STATUE TO RETURN
HORSE LEGEND’S HOME,
RIDGEWOOD RANCH IN
Sculpture Was Removed in 1950s
Set for June
January 18, 2006 -- After an absence of more than 55 years, a life-sized
bronze sculpture of the legendary American racehorse Seabiscuit is
coming back to its original home in northern California.
Workers in Salt
Lake City and the San Francisco Bay Area are now crafting an exact
replica of the original statue and granite pedestal that until 1951
stood prominently at Seabiscuit’s home and final resting place,
Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California.
The monument will be finished this spring and officially unveiled
during a special ceremony at the ranch on Saturday morning, June 23.
wonderful to be getting a statue of the Biscuit back to the ranch where
it belongs,” said Tracy Livingston, President of the Seabiscuit
Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit group formed to protect and preserve
the historic buildings and natural resources of the remaining 5,000
acres of the Howard ranch.
statue will remind this and future generations of Americans of a time in
our country’s history when a little racehorse with a big heart
captured the imagination of an entire nation.”
One of just two
produced, the original casting was moved from Ridgewood to Moore Park
(?) after the owner of the famed horse and ranch, San Francisco
entrepreneur Charles Howard, died and his family sold the property.
About five years ago, Howard family members donated the monument to the
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New
York. There, it occupies an honored place just outside the museum.
1941, Seabiscuit himself helped unveil the other statue at Santa Anita
Park in Arcadia, California where it remains in the picturesque garden
paddock area to this day.
Famed Western artist and sculptor Hughlette “Tex” Wheeler cast the two originals from Seabiscuit in 1940-41 while the horseracing legend was still alive.
Chris and Anita
Lowe of Bishopstone, Wiltshire U.K., benefactors of the foundation and
collectors of Seabiscuit memorabilia, generously provided funding for
statue makers, Icon Bronze of Anchorage, Alaska are making the replica from a new rubber and fiberglass
mold of the original in Saratoga Springs.
Fontana, a family-owned and -operated fine granite and marble products
manufacturer near San Francisco, is producing the five-ton dark diamond
gray granite pedestal. Under its founder, Mark Fontana, the company made
the original base. It plans to use the same polishing equipment to
finish the granite and duplicate the look and lettering of the original.
The inscription will remain as before: “Biscuit’s courage, honesty,
and physical prowess definitely place him among the thoroughbred
immortals of turf history. He had intelligence and understanding almost
spiritual in quality.”
Nestled in the
oak and redwood-studded ranchlands and mountains of northern California,
Ridgewood Ranch was where Seabiscuit was nursed back to health after a
serious injury. Seabiscuit’s recuperation set the stage for an
electrifying blaze-of-glory career finish at Santa Anita Park that
captivated Depression-era America. Recently, a new generation has been
introduced to the Seabiscuit tale through the book “Seabiscuit: An
American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand and an Academy Award-nominated
Still a working
ranch, Ridgewood has been designated one of America’s most threatened
historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. While
the current owner, Christ’s Church of the Golden Rule, has endeavored
to be a model steward of the ranch and keep developers at bay, it has
lacked the wherewithal to protect the historic structures and landscapes
that constitute Seabiscuit’s legacy.
The church now is working closely with the Seabiscuit Heritage
Foundation, the National Trust, and others to develop an overall
preservation and resource management plan and identify funding sources
for the effort.
The Seabiscuit Heriage Foundation www.seabiscuitheritage.org
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