"Upset" in horseracing

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu Nov 14 16:28:32 UTC 2002

Good show. I didn't believe the "Upset" story, but now I can substantiate
my position.

Here is a Web mention of the myth about "Upset", from about a year ago. (I
found the assertion about the word origin here and elsewhere on the Web but
without attribution.)


<<... for years it has been lore in racing that the use of the word to mean
the unexpected defeat of a favorite originated with Man o'War's loss to the
racehorse Upset. It's a great story, but unfortunately, it doesn't hold up.
According to Dorothy Ours, who is currently writing the definitive Man o'
War biography, Chain Lightning, this race has nothing to do with that use
of the word "upset." She was able to locate numerous incidences in which
the word was used by journalists in this sports context prior to that race.
Indeed, when Man o' War lost, journalists covering the race pointed out the
remarkable coincidence that he lost to a horse named Upset.>>

-- Doug Wilson

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