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Louis Feustel

Louis Feustel
Induction Year: 
1964
Career Years: 
1908-1950

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Bio

    Born Jan. 2, 1884 in Maryland, Louis Feustel is best known as the trainer of the mighty Man o’ War, considered by many to be the greatest Thoroughbred of all time.

   Feustel was only 10 years old when he began working as a stable hand. At 24, he became a licensed trainer and forged a long relationship with owner August Belmont, Jr. In 1913, Feustel conditioned Belmont’s colt Rock View to Champion 3-Year-Old Male honors with wins in several major races, including the Brooklyn Derby and the Travers Stakes.

     In 1914, Belmont began winding down his racing operations and sold off a number of his runners. When the United States entered World War I, Belmont, Jr. joined the Army. While overseas he decided to li quidate his racing operations and Feustel went out on his own, racing horses for himself before going to work as the head trainer for Sam Riddle’s Glen Riddle Farm.

    Prior to the 1918 Saratoga auction of the Belmont horses, Feustel had urged Riddle to purchase a yearling son of a Belmont horse he was familiar with named Fair Play. Riddle, however, was not impressed enough by the young horse and balked at buying until his wife put added pressure on him.

    Riddle’s reluctant purchase was Man o’ War, and Feustel prepared the colt for the 1919 racing campaign at training facilities in Maryland. The trainer brought him along slowly, and after making his debut in mid year, Man o’ War won nine of his 10 starts and earned Champion 2-Year-Old Colt honors. In his 3-year-old season, under Feustel’s handling, Man o’ War won all 10 of his starts. The term Triple Crown did not come into use until 1930, and in February of 1920 Sam Riddle announced thatMan o’ War would not run in the Kentucky Derby.

  However, he won the Preakness and set a new record in winning the Belmont Stakes. In addition, he set records at New York tracks while winning the Dwyer, the Lawrence Realization, the Travers, and Withers Stakes. At the end of the year, Man o’ War was retired to stud. His1920 earnings helped Louis Feustel become that year’s leading money-winning trainer in the United States.

  Relations between Feustel and Riddle became strained, and near the end of June 1921 he made arrangements with his old employer, August Belmont, Jr., who had rebuilt his racing and horse breeding business, to prepare his yearlings for racing.

  Although Feustel won the May 1922 Newtown Stakes and Richmond Handicap with Riddle’s horses, by the end of the year he was once again training for the Belmont stable. In 1924, Feustel conditioned Ladkin to his historic win in the International Special No. 2 over the European superstar Epinard. Belmont died that year and Feustel was once again out on his own. In the latter part of the 1920s, he began conditioning horses for newspaper publisher Bernard Ritter, and in the 1930s he trained a successful racing stable for Mrs. Elizabeth Graham Lewis.

  Among the notable races won by Feustel include the Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes, Travers Stakes (2), Withers Stakes, Brooklyn Derby, Grand Union Hotel Stakes, Hopeful Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Miller Stakes, Withers Stakes, Dwyer Stakes (2), Remsen Handicap, Delaware Handicap, Potomic Handicap, and Toboggan Handicap.

  Louis Feustel was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1964.

Trainer