Where the Heart Is!
Part 2

My sincere thanks to
 The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association 
for permission to excerpt their fine 1987 articles by Debra Ginsburg 
and Jay Hovday that those new to the sport of racing 
may also re-live the moment.

California's ranches and farms,
 have been home to the many great runners the state has produced.

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.Ridgewood Ranch,
 home of the immortal Seabiscuit.

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Charles Elliot Perkins, another founder of the CTBA, fell in love with Flying Ebony when he saw the horse win the 1925 Kentucky Derby and eventually purchased him to head his breeding operations at Alisal Ranch near Santa Barbara. Although Flying Ebony had gained fame for having sired Dark Secret and Flying Heels, he also proved a disappointment when Perkins shipped him to California. His only notable offspring was Ebony Night, a Western stock-horse champion who went through the first sale ever conducted by the CBA in 1938.
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Despite initial setbacks, horsemen like Russel and Perkins were instrumental in putting California's flagging breeding industry back on its feet during the 1930.'s. Other forces were also in motion by that time as well. The opening of Santa Anita, Del Mar and Hollywood Park centered racing interests in Southern California, where members of the motion picture industry had a major hand in reestablishing horse racing in the Golden State.
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Charles Howard's Seabiscuit was a budding star when he came out West for the 1937 Santa Anita season. The former claimer had flourished under Silent Tom Smith, and as the winter began, he was considered the early favorite for the 1937 Santa Anita Handicap along with Foxcatcher Farm's Rosemont, who had run third in the race the year before. But, Rosemont and jockey Harry Richards got up in the last jump to win by a nose.
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Seabiscuit's second try at the Santa Anita Handicap was in 1938. Getting a 30-pound pull in the weights, 130 to 100, three-year-old Stagehand upset the day and beat Seabiscuit by a nose.
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Seabiscuit sat out most of the 1939 campaign nursing injuries. He was back for one last try, in the race that had become synonymous with his name, in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap.
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Seabiscuit, under 130 pounds, dispatched the front-running Whichcee and went on to win by a length over Kayak II. Seabiscuit never ran again, but his impact on the California racing scene reverberated through the years. He was the first true superstar gate draw of the West Coast. More than 70,000 fans  came out to watch him in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap.
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Ridgewood Ranch, located in the majestic California redwoods, became Charles S. Howard's home for his great money-winning champion Seabiscuit. Howard had always dreamed of establishing a breeding empire of his own, and Seabiscuit became the catalyst for that dream  en route to becoming horse racing's all-time leading money earner.
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In addition to the 17,000-acre Ridgewood Ranch, Howard also purchased a farm in San Ysidro to be used as a training and lay-up facility. The San Ysidro Farm was eventually used for breeding as well, and it was headed by the great Howard stakes winners Noor and Fair Truckle.
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Unfortunately, Howard was another prominent horseman who fell far short of his goal. Seabiscuit died prematurely at the age of 14, but he had already disappointed at stud. Kayak II was sterile, and Howard died before he had to face the fact the Ajax and Noor were headed for unpromising stud careers as well. Upon Howard's death in 1950, Ridgewood was sold to the Welch brothers to be used as a cattle ranch and the San Ysidro property was eventually converted to a truck-gardening facility.