Thoroughbred horses are a special breed, but there is a thoroughbred that stands out above the rest. This famous racehorse even stands out to people who don’t follow horse racing. That racehorse is none other than Seabiscuit. He came from a legendary line of thoroughbreds, and he has a unique racing story.
Famous Racehorses: The Seabiscuit Story
One of the most memorable horses in American horse racing history, Seabiscuit made an impact for his size and records. He broke records in his six seasons of racing to become an American Legend and was once awarded Horse of the Year.
The birth of a winner
Seabiscuit was foaled, (or born,) from the sire, Hard Tack, and the mare, Swing On. Hard Tack was a son of Man O’ War, the legendary American racehorse who won 20 of the 21 races he ran in. He was also famously denied from his owner to race in the Kentucky Derby. Seabiscuit got his name after his father Hard Tack, as sailors used to eat hardtack or “sea biscuits”.
Seabiscuit started to race at two years old and placed fourth in his first race in 1935. There was a consensus that he was bound to be a performer in the future. He didn’t look like he was going to be great in his third year. After 40 unsuccessful races, his owners put him in a claiming race. No one claimed him even after winning the race.
West coast connection
Eventually, Seabiscuit was bought by millionaire auto distributor, Charles S. Howard. He was new to the horse racing scene and was interested in bringing racing to the West Coast. Seabiscuit caught the eye of Howard and his trainer, Tom Smith. Tom was known for training horses that were discarded and rejuvenating them.
They brought Seabiscuit to California and started to race him after some training. They paired him with the Canadian jockey, Red Pollard. By the end of the year, he had raced 23 times and won nine times. In 1937, Seabiscuit won the San Juan Capistrano handicap and won six more times after that.
The match of the century
The most memorable horse race Seabiscuit ran was against another legendary race horse, War Admiral. He was a year younger and was known for his speed. Seabiscuit and War Admiral were set to meet in 1937 at the Washington Handicap in Maryland. Due to the poor weather condition, the workouts for Seabiscuit were affected, and he was withdrawn from the race. Due to other conditions, Seabiscuit and War Admiral weren’t able to race each other until 1938 at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
The odds were in favor of War Admiral, with the odds for Seabiscuit being 22-10. There were a few false starts that made the crowd sit on the edge of their seats. After several attempts, the race began, and Seabiscuit was in the lead, in front of War Admiral. The winner was Seabiscuit, who scored a track record of ⅕ seconds. Because of this race, Seabiscuit was awarded the Horse of the Year award.
The final stretch
Seabiscuit didn’t race again until 1939, which was almost a year after his race with War Admiral. He suffered an injury at the race in 1939 and retired to be a stud. His final triumph was the Santa Anita in 1940. There, he won in record time.
Seabiscuit passed away in 1947, seven years after his final win and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1958.
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