(Red Pollard in 1937)

A smallish horse with an ungainly stride, Seabiscuit became a public favorite while winning 33 of his 89 career starts and amassing a then-record $437,730 in career prize money. His stirring match race victory over Triple Crown winner War Admiral, on November 1, 1938, was one of the great sporting events of its day and made Seabiscuit a popular hero: according to Laura Hillenbrand‘s 2001 book Seabiscuit, the horse received the most newspaper coverage of any public figure in 1938. Hillenbrand’s book was a huge hit and gave fresh life to the Seabiscuit legend, prompting a 2003 movie starring Tobey Maguire as hard-luck jockey Red Pollard and Jeff Bridges as owner Charles Howard. Seabiscuit was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1958.

Seabiscuit’s grandfather was the legendary thoroughbred Man O’ War… His father was Man O’ War’s son Hard Tack, and his mother was Swing On… The 1949 Shirley Temple film The Story of Seabiscuit was a mostly-fictional tale based on the life of the famous horse.

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In watching the movie answer the following questions.

  1. What evidence can be seen that the country is in an “economic crisis”?
  2. Why did the country “need” Seabiscuit during this time? What kinds of qualities/traits did Seabiscuit possess that gave the U.S. a reason a fight during this time?
  3. How were all four (Charles, Red, the trainer, Seabiscuit) better together than separate?

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