Seabiscuit wins by a nose! Take this quiz about a champion racehorse!

By: Julie Medina
Image: TMDB

About This Quiz

An undersized and overlooked Thoroughbred racehorse captures the hearts of Depression-era Americans in the most famous races across the nation. Recall the heart-pounding excitement with this trivia quiz.

Why do they call Seabiscuit’s jockey “Red”?

Red Pollard, played by Tobey Maguire, has bright red hair. Tobey Maguire is best known for playing Spiderman in the film trilogy, as well as for his roles in Pleasantville, The Cider House Rules, Wonder Boys, The Good German, Brothers, and The Great Gatsby. He has been nominated for Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Awards, and he has received two Saturn Awards, including one for Best Actor.

What happened to Red when he was growing up?

Red is the child of a Canadian family financially ruined by the Great Depression. In desperate need of money, the family left Red with a horse trainer so he could live in a house, sleep in a bed and eat meals for the price of his labor. Red eventually became a jockey.

How does Red get blinded in one eye?

Red tried to make extra money through illegal boxing matches which left him blind in one eye. He kept this injury hidden from everyone, because a jockey with a blind eye would not be hired. Red Pollard affectionately called Seabiscuit "Pops." This was the real nickname Pollard gave the horse, since Seabiscuit was considered "old" during his time as a major Thoroughbred racer.

What actor plays Howard, a clerk in a bicycle shop who will do great things?

Jeff Bridges portrays Howard, a clerk in a bicycle shop who gets asked by a passing motorist to repair his automobile, a technology which has recently been introduced. Howard becomes knowledgeable enough about cars to increase their performance and sell them as a dealer. Jeff Bridges is an actor, singer, and producer who won the Academy Award for his role as Otis "Bad" Blake in Crazy Heart, and earned Academy Award nominations for his roles in The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Starman, The Contender, and True Grit. His other films include Tron, Jagged Edge, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Fisher King, Fearless, The Big Lebowski, Iron Man, Tron: Legacy, and The Giver

How does Howard become rich enough to buy a racehorse?

Howard becomes knowledgeable enough about automobiles to increase their performance and sell them as a dealer, eventually becoming the largest car dealer in California and one of the Bay Area's richest men. The film’s cast was top-notch, with two Oscar winners: Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper; and two Oscar nominees: William H. Macy and Gary Ross.

What tragic incident affected Howard’s marriage?

Howard taught his son to drive. One day, when his parents were away, he took the car to a fishing pond and was killed in an automobile accident. This sends Howard into a deep depression, which eventually results in his wife (Valerie Mahaffey) leaving him. Valerie Mahaffey is a character actress and producer. She won an Emmy Award for her work on Northern Exposure. She later won fame through her portrayal of extroverted and friendly but ultimately insane women on the television shows Wings, Desperate Housewives, and Devious Maids.

What happens when Howard goes to Mexico for a quickie divorce?

On a trip to Mexico to obtain a quickie divorce and to drown his sorrows, he meets Marcela Zabala (Elizabeth Banks). Marcela helps Howard overcome his depression, mainly through horseback riding. Elizabeth Banks is a popular and outstanding actress and director. As of November 2016, Box Office Mojo ranked Banks as the 32nd-highest-grossing actor of all time and the sixth-highest-grossing female actor.

After marrying Marcela, what does Howard buy?

After marrying Marcela, Howard purchases a stable of horses. This purchase also leads to a chance encounter with the skilled and kindly horse trainer and drifter, Smith. The actual man, Tom Smith, was an American Thoroughbred racehorse trainer. As a young man, he trained horses for the Croatian Cavalry and worked on a cattle ranch. In 1934, he was hired as a trainer by the wealthy businessman Charles S. Howard to train Seabiscuit. He was known as "Silent Tom" because of his quiet nature. He was the U.S. Champion Trainer by earnings: first in 1940 and 1945.

Why does Howard hire Smith?

Howard hires Smith to manage his stables after Smith, who specializes in rehabilitating injured and abused horses, explains to Howard, "You don't throw a whole life away just 'cause it's banged up a little bit." Chris Cooper, who portrays Smith, is well known for his roles in American Beauty, October Sky, The Bourne Identity, Capote, The Kingdom, The Town, and so many more films. Cooper won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for his role in Adaptation.

What is the name of the horse that Smith convinces Howard to buy?

Smith convinces Howard to acquire the colt "Seabiscuit," who comes from noted lineage but had been deemed "incorrigible" by past handlers. Did you know that Seabiscuit and War Admiral were related? Seabiscuit's sire, Hard Tack, was sired by the great Man o' War, as was War Admiral.

Why is buying Seabiscuit such a risk?

Even though past handlers had given up on Seabiscuit, and the horse was broken and trained to lose against better horses, Smith still sees promise in the diminutive horse. However, Smith is unable to find a jockey willing to deal with Seabiscuit’s temperament. That is, until he sees Red brawling with other stable boys and notes his similar temperament.

What weight does Red tries to stay under, as a jockey?

Jockey Red Pollard is shown to keep his weight down by starving to 115 pounds. This was because Seabiscuit, when young and already small, had to run in what are called handicap races. The "handicap" is an added weight that is assigned to each horse according to its past races and its predicted ability to run against horses who weigh more or less than it does. Many jockeys will starve themselves so that their horse will carry as little weight as possible: that is, their own weight plus the lead weights which are laid into the saddle of the running horses. Red Pollard, at 5'7", raced against professionals who were 5'3".

What was the name of the top racehorse in the country at that time?

Howard tries repeatedly to provoke a race with the mocking New York tycoon and his fearsome stallion, War Admiral, the top racehorse in the country. While the movie describes War Admiral as being a huge horse, close to eighteen hands tall, in real life War Admiral was well known for being one of the smallest sons of Man O' War. War Admiral was actually the same size as Seabiscuit, which was approximately fifteen hands tall.

Who is the owner of War Admiral?

Samuel Riddle was the owner of War Admiral and very reluctant to have Seabiscuit possibly beat War Admiral in a race. Samuel Riddle is portrayed by Eddie Jones, known for playing Clark Kent's father Jonathan Kent in the ABC television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Charles Borden (a.k.a. The Official), head of The Agency, in the Sci-Fi television series The Invisible Man. He also stars in theatre on and off Broadway.

Who says this? “$100,000? Makes me wanna walk on all fours and put a saddle on my back."

Tick Tock McGlaughlin says this over the radio waves when he learns how much the winner takes in the race. Tick Tock McGlaughlin is played by William H. Macy. Macy has won two Emmy Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards during his career, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Since 2011, he has played Frank Gallagher, a main character in the Showtime television series Shameless.

How does Red fracture his leg?

Red is injured while riding a horse for his previous employer. During the ride a tractor backfires, making the horse rear up and toss Red. Red’s foot gets caught in the stirrup and he is dragged through the stables until he hits an embankment, shattering his leg.

When Red learns that he can’t ride Seabiscuit in the upcoming race, what does he do?

Red recommends that Howard hire an old friend of his, the successful jockey George Woolf, to be Seabiscuits’s new rider. George Woolf is portrayed by Gary Stevens, an actual Thoroughbred horse racing jockey, actor, and sports analyst. Combining his U.S. and international wins, Stevens had over 5,000 race wins by 2005 and reached his 5,000th North American win on February 15, 2015.

What are some of the riding tips that Red shares with George, to help George win the race?

When Red Pollard tells George Woolf how to ride Seabiscuit, he says, "Show him the stick at the quarter pole, and he'll give you a whole new gear." To show the stick means to bring the whip, or crop, up close to the horse's eye, on one side, with the suggestion that the next move might be a whipping along the flank. The crop is not meant to hurt the horse, only to say, "Okay, NOW is the time to really move. But what really gets Seabiscuit’s motor running is when he can look into the eye of the other horse.

What happens at the match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral?

Seabiscuit wins against War Admiral in the match race, giving a voice to the little guy. Although the film leaves unexplained Riddle's demand that the War Admiral-Seabiscuit match race not use a starting gate, he did have an actual reason: War Admiral loathed starting gates.

Who says this? “No more match races for this little horse, because frankly they're all out of matches. Who's he gonna race? Pegasus? I pity these horses.”

According to Tick Tock McGlaughlin, Seabiscuit seemed like he could never lose - that he was the fastest horse on Earth - and that after winning the match race, only Pegasus would be a suitable contender. William H. Macy, who portrays Tick Tock McGlaughlin, teamed up with Tobey Maguire again in Pleasantville. He is also known for starring in Fargo and Jurassic Park.

What sort of injury does Seabiscuit suffer?

Seabiscuit’s tendons are injured, and the vet says Seabiscuit will never race again. However, Red helps him to recover and get fit enough to race again. The last race is at the Santa Anita once again. Red rides him this time, after putting a special self-made brace on his own leg to keep it stable. Summing up Seabiscuit and their relationship, and Seabiscuit’s relationship to the nation, Red says, "You know, everyone thinks that we found this broken down horse and fixed him, but we didn't. He fixed us. Every one of us. And I guess in a way, we kinda fixed each other, too."

The comeback race and the race where Seabiscuit hurt his leg were at which racecourse?

The Santa Anita racetrack was a fateful place for Seabiscuit, where he hurt himself and redeemed himself. In the scenes filmed at Santa Anita racetrack you can see a statue of a horse by the paddock. This statue is a real memorial to Seabiscuit that exists at Santa Anita. Another statue stands approximately 100 yards away; this is a tribute to George Woolf, Gary Stevens' character in the film.

Who says this to Red? “You could be crippled for the rest of your life.” Red Pollard: I *was* crippled for the rest of my life. I got better. He made me better. Hell, you made me better.”

Red had already received the “death sentence” from the doctor once, when he was told he would never ride again. Red also noted that he was mentally crippled and Charles Howard made him better. For those reasons, Red is not afraid to race again. At another racetrack, the Pimlico Racetrack with War Admiral, most of the audience in the movie were blow-up mannequins with masks as faces, wearing long sleeve t-shirts with painted-on suits and plastic hats.

Who says this? “That's as much my horse as it is yours.”

Red needs Howard to understand that he has invested twice as much time, effort and emotion in Seabiscuit as Howard himself. Red knows all the secrets to getting Seabiscuit to run. He is as much an owner of his horse as Howard. Although Jeff Bridges was exceptional as Charles Howard, it could have been a different performance. Robert Duvall was also offered the lead role, but he had to turn it down because he was making Secondhand Lions.

Who says this? “One comeback I can take, but two? Who's next? Lazarus?”

Tick Tock McGlaughlin was spying on Howard and Smith as they talked about running Seabiscuit in the upcoming race with Red as the jockey. This was the dream scoop for Tick Tock McGlaughlin, the racecourse announcer - and he told all on his radio show. Although the film doesn't mention it, Seabiscuit and War Admiral were supposed to race in June of 1938 in the Massachusetts Handicap. Seabiscuit was scratched, due to "fevered legs." War Admiral finished fourth, marking the first time he finished out of the money.

Who is talking to Red? “Where is the horse?” Red: [grins] “Signing autographs.” “He's what?”

Tom Smith can’t believe that Howard is giving out “Seabiscuit’s autograph” to the press, along with his horseshoes! Howard dips Seabiscuit’s horseshoe in ink and stamps a piece of paper. Did you know that Seabiscuit's animal companions, meant to calm him down, were actually used in real life as well as in the movie? The stray dog, Pocatell, and the female horse, Pumpkin, accompanied him to all his races throughout his racing career.

Who is speaking to Howard? “Wanta know what I think?” Howard: “Of course.” “I think it's better to break a man's leg than his heart.”

George Woolf, the jockey and friend of Red, talks to Howard about what might happen to Red if he rides. George’s response is, “I think it’s better to break a man’s leg than his heart.” Gary Stevens, who plays jockey George Woolf, was awarded the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1996.

What happens to Seabiscuit in his comeback race?

Seabiscuit drops to last place and trails the pack, but Woolf, who is on another horse, reins in his horse until Seabiscuit "gets a good look." After a short conversation, Seabiscuit surges and wins the race. Over 40 horses are featured in the film, with 10 sharing the role of Seabiscuit. The horses' running distances never exceeded three furlongs, or three-eighths of a mile, per take.

Who is speaking? [to the newsmen after the win at Santa Anita] “Well, I just think this horse has a lot of heart. He may have been down, but he wasn't out. He may have lost a few, but he didn't let it get to him. I think I learned a lick or two from this little guy. Oh, and by the way, he doesn't know he's little. He thinks he's the biggest horse out there.”

Charles Howard seems to be speaking not just to the press, but also to all of those who were hit by the Depression and need a second chance. When trainers and jockeys refer to a horse having "a great heart" or "a noble heart," they do not mean courage, as we would say about a person. They mean that it has a competitive nature. A horse that has more stamina than speed would also be described as having a great heart (though perhaps more often in steeple-chasing than in flat racing).

Who says this? “Sometimes when the little guy doesn't know he is the little guy, he can do great things.”

Charles Howard said this about Seabiscuit because Seabiscuit was one of a kind. With a strong temperament, a great heart, and a strong drive to win, Seabiscuit was unique. As the film showed, Seabiscuit loved to sleep. Most horses sleep standing up, but he would lay down in his stall (or wherever) and sleep for hours.

Who says this? “The horse is too small, the jockey too big, the trainer too old, and I'm too dumb to know the difference.”

The owner, Charles Howard, is not a braggart, in fact he is just the opposite. Howard realizes the combination of a horse that is too small, a jockey that is too big, and a trainer who is too old shouldn’t work as beautifully as it does. And Howard admits that he’s too dumb figure out why it does.

What did the critics think of the film?

The film received positive reviews from critics. On the review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, 77% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 199 reviews, and an average rating of 7.1/10, with the consensus: "A life-affirming, if saccharine, epic treatment of a spirit-lifting figure in sports history."

What did the fans think of the film?

The fans liked it. It was no blockbuster, but on a budget of $87 million, the box office earned 148.3 million. When it came to DVD sales, the movie sold over 5.5 million copies, which is the highest for a dramatic movie.

The film earned a Golden Globe nomination in which category?

The film was nominated for one Golden Globe, but it was in the most prestigious category: Best Motion Picture – Drama. As for nominations, The Satellite Awards gave the film eight nods, from Best Picture to Best Cinematography. Did you know the film also appears at number 50 in the 2006 American Film Institute’s “100 Years … 100 Cheers” list?

How many Academy Award nominations did this film receive?

Seabiscuit received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound. To get some of the dramatic close-up action, a contraption called the Equicizer was used. It was a 12-foot by 20-foot rolling platform with a steering wheel in the front and rear. It simulated the rolling action of a running horse, yet it ran on rails around the track, reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

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