Starring Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, and Chris Cooper, ‘Seabiscuit’ recalls the victorious feats of a Thoroughbred Depression-era racehorse, Seabiscuit. The undersized horse not only changed the life of its trainer but also uplifted the spirits of an entire nation by defying all odds. Throughout its runtime, the movie walks you through several milestones of Seabiscuit’s career. Along with that, it also takes you down on a trip to all the sporting landmarks where Seabiscuit won his accolades. So let’s explore all the picturesque race tracks and elegant grandstands where the movie’s filming took place.
Seabiscuit Filming Locations
‘Seabiscuit’ is based on a novel of the same name, which draws its inspiration from real life. To accurately depict the actual events of its story, the creators of the film redefined new locations to make them look a lot like the original places. Along with that, the creators of the movie also stayed true to many real sites by carrying out the movie’s filming in them. For the most part, ‘Seabiscuit’ was filmed in three US states—California, New York, and Kentucky.
While choosing the right race tracks for the movie’s filming, the filmmakers kept three major parameters in mind. The first one was choosing a location that was true to the real story. Since the actual events took place during the Great Depression, the second parameter taken into consideration was the appearance of race tracks. Race tracks that were not too modernized were purposefully chosen for the movie’s period setup. The final parameter was, of course, selecting easily accessible race tracks. The shooting of the film first began at a 100-year-old stock farm in Hemet, California. Along with this, the creators also used the nearby grandstands of the Pomona Fairplex.
Luckily for the filmmakers, they also got the opportunity to film at the legendary Santa Anita Racetrack, where Seabiscuit won the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2, 1940. Created by architect George Kaufmann, the renowned track is still as beautiful as it ever was and evokes the prime of horse racing of the early 20th Century. The vast area of the racetrack also allowed the filmmakers to set up several extra sets and shoot other scenes as well. Since the crew of the film was expected to clear the track days before it opened up for a new season, they only had six weeks to wrap up the movie’s filming. And thus, Gary Ross shot both the racing and the dramatic scenes at the same time just to be able to complete its filming on time.
After filming the scenes set in Hemet and Pomona, the production of the film was moved to Saratoga to film the scenes depicting New York City Jockey Club.
Following its shooting in New York, the production finally moved to Lexington, Kentucky, which also known as the horse country. In Kentucky, the renowned Keeneland racetrack was the location where the filming of the epic race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral took place. With close to 4000 extras, it took the filmmakers two weeks to recreate the historic race.
— Keeneland (@keeneland) November 17, 2015
The making of "Seabiscuit": Alongside director Gary Ross, actor Tobey Maguire rides an Equicizer, a mechanical horseback…
Friday Film Fact: Ten horses shared the role of Seabiscuit, and over 40 horses were featured in the film overall.
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