View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Sunday, July 20, 2003


What a tremendous horse. I wish Laura Hillenbrand hadn't written the epilogue, that life was like a movie, ending at the moment of triumph, lettings the characters fade to sepia, or parley that lightning-in-a-bottle into success. But they couldn't. The jockeys who rode him, Charles Woolf and Red Pollard both suffered, Woolf dying while parading his last mount to the starting gate, Pollard spending his life in obscurity as a jockey, crippled, no place else to go. His trainer went on to become one of the greatest trainers ever, but died in California, unlamented, shunned by the Racing Hall of Fame. His owner seemed to live through his horses, with Seabiscuit as his closest companion. Even the horse died young, at 14.

All of these men found redemption through Seabiscuit. But none was able to succeed beyond him. If the story ended at the Santa Anita Handicap, March 2, 1940, it would be a brilliant tale of success, valor, victory. But that epilogue, and the tragic ends of Team Seabicuit, just leave you feeling hollow.

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