Seabiscuit: 10 facts about the legendary race horse

He is undeniably one of the most recognisable names in horse racing, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the race horse Seabiscuit.

The racing legend won over the hearts of the US public during the Great Depression, enhancing racing’s reputation further with his unrivalled success.

Here, we’ve identified ten facts that you might not have ever known about Seabiscuit.

  1. Seabiscuit’s name is referenced to his own fathers, Hard Tack, which was in fact a cracker that was generally eaten by sailors – hence the name Seabiscuit.
  2. Seabiscuit was fairly useless when he started out racing, not able to obtain a single win in his first 17 races. Initially, he was somewhat overlooked by Wheatly Stables and trainer James Fitzsimmons although they did see potential in him. That meant a series of small races was all they were prepared to use Seabiscuit in, and he would normally finish near the back of the field.
  3. Despite an unforgettable start in his racing career, Seabiscuit went on to improve quite drastically and he even set a track record during a race at Narragansett Park. He also claimed three top-two places, highlighting his up-and-coming potential.
  4. Just before he turned three, Seabiscuit went on to win his first two minor stakes races, which gained attention from the leading figures in American racing and to some extent, propelled him into the limelight.


  1. Arguably Seabiscuit’s finest moment, he went on to beat War Admiral in the ‘Match of the Century’ that was held at Pimlico. Seabiscuit’s win saw him named Horse of the Year for 1938.
  2. A nasty injury almost cut Seabiscuit’s career short in 1939, when he ruptured the suspensory ligament in his front leg. As part of his extensive rehabilitation, he had to learn to walk again and even jockey Red Pollard – who had saddled Seabiscuit for most of his races – had a broken leg which brought about a light-hearted joke of having “four good legs between them.”
  3. In 1940, Seabiscuit finally landed the Santa Anita Handicap which, at the time, was worth $125,000 to the winner. He had come close in the past, but this time Seabiscuit was first to cross the line and his growing reputation quite literally grew ten-fold after the race.
  4. Seabiscuit’s retirement was announced on April 10th, 1940 after a total of 89 races. From that, he accumulated $437,740 in winnings and claimed 33 wins in his illustrious career. Seabiscuit was put into a stud for the rest of his life, siring over 100 foals.
  5. Seabiscuit was voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1958, ranking 25 overall. Number one was Man o’ War, Seabiscuit’s grandad and his great rival War Admiral coming in at number 13.
  6. Seabiscuit died in May, 1947 from a suspected heart attack although the actual cause of death is still unknown. He was just a few days shy of his 14th birthday, and he was buried at the Willits Ranch in California. Fans can visit the ranch with walking tours available.

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