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Sea Biscuit

Notes & Transcripts

One of the main characters in the movie Seabiscuit is a broken-down, unemployed cowboy named Tom Smith. Millionaire Charles Howard, who is about to engage in a horse racing enterprise, has a campfire interview with Smith, and asks why he bothered rescuing an old, lame horse that was sentenced to death because of a broken leg.

Tom replies, "You don't throw a whole life away just 'cause it's banged up a bit." Every horse is good for something, Tom claims. This devotion to horses convinces the millionaire that Tom should be his trainer.

Together they find and purchase Seabiscuit, a horse whose physical shortcomings and temperament make it an unlikely prospect for racing success. Tom's method of training, while unorthodox, is tailored toward curing the horse of its inner demons?a byproduct of the neglect shown by its previous owners.

Tom hires a second-rate jockey named John "Red" Pollard to ride Seabiscuit. At 5'7", Red is considered too tall to be anything but a bush-league jockey and a bad match for this undersized horse. But Tom notices a mystical connection between Red and Seabiscuit.

Red has another handicap. He is blind in one eye, and he has concealed the handicap fearing that track officials would no longer allow him to race.

During a crucial race at Santa Anita, Red's limited vision allows a competing horse, Rosemont, to overtake Seabiscuit on Red's blind side, costing them the victory.

Tom, trainer, is outraged that the jockey failed to urge Seabiscuit to keep the winning pace. He presses the jockey to explain how he could let this happen. Finally, in a burst of emotion, Red shouts, "Because I'm blind!"

Stung by the loss and betrayal, Tom scornfully urges Mr. Howard to fire Red. To Tom's surprise, Mr. Howard requests that Red remain as his jockey. Dumbfounded, Tom demands a reason. Mr. Howard states, "You don't throw away a whole life just because it's banged up a bit.

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