Jockey Red Pollard

Gallant Sir

Note: Champagne Glass!


The following except is from a feature article 
by the noted columnist Stan Bergstein. The poem , one of three included in the article is by Red Pollard's daughter, Nora.
  (Stan Bergstein article used with permission and thanks)


My sincere thanks to   the Ontario Jockey Club
for permission to excerpt their material  that those new 
to the sport of racing may also re-live the moment.


"Those raised in racing share an added dimension of love, a mutual understanding of the demanding world that often requires husband to travel away from wife, father to roam and miss days and weeks with children who ache for his presence. "

Red Rider, Red Rider
(John "Red" Pollard, 1909-1981)

You hardly were around
Quick star, dark storm racing lightning circuits of the track,
But when you came home, you came in gusts,
In gales of loud and louder,
Until the banging of your heart,
Your midnight valedictories from the roof
Took up the moon's room in my night;
And days, you shouted down the sun.

When you'd leave, you'd leave enormous silence
In your wake.
The volume of your absence struck
The world deaf-still.
Even now that you are nine years gone,
I have to listen with extraordinary care
To hear the starting gate's bell gash air,
The thudding of those hooves less thundering than you.
.John 'Red' Pollard 1909-1981. 

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 
Red started his career as a jockey riding quarter horses as a young boy. 
He moved west and began riding Thoroughbreds at the smaller tracks
 in British Columbia. It was common to see him at Brighouse Park 
in Vancouver and 
Colwood Park, on Vancouver Island. 
It was probably here that Red won his first race in 1926. His first stakes win 
came in 1931 in the Aqua Caliente Derby. 
In 1936 he met C. S. Howard in Detroit 
who had just bought a three-year-old colt  named Seabiscuit for $7,500. 
Seabiscuit made $400,000 for Howard. 
The grand little horse and Pollard became one of the most 
notable teams of the day. Seabiscuit became champion handicap horse at 4, horse of the year at 5, and world leading money winner at 7. 
Pollard was beset by injuries throughout his career. 
His most serious injury was in 1945 but he continued to ride  until 1955 
when he retired 
after a remarkable 30 year career