All horses are special and some are unforgettable in The Story of Seabiscuit by writer John Taintor Foote, producer William Jacobs, and director David Butler. Wilfred M. Cline, Irene Morra, and David Buttolph handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California’s:
The 98-minute drama fictionalizes Seabiscuit’s (1933-1947) life. Its distributor was Warner Bros. Its NYC-premiere and USA-release dates were November 11 and 12, 1949.
The movie begins with Walkin’ Murphy (Sugarfoot Anderson) arriving at Paris, Kentucky’s train station. Margaret (Shirley Temple) is a nursing student. Uncle Shawn (Barry Fitzgerald) joins George Carson (Donald McBride) as Thomas Millford’s (William Forrest) trainers.
Shawn’s 30-year reputation at Lord and Lady Maitland’s stables follows him. Nephew Danny’s death and steeplechaser Blackwatch’s broken back at Aintrie’s last jump haunt him. Identifying first yearlings to claim dangled carrots impels him.
George and Thomas consider Man o’ War’s (1917-1947) knobby-kneed grandson Seabiscuit shipping paddock-worthy. Ted Knowles (Lon McCallister) offers to buy Seabiscuit if Shawn facilitates his courting Maggie. Thomas opts to keep Seabiscuit.
Charles Stewart Howard (1877-1950; Pierre Watkin) and second wife Marcela Zabala (1903-1987; Rosemary DeCamp) buy:
16,000-acre/6,475-hectare Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, Mendocino County;
Seabiscuit for $8,000 in 1936.
Charlie’s fortune comes from being:
Charlie hires Shawn and Ted.
Shawn cuts two holes in Seabiscuit’s blinders. He has Ted:
Seabiscuit wins without the whip.
Shawn contacts Nursing Superintendent Newsome (Marjorie Eaton). He flatters her as refreshingly unlike County Kerry’s (fictitious) Miss Newsome. He presents himself as in LA for the afternoon to take Maggie to All Saints’ 2 p.m. service. They watch Ted race Seabiscuit at San Carlos.
Ted becomes Shawn’s assistant after being:
Injured at Santa Anita;
Nursed by Maggie.
Seabiscuit carries “Iceman” George Monroe Woolf (1910-1946; Bill Cartledge) to victory at Pimlico’s Match of the Century against War Admiral (1934-1959) on November 1, 1938. He is retired, 1939-1940, after his front left leg strikes the ground. His suspensory ligament ruptures.
George accepts riding Circle F’s Heel Fly. Ted asks to ride Seabiscuit in Santa Anita Handicap’s “Hundred Grander”. Maggie breaks up with Ted. Shawn confides that beautiful Great Aunt Sheila never married because no man was headstrong enough for her.
The movie ends with:
Seabiscuit acing Santa Anita on March 2, 1940;
Maggie and Ted marrying;
Seabiscuit retiring on April 10, 1940;
Frank Buchler sculpting a hand-tooled, life-sized bronze statue for Santa Anita’s Seabiscuit Court walking ring, 1941-.