguments of the year among surprised handicappers. Buckpasser held on for 3rd, by a length and a half; Exterminator had surged ahead of Kelso to come in 4th by 1 1/2, and Kelso was trailed by Swaps and Nashua. (See chart.)

In an informal poll of the same people who had chosen the entries, it was found that some 40% had picked Man o' War to win. In a contest for the general public, sponsored by WIOD, more than half of the 11,000 participants chose "Big Red."

One writer had it figured close: He picked Citation, Tom Fool, and Buckpasser, with a time of 2:00 1/5.

A handicapper who felt Man o' War should have run all of the competition off the track suggested that the way the factors were weighted for the computer had shifted the favor to Citation, who had more than twice as many races to his credit.

Even though no betting was allowed, the odds had been posted by the Aqueduct press-box oddsmaker. Citation would have paid handsomely at 12-1. Buckpasser came in at 10-1 and Man o' War got the favorite's role, at a mere 2-1 payoff.

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