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‘Seabiscuit’ wins across the board

It’s one for the winner’s circle

Buck Wargo is a reporter for Times Community News.

Behind every champion horse, there’s a story.

How did the owners get into horseracing? What have the trainers

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endured and the jockeys overcome to reach the pinnacle of their

sport?

The film “Seabiscuit,” about one of horse racing’s most popular

stars in the late 1930s and early 1940s, makes it to the winner’s

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circle in telling the tale of what racing was like in the era and

what people had to overcome during the Depression.

It’s the timeless story of the underdog, in this case, a horse

whose original owner and trainer didn’t think he would amount to much

but turned into a champion with the unlikeliest owner, trainer and

jockey, whose lives were transformed forever.

Rocky, in this case, is not only the horse, but also Tobey

Maguire, playing journeyman jockey Red Pollard; Chris Cooper as the

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horse whisperer-like trainer; and Jeff Bridges as the owner, who is

reminiscent of his role in “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.”

Based on the best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand of events that

happened more than 60 years ago, the movie isn’t perfect in telling

the complete story and there are likely some embellishments. But it

makes you wish you had two bucks down on Seabiscuit to win.

Draws viewers in with wit and warmth

Jeff Klemzak of La Crescenta owns a roofing business.

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“Seabiscuit,” the new Gary Ross release about ""the little horse

that could” is as much a film about a racehorse as it is about the

lives of the people who owned, trained and rode him. Delivered at

times with brutal scenes of backroom brawling mixed with pounding,

stirring horse races, the film is laced with just enough Hollywood

palaver to give it sentimental warmth and a kindness of purpose.

The film opens with brief introductory scenes of the three main

characters. Horse owner C.S. Howard, the wealthy, entrepreneurial,

good-natured windbag, is played by Jeff Bridges, who actually kept

one of Howard’s wallets in his pocket during the filming. Tom Smith,

the taciturn, patient horse trainer, is cleverly played by Chris

Cooper. Tobey Maguire gives an excellent portrayal of Red Pollard,

the gangly, bookworm-turned-jockey, who, between drinking bouts and

horse races competed for extra cash in illegal boxing matches.

This finely crafted film drew the viewers into the story with wit

and warmth and by the time Seabiscuit defeated the much ballyhooed

War Admiral in a Baltimore match race (that played out to a

coast-to-coast radio audience in 1938) the audience in the theater

cheered for the outcome as if the race had been held live, across the

street from the Glendale Cinema.

* “Seabiscuit” is rated PG-13 for some sexual situations and

violent sports-related images.

If you would like to become a Reel Critic and see a movie on the

newspaper’s tab, call entertainment editor Joyce Rudolph at 637-3241.


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