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Santa Anita Handicap Facts

  • As one of the more prominent figures of the Santa Anita Handicap and American horse racing in general, the legendary thoroughbred Seabiscuit has been an inspiration to horse racing enthusiasts and common folk alike. Parallelisms have been made with the Santa Anita Handicap as a metaphor to this champion thoroughbred's career. Here are a few bits of trivia about this famous race and this American legend.

  • In his first two attempts to win the Santa Anita Handicap (or what was colloquially known as the "Hundred Grander") in 1937 and 1938, Seabiscuit lost in photo finishes, with the second loss to Stagehand, a horse carrying 30 pounds less than him.

  • At the peak of his fame in 1938, it was suggested that Seabiscuit had generated more newsprint in the U.S. than either Adolf Hitler or Franklin D. Roosevelt.

  • While preparing for the 1939 edition of the Hundred Grander, the Biscuit suffered what was believed to be a career-ending injury. The horse damaged the suspensory ligament in his left foreleg, and was lame. As Red Pollard (Seabiscuit's jockey) would later say, the horse and his most famous jockey had four good legs between them.

  • Towards the end of the Great Depression in 1939, Seabiscuit became a symbol of hope to many Americans. His story uplifted spirits and lives.

  • Amazingly after training and therapy (for both the horse and its jockey), the pair of Seabiscuit and Pollard came back to run in the Hundred-Grander in 1940 against a formidable opponent in Kayak II. After an inconspicuous start, Pollard made a bold move to take the advantage on the track and finally won in what would be their last race.