As the owners and developers of Glen Riddle Golf Club and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, we have built what we hope will become a nationally recognized golf property supported and enhanced by what is already a world-class restaurant name.
What you may not know is the clubhouse building that houses the golf and restaurant operation was formerly the main stable building of the famous Riddle Farm which produced such famous racehorses as Man O’ War, War Admiral, and Sea Biscuit. The horses bred and raised at the Riddle Farm are credited with changing the history of American horse racing. What was previously a sport enjoyed and admired only by the rich and privileged became one that was supported and embraced by the masses.
Man O’ War was born March 29, 1917, and totally dominated horse racing as no horse before or after has done. Previous track records were shattered at almost ever race Man O’ War entered including a walloping 100 length victory at the Lawrence Realization in 1920. Man O’ War was voted as Horse of the Twentieth Century by the Associated Press in 2000.
The biggest horse racing event in history was the famous match race between Man O’ War’s son and grandson, War Admiral and Seabiscuit, held at Pimlico Racetrack in Maryland in 1938.
We have been honored and have accepted the responsibility of renovating this once grand stable. The history of the farm, the building, and the great thoroughbred racehorses are displayed prominently throughout the building.
Our museum hall was created to tell the story of the horses that produced the great heritage of the Riddle Farm. You will see pictures of Man O’ War, affectionately known as “Big Red”, at various stages of his life, as well as several walls devoted to programs, articles, and pictures from the Seabiscuit, War Admiral match race of 1938. On the outside walls of the museum hall, we have displayed photography taken a year before reconstruction to demonstrate the transformation that has taken place.
Local artist, Patrick Henry, was commissioned to produce five new original oil paintings depicting the famous racehorses and scenes from the farm. These paintings are displayed proudly throughout the clubhouse and restaurant. Patrick has always had a passion for the arm, and he agreed to reproduce three of his existing Riddle Farm works as murals which we have on display inside the bar area. These pieces depict scenes from the farm as they would have appeared at the time of Man O’ War.
As much of the original structure as possible was saved. The loft above our main dining room was structurally sound enough to save almost the entire beam and timber framework. From this vantage point, you can get a real feel for the original building.
All the stall doors and hardware were saved and preserved. Some have been used in our stable wall depicting the look of the original stable and others are used as tabletops in the bar and grill areas.
The interior furnishings and finishes have been professionally and custom designed to match the period of the farm’s greatness. The lighting throughout the building are replicas of gas lighting that would have been in use at the time.
Outside, the Man O’ War Memorial, which is the horseshoe shaped arch in the grassy area at the center of the building is a historical replication of the original Man O’ War Memorial that can be seen in several of the photographs on the inside of the building. This memorial was built in 1952 and was revered by farm personnel and locals for the remainder of the farm’s life.
We have felt a tremendous responsibility to not only preserve as much of the physical structure of the great stable as possible but to also preserve through photography, artworks and newspaper account the storied history of the Riddle Farm.