The Triple-Crown winner was bought for $600,000 ($8,311,624 in 2017) by Woltz and who put his horse out to "stud". The horse had a fine stable built for him, the best vets and horse breeders that money could buy, and even a small team of private detectives to guard him 'round the clock. Woltz was very attached to the horse, his pride and affection for the animal clearly evident. Khartoum was eventually killed and decapitated, then Luca Brasi put his head in Woltz's bed to convince the director to grant Johnny Fontane the lead in the new war movie he was shooting. Upon discovering Khartoum's severed head, Woltz swore his staff to secrecy and had Khartoum quietly buried and his stables all torn down.
- Khartoum is a reference to Charles Gordon, the British commander of Khartoum in the Sudan in 1885, who was captured by Sudanese Muslims and was ironically also beheaded.
- For the horse's head, director Francis Ford Coppola requisitioned a real head from a dog food company, and had it's head painted from white to brown, to match up to the horse seen earlier.
- The iconic bed scene has been spoofed, in particular an episode of The Simpsons titled Lisa's Pony. The same music is used when Lisa Simpson wakes up to find a horse's head in her bed, only for the music to abruptly stop when she realized the head is still attached to the body and the pony is alive.
In The Godfather Game, Aldo Trapani and Rocco Lampone are tasked with delivering the horse head to Woltz's bed. Aldo watches out for guards while Rocco kills the horse and its panicked neighing can be heard. Aldo then escorts Rocco into Woltz's mansion avoiding his servants and guards and plants it in Woltz's bed.