Seabiscuit: The Saga of a Great Champion is the first complete story of the legendary thoroughbred who captured the heart of a nation. Noted track writer B. K. Beckwith called Seabiscuit’s career a saga because, like a Greek myth or beloved fairy tale, it is the tale of a forgotten, abused animal who was rescued, fought his way to the top of horse racing, stumbled, and then returned for a spectacular victory.
First published in 1940, when Seabiscuit and all the major characters were alive, its pages sparkle with stories about the great horse: the moment when trainer Tom Smith noticed the emaciated bay in a cheap claims race at Saratoga Springs, the events that led Charles Howard to take a chance and buy the “raced-out” three-year old colt with bad legs, and the exhilarating accounts from jockeys Red Pollard and George “Iceman’ Woolf of Seabiscuit’s trademark bursts of speed. Under Smith s training and care, Seabiscuit would defeat the Triple Crown champion, War Admiral, by four lengths in the most famous match race in history.
Featuring period photographs and specially commissioned artwork by Howard Brodie, Seabiscuit: The Saga of a Great Champion follows the thoroughbred’s illustrious career, from his humble birth in Kentucky to his remarkable string of races across the country from 1936 to 1940, and culminating in his stunning victory at Santa Anita, a moment that confirmed Seabiscuit as one of the greatest racehorses of all time.
“His courage, honesty, and physical prowess definitely place him among the thoroughbred immortals of turf history. He has intelligence and understanding almost spiritual in quality, and all of us who are close to ‘Biscuit’ naturally have the deepest affection for him.”—Charles S. Howard, Owner
“Seabiscuit is the greatest horse I ever rode.”—George Woolf, Hall of Fame Jockey
Originally published in 1940, this oversized edition once again hits the shelves, hoping to ride the coattails of last year's Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand, and this summer's movie based on the book. Written in the over-the-top style that is typical of mid-century sportswriting ("A silver sword of daylight rent the mantle which draped the furrowed contours of the Sierra Madre"), the prose is more reminiscent of 1940s newsreel voiceovers than of Hillenbrand's restrained lyricism. Beckwith's use of hyperbole and omniscient narration makes Seabiscuit's remarkable story seem more like a Greek myth than a true-life tale. For instance, Seabiscuit is described as "one whose hoofbeats will echo in the hallowed halls of time till the last post bugle has sounded, and great horses gallop no more on this earth." This unbridled passion gives today's reader some insight into just how popular this rags-to-riches, undersized horse was in his heyday. The highlight of this timely reissue is the artwork, which includes illustrations by Howard Brodie and 23 b&w photos the latter give a glimpse of the true beauty of the champion and provide some breathtaking wire-shots from the 1937 and 1938 Santa Anita Handicaps. FYI:This title marks the launch of its publishing house, Westholme Press.