He is perhaps the owner of the maximum number of times his character has been the protagonist of movies and the centre stage for many books compiled to bring forward to people the incredible story of his racing career, Seabiscuit, will always be one of the most renowned, read about and watched in real and reel life. A hero that he was, whose struggle to carve a niche for himself when others ran to perfection brought hope as he emerged from the ashes at the time of the Great Depression in the American continent during the late 30’s and early 40’s making him an instant hit with people.
Born to the legendary grandsire Man o’ War’s son Hard Tack and mare Swing On, Seabiscuit rarely exhibited any qualities or characteristics that even remotely reminded his owners of his incredible inheritance. Trained by Sunny Jim, this little small framed colt was lethargic and slow. Sunny had almost no hopes attached with the sluggish sleepy horse to make a mark like his grandsire did. Despite his regular predisposition Seabiscuit made his maiden run at the Hialeah Park in January, 1935. It was only after an array of 17 races that the undermined colt made his maiden break at the Narragansett Park. His two year old racing season ended with a staggering 35 starts, most of which were claiming races with only five wins.
Seabiscuit’s sophomore season wasn’t too impressive either. He had already made ten starts for the year when he was sold off to Charles Howard who was offered to train Seabiscuit by Tom Smith, more fondly remembered as the “Silent” trainer. His sophomore ended with a total of 23 starts and only 9 wins with a small amount of earnings through the stake races. Seabiscuit was far lesser than impressive.
The year 1937 finally saw the sun rise for this considerably ‘dark’ horse. The first win for the season began with Huntington Beach Handicap at Santa Anita but soon was let down by his next defeat at the Santa Anita Handicap itself. Perhaps his defeat in the world’s richest race at that time made him strive on a winning streak of 10 races out of the next 11 starts. The year declared him the highest earning thoroughbred for the season.
Come year 1938 and Seabiscuit was once again going low on the number of wins winning only six out of 11 starts however he made two of his victories under a staggering impost of 133 pounds and also defeated Ligaroti, one the most dreaded horses those times. However the effort easily coated him to the Horse of the Year awards. But there was a event that had been lingering on for both Seabiscuit and rank 13th on top U.S. thoroughbreds, War Admiral.
A match was conducted to test the real champion at the Pimlico tracks with more than 40,000 vicitors raining in from all corners of the continent to witness the match of the underdog against the champion. Seabiscuit fought till the wire leading the homestretch by 4 lengths leaving War Admiral fans in complete awe. He was awarded the Horse of the Year. The word spread like wildfire making him an instant star.
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