March 27

Seabiscuit makes a celebrity entrance in Tijuana for the Agua Caliente Handicap. Americans flood the border and overwhelm Tijuana, hoping to watch the race. Seabiscuit wins easily.

Charles Howard and Seabiscuit after a race
Library of Congress

Charles Howard and Seabiscuit after a race
April 13

Howard and War Admiral’s owner, Samuel Riddle, agree on terms for a match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. The race is set for May 30 at Belmont, War Admiral’s home track. Howard lures Riddle into the agreement with favorable conditions for War Admiral and a $100,000 purse.

April 16

Seabiscuit cruises to a new track record in the Bay Meadows Handicap despite carrying 133 pounds, the highest weight assigned to a horse in modern California racing.

May 20

Seabiscuit and War Admiral pose for a photo session as New York publicity reaches a frenzy.

May 24

Howard scratches Seabiscuit from the match race at Belmont following several days of slow workouts, and rumors of a possible injury.

June 4

Seabiscuit places second in the Stars and Stripes Handicap, leading spectators to believe that his best days are behind him. Following the race, Seabiscuit heads home to California.

June 23

Pollard agrees to work a friend’s colt, Modern Youth. The horse, spooked, leaves the track at breakneck speed and crashes into a barn. Pollard’s leg is crushed.

June 29

Smith scratches Seabiscuit from the Massachusetts Handicap at the last minute upon discovering the horse has a leg injury.

Seabiscuit and Ligaroti

Seabiscuit and Ligaroti
July 16

Seabiscuit beats Specify and wins the Hollywood Gold Cup, breaking a track record and reestablishing his prominence. George Woolf brings Seabiscuit from 14 lengths behind to win the race.

On August 12, Seabiscuit will beat Ligaroti, a horse co-owned by Bing Crosby and Howard’s son Lin, in a match race at Del Mar.

October 5

The rescheduled match between Seabiscuit and War Admiral is announced for November 1. The horses will meet at Pimlico in Maryland.

October 30

Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, the tale of a Martian invasion on Earth, creates panic among listeners who mistake it for news.

November 1

The long-anticipated match race is run. With 40 million listeners tuned in across the country, Seabiscuit beats War Admiral by four lengths in just over a minute fifty-six for the mile and three-sixteenths, a new Pimlico track record.

December 31

Gossip columnist Walter Winchell includes Seabiscuit with Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler as one of the top ten newsmakers of the year.

February 14: 1939

Seabiscuit injures his suspensory ligament in a prep race for Santa Anita.

Spring, Summer

Red Pollard and his former nurse Agnes Conlon are married. That summer, Pollard and Seabiscuit recover from their injuries together.

September 3

Britain and France declare war on Germany.

February 9: 1940

Seabiscuit comes in third to Heelfly and Woolf in the La Jolla Handicap.

February 17

Seabiscuit finishes fourth in the San Carlos Handicap.

February 24

Seabiscuit wins the San Antonio Handicap, matching the track’s record time.

March 2

A record number of people attend an American horse race — 75,000 — and watch as Pollard leads Seabiscuit to a come-from-behind victory in his third try at the $100,000 Santa Anita Handicap. He clocks the fastest mile-and-a quarter in Santa Anita’s history, the second fastest ever run in America.

April 10

Seabiscuit retires to Charles Howard’s Ridgewood Ranch.

November 5: After Seabiscuit

Franklin Roosevelt is reelected president for a third term.

December 7, 1941

The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, and the U.S. enters into WWII.


Tom Smith begins a long convalescence following back surgery. He leaves Charles Howard’s employ on friendly terms and goes to work for Elizabeth Arden Graham, the cosmetics magnate and horse owner.

Citation becomes the first horse to win over $1 million.

May 1, 1943

Count Fleet wins the Kentucky Derby. Living with wartime restrictions on car use, racing fans are discouraged from traveling to the race, which is called the “Streetcar Derby.”

November 7, 1944

In the midst of war, Franklin Roosevelt is reelected to a fourth term.

April 12, 1945

President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage, and Vice President Harry Truman enters the Oval Office.

August 6, 1945

President Truman announces that an American bomber, the Enola Gay, has dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

August 14, 1945

V-J Day: the end of war with Japan. After World War II, American interest in horse racing starts to increase.

January 3, 1946

George Woolf dies in a racing accident at Santa Anita.

May 17, 1947

Seabiscuit dies at age 14. He is buried in secret at Ridgewood.

November 1, 1947

Man o 'War, the greatest thoroughbred of all time, dies at the age of 26. As he lies in state, thousands come to mourn.

June 6, 1950


George Woolf is inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame.

January 23, 1957

Tom Smith dies.


Seabiscuit is inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame.


Kelso is named Horse of the Year for the fifth straight year. He is the only horse in history to win the title five times.

August 24, 1968

Dr. Fager sets the world record for the mile at 1 minute 32 and 1/5 seconds.

June 9, 1973

Secretariat is the first Triple Crown winner in a quarter century. He secures the first two races by modest margins, but wins the Belmont Stakes by an amazing 31 lengths.


Affirmed, a descendant of War Admiral, begins a rivalry with Alydar — one of the greatest in the sport. In 1978, Affirmed will win the Triple Crown.


November 10, 1984

The Breeders’ Cup is run for the first time.

March 31, 1987

Marcela Howard dies.


Seabiscuit’s trainer Tom Smith is inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame.

January 12, 2001

Affirmed, the most recent Triple Crown winner (1978) dies.

May 7, 2002

Seattle Slew, the last remaining Triple Crown winner (1977) still alive, dies.


Barbaro wins the Kentucky Derby, and he is hugely popular with the public. Favored to win the Preakness Stakes two weeks later, he fractures his leg in a false start. Thousands of fans send gifts and letters of support to the healing thoroughbred, but he will eventually lose his battle in January, 2007.

September 28, 2008

Curlin tops Cigar as the top all-time money winner in history, with over $10 million to his name.

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