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Video Review

Seabiscuit: America's Legendary Racehorse
Delta Entertainment Corp., 2003
DVD, 51 minutes

With the huge successes of both Laura Hillenbrand's book and the movie starring Tobey Maguire, numerous television specials featuring the famous racehorse have appeared, most recently on A&E and on PBS. Despite this apparent glut in Seabiscuit media available this year, Delta Entertainment released this documentary on DVD which may well be the best value yet.

The documentary is straightforward. In a similar arrangement to Hillenbrand's book, this presentation gives each of the human characters - jockeys Red Pollard and George Woolf, trainer Tom Smith, and owner Charles Howard - a chapter dedicated to their life stories and how Seabiscuit came into their lives. Very little detail was made of Seabiscuit's races except for the major races later in his career, instead keeping the focus on the human story.

Interviews were conducted on-camera with several people who witnessed Seabiscuit in person, and their first-hand accounts were very informative and entertaining. One described jockey George Woolf as the best jockey he'd ever seen, and compared Woolf to the recently retired Eddie Delahoussaye for his patient race-riding techniques.

One detail missing from the movie which was well covered by this documentary was the match race at Del Mar against Ligaroti. Footage of this match race including photos of some of the celebrities in attendance was included. The more famous Pimlico Special match race against Triple Crown winner War Admiral was covered in more detail, with the complete race film and radio race call included.

Bargain priced compared to the other documentaries available, Delta added some extra features which add even more value to their production. The complete radio race calls of his wins in the San Antonio and the Santa Anita Handicap in 1940 are included, along with a slideshow with many photos of the horse and the people involved, and a fun trivia game which tests your recall of the documentary's content.

Because of the affordable price, the excellent documentary, and the extra features, this is by far the best value we have seen of any of the Seabiscuit documentaries currently available. This is a valuable addition to any race fan's video library and an excellent yet inexpensive Christmas gift.

Seabiscuit: America's Legendary Racehorse is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 on DVD only.

Rating:     5/5

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