Seabiscuit is a 2003 American biographical film based on the best-selling non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The film is loosely based on the life and racing career of Seabiscuit, an undersized and overlooked thoroughbred race horse, whose unexpected successes made him a hugely popular media sensation in the United States near the end of the Great Depression.
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Three men, Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire), Charles S. Howard (Jeff Bridges), and Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) come together, respectively, as the principal jockey, owner, and trainer of the championship horse Seabiscuit, rising from troubled times to achieve fame and success through their association with the horse.
Red is the child of a wealthy family, financially ruined by the Great Depression. In desperate need of money, the family leaves Red with a horse trainer. Red eventually becomes a jockey, but makes extra money through illegal boxing matches, which leave him almost blind in one eye. Howard is a clerk in a bicycle shop who gets asked by a passing motorist to repair his automobile, a technology which has recently been introduced. Some years later, Howard is the largest car dealer in California and one of the Bay Area's richest men. However, his son is killed in an automobile accident while driving the family car, which sends Howard into a bout of deep depression, which eventually results in his wife (Valerie Mahaffey) leaving him. On a trip to Mexico to obtain a divorce and to drown his sorrows, he meets Marcela (Elizabeth Banks), whom he marries.
Howard then runs into Smith, a horse trainer who has been homeless. Howard hires him to take care of his newly acquired stable of horses. Smith later tries to get a jockey to ride Seabiscuit, but the jockey is frightened off when Seabiscuit rips off a bit of his shirt. Smith then finds Red Pollard fighting with other stable boys and sees in him a similar temperament to the horse. They begin to race Seabiscuit. After considerable success, Howard tries to provoke a race with War Admiral, the top race horse in the country. While they wait for that date, Pollard is asked to exercise a race horse for an old friend. Someone suddenly starts a tractor, spooking the horse. Pollard falls off and is dragged along until he crashes into a wall, fracturing his leg. When the doctor reports that he will be unable to be a jockey again, Red suggests that Howard get the successful George Woolf (Gary Stevens) to be his new rider.
Red teaches Woolf about Seabiscuit's handling and mannerisms. In the big match race, Seabiscuit upsets the heavy favorite, War Admiral, partly because of a secret that Pollard relates, instructing Woolf to hold him head to head with the other horse so he gets "a good look at the Admiral." Later on, Seabiscuit is racing at Santa Anita when he is injured and has to stop. Red helps him to recover and get fit enough to race again. The last race is again at the Santa Anita, and Red rides him this time after putting a special self-made brace on his own leg to keep it stable. Woolf is on a different horse. Seabiscuit drops to last place and trails the pack, but Woolf holds back to be alongside Red. After a short conversation, Seabiscuit surges and wins the race.
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"
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