In 1938, after years of financial woes, and the beginning of war in Europe, the greatest newsmaker wasn’t FDR or Hitler. It was Seabiscuit. This undersized thoroughbred racehorse with crooked legs became the most celebrated horse of his day when he beat Triple Crown winner War Admiral at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, cementing his status as a hero among Americans during the Great Depression.
Seabiscuit did not originally live up to his potential, and was sold by his first owner. He had been overworked, racing 35 times as a two-year-old and did not achieve – flat-out losing his first ten races. His trainer thought he was lazy, and raced him constantly with little real training. After being purchased by automobile entrepreneur Charles S. Howard, he began with a new trainer who used extremely unorthodox methods. Those methods worked – bringing the horse out of his apparent lethargy. Seabiscuit soon became a long-shot favorite, and a symbol of come-from-behind potential that Americans desperately needed at the time. In a time of uncertainty, turmoil and fear, Seabiscuit became that one thing everyone could cheer for.