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:: Spotlight :: Book Review - The Seabiscuit Story

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

(edited by John McEvoy)
Published by Eclipse Press

Seabiscuit was a horse that came into the lives of Americans in the late 1930s, when the country was in need of a hero after the Great Depression. This book honours the legend of Seabiscuit by using the stories obtained by The Blood-Horse publication, a weekly magazine where the story of this horse unfolded from the early, unspectacular moments to his days of glory. The issues of the magazine are rare, from 1935 to 1940 and not too many living people would have seen the articles.

Many people may have seen the old classic film of 1949, which starred Shirley Temple and little Irishman Barry Fitzgerald. That movie lives fondly amongst the famous animal films of all time. The life of Seabiscuit did resurface in a publication in 2001 by Laura Hillenbrand, titled “Seabiscuit: An American legend”. It formed the basis for the latest movie about the horse, which stars Jeff Bridges and Tobey Maguire.

However, this new book, edited by the acclaimed John McEvoy, chronicles the special significance of the little bay colt through two careers. The first was under the ownership of the Wheatley stable (nine wins from forty-seven starts) before the more successful period with Charles S Howard (twenty-four wins from forty-two starts).

Seabiscuit became a national icon. It was a real rags-to-riches story and this book chronicles his career in great detail, capturing all the news items and photographs of the great horse, and providing the background of the great characters behind the horse. Some of the photographs have rarely been seen. For the statistically minded, at the back of the book there is a race-by-race listing of where Seabiscuit ran in his races.

He was the world’s leading money winner by the time he finished racing in 1940 and amassed 33 wins from 89 starts. Seabiscuit earned $US 438,000, an incredible amount of money then, and he set 12 track records from five furlongs to 10 furlongs.

“The Seabiscuit Story” is published by Eclipse Press.