Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, USA
Death 17 May 1947 (aged 13)
Ridgewood Park, Mendocino County, California, USA
Burial Willits, Mendocino County, California, USA
Memorial ID 6240886 · View Source
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Champion Race Horse. This champion thoroughbred horse famous during the Great Depression was literally forgotten until he became the subject of a book, "Seabiscuit: An American Legend," followed in 2003 by a Universal Studio film "Seabiscuit." This equine was a pleasant diversion during the years of the devastating American economical downturn. His racing history was an up and down rags-to-riches affair due to his injury or to his prime jockey Red Pollard who had an amazing rapport with the animal. The scrawny, undersized Seabiscuit had an excellent bloodline...his sire was Hard Tack while his grandsire was none other that one of the greatest stud's in American horse racing history, Man O' War. As a colt, he grew up at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. He made his debut in 1935 at Hialeah Park finishing fourth. By years end, Seabiscuit ran amazingly thirty five times, in claiming races (There were no takers) and as a juvenile at eleven different tracks a winner only five times. As a three year old, the horse went to the post 23 times and managed to win nine times all small stake races. He was again entered in a claiming race and could be had for $6,000 but again there were no takers. However, his fortunes brightened and his championship years were ahead when San Franciscan Charles Howard, an automobile dealer negotiated and purchased the unimpressive horse. 1937 was Sea Biscuit's year. His first start at age four generated a win at the Santa Anita Huntington Beach Handicap. His record for the year...eleven wins in 15 starts while being voted older horse champion and above all, the leading money earner among thoroughbreds. He lost in the Santa Anita Handicap, the world's richest horse race, by a head, for the first time. In 1938, at age five, Seabiscuit would win only six of 11 starts. He was again beaten by a head in the elusive Santa Anita Handicap with George Woolf as his jockey. However, he was victorious in both the Bay Meadows Handicap and the Hollywood Gold Cup. The Pimlico Special, a match race with War Admiral loomed, a triple crown winner and champion of the Pimilco Special a year before. The largest throng in Pimlico history showed up representing who's who in fame...Hollywood stars showed up in troves and politicians from Washington were led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The match race was announced on radio to a world wide audience by NBC while newsreel cameras recorded the action for posterity. Alas, Red Pollard, Seabiscuit's regular rider was still out of action due to being badly injured in a racetrack spill at Santa Anita earlier in the year. His rider would again be "The Iceman" George Woolf. The race was neck and neck until the homestretch. A very tired War Admiral waned and the horse nobody wanted prevailed setting a new Pimlico track record. War Admiral had the better record in 1938 but the Horse of the Year title belonged to Seabiscuit. 1939 was a disaster for Seabiscuit as he went lame in his first start and joined jockey Red Pollard rehabilitating at Ridgewood Ranch in California. It was thought the racing careers of both horse and jockey were over. Amazingly, both were back on the racing circuit in 1940 culminating in finally winning the elusive Santa Anita Handicap and it's $121,000 Prize with 78,000 spectators in the stands. This was his swan song as retirement followed. A lifetime record showed 33 wins in 89 starts and above all earnings of $437,730, the leading thoroughbred money winner of the time. His retirement to California and the Ridgewood Ranch was horse heaven. His owner literally relegated his famous thoroughbred to pet status. Both equine and master lived in blissful harmony. Howard rode the horse almost daily around the huge ranch in peaceful recreation. The horse received the best of care housed in a new red barn with a personal exercise walking ring outside his very barn door. Visitors were encouraged and a small grandstand was erected to allow thousands, over the seven retirement years to watch Seabiscuit as he ran around a small track then came to the stands to receive handouts and welcome those in attendance. He was taught to herd cattle on the ranch providing an excellent source of activity and exercise. The horse as a stud produced a steady stream of foals. A doting Howard called them his "Little Biscuits" and issued Christmas Cards and other memorabilia which became coveted collectibles and were sold at major tracks. During World War II, Howard sent horseshoes worn by his famous horse to various pilots of military aircraft to bring them good luck resulting in the naming of two bombers after the animal. One was shot down during battle off the coast of China. Seabiscuit developed heart problems and his health began to fail. He died peacefully during the night in his stall with an attendant sleeping nearby. As was customary with Howard, he would take his horses upon their death and bury them unceremoniously around his huge ranch. True to his tradition, he had the remains of his famous horse carried to a secret location and buried with no marker but not before hundreds passed his wooden casket for a last look at the American legend. Legacy...By the end of his career, Seabiscuit's name was a household word. Track writer B.K.Beckwith wrote "Seabiscuit: The Saga of a Great Champion." A lifesize statue was quickly erected in the center of Santa Anita's walking ring located in front of the grandstand and it graces the site to this day. "The story of Seabiscuit" a motion picture, highly embellished, was released by Twentieth-Century Fox starring Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald. Both Seabiscuit and War Admiral were inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1958. The Ridgewood Ranch now owned by a religious cult of old people have seized on the new notoriety triggered by author Laura Hillenbrand's book and the subsequent major Universal Studio motion picture which received many Academy Award nominations and have refurbished the buildings associated with Seabiscuit and assembled many artifacts while offering walking tours of the Ranch with furnished meals in their community kitchen. The Mandocino County Museum followed and has a large collection of artifacts on display. In a bit of trivia...Seabiscuit participated in a second match race during his career which was largely a promotional event to promote the racetrack in Del Mar, California. The race pitted Seabiscuit against Ligaroti, a horse owned by Bing Crosby. With George Woolf aboard, the race was easily won by Seabiscuit.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Ron Moody
  • Added: 6 Mar 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6240886
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Seabiscuit (23 May 1933–17 May 1947), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6240886, citing Ridgewood Ranch Burial Site, Willits, Mendocino County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .