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Seabiscuit and the Jockeys He Made Famous

Updated on November 2, 2010

Seabiscuit is a name that many people know. He was a famous horse who gave hope to the nation during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. He also gave fame to the two jockeys that are most commonly associated with him: Red Pollard and George Woolf. The story of these two men and their horse may be an old one but it’s still inspiring to this day!

Seabiscuit as the Hope of the Nation

Seabiscuit was just a racehorse but in some ways he was so much more. Seabiscuit raced during the Great Depression. This was a time in American history when hope was hard to come by. Everyone wanted things to get better. Everyone was rooting for the underdog. Everyone wanted a symbol to suggest that hardworking folks could prevail again someday. Seabiscuit became that symbol.

More about Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit was about as much of an underdog in horse racing as you could have asked for. His knees were knobby. He was the runt of his litter. Nobody expected him to do well in horseracing. Regardless of that, he did have early trainers that tried to work with him. They didn’t do well and he was initially written off as a horseracing failures. In fact, he was considered to be a very lazy horse and people who were fans of horseracing often made fun of the poor little guy.

At the age of three, Seabiscuit suddenly ended up become a late bloomer. In fact, he became a really impressive racehorse. He raced in nearly three dozen different races that year and he managed to win approximately one out of every three races he participated in as a three-year-old horse. He may have bloomed late but he was on a roll. It was during this time that he was partnered up with jockey Red Pollard and trainer Tom Smith who worked together to really bring Seabiscuit to the top of his game.

1938 was really the year for Seabiscuit. During that year he was named the “Horse of the Year”, a prestigious title for any racehorse and a real accomplishment for a horse that nobody had any hope for just a few years before. That same year he participated in the so-called “Match of the Century” that had everyone on the edge of their seats with anticipation. This match was against another great horse – War Admiral – that Seabiscuit was involved in an intense competition with.

At the end of his career, Seabiscuit was the number one winner of the most money in the entire history of horseracing!

Seabiscuit’s Jockeys: Red Pollard and George Woolf

As mentioned, much of Seabiscuit’s ultimate success came about when he started working with leading jockeys who really believed in him. The first of those jockeys was Red Pollard, a Canadian Jockey. He started working with Seabiscuit in 1935 as soon as Seabiscuit began doing well in the business. He worked with the famous racehorse until 1938 and would have likely gone on to the heights of fame with the horse except that his career was tragically terminated. He was riding another horse in 1938 when he fell off of the horse and was seriously injured. He could no longer be Seabiscuit’s jockey.

That’s when the second famous Seabiscuit jockey stepped up to the plate. George Woolf took over as the horse’s jockey. He participated in the “Match of the Century” that was the real career highlight for Seabiscuit. For that reason he was often considered the more famous of the two Seabiscuit jockeys despite the fact that Red Pollard had worked with the horse for years.

People who are fans of horseracing understanding that famous jockeys are just as interesting and important as famous racehorses are. These two jockeys and their horse overcame a lot of adversity and triumphed in the end. This is the story that people fell in love with and it’s the reason that Seabiscuit is a name that people know.

Seabiscuit in Pop Culture

The reason that people know about Seabiscuit today is not just because he’s a famous racehorse. It’s because he’s been featured in pop culture and gained attention that way. In 2001 there was a book released about this underdog that became a winner. And of course in 2003 the blockbuster movie came out bearing his name and telling his tale. That solidified his place in history for some time to come.

Comments

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  • profile image

    Jeff 

    7 years ago

    This was a horrible Piece of writing. I love Seabiscuit!

  • mkott profile image

    Michele 

    7 years ago from Reno, Nevada

    He was one of the greatest, the little horse that could.

  • MPG Narratives profile image

    Marie Giunta 

    7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    We just had The Melbourne Cup here in Australia which many people know of because of Phar Lap. Sea Biscuit was a great champion just like Phar Lap, they brought great hope for many during those hard times. I enjoyed reading this and also the Sea Biscuit movie.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    7 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for your great tribute to a great horse.

  • LillyGrillzit profile image

    Lori J Latimer 

    7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

    I am always ready for a Horse Hub! Thank you for featuring Sea Biscuit and showing how dependent the US was on having a Champion - and found one in this beautiful animal!

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