SEABISCUIT's fame was unexpected. Overworked and underachieving, SEABISCUIT had been struggling in horse racing's minor leagues for the first three years of his life. But then Tom Smith, a taciturn, West Coast trainer and Red Pollard, a beat-up, failing jockey, turned the horse's career around. Smith spotted him first and recognized his raw, untapped power. Pollard, whose undistinguished riding history had given him plenty of experience with mistreated and troubled mounts, knew how to ride him. Together, Pollard and Smith startled the racing establishment, turning out a tremendous athlete who became an overnight winner in race after race.
This long-awaited documentary pays tribute to one of racing's most unlikely champions who became America's inspiration and of the men who nurtured his potential and drove him to superstardom. In the 1930's, when Americans longed to escape the grim realities of Depression-era life, SEABISCUIT became a working man's hero. For a brief moment in America, he was the proxy for a nation.
At the height of his career, SEABISCUIT become a national obsession. His name was used to sell everything from oranges to hotels, from ladies' hats to dry-cleaning services. Tens of thousands of fans swarmed to the racetracks just to see him work out. One writer called the phenomenon SEABISCUIT-ITIS.
Although the public loved SEABISCUIT, the snooty East Coast racing establishment refused to accept that a Western-based horse could beat their champion, an elegant, haughty, Triple Crown winner called WAR ADMIRAL. An on-again-off-again match race between the two horses resulted in what many still consider the best horse race in history. The whole country was swept up in the pre-race publicity. Rumor even had it that President Roosevelt would declare which horse he was supporting in his weekly Fireside Chat. When SEABISCUIT flew across the finish line four lengths ahead, pandemonium broke out. "He did just what I thought he'd do," said an elated Pollard.
Four men turned SEABISCUIT into a national hero...they were his fabulously wealthy owner Charles Howard, his famously, "silent" and stubborn trainer Tom Smith and the two hard-bitten, gifted jockeys who rode him to glory. By following the paths that brought these four together and in telling the story of SEABISCUIT's unlikely career, this film illuminates the precarious economic conditions and struggles that defined America in the 1930's, explores the fascinating behind-the-scenes world of thoroughbred racing and tells how an over-worked horse and a broken-down jockey captured the imagination of the nation.
SEABISCUIT was a horse that gave race fans as much pleasure as any that ever lived and one that will be remembered as long and as warmly. It wasn't primarily his rags-to-riches story which won SEABISCUIT his following, although reaching success from humble beginnings never dims a public figure's popularity. It wasn't the fact that he won more money than any other horse up to his time, although that hurt neither his reputation nor his owner. He wasn't a particularly handsome horse, nor especially big or graceful, and he was never altogether sound. The quality he had was expressed one day by a man in the press box who said, "look at his record - he's the Canzoneri of horses!" If you examine his record you can see what the man meant. Just as Tony Canzoneri barnstormed through the fight clubs of the land taking on every one they tossed at his head, so SEABISCUIT made the rounds of most of the mile tracks between the oceans and left track records at more than a few. There is something quintessentially American about everyone in this story, the triumph over hardship - that's the journey toward the American dream!
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|