Seabiscuit
- en amerikansk legend -

 


Trion bakom Seabiscuit


Photo©Keeneland-Cook
Charles Howard - Red Pollard - Tom Smith

Affärsmannen och finansiären Charles Howard - tidigare en stor bilentusiast och ensam återförsäljare av Buick, National och Oldsmobile i hela västra USA,

samt jockeyn Red Pollard - med ett förflutet som boxare,

som tillsammans med tränaren Tom Smith - kallad 'Tyste Tom' av de vita och 'Den ensamme präriebon' av indianerna - och Seabiscuit - skapade en Amerikansk Legend.

En oslagbara trio bestående av en häst som var för liten, en jockey som var för stor och en tränare som var för gammal.
 


Historiens största hästkapplöpning


Photo©Bettmann/Corbis
War Admiral & Seabiscuit

I november 1938 vinner Seabiscuit - denna gång med stjärnjockeyn George Woolf 'Ismannen' i sadeln, då Red var skadad - över War Admiral, son till legendariske Man o' War, som var farfar till Seabiscuit - i Pimlico Special, Maryland, USA.

Seabiscuit sprang 1 900 meter på 1.56,6 vilket ingen häst någonsin hade gjort förut i Pimlicos långa mytomspunna historia.

Samma år blev Seabiscuit Årets häst.

Under sin karriär vann han $437,730.00 vilket är det högsta belopp någon häst vunnit under sin livstid.
 


En oslagbar Duo



Seabiscuit & Red

Red Pollard kallade Seabiscuit för 'Pops' och var hans 'förstejockey'. Mellan dessa två fanns ett speciellt samförstånd byggt på ömsesidig respekt.

Seabiscuit hade blivit illa behandlad under sina första år och litade inte på någon. Tränaren Tom Smith gav Seabiscuit tid att lära sig lita på honom och Pollard.

"Om man behandlar honom som en gentleman springer han för dig tills hans hjärta brister", sa Pollard om Seabiscuit.
 


På ålderns höst...


Photo©Michael C. Howard
Seabiscuit & Charles

En mild aprildag 1940 transporterade Charles Howard Seabiscuit till sin ranch Ridgewood, 240 mil norr om San Francisco i Kalifornien, där de åldrades tillsammans.

Seabiscuit dog av en hjärtattack natten till den 17 maj 1947. Han blev 14 år gammal.

Howard, som var utom sig av sorg, begravde sin älskade Seabiscuit vid en avskild plats på ranchen, där han planterade en ek som minnesmärke. Howard berättade endast för sina söner var graven låg.
 

 

Seabiscuit - Stamtavla

DoB (född) 23 May 1933 - Bay colt (fux hingst)
 

Hard Tack

Man o' War

Fair Play

Hastings

Fairy Gold

Mahubah

Rock Sand

Merry Token

Tea Biscuit

Rock Sand

Sainfoin

Roquebrune

Tea's Over

Hanover

Tea Rose

Swing On

Whisk Broom II

Broomstick

Ben Brush

Elf

Audience

Sir Dixon

Sallie McClelland

Balance

Rabelais

St. Simon

Satirical

Balancoire II

Meddler

Ballantrae


Owner: Charles S. Howard

Breeder: Mrs. Gladys Phipps

Trainer: Silent Tom Smith

Riders: Red Pollard, George Woolf
 


Notable wins inc:
1940 Santa Anita Handicap
1938 Pimlico Special (Match race with War Admiral)

Titles:
1938 Horse of the Year
Champion Handicap Male 1937 and 1938
Hall of Fame
 


Seabiscuit

An American Legend

- 1938 Horse of the Year -

This is the true story of Seabiscuit. His father Hard Tack was certainly bred like a champion. His dam, Tea Biscuit, was sired by the great Rock Sand, who won the English Triple Crown and was one of the top sires in the country. His second dam, Tea's Over, produced the champion Ort Wells and the good mare Toggery, who produced several stakes winners. Tea's Over was by the great Hanover. Hard Tack was sired by the immortal Man o' War himself.

Yet due to a difficult temperament, Hard Tack was only a modest stakes winner, earning a mere $16,820 before bowing a tendon. In 1933 his book included only a handful of mares, including the well bred but poorly made broodmare Swing On, who had also done nothing to distinguish herself on the racetrack. Only her pedigree made her worth breeding at all. A daughter of the great Whisk Broom II, she was from the same female family as two-time Horse of the Year Equipose, then at the height of his career. Equipose was out of Swinging. Swing On was out of Balance. Both were out of Balancoire II. Swing On was later the third dam of Kentucky Derby winner Determine.

On May 23, 1933, Swing On had a bay colt by Hard Tack who was later named Seabiscuit. He grew up on Claiborne Farm, with his age mates including Flares, Snark, Tintagel, Forever Yours, and Granville. Snark and Seabiscuit were among the horses bred by Mrs. Gladys Phipps' Wheatley Stable, and when she came to inspect her yearlings in April of 1934, Bull Hancock had Seabiscuit hidden away, knowing she wouldn't be impressed. He was undersized, knobby, and refused to shed his winter coat. Twenty one years later Bull Hancock hid another yearling from Mrs. Phipps. That was the accident prone Bold Ruler.

The great trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons had trained both Hard Tack and Swing On, and he hadn't been fond of either of them. He therefore could hardly be expected to get excited about their undersized son, especially when he came fully equipped with all the conformation faults of his dam, a dangerously sprung knee, and a good dose of his sire's willfulness.

The colt, nicknamed the Runt, did nothing to gain Sunny Jim's respect. The two had a personality clash that was never overcome, and with horses like Omaha, Granville, and Faireno in the stable, the trainer wasn't inclined to go out of his way to pamper what he saw as a claimer with an attitude problem. He worked the colt hard, and was said to have instructed his exercise riders not to spare the whip.

He was used as a work horse for Granville. Legend has it that he remembered the colt from their days on Claiborne Farm, and actively tried to beat him in their trials. Horses have been known to do stranger things than that, and it seems that Seabiscuit did run harder in his works with Granville than he did when galloping alone. Whether he nursed an active grudge or simply liked the company can't be proven. The cranky disposition that Seabiscuit developed that winter was sometimes attributed to the fact that he was never allowed to win the matches with the Gallant Fox colt. The cause could have simply been pain in his inflamed knee, or a lack of recreation, but regardless of the cause, Seabiscuit became a stall walker, losing weight and condition. The habit didn't do his bad knee much good, either.


En av tidernas störste tränare


Photo©USC Library, Department of special collections
Seabiscuit & Tom Smith

När Seabiscuit kom till Tom var han ett vrak. Han vankade av och an i boxen och vägrade att äta. Tom använde sig då av en av de äldsta huskurerna mot sorgsenhet hos hästar och införskaffade Pumpkin, en boskapshäst från Montana, som blev Seabiscuits ständige följeslagare och vän. De levde och arbetade tillsammans resten av sina liv.

Seabiscuit återfick livslusten med hjälp av Toms hemmagjorda liniment, som Seabiscuits ben smordes in med, specialkomponerat foder av yppersta kvalitet och massor av kärlek.
 


Seabiscuits värste konkurrent


Photo©Bettmann/Corbis
War Admiral & Charley Kurtsinger

Våren 1934 födde ett sto som hette Brushup, med förnäm härstamning, ett kolsvart hingstföl efter Man o' War.

Fölet växte upp till en slående vacker häst med samma överlägsna och ståtliga manér som sin berömde far. Han fick namnet War Admiral.

War Admiral hade ett fruktansvärt och skräckinjagande tempo. Ingen häst kunde komma i närheten av honom och han vann alla lopp han deltog i.
 

Silent Tom Smith had taken an interest in the bay son of Hard Tack, and bought him on behalf of Charles S. Howard for the sum of $7,500. Buying Seabiscuit was the turning point in Tom Smith's career. The first thing Tom Smith did for Seabiscuit was provide him with a social life. He first tried putting a goat in the stall, but when the creature got between Seabiscuit and his dinner, the horse picked it up by the neck and set it firmly outside the door. So instead, the trainer put Pumpkin, the stable pony, in with Seabiscuit. Through the rest of his career, Seabiscuit either roomed with Pumpkin, or was put in the stall next door, and Silent Tom would cut a hole in the wall so the two horses could visit.

The trainer also devised a knee and ankle brace for Seabiscuit to wear in the stall, and kept the horse rather creatively bandaged. The horse's crankiness faded with time. The story was that the first time Silent Tom worked his new charge, he rode the horse himself and Seabiscuit ran away with him. The horse only stopped when he realized his rider wasn't making any attempt to slow him down.

Red Pollard, a former boxer who had won only three stakes races in his entire career, became Seabiscuit's new regular rider, and the pair took a shine to each other immediately.

Seabiscuit was beaten by the brilliant Jacola when he tried to give her twenty four pounds in the Laurel Stakes, and therefore he had lost his most recent race when the 'Match of the Century' finally took place in the Pimlico Special, which War Admiral had won the previous year.

War Admiral seemed to have all of the advantages. The conditions of the race included even weights and a walk up start. In a match race, the horse who gets the early lead has the advantage, and War Admiral was accustomed to showing the way, while Seabiscuit usually came from behind. But Silent Tom Smith had other plans. Seabiscuit was schooled carefully for the walk up starts, and he bolted away from the Triple Crown winner, leading from wire to wire and winning by four lengths.

Seabiscuit could have retired the undisputed champion of his day. The win over War Admiral had earned him Horse of the Year honors, and it didn't seem he had anything more to prove. When he ran second in an allowance race at Santa Anita in February, it seemed his racing days were over. He came back lame, and was retired to stud.

There was yet another chapter to be written, however, and Seabiscuit returned to the races at the age of seven. Horses simply were not brought out of retirement with success. It didn't happen. But Seabiscuit's connections were determined to try.

Just when things seemed bleak, Seabiscuit streaked home the two and a half length winner in the San Antonio Handicap. He was assigned 130 pounds for his final try at the Santa Anita Handicap. Red Pollard kept him out of traffic and close to the early leaders, then took command at the head of the stretch. At the wire it was Seabiscuit, a length and a half better than his stablemate, Kayak II. His time of 2:01 1/5 was a new track record. The win made him the all time leading money winner, topping Sun Beau by $60,986 with $437,730 in lifetime earnings. Seabiscuit was then permanently retired.

At stud, Seabiscuit got some stakes winners, but never topped the charts. Whether he would have had more success had he stood outside of California can't be said. He often carried his owner on trail rides among the redwoods, and when he died on May 17, 1947 he was buried in a favored spot, although Charles Howard never revealed the exact location.

A life sized bronze statue of Seabiscuit stands at Santa Anita, reminding racegoers of his deeds. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1958 and was twenty-fifth on the end of the century poll published by Blood-Horse. The legendary Seabiscuit has been the subject of several books, including Ralph Moody's children's book Come on Seabiscuit and Laura Hillenbrand's best seller, as well as two major motion pictures.

 

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